Are You Ready to Rock Your Next Presentation? Use Hypnotherapy to Build Confidence and Redefine Fear
Last week I gave the promise that I’ll continue with part two of “Are you Ready to Rock your Next Presentation?” with some hypnotherapy to build confidence techniques for you to use next time you need to speak publicly. I lied actually, because they are not hypnotherapy techniques per se. Rather techniques that a hypnotherapist might teach their client whilst in hypnosis. This does not mean you have to be in hypnosis to use them, and that is the wonder. You can use these techniques when relaxed at home, or backstage, just before you walk out in front of your audience.
Create a Character
Creating your public speaker persona works whether you feel comfortable acting or not. If acting is your bag, this is a fun way to bring it into your everyday life. If not, this tip will help you step into a role, and the presentation or speech you need to offer feels easier.
To make this work, create a character for yourself that you become just before you step out in front of your audience. Use your imagination as thoroughly as possible. Try to create a personality, a stance, an outfit, and props. If you like, you can even give your character a name. I’ve heard many actors speak about remaining in role for the duration of their stint as a character. Not breaking out of it at all, even when socialising with friends. While you probably don’t need to do this, if you can take the half hour before you present to focus on becoming your public speaking persona, it will enhance the efficacy.
Some people like to draw their character or write down the attributes. However, the primary thing you need to practise is becoming the character. With your eyes closed, imagine yourself putting on the clothes your character wears, picking up your props and taking the stance. Remember, this is only in your imagination, so the props and outfits do not need to have relevance to the environment. If you see yourself with an oversize top hat and walking cane, this is perfect for you.
Every day in the lead up to your presentation, visualise yourself transforming into your public speaking persona. Before you practise and prior to the actual event, ensure you do the same. When you walk out in front of your audience, everyone else will see a confident version of you, and you will feel like your image of the ultimate public speaker.
Visualise your Talk
Your brain cannot differentiate between what it imagines and what is happening. The beauty of this is that you can practise your talk in your mind over and over, and your brain will act as though it’s really happening. The anxiety in our brains around public speaking generally happens because it isn’t something we do regularly. It’s nearly always the case that the more we do something, the easier it becomes. If you visualise your presentation over and over, your brain will become so familiar with it that it will become somewhat boring.
By making your visualisations realistic enough, when you step out there on the day, it will feel like you’re doing something you’ve done many times before. A visualisation isn’t a quick thirty seconds of yourself on a platform, it’s noticing everything around the room. The feelings, the expressions on the faces of the audience. The clock ticking as the minutes pass. The sounds that you may hear outside the room. The rustling of people’s bags as they pull out their water bottles etc. This is easier if you know the space. If not, see if you can look at some pictures beforehand. When you arrive at the venue, seek out the space earlier in the day to familiarise yourself with it and visualise again with the true nature of the space in mind.
Mindfulness is a practice that helps one accept feelings without judgement and live in the present moment. There are many mindfulness techniques, including meditation, that you can use daily to enhance a mindful way of life. When you live without judging your feelings, you no longer consider the nerves you feel before public speaking as a bad thing. They just are. When this is not a familiar way to live, it is hard to appreciate how you can feel unbothered by feelings that you’ve always tried to run from, or get rid of. However, it is possible! Mindfulness is something that needs practise and might not help you initially if your presentation is in the near future. However, it is beneficial to start learning now, so next time everything is easier. To begin your mindfulness practice, you can read some of my other blog posts on mindfulness here.