Business NLP Blog


NLP Public Speaking Q & A

Questions with John Thompson


Can NLP help someone get over nerves when speaking in front of groups of people?
The quick answer yes. People get nervous in many ways. They can overcome it in a day, a week or a second with several NLP techniques. Their state is governed by what they are doing internally and unconsciously.

There is a pattern and code for each one of us to become nervous. Not knowing this pattern can put you at the effect of it. Understanding and adapting the pattern can put you at cause where you are able to access different choices of states, which means being in charge of how you feel in any situation.

Were you ever nervous when you started speaking publically?
I was nervous in my early years at school about standing out. I also had an urge to speak but didn’t know how in my early years. I still experience nerves before presenting or a training in varying levels. This however is a constructive and pleasurable feeling, not a fear or anxiety.
Public Speaking - Anxiety
Are there any ways people can reduce nerves or nervousness in relation to making presentations?
I would say the best most basic ways are to:
Know your subject
Have a plan
Know the basics to presenting
Be robust – they have to be flexible enough to take challenges

All of these build confidence immensely in the presenter.

What are the main differences between those who are afraid of public speaking and those who are not?
Firstly passion - good presenters have strong feelings about the subject. Reason - they have a reason why the presentation is being delivered. Purpose - the presentation would be attached to a mission they are working on that is deep rooted to their personality. Congruent - they have an overwhelming ability to be able to say things in a way that looks and sounds right. All of these things can be learned using NLP.

People who are afraid of public speaking usually don’t have a reason, and are usually not passionate about the subject. Also, the persons past can sometimes play a big role. There are many NLP techniques to help with that.

What are general beliefs good presenters have?
I would say they believe they are good at speaking and they are interesting ... without these, there would be fundamental flaws in the delivery. In addition they would believe that the audience will benefit from what they have to say.

Good presenters have many other beliefs that help them in multiple contexts these two for me are essential.
Public Speaking - Believe in yourself
If you had to give three tops tips to someone who wanted to become a great presenter what would they be?
1. Hang out with a good presenter. NLP emerged from modeling excellence and this is key to developing an accelerated skill and works very well with public speaking.

2. Join a group - there are many local and international speaking organisations where people can practice and develop in a safe environment. These opportunities also allow you to test the water and get feedback.

3. Create and accept speaking engagements , even when you may think your not ready, speak at every opportunity you can. If you make a real mess ... that’s great as all good speakers need stories of how things went wrong. People love these types of stories ... obviously don’t make it a goal to collect as many as you can.

I think if someone was to follow these tips it would add to their confidence levels and knowledge of the art of presenting.
Public Speaking - Use every opportunity
Can you tell if a presenter has been NLP trained? If so, how?
Yes. Simply by their manner, by their style of delivery, by their form of presentation and definitely by their use of language and use of metaphor. If they are NLP trained they will manipulate language to a high degree. For example, one of the easiest and most effective things to do – and what a lot of people do - is induce a trance on their audience. When you are NLP trained this is easy to notice.

Most important public speakers people are trained and coached in using language and most people who coach them and who write their speeches are NLP trained.

Do you visualize before you present?
Yes I do and something that most people don’t realise is that everyone does. Everyone visualizes but some people visualize in a helpful way and others not.

NLP has the best techniques I know of to really make powerful positive visualizations which help you feel really good and excited about future events.
Public Speaking - Visualize
A common thing people tell us is that when they actually stand up in front of people and start presenting, they feel an overwhelming sense of nerves. What is something people can do to stop this feeling?
A good little trick is to find out who they key players in the audience are. Who is the leader, who is the sub leader, where are they from? When you stand up say something like, ‘It’s great to be here, speaking to Thomas from the London office and your colleagues Tom.’ Then give him a nod or a wave and let him acknowledge you.

Three things will help here. Firstly you are saying something prepared and informal which very much helps nerves when starting. Secondly you are taking all the attention off you for a moment. Thirdly you will get rapport with others in the audience. They will think ‘Oh, he knows Tom, I know Tom’, therefore you now have something in common which unconsciously builds rapport.

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