In public speaking, as in many other things, fear comes from lack of confidence, and lack of confidence comes from lack of practice.
After you’ve done your homework and are about to speak, remind yourself that you’ve prepared to the best of your ability. This is no time for second-guessing.
Next, glide into “automatic pilot.” The hard part is over and your preparation will kick in. Everything you need is in place.
Suspend judgment of yourself while you’re speaking. You’ve got more important things to do.
Don’t let anything you see or hear let you second-guess yourself, either. Trying to imagine what listeners are thinking or feeling is a distraction and a waste of energy.
Going in, remember only that single most important thing you want to convey.
Finally, keep this old fable in mind. Maybe you’ve heard it.
The story goes that the devil was selling his wares—a rapier of jealousy, a dagger of fear and the noose of hatred, plus gossip, procrastination, lies, selfishness, greed—each with its own high price.
Only one item, a battered wedge, was marked “not for sale.” This was the devil’s most prized possession because with it alone, he could stay in business: the wedge of discouragement. Using this, he could beat anyone. Don’t let him beat you.
— Adapted from Stand and Deliver, Dale Carnegie Training, Touchstone.