The amount of people that show up to a Toastmasters club meeting (a place to practice public speaking) and say they’ll be joining is incredible. You know what else is incredible? The amount who never show up again.
Then, there are others who go one step closer to facing their fears. They’ll fill out applications to join, turn them in, and say they’ll bring payment the following week to seal the deal. A high percentage of them never return, either. In case you think the reason is price…it’s about $8 a month. Do the math.
Now, out of the people who do join (and pay), only a small percentage of them make it past the 1st speech—fewer beyond the 2nd.
To answer the question of “How damned difficult is public speaking?”…that should give you a pretty good idea.
One way you could describe joining Toastmasters (as a virgin speaker) is like paying to be tortured (AND you have to pay your own travel expenses!). It’s challenging to go against our fears and face an audience. And harder still to deliver a clear message. In fact, Tactical Talks was born because of my very own fear of public speaking, so I understand the reluctance.
But this is what makes public speaking such an effective tool in building confidence. So few are willing to cross that line. The line of fear. Of growth. Of opportunity. Yet, when you do cross the line and scrap with fear, you develop a universal confidence that you can use to confront just about any other challenge that you’re faced with.
Confidence is especially useful in the pursuit of your goals and in a sense, your dreams. Sounds cliché, I know. Sadly, I can’t think of a better way to describe it. Confidence in this regard is absolutely essential for reaching your goals. Now, I didn’t say it was essential for starting after you goal, although confidence may certainly be useful in deciding to go after a more lofty one, I said it’s essential for reaching them.
The world is full of reasons to quit—foam-sloshing-out-of-your-mug full. It takes confidence and courage to shove them aside and continue moving forward. This is what overcoming your fear of public speaking is all about. Only, as a bonus you gain an equally important skill: the ability to communicate clearly to others. Pretty cool, right?
So, do you want to be like most people and live a life directed by fear? Or, do you want to live a life that you want to live?
Yes, public speaking is difficult because of the fear it evokes, but remember this: Opportunity is disguised as fear
When you feel it, just say “YES.”
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