As a general rule of life, learned skills require practice to refine, develop, and perfect. Any dedicated athlete will confirm this fact. The average person off the street cannot pick up a textbook on the fundamentals of basketball, study it during a caffeine-fueled all-nighter, and then show up for tryouts with an NBA team, expecting a starting spot on the team. The same holds true for foreign languages, hobbies, crafts, and trades. It takes time, effort, and a vigorous commitment to the process of trial and error for a person to develop any skill.
Communication in general, but especially public speaking, essentially consists of a set of learned skills that speakers must develop through regular, dedicated practice. Some people have a seemingly natural talent for public speaking, while others fall on the opposite end of the spectrum and become crippled by the mere thought of standing up in front of an audience. This chapter aims to help the latter become more confident public speakers.