The fear of public speaking is a disease that plagues us all. Nobody can claim resistance to it; nevertheless, one can develop immunity to it. Its symptoms are raw fear, anxiety and stress; whereby the body trembles and the mouth stutters. It is a psychological disease and the immunity needed to combat it is to reinforce the mind with some basic rules and belief that there is nothing to it.
The importance of public speaking cannot be overemphasised. For you to sell yourself to the world and become successful in life you must learn the art of public speaking. Before you can be a leader, you must be able to convince your potential followers that you are up to the task. How else will you do this if not by public speaking? So you MUST get over that fear, so as to make that desired impact in life.
The fear of public speaking is all about the way you perceive it and the way you perceive yourself. Most people see public speaking as stressful and daunting, and to add salt to their injury they also see themselves not brilliant enough to achieve it. Note that the perfect public speakers were once like you: agitating and jittery. It took them time to attain that perfection. They are not geniuses; rather they are studious people that took their time to learn public speaking to a level of flawlessness. So, don't have a poor esteem about yourself, but be open-minded and determined to be a good public speaker.
As a beginner, you are required to take a step-by-step approach at it. Do not be anxious to be that perfect public speaker you so much want to emulate. Wanting too much at the beginning will only crumble the foundation you are building. You are bound to make mistakes at the beginning. But the MISTAKE you will make is if you do not correct yourself and learn to get better.
As I stated earlier, the fear of public speaking is a psychological disease, and it can be beaten psychologically. Know and understand the mechanism of that fear. Are you bothered that something bad will happen? Do you think that you will not be articulate enough to pass your message across? Do you think that the audience will murmur disapproval at your points? Will the girl you admire see you fail and you will be grossly embarrassed? Does your tie match with your shirt? All this unnecessary questions will only have your mind seething and rub you of your focus. However, as soon as it becomes less of you but more of the subject at hand, you will definitely be on your way to deliver a good speech.
Most of us see public speakers as gods, and we believe to be like them one has to transcend to that 'celestial' level. Hence we make the mistake of trying to be more than who we are: seeing yourself as being important. But in truth, this is nothing but self-importance. It further adds to the anxiety and apprehension of beginners, because they believe that so much is required of them to achieve that height. So, you are advised to embrace who you are; see yourself as nothing but one of the audience, but with somewhat knowledge to educate. If your perception is so, you will easily feel at ease to communicate with your 'peers' while you are on the podium.
Confidence annihilates the fear of public speaking. Confidence while you address an audience can only be achieved if you are sure of what you want to say. And this can be done if your preparation is impeccable. Research extensively about the subject at hand, then ingrain in memory by studying it carefully. If it is quite comprehensive and you cannot commit it entirely to memory, you can write the main points on small coloured or numbered cards. This is to be used discreetly when the final moment comes.
Afterwards, practice 'public speaking' with the information acquired, with you as the audience in front of a mirror. See yourself as the real audience will see you and improve on your errors. If you are being too gesticulative and forceful, pipe it down to moderation, and if you are too sober and lack persuasiveness, tone it up to appropriate intensity. Do your practicing constantly and alone, so you can imbibe it to a point of flawlessness. This will definitely prop your wavering confidence.
You may be concerned about being boring. And the advice I can give to that is to keep the speech brief as much as possible, with all the necessary points fully explained. Avoid the superfluous details that will make the speech lengthy and aches the back and bums of the audience. Learn to explain effectively, whereby your message is not only conveyed but also convincing. In short, learn to be a good teacher and you will never bore your audience. Let me point out here that public speaking is all about teaching. Once you can harness this skill, you would have mastered the very essence of public speaking.
You may also be bothering yourself unnecessary about how humorous you need to be to entertain your audience. But what I have learned is that humour is what comes naturally once you feel at ease. Everybody is genuinely funny in their own way, so it is needless if I say it includes you. Once you are truly at ease and focused while speaking, you will easily see the opportunities from time to time to throw in one or two jokes. Moreover, be aware that the audience are open-minded and very receptive; they will easily laugh to any comedy displayed.
Finally, I will like to tell you that everybody supports you: your family members, friends, the audience, even the world. Nobody wants to see you fail. The only barrier is that tiny glitch in your mind. So erase that negative thought and dwell on the strength we all lend you; only the sky can be your limit.