Overcoming the Fear of Public Speaking
This short article explains why 90% of people would rather die than stand up and make a speech or presentation. The fear of public speaking is ever present, but there are self-help strategies as well as speaking organisations that can help you to overcome the fear of public speaking.
Copyright (c) 2007 The College Of Public Speaking
How did you feel that first time you were asked to speak in public? Nervous? Overwhelmed? Didn't know where to begin? Fear not, it's perfectly natural.
The fear of public speaking is the most serious phobia known to man. In a recent survey, 90% of people said that they would rather die than stand up and make a speech in front of their family, friends and colleagues. This is a serious problem. But how have we come about this crazy statistic?
It's easy. Who wants to make a fool on themselves. I know that when I was a child, I was of terrified visiting my aunties and uncles' houses at the weekend, because we were expected to perform a 'party piece', a two minute tortuous entertainment. A song, a monologue or a little dance would do the trick.
Real fear was not performing the 'party piece'. It was a fate worse than a fate worse than death and for me because the fear of public speaking is tied up with the humiliation involved when your 'loved-ones', people who really ought to know better, hold on to this nugget of information knowing that they can use it against you at any time, now or in the future.
As children at home, we were always told to be quiet. Similarly, at school, shut up, be quiet, go away if you want to talk! My grandfather had a rather unpleasant saying, "If you can't improve on the silence, then shut up!"
As a child, it was rather difficult to know how to improve on the silence, I found it all terribly confusing. But surely this was what granddad wanted, a quiet life with no interruptions from children who knew, well, nothing.
It's not surprising that we feel less than confident when we stand up and actually want to communicate something serious. This is hardly supportive conditioning for our careers, is it?
Do any of these scenarios strike a chord with you? An amazingly high percentage of people feel exactly the same way. You'll be glad to know that help is just an email away. If you live in the United States you'll find a number of speakers clubs in your locality and they belong to an organisation called Toastmasters International.
If you live in the United Kingdom, there's an organisation called the Association of Speakers Clubs. You can trust both organisations to give you incredible support and tools to become an effective speaker. It's great fun and you'll make some lasting friends too.
Sure, everybody has felt the sweaty palms, the forehead and under arm perspiration at the prospect of speaking in public. Join your local club and they'll soon help you step up to the speaking mark. As you grow in confidence, remember to read public speaking articles on the web to give you a broader view of the subject.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The College of Public Speaking has made a major impact on the Corporate Sector, conducting several major speaking programmes for prestigious organisations. Visit us at => http://www.collegeofpublicspeaking.co.uk Association of Speakers Clubs => http://www.the-asc.org.uk