Overcome Your Fear Of Public Speaking With ‘Audience Dogs’

By Carmarlena Murdaca

Overcome Your Fear Of Public Speaking With ‘Audience Dogs’
Studies have shown that the presence of dogs can decrease anxiety and stress, so it makes sense that dogs help ease your pain whilst public speaking. In fact, pet pooches are so effective that the American University in Washington offers a free class that students can take. What do they study? The art of public speaking.

Students in this class give presentations, practicing their public speaking skills, but instead of a human audience, they give their speeches to a dog audience. The program itself pairs local dogs with students wanting to practice their presentation skills, with each rehearsal lasting 30 minutes.

And whilst the canine audience’s comforting presence helps nervous students, dogs also exhibit behaviour similar to real audience members, and are easily distracted, which is a great tool for those trying to hone in their public speaking skills (trying to keep their audience engaged).

“Being with the audience dog makes you happy and relaxed and you do a better job,” Caron Martinez, director of the Kogod Centre for Business Communications, told CBS Evening News. “They’re not trained dogs. We’re looking for dogs who are very secure, who are loving and who will maintain eye contact.”

More than man’s best friend, dogs have long served as man’s best therapists, often enlisted to help people overcome speech and emotional disorders. Furry fondles and slobbery smooches, it turns out, are also great rewards for nailing a presentation.

“We know that practice is key in developing verbal fluency and ease,” KCBC Director Caron Martinez said in a statement. “And if we can motivate students to practice by having dogs as an audience, we can also help our students become confident and talented business communicators.”



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