The number one fear that people have is giving a speech in front of an audience. Yes, the fear of dying comes in second to public speaking in polls. Yet, if you want to advance your career and further your reputation, being able to give a speech is one of the most important skills that you can master.
If you are among those who would rather die than give a talk...I have two words for you: Toastmasters International. While this organization was founded in 1924, I am constantly amazed at how many professionals have never heard of Toastmasters. According to their website, www.toastmasters.org, the mission of Toastmasters is as follows:
The Mission of Toastmasters International
Toastmasters International is the leading movement devoted to making effective oral communication a worldwide reality.
Through its member Clubs, Toastmasters International helps men and women learn the arts of speaking, listening and thinking - vital skills that promote self-actualization, enhance leadership, foster human understanding, and contribute to the betterment of mankind.
It is basic to this mission that Toastmasters International continually expand its worldwide network of Clubs, thereby offering ever-greater numbers of people the opportunity to benefit from its programs.
The Mission of the Club
The mission of a Toastmasters club is to provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment in which every member has the opportunity to develop communication and leadership skills, which in turn foster self-confidence and personal growth.
There are many clubs to be found in every major city around the world. Toastmasters International has a presence in the United States and 90 countries around the world. There are currently over 200,000 active Toastmasters. Each club is made up of about 20 - 30 people and meets weekly. There are clubs that meet at breakfast, lunch or dinner. There are even clubs that exist inside companies.
Joining Toastmasters is the best business decision I made in my career. I have been called on to speak at many business events and have regularly moderated panel discussions at conferences and other events. I encourage you to explore this organization as a way to enhance your future.
Have a great day.