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The Three Best Ways Of Getting Rid Of Your Fear Of Public Speaking

Aug 17, 2007
Do you have nightmares about speaking in public? When you have to stand up in front of a group does your mouth go dry? Hands shake? Stomach turn flip-flops? Feel lightheaded? Think you may pass out?

Welcome to the club. If it's any comfort, you are not alone!

According to a well-known survey, 65% of us would rather die than speak in public. Many have tried for years to overcome their fear and given it up as hopeless. But wait! There is hope.

We can now turn to three tested methods to end the fear of public speaking that have been shown to yield amazing results. They are Neuro-Linquistic Programming (NLP), Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), and The Lefkoe Method (TLM). Each approach deals with the problem from a different perspective, and each is effective in its own way. So what's the difference?

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)

If the name sounds somewhat scientific, it's because NLP was created by two scientists, Richard Bandler and Paul Grinder, both professors at the University of California. Their research led to the conclusion that we tend to process information in at least three ways: visually (through sight), aurally (through sound) and kinesthetically (through touch). We may use one, two or all three, but we usually emphasize one or two. The way in which we use these processes determines how we feel about the information. Using this knowledge, Bandler and Grinder created several techniques to permanently alter how we feel.

There are many anecdotal reports of people who, by using just a few hours of NLP techniques, were able to substantially reduce or rid themselves of their fear of public speaking. Also, four separate studies done between 1975 and 1980 demonstrate that just one NLP procedure, "The Fast Phobia Cure," was effective in helping people reduce or eliminate many phobias, including the residual trauma experienced by victims of rape.

Several NLP organizations have been successfully helping people get rid of their fear of public speaking, phobias and other anxieties. Two of them, Bright Life Phobia and Anxiety Release Center, in Los Angeles http://www.fearintopower.com and Change That's Right Now http://www.changethatsrightnow.com located in New York. Both guarantee to help you get rid of your fear of public speaking. Bright Life promises to work with you beyond the contract period, if necessary, for as long as it takes until your fear is gone. CTRN offers a money-back guarantee as long as you faithfully follow their program.

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), a therapy that works on the mind through the body, was created by Gary Craig, a Personal Development Coach in the mid 1990's. The EFT practitioner directs you to tap on various areas of your skin while focusing on a fear-producing situation, such as speaking in public. As you continue the procedure, when you imagine the fearful situation you will experience lower and lower levels of anxiety. Finally, the situation will no longer generate any anxiety at all. In most cases, when you are out in 'the real world', you'll notice that your former fear has completely disappeared.

Several studies of EFT and related procedures have shown it to be most effective in getting rid of fears of small animals and Post Traumatic Stress. Anecdotal evidence from therapists and coaches suggests that EFT could be useful in overcoming the fear of public speaking. You can locate an EFT practitioner by visiting http://www.emofree.com.

The Lefkoe Method (TLM)

Probably the least known, but possibly the most rapidly effective way of getting rid of the fear of speaking in public, is The Lefkoe Method (TLM). TLM is based on the knowledge that our behavior is governed by what we believe to be true. Therefore, it focuses on finding the 10 or so negative beliefs that make us fear public speaking. These can be such beliefs as, "Mistakes and failure are bad;" "If I make a mistake, I'll be rejected;" or "People aren't interested in what I have to say;" etc.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of this approach is how consistently it works. In a study published by the Journal of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, university researchers found that on a scale of 1-10, participants who used TLM lowered their fear of public speaking from an average of 7 down to 1.5 (1 was a lack of any fear at all). It took an average 3.5 hours for participants to reach this level. In follow-up six months later, the fear had not returned. Based on this evidence, the researchers concluded that, "The Lefkoe Method is an effective, quick, and convenient procedure to eliminate the fear of speaking in public."

TLM was created over 20 years ago by Morty Lefkoe, founder of The Lefkoe Institute. He and several other certified facilitators have helped over 12,000 clients rid themselves of their fear of public speaking, along with many other emotional and behavioral problems. Their Speaking Without Fear Program is offered with a money-back guarantee: if your fear is not gone in four or less one-hour telephone sessions, you'll get a full refund. For more information visit: http://www.speakingwithoutfear.com.

So Which Approach Should I Use?

How can we be sure which of these methods will work the best for us? Frankly, we can't. None of these practitioners claim that their method will work for everyone. However, most claim to have success rates of 90% or more. Change That's Right Now (CTRN) and The Lefkoe Institute (TLI) are the only organizations that share such data (and offer a money-back guarantee) and both have a 97% success rate.

Keep in mind that most people who have benefited from using NLP, EFT, or TLM agree that the skill of the practitioner is of the utmost importance in determining the effectiveness of the program. If you really desire to overcome your fear of public speaking, be sure you are working with someone who is highly skilled, gives you confidence in his/her ability, and makes you want to succeed. And about that money-back guarantee? Couldn't hurt.
About the Author
Marion Claire turns reluctant speakers into confident performers, helping them to overcome fear, improve their writing and presentation skills, and maximize their effectiveness before audiences. She can be reached at http://pcmaonline.com/bin/display_members.cgi?Member=mclaire
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