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Foiling Fear
by Barbara Rocha

Studies show that fear of public speaking is most people's worst fear - worse than the fear of death, poverty, or total incapacity. Once you change the head, the body's easy.

Think of it: people would rather die than speak in public. In fact, some briefly toy with the idea of an accident or illness just serious enough to get out of a speaking assignment.

That's scary. Why? Because the fear of public speaking is actually a choice for most people - an unconscious choice, but a choice, nonetheless. We choose to be afraid by default.

Think of the fear of public speaking as the default margins in your computer: If you don't set some other margin, you get the one already set in the machine - the default margin.

If that's true, how do you choose not to be afraid? If it's so easy, why doesn't everyone do it? And why do so many experts say you'll always be nervous, and that if you aren't you'll be boring?

People don't do it because they don't know it's possible. They assume nervousness is necessary and they just have to tough it out.

Here are two reasons people say they're always nervous, and that it's necessary in order to be good:

People assume because they're always nervous that no one can get over it, and they're confusing happy adrenaline with fear adrenaline.

Remember, being nervous is only the default position; you don't have to go with the default setting. Instead, you can program yourself to think about your ideas and how they affect the audience.