The two undergraduates were acing their presentation. Good cadence. Sharp slides. Sunny dispositions. But it was a tough crowd.Hey, whatever works. Especially when the problem is an irrational fear, the solution may well be equally irrational.
As the first slides flashed by, one audience member got up and paced the room. The other, breathing with conspicuous heaviness, rested her head sleepily on the ground. The students inflected their voices and gestured with gusto to regain their attention.
So it goes when your audience is canine — specifically Teddy, a Jack Russell terrier, and Ellie, a Bernese mountain dog. The session was part of a pilot program pairing anxiety-prone business school students at American University with amiable, if unpredictable, dogs.
According to promotional material for the program: “Addressing a friendly and nonjudgmental canine can lower blood pressure, decrease stress and elevate mood — perfect for practicing your speech or team presentation.”
Monday, December 19, 2016
To Overcome Anxiety about Public Speaking, Talk to a Dog
Public speaking regularly shows up on lists of the things Americans fear the most, ahead of sharks and muggers. To overcome this anxiety, one business professor suggests that shy students practice speaking to dogs: