by Patricia Ryan Madson

As a Drama teacher I spend my time assisting those who want to present themselves to others effectively. The activity may be public speaking, acting in a play, giving an assignment to a coworker or making a toast at a family gathering: all require the speaker to be the center of attention.
Few of us actually enjoy that spotlight. Many dread that moment.
There's no doubt that speaking in front of others can be a frightening activity. The act of presentation is universally one fraught with emotions. Students, businessmen and politicians all sign up for classes that promise to help build confidence as a speaker, help to eliminate anxiety or stress. There is a fundamental flaw in the logic that produces these classes and the legions of seekers that hope to eliminate the stress of speaking/presenting by learning some "tips" on confidence building, on controlling those nonsupportive emotions.

The logic suggests that "having confidence" is...

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