I personally have a fear of public speaking. Obviously, this is not a fear that is unique to me. In 2006, Forbes Magazine reported that the fear of public speaking was one of the nine most common phobias (Van Duren, 2006). Hildy Gottlieb, who has delivered keynote speeches to groups measuring in the hundreds, describes herself as having been at one time “petrified” of public speaking (Gottlieb, 2004). I have always been afraid that whatever I might say in a group setting will not be right or make me look foolish. This is especially true if the group is working on a subject I don’t feel particularly expert in.
Fortunately, there is benefit to working in a group. A group that is working well together encourages all members to take part in the discussion (Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, 1997). This encourages less outspoken members to share their ideas without fear of ridicule or embarrassment. The varied experiences of the wider group create new ideas and opportunities not available to an individual.
Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning. (1997). Working in Groups, A Guide for Students. Retrieved May 9, 2008, from http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/html/icb.topic58474/wigstudents3.html
Gottlieb, H. (2004). Fear of Public Speaking. Retrieved May 9, 2008, from http://www.help4nonprofits.com/NP_Mktg_FearofPublicSpeaking_Article.htm
Van Dusen, A. (2006). Our Most Common Fears. Retrieved May 9, 2008, from http://www.forbes.com/2006/12/13/most-common-fears-forbeslife-cx_avd_1214commonfears.html