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Dealing with Performance Anxiety

Public Speaking with Confidence

By John Plester, Clinical Hypnotherapist, Norwich, Norfolk

Whether you are performing on stage or presenting something to an audience, many people suffer with nerves beforehand, but for some people it can just be too much and prevent them from speaking publicly at all. When you feel nervous about speaking in front of large audiences, you will often experience that butterfly feeling, you may sweat and feel shaky; this is all quite normal and many people would argue that feeling a little nervous can help with your performance or presentation. Unfortunately, however, some people will experience much more than that and find themselves completely unable to speak publicly. They may shake uncontrollably, lose their voice, feel emotional, sweat, feel very anxious, upset and may even be physically sick. 

The good news is, difficulties with performing or presenting are often in the mind; it is part of general anxiety which causes you to imagine yourself presenting and the reaction of your audience. Your mind attempts to prepare yourself for any eventuality, thus making you believe that you will stutter, that you will forget your lines or shake etc., when in actual fact most people will sit and enjoy your performance without any concern at all.

What this means, is that with the right help such as hypnotherapeutic techniques you can completely change that cycle of behaviour helping you to speak confidently and professionally with only minimal feelings of nervousness.

This is done by reaching a relaxed state, and communicating with your sub-conscious mind in order to replace these habits with positive thoughts and behaviours. This alleviates uncontrollable anxiety, nervousness and stress caused by irrational fears and thinking. Hypnotherapy strategies also has many other benefits, and by using a variety of techniques such as mindfulness and relaxation you can also continue to use these methods at home and at work to help you feel more relaxed and comfortable during periods of anxiety.

Having performance anxiety can feel very debilitating as you may feel held back in your work or social life due to nerves and uncontrollable anxiety. By improving your ability to present and perform in front of audiences, your confidence will increase significantly, you will become much more assertive and outgoing which will also have a positive impact on your social life and relationships. You will also be more approachable and be able to converse with many people, which is likely to also improve your job prospects and open up many opportunities.

I have worked with hundreds of clients with performance anxiety of many kinds but public speaking is probably the most common. I integrate not only hypnotherapy but also NLP coaching to help clients prepare for a speech or presentation which supports the building of confidence specific to the area they will be performing. I also work using Thought Field Therapy which I have found is the most powerful method for overcoming the negative emotional fear of public speaking. Full details of my 5 session Public speaking programme can be found in the coaching section of this website.

A follower of my blogs in the USA sent me a wonderful graphic this week about how to master public speaking which I would like to share with you at the following link:

John Plester is a Clinical Hypnotherapist at Norwich Hypnotherapy Practice and Principal Tutor at East Anglian Institute of Hypnotherapy, both in Norwich, Norfolk.


General Hypnotherapy Register
National Health Service
Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council
East Anglian Institute of Hypnotherapy
Norwich Hypnotherapy Practice
Society of Neuro-Linguistic Programming
National Council of Hypnotherapists
General Hypnotherapy Standards Council
Thought Field Therapy
Freedom Formula
Catalyst For Change
NLP Coaching
About John Plester
Tel 01603 626477