The Public Speaker


As a certified coach with a background in applied neuroscience, I understand how damaging stressful situations can be if they’re not managed. As a human, I know what stress feels like. For me, I would always experience stress because of the fear of public speaking. I just had to imagine speaking in public and I would be afraid, and then if I managed to push past that, I would be afraid all through the presentation, and after it too.

It would make me lose control and clam up. My hands would shake, I wouldn’t be able to pitch my voice properly, I would be afraid of forgetting what I had to say. It would drive me mad to see that I couldn’t get my message across. I would go as far as starting to doubt my own expertise on the subjects I was presenting. I even turned down opportunities because of this difficulty. I tried so many things to fix it – theatre, singing, identifying underlying fears and confronting them with various coaching techniques along with different approaches to therapy. Naturally, there were improvements, but the fear never went away.

In September 2018, I had to give a presentation to 100 people. The development of my new activity was hinging on it. I was determined to go ahead with it, give it my best shot, but felt powerless as I’d already tried many things to combat the fear and stress, and nothing had worked. Here I was now about to present to a 100 people and my ambitions depended on getting it right.

Luckily, I was also coaching a senior executive who told me that she had resolved the same problem once and for all. She had also tried many methods to fix it. She told me about emotional regulation and the transformation it had brought her. I contacted the person who helped her, who, in my mind, had saved her life!

I didn’t expect the session to unfold as it did. I explained that in 2 weeks I was going to speak in front of 100 people, and I wanted to give myself the means to be able to give everything I’ve got. The person accompanying me asked me to find a specific situation where I experienced this difficulty. It was hard for me to find one because it felt like I had it all the time.  I also didn’t want to talk about what went wrong before, I just wanted to prepare for the next event. I started to wonder if I had made the right choice to come.

The practitioner gave no explanations and simply asked me to follow the instructions so that I could regulate the emotion. I chose the most recent situation, explained what happened, and by telling the story I found the instant when I felt afraid. I go onto the stage, the presenter gives me the mike and it’s at this point that my emotion peaks. She asks me to close my eyes and state the physical sensations I am feeling here and now in my body. I opened my eyes, but why here and now since you asked me to give a situation from the past? Well yes, the sensations we are looking for are the ones that are present in you today. That’s the starting point for emotional regulation.


A film of what will happen unfolds in my mind – this is not going to work. I came for help for a future situation, but she is making me work on something in the past and now suddenly she’s telling me we need to work on what is present here and now. But as I’m here, I go with it and do as I’m asked. I start describing the situation again, I take the moment when the emotion is the strongest, I close my eyes and feel the sensations in my body. I let her guide me throughout the regulation process and my feelings calm down. We repeat the same again, I describe the situation except for this time I feel detached from the story and don’t feel anything in my body. The regulation is complete.

I ask: “Are you sure?

She replied “Yes, absolutely, it’s complete. Send me a text following your next conference and tell me how it went!”.

The day of my presentation arrives. I go into the room 10 minutes before the start to install the equipment and check that everything is working ok. I’m feeling a little apprehensive, but it’s really light compared to usual. I close my eyes and let the physical sensation evolve in my body. The conference starts, but now I’m not feeling apprehensive at all. In fact, I feel good. My voice is pitched well and my entire presentation lands just as I had hoped it for. Everyone applauds. It worked! It worked!

Since that moment, I’ve done about 50 presentations, and I enjoy each one more than the last. What a change, right?

Understanding the power of emotional regulation and the scope of the impact it can have, I decided to enrol in the professional training and was certified in 2019. Now, I integrate emotional regulation into my coaching practice and also in my own daily life and with my friends and family. As soon as anything doesn’t feel right, I instantly ask “what’s happening in your body?”.

I’m currently enrolled to certify in emotional regulation for psychosomatic and behavioural disorders and give free sessions to make this available to as many people as possible. When people ask me about it, I always give the same answer: I’m not going to talk about it, just try it and then you will be the best person to talk about it as you can relate it to the difficulty it helped you overcome.