Leslie Comes out from the Dark about Her Fears; Many Dread Public Speaking as Much as Death

Article excerpt

Byline: Amy Formosa amy.formosa@capnews.com.au

WHAT was once one of her worst fears has become a night job for Rockhampton's Leslie Walker.

She once feared the thought of standing in front of an audience, but now public speaking is a breeze for Leslie, who is the president of Rockhampton public speaking group Boomerang Club Toastmasters.

But Leslie, who works at CQUniversity during the day, isn't alone in freezing at the thought of public speaking.

A recent survey revealed the thought of public speaking was feared almost as much as death.

The Reasontospeak.com research, which was conducted online among more than 1200 adults, showed that 23% of Australians fear public speaking more than death, compared to 27% who rank death as their number one fear.

The other fears were spiders 18%, heights 17%, and closed or confined spaces 10%.

Leslie, who admits to being quite shy, used to dread the thought of public speaking and tried to avoid it.

Whether reading aloud at school, or making a toast at a social outing, Leslie feared public speaking until a year ago when she decided to join a local public speaking group, of which she is now president. …