I think this fear is often context related. I was a joke writer terrified by public speaking and ended up doing standup comedy. Three years later, as a tech writer, I had to speak to my co-workers -- editors, writers, engineers -- and the terror returned.! How nutty. I joined Toastmasters, a non-profit organization with 10,000 clubs in the US, and finally put all the speaking-willies to rest. Now? I love public speaking when I have something useful to say. Meigs G.