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Is Your Fear Of Public Speaking Hold You Back?

Aug 18, 2007
A recent Gallup poll found that 40% of adults have a fear of public speaking. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld once stated that at a funeral, most people would rather be inside the casket than giving the eulogy!

Public speaking fear can cripple your career since it's almost impossible to be successful in business without having to speak to a large group at some point in time. But an excruciating fear of speaking can make this a painful experience.

Whether you call it performance anxiety or stage fright this crippling fear is a performer's equivalent to writer's block. It can stop you cold in your tracks.

The stress of recalling the next line of your speech and the anxiety caused by being on stage can be a powerful combination. Add the fact that a single mistake can mar your presentation and you have a recipe for debilitating stage fright.

Nearly every speaker has had a bout of stage fright at some point in their career. Fear of public speaking manifests itself in many situations, and for people from all walks of life. It ranges from nervousness when talking to more than a couple of people at work, to full blown panic at the mere thought of speaking in any public situation.

Whether you are the person who dreads the moment in a meeting when someone turns to you and says; "What do you think"? or you virtually pass out at the thought of any public speaking, you CAN be helped.

Learning to speak in public is very much like eating an elephant - one bite at a time. Practice on your friends or family. They don't even have to know that they are your "practice audience".

Learn some small piece of information and then informally introduce the subject at the next family gathering or outing. Be prepared enough to be able to answer questions on the topic. See, that wasn't so hard, now go out and gather more information on another topic and do it again. Your public speaking abilities get better and easier each time you do it.

Once you feel comfortable speaking in small, informal gatherings then branch out to bigger arenas. Perhaps your church group or bridge club, your volunteer group or a meeting at work.

Your fear of public speaking will diminish each time you repeat the process. As you get more and more comfortable speaking in public you will find that the tension and stress you used to feel may still be there, but you can use it to enhance your performance. All it takes is the willingness to try and you just may find your life is greatly enhanced by it.
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