Speaking up - no fear, no more
Most people would rather be in the coffin than deliver the eulogy, such is the fear of public speaking, according to POWERtalk International, which celebrated its 75th anniversary this week.
The toastmistress organisation was founded in 1938 in the United States to help boost women's speaking skills.
By the late 1980s its exclusivity was considered politically incorrect so it incorporated men and rebranded itself as ITC (International Training and Communication). Its final name change was in 2007.
Timaru branch Kotuku marked the original anniversary with a special meeting on Thursday night with New Zealand regional president Linda Bergman, who spoke of a five-year plan to get the club's accreditation programme recognised as a national standard.
Kotuku delivers public speaking seminars to high school students and the wider community.
Before joining POWERtalk 21 years ago, Mrs Bergman said she was terrified of public speaking.
"I used to keep quiet at meetings then go home and complain to my husband that I wished I had said something."
Through practice and the coaching of experienced club members, Mrs Bergman has gained enough confidence to deliver three eulogies so far.
"I'm very proud of myself."
- © Fairfax NZ News