Most of the time people come to me because they have an interview or a presentation coming up. That's great - I really love to help them. I've had a letter from a previous participant thanking me for helping her find the courage to speak at her mum's funeral. It means a great deal to me - to help people find their voice even at a difficult time.
People close to us die. When they do so can we stand by our beloved's coffin and say goodbye or do we let that occasion pass?
Can we take our place in the world even when it might be the hardest day of our lives? When I spoke at my father's funeral I felt a deep honour in representing the family, a deep sense of awe talking about a man's life and what that meant to me and a deep sense of purpose that his death had to be marked well. I prepared for the day by spending time the day before with my father in an open coffin thanking him for giving me life.
But funerals are not the only reason I do my job.
Recently I had a mum who had two children of 5 and 7 who was too scared to bring in the cake at birthday parties. Too scared to be the centre of attention. Never mind public speaking. So those lads haven't had birthday parties yet. I'm hoping there will be some extra birthday parties next year.
A man, in one of my groups last year, hadn't left his job for 10 years because he was scared of the leaving speech. His girlfriend left him because he didn't want to progress in life. He didn't want to get married either.
There are many, many tales of people not celebrating their love, their lives, their special ones because of the fear of public speaking. We need to find the courage to look to life beyond the fear.
Life is too short