Does Toastmasters Reduce Public Speaking Fear?

August 31, 2009 by  

Toastmasters can be a great way to practice public speaking skills but can also cause stage fright. In fact, most people who attend a meeting leave without ever giving a speech never to return.


2 Responses to “Does Toastmasters Reduce Public Speaking Fear?”
  1. Cindy says:

    Dear Doug,
    Having overcome most of my public speaking fears from joining a Toastmasters Club, I was disappointed in how you worded your response. We are not trained, we learn by doing. We are dedicated. And while not everyone has made dramatic improvements, most have. When you follow the manuals and program and are dedicated, the results can be astonishing. I would suggest that offering Toastmasters as an addition to your competent training, would be most valuable to most people. Those few that need extra training will always be looking for a coach. Those of us who are self motivated can learn by watching others.
    Cindy Piccolo
    Proud Toastmaster in Switzerland

  2. Cindy, there is no doubt that Toastmasters helps some people. In fact, over the years, Toastmasters has probably helped hundreds of thousands of people. However, for every success story, there are hundreds of people who come to one session and then quit. There is a good chance that your group has about 30 or 40 members, but at any given time, only 10 to 15 show up. Think about all of the faces who have come through your group in the last few years that you only saw once. Every one of those people came to your group for help, but most are more nervous now than they were then.

    In addition, for every success story, there are dozens and dozens of people who give a few speeches and actually INCREASE their fear and finally give up and never come back.

    And for every success story, there are a handful of true believer who come over and over for a year and then quit because they just haven’t made a lot of progress.

    That is a terrible track-record. If I only helped one out of every 25 or 50 people who came to my public speaking classes, I’d be a miserable failure. If I had to get people to come to my classes for three years to conquer there fear, I’d also be a failure. Folks who come through Fearless Presentations develop more confidence in two days than a Toastmaster will in three years of speeches, and we help 100% of them.

    So, yeah, if you have three years of time on your hands and you want to put out a tremendous effort, sure, join Toastmasters. If you want to really conquer your fear, though, get a good public speaking coach.