Billionaire investor and philanthropist Warren Buffett, a successful man by any measure, struggled with public speaking as a young man. “I would throw up,” he said in the biography The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life, by Alice Schroeder. "In fact, I arranged my life so that I never had to get up in front of anybody.”
If you’re among the millions of people who also struggle with public speaking, you know how uncomfortable — even terrifying — it can be to have a sea of faces staring at you expectantly. In the grip of anxiety, you might trip over words, lose your place in a presentation, and maybe even spiral into panic. The fear of public speaking, or glossophobia, can be paralyzing, and it can also limit your career growth in jobs that require presentations to clients or executives.
Buffett, who has said that he believes building communication skills is the fastest way professionals can boost their career prospects, overcame his fear by taking a Dale Carnegie public-speaking course (twice). Today, there’s a new option that can make becoming a better, more confident speaker a lot less scary by using VR technology. For educators, corporate professionals, politicians — even a best man dreading a wedding-night toast — practicing in front of a virtual audience can take the terror out of the real thing.