Glossophobia

I don’t understand why some people are so terrified of public speaking.  I mean, I do get it on some level, because I don’t exactly like getting up in front of people either, but what I don’t get is why some people who have weeks to prepare a presentation (and actually spend weeks preparing) look like they’re about to hyperventilate.  For one thing, your classmates really couldn’t care less.  The only person you have to impress is your professor. For another, if you’re prepared, what’s the big deal?  Just get up there, say what you rehearsed, and make sure you scan the room and smile to pretend like you care about engaging the audience.  You don’t have to like it, you just have to do it.  Simple, right?  Not for some people apparently.

In one of my classes we’re supposed to do 5 minute extemporaneous presentations (i.e. without powerpoint slides) on whatever topic we choose.  The hardest part of this for me was picking a topic.  I finally settled on a brief history of STL because a) It’s something I know about already; and b) I find it somewhat interesting so I’ll be able to make it look good for the prof, who is really the only one who matters.

Anyway, the prof started going around the room trying to reassure the people who looked like they were about to pass out.  Some were literally shaking.  Meanwhile, I’m sitting there, looking bored, because we’ve done presentations since, like, middle school, so what’s the big deal?  How can you people possibly expect to be successful managers or executives if you can’t even stand up in front of a group of people who are all in the same boat and talk for five minutes about whatever you want?

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