Help! I’ve been asked to give a talk
Hands begin to shake. Legs wobble. Dry mouth and the small of the back starts to perspire. Susan had been asked to give a talk. This reaction made no sense as Susan was normally a confident and professional person who found it easy to talk and interact with others.
You know people like this.
Where could this fear come from?
Apparently, the only two fears you are born with are:
The fear of falling
The fear of loud noises
All other fears are considered to be learned behaviour. Let’s explore what part of you creates those other fears.
Part of me wants to, part of me doesn’t
Have you heard somebody says “Part of me wants to, but part of me doesn’t”?
What is a Part? A Part is an efficient system that your unconscious mind has set up to run in a particular scenario.
Where could the Part come from for fear of public speaking? Let’s say at the age of 7 you have been given your first public speaking gig, and you have been asked to stand up in front of the class and read aloud from a book. At the age of 7, you may not have yet mastered the art of reading and Part of you doesn’t want to speak in public.
Your unconscious mind’s highest intent is to protect you and to stop you looking foolish in front of your classmates. You find yourself standing at the front of the class confronted by a sea of faces all focused on you, and you start to feel very uneasy. Never mind because the unconscious mind comes to the rescue and responds, “What is the fastest way to get you out of this? I know we will shake and stutter to see if that works”.
It works. To avoid prolonged embarrassment the teacher quickly says “Please sit down, thank you”.
The unconscious mind notes this successful response, “Great, every time we stand up in front of a group we’ll run this program”. Now this response was set up at the tender age of 7, ready to run each time automatically as and when required and yet it was based on very limited world knowledge at that time. This will stay with you unless it is outgrown.
Later in life you enter into a career and upon reaching 30, you may say, “I would like to speak in public”. You therefore recognise that there is a Part of you that does want to speak in public and your unconscious mind’s highest intent is for you to become successful. By comparing these two scenarios, albeit at different stages of your life, you now have Parts conflict.
So now you can understand how and why people say, “Part of me wants too. Part of me doesn’t”.
You now have two different systems running that are unaware of each other. The Part that wants to speak in public gives you the motivation to want to take that public speaking course, it drives you to the side of the stage, and it energises you to walk onto the stage ready to deliver. You are now on stage and peering out at a large audience focused on you. The Part that protected you all those years ago suddenly kicks in and you begin to shake and stutter as that programmed Part runs automatically.
“How can we stop this and update these systems?” I hear you say. I’m glad you asked…….
How to update Parts
NLP is a method of influencing brain behaviour by recoding the way the brain responds to stimuli and manifests new and better behaviours. Our NLP training courses comprise a wide range of sophisticated tools to help you address and overcome barriers in your life. I will now share one of the easier beginner tools with you; however, by attending our NLP training courses you will gain first-hand knowledge and experience of utilising all techniques to the best effect in a controlled and safe learning environment.
Let’s explore the steps of ‘Visual Squash’.
- Identify the two Parts that are in conflict. The problem state and the desired state.
- Place one in each hand. Make a representation for each Part that involves seeing, hearing and feeling. Is there a visual image if so what does it look like? (Visual) How do they sound? (Auditory) How do they make you feel? (Kinaesthetic). Then consider other aspects like the weight, the shape, the temperature and any texture (Submodalities), just as though each Part was real.
For example – the problem state: “I feel anxious about speaking in public, it looks like I’m drowning in water, sounds are muffled and it just feels clammy and hot.
For example – the desired state: “I feel excited about speaking in public, I look like a huge megaphone about to make a profound announcement and I’m buzzing and feel real cool.
- From the scenarios given above we know that each Part has a positive intent – ask each part what that is. With each response ask again “what would this be an example of?” or “what would that do for you?” Continue to escalate this higher to broaden the scope (Chunking up) until you find that actually they broadly agree on what they both want to achieve.
- Ask them to negotiate any differences. What resource does each have that could help the other? What common vision and shared purpose do they have?
- Go back and forth between each hand, focusing on the problem and desired states. Suggest that the hands come closer together so that they eventually become clasped as they change into something quite different.
- Notice the new sights, sounds, feelings, weight, shape and texture of the single integrated and fused Parts.
- Take the integrated representation inside your body…perhaps to the head, chest or stomach.
- Now test it by making a mental image of how you would behave in a future virtual experience or situation (Future Pacing). For example, walking out on stage into the bright spotlight to rapturous applause and feeling excited to get your message across.
Parts are efficient systems set up to run automatically for positive reasons.
In life, we can eventually outgrow problem behaviours over time subject to our influences and experiences, but in NLP we can readily access a range of tools to effectively change a Part that may be holding us back at any time.
Luckily for Susan, she started our NLP Practitioner course within days of being asked to give a talk and was able to take the opportunity to run her fear of public speaking through the Visual Squash technique. She still had to prepare for the talk, yet all her fear was gone, and the confident person began to shine through. She emailed me after the event and said, “I couldn’t believe it. I actually enjoyed it and have been asked to come back and give another talk”.
The Visual Squash is one of many techniques that would benefit from safe, formal and recognised training. We would like to highly recommend our NLP Practitioner training because, just like Susan, it can change your life.
Always great to read the stuff that comes through from you John. I can remember also how anxious I was on Train the Trainer. Now my desire to communicate was greater than my fear the partthat wanted to help people has come through and I am on my feet to some amazing and challenging people. Would not have been able to do this job had I not faced it and found a way to deal with it. Useful to be reminded of this technique again. Many thanks and wish you adn the team well
Good to hear from you. It has been a long time.
Looking forward to catching up with you soon