Speaking of Success

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Fear of Public Speaking

How many times have you been asked to speak in front of a group or even to just introduce yourself in front of a group and became tongue-tied?

Well, depending on what resource you go to, public speaking is right up there as one of our top fears. It is certainly one of mine!

According to the former website FaceYourFearsToday.com this is the current list of top fears.

  1. Snakes
  2. Speaking in public
  3. Heights
  4. Being closed in a small space.
  5. Spiders and insects.
  6. Needles and getting shots.
  7. Mice.
  8. Flying on a plane.
  9. Dogs (sorry Lassie).
  10. Thunder and lightning.
  11. Crowds
  12. Going to the doctor.

The site mentions that the list tends to vary from year to year but, it is safe to say that speaking in public is definitely up there on the scale of top fears in life today.  Even a pro blogger who makes his/her bread and butter writing on the internet will eventually be asked to give a talk at a conference or in front of a group on making a living at blogging.  If that blogger wants to get the word out about their blog and drive more traffic to their site then the ability to speak publicly about their livelihood will certainly affect their livelihood.

There is no way you can escape the possibility of having to speak at least once in a while in public.  It may be to a group of kids and their parents on a baseball field if you signed up to be a coach.  You may want to get up and voice your opinion on a proposed new high school at a town meeting.  Maybe you simply want to install a shed on your property but you have to talk in front of the planning board to get a variance because the site is too close to the neighbor’s property line.  I had to do this once and on top of having to speak in front of the planning board and the audience, it was also being televised for local community TV!

Worry not.  There is an international group devoted to helping you overcome the fear of speaking in public.
ToastMasters International

It is called Toastmasters International and the group’s motto is “Become the speaker and leader you want to be”.  Having been part of Toastmasters years ago and am currently getting back into a local chapter, I can attest to the fact that joining this group will allow you to overcome your fear of speaking in public.  The members tend to be people who want to better themselves and they are very understanding of your plight of overcoming your speaking fears.  Believe me, it is much easier learning how to speak in front of a group at a Toastmasters meeting rather than in front of senior management at your place of employment.

One of the keys to success is being able to effectively communicate.  Let Toastmasters help you become a successful communicator and you’ll be amazed at how your whole demeanor will change and how the boundaries that you have set on yourself will be lifted…

8 thoughts on “Speaking of Success”

  1. I wonder how much of these fears get to the basic fear of being out of control.
    Even with the animals. Snakes, just in the way they move are so unpredictable and mostly surprising that perhaps people fear the slither rather than the bite.

    The old zen and AA approach of letting it go is a tough one for all of us to manage, or rather un-manage.

    • Hi Joy,
      Thanks for the response to my post. I think the only fear in that list that I have had is the fear of public speaking. Obviously Toastmasters is a group that has helped me eradicate that big fear. It’s strange though, unless you keep at it and practice, the fear will return.


  2. As a professional corporate trainer I have very little fear of public speaking and actually enjoy the process. I’m also fine with spiders, snakes, mice and other creepy crawlers but air travel and really being up high will still get my palms sweating every time.

    • Rob,
      I am impressed that you have little fear of public speaking and enjoy the process. That is one of my goals, to enjoy that process… I am cool with air travel. In fact, I am off to Portland, OR tomorrow and have no qualms about it… 🙂


  3. on my first speak in public i was so nervous but after i started to speak all of my anxiety and bad feelings are gone.

    • I just attended my latest Toastmasters meeting this morning. I always feel so good after I go to that group every couple weeks. Speaking in public is facing up to a fear that we all have. Congratulations.

  4. When I was young (teens), God, I was terrified to speak in public. My voice always sounded odd and the less I sounded like myself, the more terrified I became.

    By the time I graduated from college, I was fairly comfortable. After grad school and teaching for a few years, I am happy to say that I could get up in front of anyone and blab for hours.

    I’m sure the audience would not appreciate it though:)

    • Hi Debbie,
      I have rejoined Toastmasters after many years so that I can continue to work on my public speaking. It sounds like you have no problems now getting up in front of people. I just came back from my youngest daughter’s play and she had one of the lead roles. She has really grown in her ability to speak and act in public. Even at my age I would love to act in a play. Maybe I will get up the nerve someday. Thanks for stopping by the blog!



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