One of the most common biggest fears is the fear of public speaking. This fear is even more common than fear of death, flying, or spiders. Now, I’ll admit to irrational fears–I’m afraid of spiders–but it seems strange to me to fear public speaking more than death. Then again, I like public speaking; always have. I’ve also liked being on stage, whether singing, dancing, or acting. But that’s just me. Many people are afraid they’ll forget what they have to say, stutter, or that their voices will shake.
And if we’re being honest here, even I got scared when I started law school and regularly had to stand before (real and mock) judges who fired off curveball questions I didn’t know the answers to. I learned to keep my hands behind the podium so no one could see them shaking. What helped was practice as well as presentation skills seminars. These seminars will teach you coping techniques to help you deal with nerves, brain freeze, and other common problems when giving presentations. When you attend presentation skills seminars, your coach should allow for some practice to desensitize you from getting nervous speaking in front of an audience.
When you attend leadership training, you will learn skills that help you establish and grow your natural leadership talents. Not everyone is a natural-born leader; some are, but most of us need a little help. And almost all of us will take on a leadership position at some point, even if it’s only temporary. Leadership training is a great way to make sure you reach all members of your group, assign tasks, praise and criticism fairly, and delegate resources and projects so that the work is done well and on time.
Becoming an effective leader starts with a certain kind of personality; either you’re born with one or you can develop one with lots of practice and time. Becoming a leader is very important for your professional growth, because even if you don’t retain a leadership position for your entire career, chances are you’ll need to take the lead on some projects at least some of the time.