Needless to say, public speaking does not come naturally to many. While some people have an innate talent of addressing large crowds effortlessly, most of us need to learn the techniques of speaking in front of an audience confidently, without sounding unsure of ourselves. NLP, short for Neuro Linguistic Programming has been helping people understand the DNA of outstanding speakers, and it uses this understanding to help many people imbibe the strategies which make great speakers have an impact on their audience. Let us find out how we can use some of these simple NLP techniques for better public speaking.
1. What Do You Believe In?
It is common for us to respond to the things that we believe in or experience, rather than the reality itself. Your beliefs can make you the person you are. While some of your beliefs may be positive, some of them may be negative as well. For example, you may believe you are an emotionally strong person, or you are fitter than others around you or you can achieve whatever you are aiming for. These are positive beliefs which resonate a resourceful state of mind. These beliefs help you accomplish your tasks and stay confident.
But think about the times when you may go down the negative lane where your thoughts make you uncomfortable. For example, I am not a good public speaker, I may not be able to speak properly in front of large gathering. These can become self-fulfilling prophecy, and can make you unsure of yourself when you address an audience. While you may not be voluntarily pushing your conscience towards such thoughts, the fact that you begin thinking or believing in it, may start affecting your confidence, and the end result as well.
To be a good public speaker, you must harness into the power of your positive mind so that you can believe in yourself before you address people, and make an impact. ‘Belief’ in your capabilities, can be considered as one of the most important and simple NLP techniques for better public speaking. To help you at this task, you must make a list of the things that you truly believed in about yourself which turned out to be untrue. Keeping this in mind, question how can your self-limiting belief(s) about public speaking be true? This will help to break these negative belief(s), if there are any related to public speaking.
Set a positive belief for your new identity, ‘You are the best public speaker’, and more so tell it to yourself, ‘I believe, I am a great speaker’, and your thoughts and body language will be in sync when you are in front of a crowd delivering a speech. Language plays a big part in terms of what the outcome will be. What you feed your mind is what gets transpired, which results in the behaviour, and that results in an outcome (desired or undesired, depending on the quality of thoughts).
2. Create A Resource Anchor
Just like a ship needs an anchor, so that it is able to stay put in the mighty sea or ocean, you need an anchor so that you can be in a resourceful state (positive state of confidence), and are able to manage overwhelming sea of emotions and beliefs which otherwise can make it difficult for you to address an audience. Your resource anchor sets you in a state (combination of emotions, thoughts and body language together) you had felt when you had experienced success and the way you connect it with a physical sensation.
How to set a resource anchor?
Remember the time when you felt absolutely confident. Reminisce this memory vividly and recollect the way you felt, what you saw, and heard. Make necessary changes in these images, sounds and feelings, so that the state of confidence is as intense as if you are feeling that state now, by being completely there, and experiencing it. When this memory is clearest, and intense, connect it with a physical trigger which can be done inconspicuously, like making a fist. Repeat this exercise, so that your neurology gets a sense that whenever you physically do this action (make a fist), it triggers the state (absolute confidence) automatically.
Once you have done it few times, put your resource action into action by thinking about an event in near future when you are about to deliver a speech; before starting, physically do the action (‘fire the anchor’ – terminology used in NLP), get into resourceful state of confidence, and see yourself handling (Visualization – term in NLP where you want to see things happening in a way that you want them to happen in future) the public speaking in a way you want to. Mind will get a sense of what it means to deliver a speech well, and in near future when you have to do it real time, your mind will have a feeling that you have done this many times, and you can handle it with ease.
When you are in front of an audience, use your anchor to help yourself gain the confidence you need to deliver an impactful speech. Anchoring is by far the most convenient way of using simple NLP techniques for better public speaking.
3. Use your Physiology to get ready to excel more
Your physiology is the way you hold yourself. Your posture, the muscular tension and your facial expressions, including your breathing are some of the elements that determine your physiology. Your posture has an unconscious effect on the way you feel and think. ‘Mind and body are part of the same system’. If you change one there will be a change in the other. If you pose confidently, your thoughts will align and will make you feel more confident.
Try saying ‘I feel very happy’ with a sad face or ‘try feeling positive with your shoulders dropped and your head hanging low’. These postures automatically identify our internal state of mind and no matter how much you try, you may not be able to feel positive in that posture. When you make necessary adjustment at physiological level as if you are ready to rock, you will suddenly feel confident than before.
These changes automatically have an impact on your state of mind. When you stand straight and feel confident, you will be able to notice a positive rush of adrenaline coursing through your body as a charming smile plays on your lips and your eyes brighten up. Try the reverse as well, ‘try to feel nervous in a positive posture’ and you are going to have a tough time doing that.
When you are prepping up for your speech, remember to control your physiological (external confidence in body posture) reactions so that you can feel confident internally as well.
4. Learn To Handle Your Internal Dialogues
Most of our fears of public speaking take root in our thoughts. The way we think and feel is the way people begin to see us. If you look shaky or unsure, your audience will be able to notice it in your talk, your posture and your behaviour. Nervousness is easily sensed by the audience. You must control your thinking by ensuring that your internal dialogues are handled effectively.
If you end up overthinking a disastrous public speaking event, then you will not be able to make progress. You must be able to control your thoughts and internal dialogues so that they do not overtake your current public speaking event too. If that will be the case, then there is a chance that you may end up ruining the current event too.
To handle your internal dialogues, you must try to use anchors to get into resourceful state (calm, confident, relaxed) and your physiology (confident posture) to overcome any negative thoughts or feelings. You can also try to remember the event by playing it in your mind and then adding a funny twist by giving the audience cartoon faces, hence, changing the reality of the experience. This will help you eradicate the negativity of any past memory, associated with being nervous about public speaking. You may have to practice this a lot of times, till you begin to visualize that event with the cartoon faces only. This way you will only remember it as a funny incident instead of the old behaviour.
You can reduce the sound of the internal dialogues, so that you are not able to hear anything. Whenever you have an internal dialogue, which is not working for you ask yourself a question, ‘Is it true?’, ‘What is the evidence?’ Or deliver a break state interrupt, like say out loud in your head, ‘STOP!’, and focus on something else, and say something motivating to yourself. Visualize yourself in a resourceful state, and handling the situation well. These are some of the ways to counter negative self-talk/ internal dialogues.
Public speaking is supposed to be the number one fear in the world, and there are many simple NLP techniques for better public speaking, which can be leveraged to get better at public speaking. This is probably the reason why researchers spend so much time identifying the traits of people who are natural speakers, speak effortlessly and with great confidence. Most of the times our fears are rooted in a bad memory of public speaking, or fears created by our thoughts. Replacing those memories and thoughts with positive ones, using anchors to get into confidence state, positive beliefs about public speaking, and a strong physiological persona, can make a difference the next time you step on to the stage to address an audience. It is often said, ‘NLP is the difference that makes the difference.’ Start using simple NLP techniques for better public speaking, and see the difference.
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