As a personal development tool, public speaking can't be beat. If you don't learn a few things about yourself from the process of building and delivering a presentation, you may be self-awareness-challenged.
A theory of mine about why people are so reluctant to give presentations is that it's not all about the fear of being judged by others, but also about what we'll find when we judge ourselves.
Who likes to look at our own flaws? Not me. And not most people. But here's what you'll see when you start working on your presentation.
Time management problems? They will come to the forefront.
Organization issues? Your audience will notice.
Preparation not your strong suit? You'll be scrambling.
Nitpicker? You'll drive yourself crazy. (This is me, by the way.)
Lack patience? Your audience will suffer.
Pessimist? Murphy's Law is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Afraid to take a risk? Your presentations will be safe and boring.
Pretentious/Vain/Arrogant? The audience will be glad to escape.
It could go like this...
Time management problems? You'll learn how to edit a presentation so it fits into the time you have.
Organization issues? You'll become better at structuring your flow so the audience gets it.
Preparation not your strong suit? You'll discover that the more you prepare, the less nervous you are.
Nitpicker? You'll learn to let go. (Ahhh, it feels so good.)
Lack patience? You'll begin to appreciate where the audience is coming from.
Pessimist? You'll find that things don't always go wrong, but when they do, you're ready.
Afraid to take a risk? You'll start to enjoy trying new things when you see the positive audience response.
Pretentious/Vain/Arrogant? I'd like to think that you'll see how connecting with an audience on a human, authentic level gives immense satisfaction and is a win-win situation for both of you. But you might never learn this if you cling to the idea that a presentation is all about you and how brilliant and successful you appear to the audience.
Oh well. Nobody's perfect.
What have you learned about yourself from public speaking?