Most of us have probably experienced, to some degree, the fear of public speaking. Today I want to talk about an aspect of it that I believe is important to address with EFT. And this aspect is: our reaction to the physical symptoms we might have because of this fear.
Chances are, one of the reasons we have for fearing public speaking is that we are afraid of the physical symptoms we might get because of that fear. In other words, what if while I’m trying to give this presentation suddenly I start blushing, sweating, my hands start shaking or my voice starts trembling? What will other people think of me when they notice that? And how will I feel in that moment when that happens?
When it comes to no longer being afraid of something negative taking place, I find that that is usually because we either don’t believe anymore that it’s going to take place, and/or we believe that even if it does, we are going to be ok anyway.
So, going back to the fear of public speaking, can we know for sure, even with the help of EFT, that we aren’t going to have any physical symptoms whatsoever? Can we know for sure that nobody in the audience is going to judge us if we do? Unfortunately, no, we can’t. So the approach I recommend is to tap on our reactions to imagining that this happens.
In other words, as you think about your upcoming presentation, what are you afraid might go wrong? Maybe you are afraid that suddenly your voice will start trembling and people will notice? What might they think of you in that case? See if you can come up with a “future event” or made up scenario so as to apply Basic EFT on it.
Here are a few examples of how this might look like:
- “Even though when I imagine myself giving a presentation at the library, and suddenly my voice starts trembling and now I can’t focus on anything else, I feel this nervousness in my chest, and this is what I’m noticing right now”.
By the way, I’m using “And this is what I’m noticing right now” as a more neutral statement instead of “I deeply and completely accept myself”, which sometimes doesn’t feel true for many people.
- “Even though when I imagine myself giving this presentation online and my voice starts trembling, now the audience might be thinking ‘why is he so nervous? he clearly doesn’t have it together”, I feel embarrassed, and I feel this embarrassment in my face, and this is what I’m noticing right now”.
As you tap on this “future event”, you might notice some memories coming up of some of the times in the past when something like this happened, where you were giving a presentation and maybe you started blushing, or your hands started shaking, and somebody noticed that. As long as it feels safe to do so, I would invite you to tap on these memories that spontaneously emerged as well, because they are probably contributing to holding that fear in place.
By tapping on these future and past events, if you are able to diminish or release that sense of “this shouldn’t be happening”, “there’s something wrong with me” that you might get in response to those anxiety-driven physical symptoms, you’ll be able to feel a greater sense of spaciousness and acceptance about them, and about yourself.
As we know, what we resist, persists. So, the more we are able to accept that, yes, we are human, and we might get nervous when giving a presentation. Maybe that means that we care about what we are doing. Maybe being able to accept and embrace our vulnerability actually makes us more relatable to our audience.
Therefore, knowing that you’ll be able to feel ok even if you have one or more of these symptoms, and even if someone were to judge you because of that, will allow you to feel more confident about public speaking. By actually accepting and making peace with the possibility of our voice trembling or our hands shaking while we are giving a presentation (by tapping on how we feel about that), it might make it less likely that these symptoms will actually show up in the first place.
But I would encourage you to try to accept and make peace with it for real, not as a way to “make it go away”.
This is only one of the aspects that might be at play when it comes to the fear of public speaking, but an important one.