Finding a Voice: Overcoming the Fear of Public Speaking

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There's no denying that public speaking and presenting is becoming a huge part of college curriculums across the country, regardless of major or career focus. Between making sure your powerpoint is saved to the right drive, enough hand-outs are printed for the class and your talking points remain within the time constraints, presentation days can prove to be just as stressful as an exams. 

But what about those of us dealing with a different kind of stress? The stress that accompanies a deep seated fear of speaking in front of others no matter how many times you've practiced, or the nagging torment that you may say something incorrect and come off as silly or unprepared to the group? 

Paul Galichia and Brian Weidling recognized these concerns. They acknowledged a group of people that are all too often forgotten and those who have so many valuable things to say but no confidence to say it. And that's when SPEAK was born.

The documentary which focuses around the idea that your life tells a story, and there's someone out there who needs to hear it, and involves people from all walks of life, all of whom certainly have a journey worth sharing. We were lucky enough to sit down with the co-directors to get their input on what makes SPEAK so special and how obtaining public speaking skills can not only change your group project grades, but also your entire life. 

First of all, the creative spirits behind this movie certainly recognize the natural inclination to be afraid of speaking in front of others . "There’s something very isolating about speaking in front of a group of people. There’s a lot of pressure and you feel scared to be embarrassed," Galichia explains. 

This led the men to discuss the true purpose of the movie: to not simply inform the masses about the fact that most of us fear public humiliation, but to provide inspiration to those who have been timid about speaking out.

 "It’s just as much a story about public speaking and overcoming fears as it is about mortality and people wanting to tell their story. Every voice really does matter," said Weidling. 

The documentary begins and ends with the Toastmasters World Championships of Public Speaking, and depicts the difficult obstacles that many face in finding their voice "We both found [the Championship] really fascinating and wanted to give it a context. The fear of public speaking is a really universal topic and something a lot of people definitely struggle with, so we wanted to use that as a platform," Weidling added.

And their advice for college students? Speak. Plan a meeting with your professor instead of shooting them an e-mail, make a visit to your friends house to talk instead of sending novel-length texts. After all, the only way to get better at communicating, is to do it. 


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