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Several research studies have identified oral communication as a skill employers desire of their workforce, and so, accounting and business education programmes place considerable emphasis on the development of communication competencies among students. However, not all students appear to benefit as desired from communication skills development. Prior research indicates this may arise from a fear of communicating, commonly known as oral communication apprehension, a factor which inhibits his/her capability to develop effective communication skills.

Many prior studies have measured oral communication apprehension of students in different disciplines, and there has been some qualitative exploration of the phenomenon. This paper reports on a study conducted in the School of Accounting and Finance, DIT. Levels of apprehension were measured for 291 students. A small group of students who indicated that they found presenting extremely difficult were identified and two approaches to assisting them were adopted – individual tutoring over a number of months, and group work on a specially designed communications module. The views and fears of students are reported and demonstrate the pain that many suffer when called on to present.