Why is it that society will endeavor to 'cure' you of your fear of public speaking? Professors, religious advisers, brothers-in-law and their ilk will push you, nudge you, urge you towards that pulpit, that stand, that cursed microphone and bid you speak, speak, speak!
They think this will cure you. Help you, in some way, through experience.
Oh, how wrong they are, my friends. How very wrong they are.
Today I was the unfortunate witness of the take-over of one poor soul by glossophobia, the fear of public speaking. The background to this story goes a little something like this: In my second year Spanish class, we are required to give a five minute presentation on a cultural topic. We are required to speak en espanol (that means in Spanish for all you gringos).
For someone suffering from social anxieties such as public speaking, standing in front of any crowd for five minutes and speaking in your own language would be terrifying enough. But speaking in a foreign language, one that you are shaky in at best, in front of a large group of people, and then be graded on your performance is a little mind numbing, to say the least.
Today it was a classmate's turn to give her presentation. She stood in front of the class, set up her power point, and said (in Spanish) "My presentation is on Freda Kahlo." She no more got those words out of her mouth then she burst into tears. She fumbled for the door saying "I...can't...speak...in...public!", and promptly fled from the room.
We sat in stunned silence.
I repeat, the cure to public speaking is not public speaking.