If you get nervous about speaking in public, the recently published results from a scientific experiment on mice, should give you some hope. The experiment showed that mice that had been trained to feel calm, coped better with stressful situations.
The mice were trained to associate a specific sound with safety. They were then subjected to a stressful event – a mouse swimming pool that they could not escape from. The mice would eventually give up swimming as if they had given up hope. But when the “safe” sound was made, the mice started swimming again.
The lead researcher, Eric Kandel said:
The behavioral changes observed in the mice squelched anxiety as effectively as antidepressant drugs such as Prozac. This shows that behavioral intervention works.
On the Redorbit site, Kandel is reported as saying:
The experiment suggests that there are good ways to teach people this skill, and points to new routes for developing better antidepressants. The happy place works. This is like going to the country.
So how can you use the results of this experiment to help you overcome nervousness about speaking in public? I’m not an NLP fan, but I have heard of people having success with the NLP tecnnique of anchoring and this research would seem to back up the effectiveness of anchoring . Here’s the wikipedia definition of anchoring:
Anchoring is the process by which a particular state or response is associated (anchored) with a unique anchor. An anchor is most often a gesture, voice tone or touch but could be any unique visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory or gustatory stimulus. It is claimed that by recalling past resourceful states one can anchor those states to make them available in new situations. A psychotherapist might anchor positive states like calmness and relaxation, or confidence in the treatment of phobias and anxiety, such as in public speaking.
To apply this to reduce your nerves when you’re speaking in public, a specific touch is the most practical, for example touching the pads of your thumb and your forefinger together. Train yourself to associate this touch with a positive, empowered state. Recall a time when you were in this state at the same time as you touch your thumb and forefinger together. You will likely have to do this many times before the touch will by itself summons the positive, empowered state. Once you’ve achieved this, you’ve given yourself a “button” you can use to reduce your nerves at any time before or during a presentation.