National Post (Latest Edition)

8 ELIMINATE FEAR

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Finally, it’s worth rememberin­g that glossophob­ia will impede your speech only if you allow it. There is, after all, nothing to worry about – no consequenc­e to suffer even if you botch the effort besides temporary low-level embarrassm­ent and no long-term effect besides the lingering memory of your performanc­e in the handful of men and women who cared enough about what you were saying to retain any of it thereafter. The most important thing to remember is that disdain for public speaking is shared by so many of us individual­ly that, together, we accept a tacit understand­ing, an unspoken belief in its utter lack of worth as a practice and form. No one cares about your commenceme­nt address or your words of wisdom to a graduating class. No one cares that you are the best man at the wedding. No one has interest in your salutation as valedictor­ian. At the conference or the meeting or the big critical event, the entire crowd of ostensibly captive listeners are really just thinking about lunch. You would be, too. And herein lies the most important piece of knowledge necessary to avoid feeling nervous over public speaking: whether good or bad, your speech doesn’t matter.

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