We've all been there: standing up at the podium, fidgeting our hands, nervously eyeing our expressionless audience.
That's public speaking in short.
Or at least, that’s the stereotype we’ve given it: a traumatizing endurance test. An exam to test our ability to talk in front of strangers, classmates, and friends.
And with its notoriety for striking fear into the hearts of many, public speaking has become an impossible ordeal for countless youth. In fact, some global surveys show that fear of public speaking (otherwise known as glossophobia) has topped the list of a worldwide top ten fears. So this means that people would prefer death to talking in front of other people!
Seeking to remediate this glaring problem, my friends from Amador Valley High School and I initiated RSVPSpeech, a campaign dedicated to fighting glossophobia. Our primary audience consists of elementary and middle school aged children. By starting with our youngest students, we want to give them a head start in practicing their speaking skills.
This summer, we provide free lessons at the Pleasanton Public Library, which will be offered weekly until the end of summer 2012 (flyers can be found at the main entrance). Through our presentations, interactive discussions, gripping games, and one-on-one lectures, we aim to demystify the process of speech deliverance, cracking one code at a time. During our peer-to-peer teaching sessions, students will find themselves in various scenarios in which they must think on their feet. Additional help will also be available following our two-hour long classes.
We hope that, through our efforts, the youngest generation of our community will one day find themselves confident and resourceful. One day, they will not be scared to scale the stairs to a stage or be at a loss of words in front of a live audience. Instead, they will embrace the world and proudly let their voices be heard.