Everyone gets nervous when they need to speak, except for a few rare birds, who wonder what all the fuss is about. So, if you feel scared when you think of speaking, you are normal.
There are some things you can do to lessen the nerves.
The first one is be well rehearsed.
Most people practice three times and think they are prepared. No! You need to practise at least 13 times, AS IF.
What does that mean? It means see yourself in front of the people you are speaking to. If you visualise the audience as you practise, it will make you nervous, just like when you are up there. And as you do it thirteen times, the nerves will decrease. By the time you actually do it, you have been there 13 times and it’s not so bad.
Next, tell that voice in your head to go away. If it’s saying all sorts of negative things, like, “They are all looking at me.” You should be glad. Where else do you want them to look while you speak? At their phones? No, of course not.
Next, do no say, “I’m not scared.” It does the opposite. The sub conscious does not recognise negatives like “not” so saying these words will actually make you more nervous.
Do power poses in the bathroom when you go for that pee. It does help to hold a powerful pose and say something like, “I’m powerful.”
Do not rush to start. Come to the front. Smile. Look at the audience, take a breath and begin loudly. As the words come you should relax somewhat and focus on what you are saying, not them looking at you.
Keep your head up and project your voice to the end of the room. Slow your pace to 120 words a minute and pause often. The pauses give you a chance to breathe and then you have more oxygen and fewer nerves.
Start looking at a friend or a nodding head. Do not assume a person not looking at you is bored. They may be an auditory listener and be taking in your voice more than your body.
Make sure your body language works for you by standing tall, using appropriate hand gestures and keeping your body relaxed.
Finally, do not spoil the end by rushing off before you have finished. Make that conclusion signalled, clear and strong.
Finish with a bang. Smile again and walk off tall.
Follow all these tips and you will sound and look confident, even if the voice in your head is still screaming.