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Public Speaking in Business Fear and fact By Ruth W. Crocker Larry’s boss was so pleased with his work performance that he asked Larry to give a fifteen-minute presentation to the entire department of twenty-five people. Larry felt confident about his work, but not about standing up and talking about it. In fact, it was the last thing he wanted to do. “Everyone will be laughing at me when they see me up there,” thought Larry, flashing back to the nightmare he had in junior high when he dreamed he gave a science report to his entire class and forgot to wear clothes. Even Jerry Seinfeld quipped that public speaking is the number one fear for most people. “If you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy,” he joked. Unfortunately, this is the sentiment of many, including Larry. It doesn’t seem to matter if a job is on the line or if it’s the lowstakes company picnic and you’re introducing the entertainment, most people feel a strike of fear in the chest when they know they have to stand up in front of a crowd and speak. The knees weaken, the palms sweat and palpitations rise, especially as the podium looms closer. Like the experience of many, the little gremlins (those creatures we invent to terrorize ourselves) in Larry’s head were chanting a worst case scenario: “You’ll look silly and sound stupid.” Suddenly, he felt 24 Submit your Articles Personal Excellence essentials presented by HR.com | 10.2014


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