Why are we scared of public speaking?
Toastmasters understand and can help anyone overcome the fear!
That nervous feeling with our palm sweating, tummy butterflies fluttering, and thoughts racing, “What if I just bore them? Or worse, they hate my speech and take me for a fool!” Sadly, we don’t perform at our best, or we’d rather not speak up at all, be it about a wedding speech, a meeting point, or a client pitch. Sounds familiar?
We tend to fear public speaking, albeit in varying degrees, because of how we are biologically wired—perceived threats invoking physiological reactions, as stress hormones surge through our body. Of course, our thoughts, beliefs, skills, and specific speaking situations also contribute to this fear in no small measures.
The bad news is that fear of public speaking ranks up high for the average person, and succumbing to it could well be hurting many a professional or personal life, be it economically, emotionally, or both. The good news is that stage fright doesn’t normally kill us and our worries are usually just overblown relative to how much our audience even notice about us.
It’s important to remember that this fear is very common. Many of the fascinating speakers we admire were once terrified amateurs themselves. Even top performers still experience bouts of nerves before they face their audience. So how do they do it? They have learned to control their nerves and productively channel their nervous energy. And if they can learn techniques to overcome their fear, so can anyone!
So how do we tackle this debilitating fear once and for all?
Consider Toastmasters! Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped millions of people from diverse backgrounds become confident communicators and leaders. It is a non-profit educational organisation of over 357,000 members in more than 16,600 clubs in 143 countries to date. It is globally recognized for empowering individuals to develop and improve their public speaking and leadership skills through practice, evaluation, and mentoring offered in local club meetings.
What happens during a club meeting? A typical club of around 20 members meet weekly, fortnightly, or monthly in the morning, noon, or evening for 1, 2, or 3 hours. In a friendly and supportive environment, a self-paced program allows members to build confidence at every speaking opportunity. There are no instructors, just fellow members fulfilling different meeting roles. Members constructively evaluate one another’s presentations. This feedback process is at the heart of the educational program and a key part of its success. In addition to prepared speeches, members also practise impromptu speaking on assigned topics, conduct business meetings, and perform leadership tasks. Everyone’s speaking effort is guaranteed to be applauded, and sooner or later, everyone’s improved speaking skills are applauded even more.
Building on Toastmasters’ strong foundation, the education program has recently been redesigned into the exciting Pathways learning experience—an interactive, customized, and flexible learning program, with a wealth of online content and resources that anyone can learn at any time, from anywhere. Pathways offers an expanded choice of skill development and real-world competencies directly applicable to careers, personal lives, and the community. Examples of such applications include job interviews, business meetings, work presentations, special-occasion speeches, social media, networking, etc. Pathways ensures that Toastmasters International stays relevant to the changing needs of its growing membership, while it maintains the Toastmasters club experience that members love about the organization, as envisioned by Toastmasters Founder Ralph Smedley.
Employers around the world, such as Google, Sony, Caterpillar, Coca-Cola, and Bank of America, sponsor Toastmaster clubs for their employees, in recognition of the corporate benefits of the Toastmasters program. Closer to home, there are Toastmasters community clubs in Townsville that include as their members employees sponsored by local government institutions and private companies. Sponsored members leverage their Toastmasters skills to advance their careers. And women now form a significant Toastmasters demographic—a far cry from when Toastmasters started out as exclusively-male clubs!
Indeed, Toastmasters can only be a good move for anyone’s career or personal development, as it teaches all the skills needed to clearly organise one’s thoughts and effectively express oneself in any situation. And if someone already has all the basic skills, there is always room for improvement! Members begin their Toastmasters journey at different skill levels. Whether a professional, a student, a stay-at-home parent, or a retiree, everyone is welcome to be a guest at a meeting to find out more and see it all in action. Then anyone is free to decide if Toastmasters is the right way to go. So don’t delay and come along now!
City Midday Toastmasters
316 Sturt St, Townsville City, QLD 4810
CARMEN B. BAILLIE, PhD
Vice President for Public Relations
Information above supplied by 3rd party and may be subject to change without notice. For information regarding City Midday Toastmasters, visit their website here
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