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    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | October 15th, 2017


    A few months ago, I decided to participate in the Toastmaster’s humorous speech contest. After winning at the Club level, I competed at the Area level and won. Unfortunately, last weekend, I lost at the Division level. I was disappointed, but I have to admit the woman who won was really funny.

    When I joined Toastmasters International this past January, I had no idea that they had contests. I joined because I knew I had some degree of glossophobia which is the fear of public speaking. I wanted to feel comfortable talking in front of large crowds. Talking one to one with my patients or talking with a group of friends is easy, but in front of large crowds, that is a different story. The interesting thing is that I am not alone. The biggest fear Americans have is the fear of public speaking.

    When I listen to people like Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton and Supreme Justice Sotomayor, I wonder how they do it. I used to think that people were born with natural talents and although some find it easy, the majority has to work on it and practice. It is so important to be a good communicator.

    Although there are many approaches to combating glossophobia, one suggestion is to join Toastmasters International. Toastmasters International is a worldwide nonprofit educational organization that empowers individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people from diverse backgrounds become confident speakers, communicators and leaders.

    I would encourage you to find a club near you (click here) and visit as a guest to see what happens.  As a woman, it is so important for us to find our voice and use it.



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