Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Spouting Nonsense - No one has ever done a survey that says the number one fear is public speaking

In an article on August 3, 2017 titled Speech: The Most Dangerous Class Your Student Must Take on the Rock Your Speech Class web site for the Bridges School homeschool collaborative Kim Krajci claimed that:

“No one has ever done a survey that says the number one fear is public speaking. That myth has hung around for a long time.”

That statement is false, so Kim is awarded a pink Spoutly.

Back in April 1973 R. H. Bruskin Associates did such a survey of U.S. adults that was discussed in the London Sunday Times on October 7, 1973 and in the December 1973 issue of Spectra magazine (from the National Communication Association). I blogged about it in the most popular post on this blog back on October 27, 2009 which was titled The 14 Worst Human Fears in the 1977 Book of Lists: where did this data really come from? Two decades later there was another survey by their successor firm, which I discussed on May 19, 2011 in another blog post titled America’s Number One Fear: Public Speaking – that 1993 Bruskin-Goldring Survey.

In yet another post on July 30, 2012 titled Is fear of public speaking the greatest fear in the entire galaxy? I linked to my discussions of fifteen surveys, only five of which had public speaking as the number one fear. A blog post titled America’s Top Fears 2016 discussed how the 2016 Chapman Survey of American Fears ranked public speaking as only number 33 of 79 fears.

The most useful information we can give students instead is about what U.S. adolescents fear. On June 11, 2012 I blogged about What social situations scare American adolescents, and what are their top 20 fears?

Kim’s About web page says she has a BA in Communications and  is a Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM), so I would have expected her to have done a better job of researching fears.

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