You’ll get better at this in time, but for now, here are some short term fixes.
There’s a lot of info available on how to overcome stage fright. Most of it’s great, and you can grow, over time, into a terrific speaker by using the advice.
In the past, I’ve written on how just getting up there and doing it is the best way to get used to public speaking. The more speeches you give, the less speech anxiety you’ll feel.
However, all of this does you little good for the speech you have to give tomorrow. Though you know you’ll improve, you need to figure out how to get through the next one.
Hiding your stage fright isn’t cheating. There’s nothing wrong with masking the symptoms.
You’ll learn, you’ll grow, and in time you’ll be a great speaker. For now, here are some tips to get through tomorrow’s presentation.
1. Never, ever apologize for your anxiety
Chances are, the audience won’t even notice. There’s nothing gained in drawing attention to it.
2. Keep your hands empty
Simple physics will make anything you pickup or carry at arm’s length exaggerate your trembling. Keep the papers on the lectern, don’t drink anything, and avoid laser pointers.
3. If you need the lectern, use it
Over time, you can work at moving about. For now, feel free to hide behind the shield if you need it.
4. Write the speech out verbatim
I know, everything you read says to put a few key words on note cards. You can work on this; for now, feel free to use a script.
5. Make eye contact with friends
Hopefully you have a few friends in the audience. Tell them to give you a smile or thumbs-up.
6. Focus on foreheads
Yes, eye contact is important. However, an easy cheat as you’re learning is to look above the eyes. They won’t know the difference.
7. If you sweat
The audience doesn’t see that trickle going down your back. Let it go.
8. Carry a good luck charm
I’ve always carried a ‘worry stone’ that I can rub in my pocket. However, try not to make this too pronounced for obvious reasons.
9. Keep your pockets empty
Beyond your good luck charm, remove all change and keys or anything else that could turn into a tambourine.
10. Keep moving
If you have the room, and are willing to get out from behind the lectern, moving around will burn off nervous energy. Do this with purpose, however; don’t prowl back and forth like a caged tiger.
Again, it’s not cheating. The above tricks are just to ensure you get through tomorrow’s speech and move on to the next one. Keep at it, and you’ll be amazed how quickly you’ll improve. Heck, you may even start to enjoy it!