Believe it or not, your chances of dying of stage fright are extremely slim. You might feel as if you are dying on the stage, but chances are good your audience won’t even notice your wobbly knees and sweating armpits. Even the best speakers were once terrified novices, feeling the same symptoms as you when facing an audience. Fear no more! Toastmasters is the best place to learn, to build your confidence, and to push yourself outside your comfort zone. It’s a safe place where there is no penalty for failure!
Toastmasters International has a related article entitled “The Habit of Courage”:
Most people come to Toastmasters to overcome their fear of public speaking. So at Toastmasters meetings, what you’ll see – among other things – are demonstrations of courage. Standing in front of a group of attentive listeners makes most people feel vulnerable. It also adds a burden of responsibility, expectation and opportunity. This can be overwhelming and downright scary.
It takes practice to get good at almost anything, and public speaking is no different. In fact, public speaking is one of the top fears in the world! Even expert public speakers get butterflies before they take the stage – in fact, if you don’t get butterflies then you may be feeling overconfident, which can make it even worse if you make a mistake: now your confidence is shaken and mistakes soon pile up like an avalanche.
The important thing to remember is that most of the time, the audience will never know you forgot a line or rearranged a sentence, unless you point it out to them. So don’t point it out!