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Chapter 1. What Fresh Hell Is This? > Top Ten Excuses People Use to Avoid Publi... - Pg. 4

What Fresh Hell Is This? 4 Speakers know that the audience is evaluating them not only for their ability to speak, but also for their ability to think. They also know that there are scores of things that can--and probably will --go wrong while they deliver their speech. Nonetheless, you're no idiot. I know that you can learn to speak in public with confidence. And if you know what you're doing, public speaking can also be enjoyable. I'm even going to make it easy and fun for you--I promise. As Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." However, a team of professional market researchers found that a lot of other things terrify us even more than fear; these include flying, deep water, and insects. I also have surveyed my students over the years, asking each person to rank 10 common things or situations that can cause fear. Encores and Exits When the founders of the United States added the Bill of Rights to the Constitution in 1791, they put the right of free speech first in the aptly named First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an estab- lishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." Even if you're afraid of speaking in public, it's your right to do so. The greatest fear of all? Speaking before a group! Nearly half the people I surveyed were more terrified of speaking before a group than of anything else. This fear was followed by a fear of heights, insects, financial problems, deep water, illness, death, flying, loneliness, and dogs. The same research team found that only 20 percent of Americans admit that they have never suf- fered from "stage fright" at any point in their lives. (They probably lied!) Speak of the Devil "The brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up and speak in public." --Anonymous Some enterprising folks have developed a list of excuses to get out of speaking in public; they're all listed in the next section. By the time you finish this book, however, you won't need any of these excuses--you'll be too busy delivering entertaining, persuasive, and informative speeches. You'll be a master of public speaking, the art of addressing a group of people. Top Ten Excuses People Use to Avoid Public Speaking What follows are the top excuses people use to try to avoid speaking in public. See which excuses you think are most valid. Then I'll tell you how reasonable they really are. 1. 2. I don't have anything to say. I'll make a fool of myself in front of (a) friends, (b) family, (c) community members, or (d)busi- ness associates.