What is there to say? I'm not very interesting. I'm not a good writer. I don't even dress well. If you insist on knowing something about me just wander through the archives. It's all there.

Monday, May 02, 2005

On the fear of public speaking

Being afraid of speaking in public is supposed to be one of the most common fears. Personally, I don’t like snakes. I’m not sure if I’m afraid of them or if I simply don’t find anything about them to be appealing. I could say the same thing about water buffalo. They are fine to look at while at the zoo, but I don’t need to keep one in a glass case in my bedroom.

Public speaking is not something that I find frightening. Actually, it is kind of exciting in much the same way as a roller coaster ride is kind of exciting. You know that it will be a little scary, but it probably isn’t going to cause you any serious injury.

There is a lot of advice out there for people who are afraid of getting up in front of an audience. The old standard is to imagine that everyone in the room is only wearing their underwear. I don’t think I understand this one. Imagining most large groups of people without clothing is just plain disturbing. Like the joke about the best form of birth control after age forty, nudity. I wish someone would do an experiment with people who have a fear of public speaking. Use two audiences, a clothed control group and an underwear clad test audience, to finally determine if the stress level of a speaker is reduced by the absence of outer garments. The details of such a study would be the evening headline on Fox News.

I used to tell people to read their note cards just before their speech. Stand up. Lay the note cards down. Then start conversing with every person in the audience, one person at a time. No one is afraid of a conversation.


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