Public Speaking Tips - 3 Ways to Deal with Nerves
The most important thing is to prepare. Prepare like your life depends on it. Prepare. Prepare. Prepare. By doing these 3 things.
The Words: If possible, write your speech weeks in advance. This gives you time to improve it. Every half decent speech writer will always run through a few drafts of a speech to find the best version.
Practice it Out Loud: You'll find that parts of it that you thought were good when written down are not so great when spoken. You'll only figure this out by practicing out loud. If you can, record yourself practicing (video or just audio). This is going to be hugely helpful in improving your delivery. Also, if you have a willing victim, practice in front of them too. Ask them to be honest. There is no value if they sugar coat their opinion. VIdeo is even better because it means you can also review your body language and posture. You want to have confident, open body language for any kind of speech.
Join a speech making group: I joined Toastmasters at least a year before I began to speak professionally. The weekly meetings were invaluable to me. My experience of Toastmasters was that of a welcoming, warm and encouraging group of people. Everyone is in roughly the same situation. They all want to improve their public speaking. You will receive plenty of feedback every time you speak. In many Toastmasters' clubs you can speak almost every week if you want to.
There are other little tricks you can do on the day to handle nerves but they tend to work for some people but not for others. The tips above are the most reliable ways to manage your nerves when giving a speech.