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Produce Powerful Presentations (Collection) by Jerry Weissman

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55. “Ya’ Either Got It or Ya’ Ain’t”: The Fear of Public Speaking Is Universal

One of the most commonly held misconceptions about public speaking is that good speakers are born that way—meaning, in the lyrics of a song from Stephen Sondheim’s classic Broadway musical, Gypsy, that “Ya’ either got it, or ya’ ain’t.”F55.1 If any speaker were to accept this false belief, he or she would never be able to change—and presentation coaches would be out of business.

I’m pleased to report that the presentation trade is alive and well, primarily because of the pervasiveness of one of the most common maladies known to humankind: the fear of public speaking. Underlying that fear is another fear: the fear of failure. After all, public speeches and presentations ...

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