On June 8, 2017 at both the Public Speaking and Public Speaking Network groups on LinkedIn Charles Crawford posted under the title Public Speaking: Are Men and Women Different? with a link to his November 19, 2016 web article titled Women and Public Speaking.
In that article Mr. Crawford stated his view:
“….Fear, unease, uncertainty, nerves about public speaking affect men and women alike.”
Quantitatively that is absolute rubbish. Of course men and women are different! The fear monster (shown above) looms larger for women. More women than men fear public speaking, and also women fear public speaking more than men.
Just look at results from just one national survey I blogged about on March 23, 2014 in a post titled YouGov survey of British adults found they most commonly were very afraid of heights, snakes, public speaking, spiders, and being closed in a small space. YouGov found 27% of women and 13% of men were Very Afraid of public speaking. At the other end of the spectrum, another post on February 19, 2015 titled 2014 YouGov fear surveys show a fearlessness gap between men and women similarly showed that 26% of men but only 14% of women were Not Afraid at All.
There also was a YouGov survey of U. S. adults, which I blogged about on April 2, 2014 in a post titled YouGov survey of U.S. adults found they most commonly were afraid of snakes, heights, public speaking, spiders, and being closed in a small space. YouGov similarly found 24% of women and 16% of men were Very Afraid of public speaking. There was a similar fearlessness gap to Britain - 29% of men but only 16% of women were Not Afraid at all.
Women also fear public speaking more than men. In another post on November 10, 2015 titled YouGov survey done in 2014 found U.S. adults were less than A Little Afraid of public speaking, I showed how to calculate a Fear Score on a scale from 1 = Not afraid at all to 4 = Very afraid. For the U.S. survey the fear score was 2.70 for women and 2.36 for men. For the British survey the fear score was 2.79 for women and 2.33 for men.
There are three other well-known older U.S. surveys that found more women than men feared public speaking. The 2001 Gallup poll reported in an article titled Snakes top list of Americans’ fears found 44% of women and 37% of mean feared public speaking in front of an audience. On May 19, 2011 I blogged about America’s Number One Fear: Public Speaking – that 1993 Bruskin-Goldring survey, which found 54% of women and 34% of men feared speaking before a group. On October 27, 2009 I blogged about The 14 Worst Human Fears in the 1977 Book of Lists: Where did this data really come from? In the 1973 Bruskin survey 46% of women and 36% of men feared speaking before a group.
How about the Fear of Public Speaking Statistics web page at Statistic Brain which claims 75% of women and 73% of men suffer from speech anxiety? Those are phony statistics, and there really was no survey from the National Institute of Mental Health. I blogged about it on July 15, 2012 in a post titled Another bogus statistic on the fear of public speaking.
There also are two U.S. studies of university students which used fear survey schedules to determine how much women and men feared public speaking. On October 13, 2012 I blogged about how In a 1992 study of U.S. university students, fear of public speaking ranked sixth for men and eighth for women. Klieger found that for speaking in public, on a scale from 0 to 4, women had an average fear of 2.04 versus men at 1.82. On October 10, 2012 I blogged about how In a 1965 study of university students, fear of public speaking ranked sixth for men and seventh for women. Geer found that for speaking before a group, on a scale from 1 to 7, women had an average fear of 2.87 versus men at 2.59.
For over decades psychologists have known that there are gender differences to fears. Why didn’t Mr. Crawford get the message?
But the fear monster really isn’t as big as you might imagine (and his body feathers have been Photoshopped). With training and experience he usually shrinks down to his actual size, shown above. Fluther is a little Finger Monster toy sold by Archie McPhee, as seen in a YouTube video. I got him at Re-Pop Gifts here in Boise.