Monday, February 19, 2007

rather give that speech after all?

We've been guilty of repeating the myth that people fear public speaking more than anything else, but checked to get the data -- and in fact, snakes are feared more than public speaking, by 56 percent of those surveyed compared to 40 percent who fear public speaking, according to a 2001 Gallup poll. (The snakes have been winning this contest since 1998, according to Gallup.) In fact, fear of public speaking decreased from 45 percent in 1998 to 40 percent in the more recent poll. However, women were more likely than men to fear public speaking (44 percent of women compared to 37 of men surveyed). Still, those surveyed feared public speaking more than many other uncomfortable situations, including (in descending order) heights, being closed in a small space, spiders and insects, needles and shots, mice, flying on an airplane, dogs, thunder and lightning, crowds, going to the doctor and the dark. We can't teach you about those fears, but we can coach and train you to be a more confident and effective public speaker. Check out our collection of tips on this blog about public speaking here, and learn more about our training services here.

And take a look at our sister blog, The Eloquent Woman, for more on giving great speeches and presentations and become a fan of The Eloquent Woman on Facebook.


Anonymous said...

Good info, Denise. I have long been hesitant about claiming that public speaking is THE #1 fear of most people. Rather, I couch it as one of the biggest trepidations, explaining that different sources can offer different rankings.

This #1 business started, if memory serves correct, with David Wallechinsky's "Book of Lists," the latest version of which appears to have been published in 1995. Times change and trends change. What was true when Wallechinsky first published may no longer be so. And no doubt the Gallup figures you cite will change over time, too.

Ed Barks
Author of The Truth About Public Speaking: The Three Keys to Great Presentations

Unknown said...

I always wondered why people have that fear. I used to have butterflies in my stomach before every speech, but over time I managed to kill them. Must have been the Cajun food.