It seems Jerry Seinfeld started this widespread “urban myth”. During one of his shows (back in the 1990s) he commented: "Surveys show that the number 1 fear of Americans is public speaking. Number 2 is death. That means that at a funeral, the average American would rather be in the casket than doing the eulogy".

 Of course, it got a huge laugh. And almost immediately everyone took this statement to be gospel truth. No questions asked.  Just goes to show – people believe what they want to believe. Ask someone to make a public speech, and they come back with “I’d rather die.”  And, if people have to speak publicly, they often feel (and look) as if it actually is a terminal experience.

 Which is a great pity. Because we have forgotten that that the amazing human brain can learn to do pretty much anything – provided we are prepared to PRACTICE and PERSEVERE.

Yes. It’s true. How else did you learn to walk? Think about it . . .  you just kept trying, kept practising your balance skills, until you got it right. And from those first faltering steps you moved on . . . to running, jumping, and all the other things we take for granted.  Same goes for learning to talk. You listened, you struggled through your first words, you kept going . . . and tada!

 (Coincidently, this is the secret known to all musicians, artists, actors, dancers . . . . constant, determined, purposeful PRACTICE)

 Here’s how it works: 

  1. you have to believe you can do it. (i.o.w. trust your body and mind)
  2. you have to put in the practice
  3. keep on repeating steps 1 and 2

 Put this together, and you have the circle of success: belief leads to practice . . .  practice yields results . . .  results reinforce belief . . .  so we practice more . . . get better results . . .  

 Does it really work? 

Just look around. That’s how all those thousands & thousands of professionals get to be so good. And earn their salaries doing what they love.

 Still not convinced you can make a success of public speaking?  

  • Are you tongue-tied when you speak to your pet?
  • Does speaking with friends and loved ones terrify you?

 No way . . . these are things we happily do every day.

Spot the little secret?  - Yep . . . we get lots of (unconscious) practice.

That’s why relationship counsellors keep encouraging couples . . . . keep communicating. (Keeps us in tune, and comfortable with one another).

 So . . . if you need to master the art of Public Speaking . . . . start practising. Keep practising. Believe in yourself. Practise some more. Keep believing . . . you’ll be amazed at the results.  Remember . . . you already know how to walk, and talk. The two most difficult things any human is asked to accomplish. Already done and dusted . . . before you were 5 years old.

PS: Ever thought about how much money Jerry Seinfeld has made over the years doing the thing that is “more frightening than death”? Maybe he was not only tapping into our collective fears to get a laugh, but also cornering the market . . .