Why We Fear Snakes and Public Speaking

To better understand fear and the way it impacts our lives, Jaimal Yogis visited with world renowned scientists who have studied it and even performed death defying acts.  It resulted in his book:  The Fear Project.  In this podcast, Jaimal and Bill discuss how our fear of snakes and public speaking have deep historical, social roots.


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  • Reed Markham

    Some of my college students fear taking the public speaking course more than death. Yet, when they learn some communication apprehension techniques the fear dissipates.

  • John Dawson

    I think there are ways of understanding public speaking anxiety that are actually quite simple.I teach 40 public speaking courses a year and there seems to be a secret about public speaking that shouldn't be a secret. It is understanding blank faces. As a speaker if we are not careful we carry on using normal conversational skills when we are speaking to a group.
    When you have a standard conversation – you normally get nods, smiles, agreements back from the listener however when we speak to a group ALL that changes. All you see is blank faces.
    So we start speaking to blank faces and they don't usually smile (at least not very often) or nod their heads (some people will but again not a lot) so we are left struggling with critical thoughts about our performance. But blank faces are normal in audience – they are just listening faces.
    So try not to read people's faces when you speak publicly because your brain will interpret any sign as negative.
    Of course there is more to getting your head around public speaking but when I teach public speaking this is the point that helps a lot of people.

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