The key to beating your fear of public speaking can be summarized in 4 steps: knowing what to say, knowing how you want people to react, familiarizing yourself with where you will speak and knowing your audience
Up until now, everything has been fine. You have made it to the stage in one piece. You stand in front of the lectern. You look out into the sea of expectant faces. This is your audience. You start to shake and shiver. Your heart skips a couple of beats. Your legs are threatening to disown you with immediate effect. You feel a cool bead of sweat form at the back of your neck. You are scared. You ask yourself, "Why am I here at all? Do I really want to speak to these people?" You feel like doing only one thing. Running away fast.
Congratulations! You have just experienced stage fright. And the good thing is that you did not die. You lived to tell the story. Will it comfort you to know that all speakers have at some point in time had a problem with stage fright? Some have even been known to pass out in anticipation of facing a room full of strangers and addressing them. So you are not alone. Here is how you can deal with stage fright.
Know the Topic
It will make you confident and confidence drives away fear which is nothing but stage fright by another name. This means you should only speak about subjects you know a great deal about.
Know the End
Visualize the result you want to achieve. Speaking begins in the mind and long before you open your mouth. Think positively. It is rare for people to come and hear you speak hoping you will make a fool of yourself. Generally, audiences want you to do well. So see yourself speaking effortlessly and ending your talk with a huge round of applause from an appreciative audience.
Know the Venue
Arrive early and practice walking onto the stage. Test the microphone to hear how your voice sounds coming out of the speakers. The next time you get on stage to speak, there will be no surprises because it will be familiar territory.
Know the People
This includes the audience and guests. You can achieve this by arriving early and mixing with your audience, introducing yourself and getting to know them before you speak. When you mount the stage, you will have a few familiar faces you can look at during your speech. Remember, most people come to an event expecting the speaker to do well. Make their expectations come true!