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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Thrown to the Lions

What do you fear most about speaking before a group? (Serendipity Bible Fourth 
Edition, page 1562).

Let us think of the ways that one can have fear when speaking before a group:

  • Fear that one will become tongue-tied and forgetful of what one wants to say
  • Fear that one will show nervousness and unease (for example shaking or perspiring)
  • Fear that one will be misunderstood
  • Fear of categorical prejudice in the group – racial, age, gender, religion, class, etc.
  • Fear that one will reveal serious ignorance upon a subject or significant displays of misinformation
  • Fear arising when one does not have sufficient understanding of the group and its characteristics
  • Fear of some greater perhaps external threat impinging upon the entire situation (perhaps a smell of something burning in the building)
  • Fear of disruptive technical difficulties
  • Fear that one is physically or mentally not up to the occasion
  • Fear that the group simply wishes from the outset that you were not there and would just shut up and go away--a cold concertedly tenacious hostility.

Of all the possible fears listed, the fear I dread the most is the last  – a cold concerted and uniform audience hostility. This trumps all other fears because it with starkest simplicity cuts off communication from the speaker or any chance whatever to "win over" or even minimally relate to the audience. The only communication in play is abject audience hostility and its accompanying uncompromising ill-will.

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