More than half the population fears public speaking or not knowing how to say something properly, college researchers have learnt.
For 54 per cent of people, the prospect of having to give a wedding speech or make a presentation at work is something to be avoided if possible, a national survey conducted by the Association of Colleges has discovered.
People in Scotland, Wales and the West Midlands are most likely to feel nervous, with six out of ten saying they feel unhappy if asked to speak in public.
Londoners are relatively confident, with three out of ten worrying about speaking in public.
The research found that out of 2,000 people surveyed around the country, about half wished they could express themselves better.
The findings come as the BBC prepares to launch a new TV series giving tips on how to survive tricky situations in the workplace and to improve communication skills.
The Tool Kit to Communicating series begins screening on BBC2 at 5am on February 11 and runs for four weeks.