Why do people fear speaking in public? I know before I had experience and training I was quite fearful. However my mother encouraged me at a young age to speak in public and i lost much of my fear then. Speaking up in a safe place really helps.
I do not mean that I am not nervous before I get up before a crowd to perform. Maybe people mistake nervousness for fear. I think they are quite different but can be confused. I have heard a statistic that people in general fear public speaking as much as they fear death. I wonder if that is still true.
I think doing volunteer work is a great way to get experience in leadership and speaking in groups. Generally your contribution is always welcome and sorely needed. That makes it a very safe place and your contribution is appreciated.
However knowing how well you did in a presentation is difficult. I was often left with a question in my mind about how well my message was received. In training session you can get more feedback. I also would sometimes get a few people together to listen to my presentation for the expressed purpose of getting feedback and suggestions for improvement.
In the consulting business, effectice presentation skills are crucial. You must be freindly, confident, and competent. Content is also important but the quality can be lost if the delivery is poor.