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Public speaking: ‘daunting but essential’

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Female speakerAccording to research by The Aziz Corporation, 67 per cent of company directors find public speaking their most daunting business activity.

45 per cent find addressing a large conference difficult, compared to 26 per cent who are bothered by reviewing financial data and 15 per cent preparing business plans. However, despite this widespread fear of public speaking, 98 per cent of directors believe that good communication and presentation skills are vital to a successful business career. This represents a 10 per cent increase on last year's results and a 30 per cent increase on the previous year's results. Good presentation skills were followed by 'good business judgement' in second place and 'hard work' in third place, as important factors for a successful business career.

The survey identified a number of public speaking activities that create anxiety. 68 per cent of directors are worried when giving media interviews, 65 per cent when presenting to the City and 53 per cent when addressing a large conference. These findings come despite the fact that making presentations is a task that directors are required to carry out on a regular basis, with 71 per cent presenting to their fellow directors, 90 per cent to their employees, 58 per cent to conferences and 48 per cent to clients.

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