Hate Public Speaking? Practice On Your Dog

Hate Public Speaking? Practice On Your Dog

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Effective public speaking is an incredibly useful and powerful skill, both in professional and personal settings. Yet the average person strongly dislikes speaking before an audience and would rather be anywhere else. Palms sweat, your heart races... and a sense of dread and nervousness kicks in.

And the worst part? The only way to get better at presenting for a large crowd was presenting before a large crowd - that is, until recently. American University discovered a less stressful and effective means of improving public speaking skills: practicing before a canine audience.

“Practicing with a dog serves a lot of functions: it decreases anxiety, forces you to hear yourself out loud, and allows you to spend time presenting in front of a non-judgmental living creature,” states Bonnie Auslander, founder of American University Kogod School of Business' Audience Dog Program.

Students in the Audience Dog Program practice presenting in front of neighborhood pups who are selected for their “calm and attentive” personalities. If the dog’s attention wanes, a student may speak more loudly and clearly to regain his focus.

In an article published in the New York Times, Auslander added, “a dog is no more distracted than your typical college student. You might even get a lick.”

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