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.
- Speaking in public
- Being closed in a small space.
- Spiders and insects.
- Needles and getting shots.
- Flying on a plane.
- Dogs (sorry Lassie).
- Thunder and lightning.
- 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.
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…