Saturday, March 24, 2018

Don’t trust superficial research

At the Rule The Room Public Speaking blog on March 20th Jason Teteak posted on the Top 10 Fears of Public Speaking which he claimed were the fears of failure, inadequacy, leadership, competition, embarrassment, selling, people, futility, self, and success.

He claimed that:
“Everyone has heard the statistics:

The fear of public speaking is worse than the fear of death.

.…A Gallup poll confirmed that the greatest fear of 40 percent of Americans is public speaking.”

But that poll he talked about without linking to NEVER asked about our greatest fears. It was reported in an article by Geoffrey Brewer on March 19, 2001 titled Snakes Top List of Americans’ Fears where the question was:
“Everybody has fears about different things. But some are more afraid of certain things than others. I'm going to read a list of some of these fears. For each one, please tell me whether you are afraid of it, or not. How about public speaking in front of an audience?”

and the top three answers (most common fears) were:
“A recent Gallup poll that asked adults what they were afraid of reveals that more people -- 51% -- fear snakes than any other suggested possibility, including speaking in public in front of an audience (40%) and heights (36%).”

How about the fear of public speaking being worse than death? Well, I blogged about how the 1973 Bruskin and 1993 Bruskin-Goldring surveys found the fear of public speaking was more common than the fear of death – not worse. What Jason should fear about public speaking is that his research about it was both inadequate and embarrassing.    

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