Not many of us believe we are great speakers, nor do we necessarily find ourselves comfortable when encountering new people and situations. How often have you found yourself rehearsing your words ahead of a meeting? Even though some might feel or appear more confident, it would be fair to say that they too occasionally get cold feet. Nervousness or palpitations can indicate a lack of self confidence – but there are ways you can help yourself.
Low self confidence can affect you in numerous ways: exam nerves, fear of public speaking, job interviews, meeting new people, stage fright, fear of being laughed at – to name just a few. Some of us experience visible or physical signs of low confidence such as sweating, stammering, shaking, or blushing.
So here are a few ways you can overcome this…
1. Start with what you know. If you have a presentation coming up, rehearse what you’ll say the first minute or so, preferably keeping it focused on something you know and understand well. If you start confidently, the nerves will decrease as you gradually settle into what you’re saying.
2. Listen – both to others who speak confidently, and yourself. Listening to the sound of your own voice, and enhancing your delivery with techniques from confident speakers, can teach you to speak with conviction.
3. Be humble. We all make mistakes, so don’t be afraid to occasionally check that everyone understands you – and if you do make a mistake, just make a joke out of it. People naturally warm to those who show their human side.
4. Maintain gentle eye contact. Be sure to include everyone in the room when talking to a group.
5. Crack a joke! A little bit of humour can work wonders, helping to lift any tension. You’ll get the attention of the majority of the crowd, and they’ll see you as warm and approachable.
6. Find points in common with your listeners. Interaction helps with sharing ideas – as well as learning more about others, and how else you can potentially interest them.
7. Smile! Much like eye contact, the non-verbal elements of your communication can make all the difference. You can better express yourself when you smile – and the warmth will come across in your voice as well.
8. Prepare. If appropriate, make a note of the key points you wish to communicate, and have them in front of you to help you maintain your focus. Rehearse a few times beforehand, and even if you don’t end up needing notes, just having them to hand can be reassuring. You might even ask someone you trust to give you feedback.
If you’ve tried most or all of these and are still struggling, there may be something holding you back at the subconscious level – and this is where hypnotherapy can help you. By addressing the root of low confidence – your self image in your own eyes – hypnosis helps you get rid of unwanted beliefs about yourself, helps clear the clutter in your mind, and can help you discover a new you. By using hypnotherapy, you can take care of most problems related to anxiety.
Fear of the situation can become reinforced the more you encounter it, and hypnotherapy for confidence can help you beat it. By working on your inner confidence and focusing on all your positive skills and attributes, hypnotherapy clears your mind – and this clarity is manifested externally through a sense of self confidence and assertiveness. You can try it out right now with these downloads (with a more comprehensive programme here).
However, there may be events in your past which contributed to your present situation, which may make it more helpful to work with someone who understands your individual history and circumstances. Seeing a qualified hypnotherapist such as myself can help you make peace with these, quickly and effectively. As a performing musician also, I understand especially well such feelings of stage fright; and have helped many of my clients with these issues (see my success stories). I am based in Canterbury, Kent and Peckham, London SE15; and also offer online sessions, wherever in the world you may be. Please feel welcome to call me on 07947 475721 for a free no-obligation 15 minute phone consultation – and soon you’ll be able to look back on that old anxiety as a thing of the past.