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Should I overcome my fear of public speaking?

 

Should I overcome my fear of public speaking?

 

as originally answered on Quora.com ...

 

 Should I overcome my speech anxiety? Answered by Rae Stonehouse.Whenever someone prefaces a question with the word ‘should’, they are in essence asking for permission. You don’t need permission to take actions to alleviate any fears or inhibitions that you have, including public speaking. You have it within you to do something about it, if you choose to.

This is a decision you have to make yourself. Anytime that you are talking to someone else besides yourself, you are public speaking. I don’t believe it is a matter of determining whether you really need public speaking skills or not in life.

Simply put, if you have advanced public speaking skills and the accompanying self-confidence, opportunities in life will likely present themselves. If you don’t have either the speaking skills or the self-confidence, the opportunities may present themselves, but odds are you won’t be able to take advantage of them.

I know this to be true because I have made the decision to conquer my fear of public speaking. Throughout my life I have taken on leadership positions in organizations that I belonged to. Getting the positions was fairly easy. I suspect that most people were too afraid to take on the roles. The problem was that to be effective in the leadership roles and to move on to the next level, I needed advanced communication skills and I didn’t have them. I was terrified of speaking in public.

A business colleague of mine told me about Toastmasters. I decided to join after my very first meeting. Its been 22 years and I’m still going strong. I have overcome my fear of public speaking having delivered hundreds of presentations and chairing countless meetings. I have a business serving as a Master of Ceremonies and regularly speak in the community on several topics. This would never have happened if I hadn’t worked past my initial fears. Now I actually enjoy speaking to fair sized groups.

I would strongly suggest visiting a local Toastmasters club as a guest and see what they have to offer. It may be the best decision you will make for yourself.

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