Do you get nervous before speaking? Mark Twain believed all honest speakers answer "yes." Even professional speakers can still get the jitters-especially when in unfamiliar territory.
"It's not really the fear of public speaking, it's the fear of public embarrassment,"
Darren Lacroix, World Champion Public Speaker
The basics of public speaking, as learned at Toastmasters and mastered through practice, always apply.
Here's a some tips to avoid embarrassment and allow to perform at your best:
Think about the audience, not about yourself. Being audience-focused allows you to take your mind off yourself and the noise in your head.
Before you give a speech, visualise the audience - how old they are, how many will be there, what the place will look like - and visualise yourself performing well.
Make sure your material is fresh and relevant. You can say an old message but in new and different way.
Bet clear on the message - what is it you want them to say, do, think or know? If you can't explain your message in ten words or fewer, then you won't be clear when delivering it.
Golden rule theory
Everyone wants you to succeed. You don't need to be perfect and everyone will forgive the odd mistake. If you make one, forget it, move on, keep smiling.
Be you! People can sense when you're not being authentic. It's ok to be you.
Stand straight, look people in the eye, and smile. This is what confident people do and it will make your look and feel confident also.
Let the audience digest what you are saying - don't be afraid to pause. Making your sentences shorter and take a stop at a full stop allows you to slow down and speak at a normal pace.
If you lose your way, smile, breathe, relax and think. There's no hurry and most of the time the audience won't notice. The audience doesn't know your presentation, they don't know what you were planning to say. If you know your message, you can ad-lib. If you have notes, nows the time to calmly check where you are up to. The best speakers and the best actors, forget their lines sometime.
The best practice for speaking is speaking. If you feel you want to learn more about public speaking, find-a-club near you and come meet like-minded people practising in friendly and supportive environment.