Monday, January 5, 2015

Is public speaking universally feared? Of course not!

My Google Alert on public speaking yesterday led me to an article posted on January 3, 2015 at LinkedIn Pulse by Dr. Marla Gottschalk and titled Communication Hacks for 2015 and Beyond. In it she mentions that:

 “Public speaking is universally feared, but rarely conquered.”

Universally means:

“everywhere or in every case; without exception.”

But, there were two surveys done in 2014 that asked U.S. adults the level for their fear about public speaking. Both found that a significant percent of people were Not Afraid At All of public speaking.

One was a YouGov survey that was reported in March. I blogged about it in April. As shown above 23%, or almost a quarter of adults weren’t afraid. They also reported results by gender - 16% of women, and 29% of men.  

The other was the Chapman Survey on American Fears that was reported in October. (See page 66). I also blogged about it. As shown above 34.1%, or over a third of adults weren’t afraid.

Back in February 2014 I blogged about not using absolute statements in a post titled One track minds: Exactly, absolutely, always. Dr. Gottschalk’s statement is a good example of how doing that can get you in trouble.

The smiley icons among the mostly frowny icons shown above approximately represent results from that YouGov survey.

UPDATE January 14, 2015

I forgot to mention that in March 2014 YouGov also did a survey in Britain and got similar results, as is shown above. I had both blogged about that survey and compared it with the U.S. one.

UPDATE February 16, 2015

Here are a couple of smiley graphics summarizing the YouGov and Chapman survey results.

UPDATE October 4, 2015

I found a magazine article in the Nov-Dec 2014 issue of the Journal of Medical Practice Management by H. Harvey and N. Baum with an abstract that begins by incorrectly claiming:

"Nearly every person who has been asked to give a speech or who has volunteered to make a presentation to a group of strangers develops fear and anxiety prior to the presentation."

UPDATE November 29, 2015

The 2015 Chapman survey also found a significant number (36.7%) of American adults were Not Afraid of public speaking.

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