Shallow research can destroy your credibility. Be careful to check your references. When you give a link to a survey with results that belie what you just said in the text of an article, people will decide you simply do not know what you are talking about.
On December 26, 2018 there was an article by Jason Unrau at the Atlanta Small Business Network titled Tips to master public speaking. His second and third sentences said:
“It’s no surprise that speaking in public is one of the top fears for Americans, according to the Chapman University Survey on American Fears. More than 26 percent of the population reports being afraid to speak in public.”
When you click his link to the Chapman Survey blog post titled America’s Top Fears 2018 you won’t find public speaking in their graphic with the Top 10 Fears of 2018. It’s not in the Top 20 or even the Top 50. Looking at their Complete List of Fears it’s listed as #59 out of 94. Calling it a top fear is quite misleading. (26.2% were Afraid or Very Afraid of public speaking).
On December 6, 2018 there was another article by Shelley Baur at LinkedIn Pulse titled Who’s still afraid of public speaking? She opened with:
“Over the years, public speaking has fallen from being the #1 fear on the planet. Recent research by Chapman University says public speaking now ranks #29 on the list, with 26.2% still being fearful of public speaking. Know anyone still in that situation?”
Shelley said Chapman ranked it at #29 instead of #59 (for 2018). But as far as I know, no one really has ever surveyed the whole planet. But back on April 9, 2012 I blogged about how Poll by Reader's Digest Canada found fear of public speaking wasn't ranked first in 15 of 16 countries.surveyed. For the U.S., back in 2001 a Gallup Poll already had ranked public speaking at #2 rather than #1. Their article was titled Snakes top list of Americans’ fears. Back on October 19, 2018 I blogged that You probably won’t hear public speaking coaches discuss the 2018 Chapman Survey of American Fears, and noted it really was ranked as #60 of 95 fears.
On December 5, 2018 there was yet another article by Tatyana Meshcheryakova at Dumb Little Man titled How to thrive at public speaking. Her third paragraph said:
“Public speaking regularly pops up on the top of most-feared lists in the U.S. A few years ago, the annual Chapman Survey of American Fears reported that 25% of responders reported being afraid or very afraid of public speaking.”
When you click her link to the Chapman Survey blog post titled America’s Top Fears 2017 you won’t find public speaking in their graphic with the Top 10 Fears of 2017. It’s not in the Top 20 or even the Top 50. Looking at their Complete List of Fears it’s listed as #52 out of 80. Calling it the top fear is quite misleading. And 20.0% were Afraid or Very Afraid of public speaking, not 25%! On October 14, 2017 I blogged about What do the most Americans fear? The fourth Chapman Survey on American Fears, and being innumerate. I found public speaking instead really was was #51 out of 81 fears, and feared by 23.3%.
On December 3, 2018 there was still another article by Sue Shellenbarger at The Wall Street Journal titled How to overcome your terror of making an off-the-cuff speech. Although it otherwise was excellent,-->her second paragraph said:
“Impromptu pitches, toasts and talks outnumber planned presentations in the workplace. Such challenges strike terror in the hearts of one in four Americans, making them more daunting than snakes, stalkers, or spiders, according to Chapman University’s annual fear survey.”
Her claim one in four are terrified is based on the same 26.2% mentioned previously - but that is a sum for Very Afraid and Afraid. Sue was too lazy to look up the relevant data – for Very Afraid only (on page 60). For Very Afraid it is 10.5%, for Afraid it is 15.7%, for Slightly Afraid it is 32.1%, and for Not Afraid it is 41.4%. (The final 0.3% is blank). What she reported is too large by a factor of 26.2/10.5 or 2.5. Only one in ten Americans actually are terrified. Matt Abrahams also put that article in a post on his No Freaking Speaking blog with the same title. He also should have known better.