Public speaking fear is very common. In fact, it’s so common that it often comes at the top of the list when Americans are asked about their biggest fears. So what can you do to cope?
Some of the biggest sources of nervousness come from the preparation phase.
One of the worst things that you can do to prepare for a presentation is to write out the speech word for word. Never, ever do this. If you have very thorough notes, the energy of the presentation goes right into the notes, not the audience. Then the presenter is all-too-aware that they are not making a connection with his/her audience, which only adds to nervousness. Try to keep notes to a minimum. Less is more! It allows the presenter to be more spontaneous, which is what the audience really wants to see.
Another tip is to never memorize a talk word-for-word. When a presenter is trying to deliver a memorized talk, he/she will get that glazed-over look, and not really connect with the audience. Then, if the presenter says something different than what was memorized, which is bound to happen, it will feel “wrong” to the presenter. It’s not wrong, just different. It’s better to commit the main points of a talk to memory, and let your main points come out naturally. It’s also important to realize that the same presentation will never be delivered exactly the same way. Trust yourself to be in the moment. You’ll have a much better connection with your audience, which will put you at ease.