Yesterday I received an email from Lydia Bailey with a link to an infographic titled How to Master Public Speaking posted at Master’s Program’s Guide. I’m not very impressed by it.
First, there is a section titled Glossophobia with a bar chart of twelve fears labeled Percentage of Americans who fear. Glossophobia really is a pseudo-technical term. I have blogged about how Gary Larson’s invented term Luposlipaphobia is as useful a word as glossophobia.
The Sources link at the bottom for the first reference just points to the home page for the Washington Post. That is hopelessly opaque and vague, as are the other eight source links. You should not blindly believe of those statistics without being able to get back to their sources.
That bar chart with 12 fears actually shows rounded off results from this article that are the sum of percentages for Very Afraid and Afraid from the first Chapman Survey on American Fears from 2014. The day before it appeared I blogged about it in more detail in a post titled Chapman Survey on American Fears includes both zombies and ghosts. The fourth, orange bar chart in my blog post shows those same results without rounding.
The next section of that infographic is titled Why Is The Fear of Public Speaking So Common? But, the more recent second 2015 Chapman Survey showed it isn’t that common. I blogged about how Corruption of Federal Government Officials was first in the top ten list from the 2015 Chapman Survey of American Fears. Public speaking wasn’t even in the top twenty. As shown above, it ranked 26th out of 89 (and dying was 43rd). 58% feared Corruption, 28.4% feared Public speaking, (and 21.9% feared Dying). In another blog post I pointed out that According to the 2015 Chapman Survey of American Fears, adults are less than Afraid of federal government Corruption, and only Slightly Afraid of Public Speaking.
That infographic also claims that:
“More than 1 in 5 children report being bullied, a common form of childhood social trauma.”
I did a Google search and found an article from 2009 titled Children’s Exposure to Violence: A Comprehensive National Survey that said it was a lot more - ~30% rather than ~20%. Under Bullying it said that:
“About 1 in 5 children (19.7 percent) report having been teased or emotionally bullied in the previous year, and nearly 3 in 10 reported having been teased or emotionally bullied in their lifetimes.”
I have not chased down all the sources for this infographic, but what I’ve seen so far raises big red flags about it.