How I overcame my fear of public speaking – and learned to love it

The Guardian - Apr 08, 06:00 GMT

I used to get palpitations at the mere thought of going on stage

I used to get palpitations at the mere thought of going on stage. But it was taking a teaching job that gave me the confidence to face any crowd

I wonder if anyone actually likes the sound of their own voice. Town criers, perhaps. Toby Young. The rest of us have, at least at some point in our lives, likely been a member of what I call the sweaty-hands club: those who would sell their first born if it got us out of a presentation, or have palpitations at the mere thought of getting up on stage.

A study by Chapman University in 2014 found that one in four people admit to being frightened of speaking in public. I don’t know when my fear of public speaking started, but I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have it. Fear comes from the unknown, they say, and for years I had no experience of talking in front of more than a small group of people.

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