One of the best ways to market yourself is to get in front of people, face-to-face. Of course, one of the best ways to get in front of people is to get into public speaking. Surveys have shown, however, public speaking consistently ranks among the top three fears for folks:
- Snakes – 51%
- Speaking in public – 40%
- Heights – 36%
- Being closed in a small space – 34%
- Spiders and insects – 27%
- Needles and getting shots – 21%
- Mice – 20%
- Flying on a plane – 18%
- Dogs – 11%
- Thunder and lightning – 11%
- Crowds – 11%
- Going to the doctor – 9%
(Gallup Poll, February 18-21, 2001, with 1,016 respondents; +/- 3%. Retrieved on October 18, 2010 from http://www.faceyourfearstoday.com/Top_10_Fears.html.)
A second “top fears” list shows the following:
- Fear of flying
- Fear of public speaking
- Fear of heights
- Fear of the dark
- Fear of intimacy
- Fear of death
- Fear of failure
- Fear of rejection
- Fear of spiders
- Fear of commitment
(Retrieved on October 18, 2010 from http://www.selfhelpcollective.com/top-10-fears.html.)
Yes, public speaking appears to steadily maintain its power over us, outshadowing even death. No doubt for most of us, our own death is a distant, abstract idea compared to being thrust before a group of people who are clinging to our every word. For many, the first taste of public speaking began in grade school in the form of show’n’tell, a school play or recital. Eventually, these gave way to spelling bees, book reports and presentations. Brrr.
As they say in Toastmasters, it is not about getting rid of the butterflies; it is about getting them to fly in formation. Whether you are explaining services or participating in staff meetings, effective communication is vital in today’s business world. For more than eighty years, Toastmaster clubs have provided a safe, friendly forum where members are encouraged to develop and improve their presentation and leadership skills.
For the price of a couple cups of coffee each month, you get all this? You get people who will listen to you, coach you, support you and cheer for you for a few hours each month? Absolutely.
Your mission—should you choose to accept it—is to conquer your fear of public speaking. Begin today. Don’t know where to start? Here in Lansing, Michigan, you may visit Sparrow Hospital’s Toastmaster club, or you may go to www.toastmasters.org and find a club near you. As with most Toastmaster clubs, it costs nothing to visit and there is no obligation to join.
Speak Up! Sparrow Toastmaster Club
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 1st and 3rd Wednesday each month
825 Michigan Avenue, Lansing, MI 48909
Use the east door. Say you’re there for Toastmasters!
Visitors are always welcome!
For additional information or to reserve a seat, email Matt Schoenherr at [email protected]