Facing the Fear: Public Speaking
Studies have shown that the number one fear is public speaking, with the
second fear being death. This means that at a funeral, most people would
rather be in the coffin than doing the eulogy!
Fear of Public Speaking
The fear of public speaking is a very real issue for a huge percentage of people. Many a wedding breakfast has been ruined for the groom, the best man and the father of the bride by the impending speeches. What’s really under this fear of expressing oneself in front of a group? It could be a lack of confidence or a lack of the necessary skills, but the two actually go together when you think about it.
Consider this: How confident did you feel about skydiving or kayaking or even driving a car before you had actually taken any lessons and practised the necessary skills?
The exact same principle holds true of public speaking. Most people need to be taught the skill, and the more they practice it the better they become at it. On the Christopher Leadership Course, which is relatively low-key, participants are offered a safe, non-competitive environment to develop their public speaking skills. Instructors delight in helping students feel comfortable speaking in front of other people and in having a small part in the major changes some people make as a result of taking this course. People from all walks of life can benefit from the course because we all need to effectively communicate at home, at work, and in the community-and when we are confident and aware of our personal power, we really blossom.
Instructor and Edmonton Area Chair, Colette Orieux, says there is a certain amount of spirituality on the course, “but it is non-denominational and very subtle.” The course takes its name from St. Christopher, the patron saint of travellers, and reminds us that life is a journey. The course’s motto is:-
“It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.”
In many ways, a lack of confidence leaves many people in the darkness, say instructors who were all students of the course at one time or another.
Giselle Roy, one of about 35 active instructors in the Edmonton area, remembers her first day in the course when everyone introduced themselves, “I could see the terror on some people’s faces just saying their names. By the end of the course, people are able to speak with ease on an impromptu basis.
The course is also a means of fellowship, offers support, and has a community service aspect. At the end, participants are asked to choose a Leadership Project-anything from volunteering in a community school to writing letters for seniors. Random Act of Kindness, the Gleaners Association and Jim Henson’s Muppets were results of Christopher Leadership Projects.
Course content includes:-
- Reading effectively
- Introducing and thanking a guest speaker
- Presenting and receiving an award
- Preparing and delivering a speech
Participants practice these and other skills in a workshop setting, which allows them to gain practical experience.
The Christopher Leadership Course, based on sound principles of adult education, has a positive impact on participants in both their personal and professional lives. Martin, a Christopher participant, says,
“My company has sent me to some very expensive courses that have put me to sleep; but I didn’t want to miss a minute of this Christopher Leadership Course!”
Nigel, another graduate says,
“I wanted to become a more effective speaker, but this course took me far beyond that and I had so much fun! I learned how each of us is uniquely gifted, and the course brought out everyone’s skills and self-confidence in a way I never would have imagined.”
Isn’t it time you stepped outside your comfort zone and learned to transform fear into confidence?