How To Get Rid of Your Fear of Public Speaking

Author: Morty Lefkoe

If you’ve had an intense fear of public speaking for many years and have tried a variety of ways to rid yourself of the fear – without success, you’ve probably concluded that you’ll probably never get rid of the fear. Or, if you do, it will take a lot of time, effort, and reinforcement.

If you’ve used most conventional methods to get rid of your fear, you’re probably right. The Lefkoe Method (TLM) is not one of the conventional methods. In fact, TLM is the only technique that has been scientifically proven to totally eliminate the fear of public speaking. As Lee Sechrest, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of Arizona, concluded after conducting a rigorous scientific study with 36 people who had a severe fear of public speaking, “The Lefkoe Method was effective
in virtually eliminating the fear of public speaking.”

How does TLM work and how can you use it to eliminate your fear? About twenty-one years ago I developed the first in a series of interventions that literally do produce rapid and permanent change. The most important one, the Lefkoe Belief Process (LBP), eliminates the beliefs that are the primary cause our behavioral and emotional patterns.

After helping hundreds of people with a fear of public speaking totally eradicate that fear, we discovered that there are only a few beliefs that cause the fear.

Mistakes and failure are bad.
If I make a mistake or fail I’ll be rejected.
What I have to say is not important.
People aren’t interested in what I have to say.
I’m not capable.
I’m not competent.
I’m not important.
I’m not good enough.
What makes me important or good enough is having people like me or think well of me.
Change is difficult (or takes a long time, or needs reinforcement, etc.)
Inherent in public speaking is at least some fear.

When all these beliefs are eliminated and a little bit of de-conditioning occurs, the fear is gone—permanently. Let me show you how the LBP works for one of these beliefs.

David, one of my clients, complained of significant fear whenever he had to speak in front of a group. His palms got sweaty, his heart pounded in his chest, and he had a hard time focusing on what he wanted to say. One belief he had formed that contributed to this pattern was Mistakes and failure are bad. Intellectually he knew that learning from mistakes was a good thing, but deep down he felt this statement was the truth for him and, in fact, making mistakes upset him.

When I asked David what happened early in his life that led him to that conclusion, he replied: “Dad and mom got annoyed with me whenever I didn’t do what they wanted, when they wanted. They’d say things like: ‘Can’t you ever do anything right?’ and ‘How many times do I have to tell you?’.”

After telling David that his belief was, in fact, a valid child’s interpretation of his parents’ behavior, I asked him for a few additional interpretations of what his parents did and said. In other words, what else could their behavior and statements mean other than the meaning he gave it as a child?

His answers included: My parents thought mistakes and failure were bad, but they were wrong. My parents didn’t get angry because I made a mistake or failed; they got angry because I didn’t do what they wanted, when they wanted. The way my parents reacted had little to do with what I had done; it was a function of poor parenting skills; a couple of parenting courses and they might have treated me very differently.

I then asked David, “If your parents’ behavior could have had many different meanings, can you see that the belief you’ve been living with as “the truth” is only “a truth,” just one interpretation out of many?” He nodded agreement.

“Didn’t it seem as a child when your father was yelling ‘How many times do I have to tell you?’ that you could see that Mistakes and failure are bad?”

“I did see it,” he exclaimed.

“Take another look, now. I know you saw your parents and heard their words, but did you literally see Mistakes and failure are bad? Because if you really ‘saw’ it, please describe what it looks like.

“I guess I didn’t really see it,” David replied.

“What did you see?” I asked.

“I saw my parents yell at me when I didn’t do what they told me to do and I heard what they said.”

“And what is the inherent meaning of that? What do you know for sure about you or about making mistakes or failing?”

“Nothing. The events had no meaning until I gave them one.”

“David,” I said, “Say the words, Mistakes and failure are bad, out loud. … Do you still feel that that statement is the truth?”

“No. No I don’t believe that any more.”

David had eliminated one belief causing his fear of public speaking. However, David had to go through the same process several times to eliminate each and every belief that caused his fear of public speaking. In other words for other beliefs he had such as “If I make a mistake or fail, I’ll be rejected” he had to find out what happened earlier in his life that lead him to the belief, find other ways of interpreting those events, and realize that his interpretation could not be “seen” in the events and that the events had no inherent meaning. Each time he did that a belief was eliminated until all the beliefs causing his fear of public speaking were eliminated.

Try walking yourself through this belief, using the events of your own childhood and you’ll discover when you get to the end of the process, your belief will be gone.

copyright ©2006 Morty Lefkoe

“Steps of the Lefkoe Belief Process” copyright © 1985-2006 Morty Lefkoe

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About the Author
Morty Lefkoe is the founder of the Lefkoe Institute. Over 12,000 people have used The Lefkoe Method to stop unwanted behaviors and feelings, including the fear of public speaking. For more information, visit the web site Public Speaking Without Fear.