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Personal Communication Profile Public speaking is an activity that most Americans engage in at one time or another Communicators speak on the job at school and at social gatherings Some of these speakers find themselves in front of audiences and find it a frightening experience It has been estimated that up to 20 percent of Americans suffer from sever speech anxiety In fact in surveys of the most significant fears of Americans public speaking most often ranks in the top ten along with the fear of heights water closed spaces death spiders and the dark I believe I participated in most of those surveys I am quite comfortable letting George do it let the other person do the up-front speaking I can easily sit back and hope my feelings are conveyed in the speech someone else is giving Hopefully this course will help reduce the fear and anxiety I feel when I address a congregation I have taken several speech classes and given numerous presentations but I find I still must force myself to stand in the front and then I must challenge myself to relax The ability to speak well in the public arena is important in a democratic society It is through the public presentation of ideas that citizens come to understand the issues important to the nation It is also through speeches and debates that those citizens forge new ideas All of us can readily identify famous speeches like the Inaugural Address that contained the now famous statement Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country John Fitzgerald Kennedy 1960 Throughout the thousands of political speeches given during our countrys history there might not be a better anthem for political participation on an individual level After letting JFKs famous phrase sink in it is obvious that he wanted the American people to take charge of their personal political and social futures He
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