When polled about top fears public speaking is usually up there with spiders, snakes and dogs. Why is standing up in front of a few people and saying a few words so scary? When our ancestors were around, lots of people staring at you probably meant they were about to kill you. So when we stand up in front of that that crowd and there are 50 sets of eyes on you, the same primal instincts kick in. No wonder it's so scary. So how can we overcome nerves when speaking? Preparation is obviously vital. Even if you are a very confident public speaker; having done no preparation for that big speech to your boss is going to make you a little bit nervous. Assuming you have done your preparation there are more things you can do to ensure that you don't mess up your big moment.
The first thing to realise is the only thing in between you and a successful presentation is yourself - and it has nothing to do with your abilities and everything to do with your mindset.
Before your presentation it is important that you feel confident. How do you feel confident if you're not actually confident? Act confident! Your emotions impact your body language and it also works the other way round. So if you want to feel confident on the inside you need to act confident on the outside. You can do this by adopting what they call a power pose - stand tall, spread yourself wide walk with your arms swinging freely - these are the body language signals of a confident person and when you do this you will increase the amount of testosterone in your body and make yourself feel more confident from the inside. You are basically faking it till you make it.
Don't think about your speech or presentation before you go on. You will stress yourself out trying to remember what you are going to say on slide 12. Only think about the first words that you are going to say when you go into the room, from there everything else should follow naturally.
Don't think about the stakes. The preparation time is the time for you to think about stakes and what the presentation means. Before you go in thinking about the stakes will only cause you stress.
Once in the presentation focus on finding a few friendly faces in the crowd people who are smiling nodding or giving you other encouraging gestures. Look at them when you feel nervous.
Don't jump to conclusions. You see your boss in the crowd looking at unhappy or that client looking displeased with and you assume it is related to your presentation. Remember people have 1 million other things going on in their lives and in their head at any one time. They could be thinking about any one of these things at the moment you glance at them and spot that negative look on their face. So don't jump to conclusions when you don't know the facts about what somebody is thinking. Assume only positive things about your presentation and people's reaction to it - at least while you're making it anyway. Once you have finished you can analyse and understand peoples responses.