Dealing with Anxiety about Public Speaking
When it comes to dealing with anxiety about Public Speaking, there are plenty of tips to go by. Here are a few to start with:
1) Realize that most people have this anxiety about public speaking, and therefore are ready to sympathize with you. Unless they've paid bags of money to watch you speak, they'll understand and ignore any sign of nerves. So that alone should be a reason to relax. They're on your side.
2) Keep in mind that there is NOTHING better than practice to put your nerves at ease. The more familiar you are with your speaking materials, the surer you'll be about not only remembering it, but remembering how best to present it as well.
3) Friends and family can be a great part of the practice experience. If they're willing to sit and listen while you speak, you'll be able to get some terrific, objective feedback. Make sure to pick people who are supportive of you, but who aren't afraid to give constructive criticism.
And remember, their input is only that: input. You always make the final call on what you want to say and how you want to say it. But their feedback lets you consciously decide about those speaking decisions.
4) You were probably chosen to speak for a reason. You must have SOME form of expertise on what you're talking about. If you're the best man for a wedding, then you know from first-hand experience plenty of stories to give your speech some punch.
If you're just spitting out some corporate numbers, you must work with those numbers daily. You don't have any problem answering questions in the office. It's no different when you're speaking to many people -- it's just like you're answering all their questions at the same time.
5) Nervous about how you look or how you sound to an audience? Have you ever heard Napoleon Hill? He was a famous author and speaker, but if you've ever heard him on audio, he didn't exactly have a commanding voice. Look your best, practice enough to sound your best, go in there with confidence, and no one's going to be thinking about those matters.
I've said it often, and I'll say it again, if you're being paid to speak, then pay for a speaking coach or at least make sure you're a member of Toastmasters so that you're giving your audience its money's worth. Otherwise, know that the audience is largely if not entirely on your side, and doing your best will go an awfully long way with them.