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Facing your fears


Most people are more afraid of public speaking than they are of death. But you also need to share your ideas and know-how with the world.

We've all heard that most people are more afraid of public speaking than they are of death. And yes, this conclusion may be stretching the interpretation of the data just a little to make a powerful statement. But still, the oft-quoted 1973 survey showed that 41 percent of respondents' greatest fear is speaking in front of a group. (Other fears that made the list included financial problems, deep water, illness, death, loneliness, and dogs. There's some irony here, maybe, if you look for it.)

Marnette Denell Falley

Maybe you can admit that you'd choose to make a speech rather than die. That doesn't mean you wouldn't go to some lengths to avoid a stint at the podium. And I wouldn't be surprised if many of you were not particularly seeking out opportunities to stand in front of a crowd. Yet it's powerful to share your ideas and your know-how.

We suggest with some regularity that you get out and do just this. Volunteer for career day at schools or host client education meetings, for example. But, let me tell you, I understand that it's not easy. It makes me nervous to stand up in front of a group. It makes me nervous to talk in front of a video camera. And these types of experiences make me feel drained of energy.

I am currently remembering the investment that public speaking takes with particular intensity. I (somewhat unexpectedly) led a full day of sessions at CVC Central. I spent the day facilitating exercises and discussion with a phenomenal group of practice managers. They were terrific about sharing their goals and strategies and worries and solutions—which made for an interesting day with stimulating discussion. All of which was very rewarding.

And yet. At the end of the day, I was so tired I really thought I might keel right over dead.

Of course, this experience gives me renewed respect for our talented speakers at the three CVC conferences. They overcome the trials of travel. They surmount the task of preparing their sessions. They step to the front of the room with confidence and share their expertise. Then they field every question imaginable from their audiences. (Way to keep them on their toes and maximize your investment, all of you who attended.) And in some terrible cases they do all this while they're weathering illness or navigating difficult personal issues.

If you missed CVC Central, you have another opportunity to tap national speakers' stores of knowledge in San Diego this month. Or watch for our 2008 CVC East program, April 18 to 21 in Baltimore.

And give thought to your opportunities to share. Your clients and community see you as a respected source for pet health information. And I'm fairly certain you'll survive the experience of delivering it. I did.

Marnette Denell Falley, Editor


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