Almost everyone gets at least a little nervous about speaking in front of a group. A few nerves are a good thing because they heighten your energy. But too much anxiety can prevent you from connecting with your audience, and it's extremely unpleasant.
When I was new at speaking, my anxiety caused problems with my breathing. My breath went into my chest and I had trouble getting my words out because I was hyperventilating. It was very uncomfortable and my audience could hear it. After years of practice and breathing exercises, this doesn’t (usually) happen to me anymore.
I have a friend who is a wonderful speaker and has delivered hundreds of presentations. But she says that every time she gets up to speak her right armpit pumps out copious amounts of sweat.
If you have anxiety about speaking, here is a tip that can help.
Transfer the responsibility for your presentation over to a benevolent, higher power.
“But," you say, "I don’t believe in a higher power." That’s OK. You don’t have to. Stay with me. This tip still works.
Let’s say you have chosen to transfer responsibility for your presentation to the Universe. First, do all the work you need to do to prepare your presentation so you will be ready when the time comes. The responsibility transfer comes after you do the work, not before.
But when you are about to get up to speak and you can feel your heart start to race and your breath come in short little gasps, then close your eyes, breathe deeply, and tell yourself that it is now in the hands of the benevolent Universe. You are no longer responsible for it. Hand it over.
It’s like Obi-Wan telling Luke Skywalker to use the Force. Luke lets go and just lets the Force flow through him, which is the secret to being a Jedi Master.
If you don’t believe in a higher power, think of it as taking a placebo to reduce your anxiety. An interesting thing about placebos is that they work even when the patient knows it’s a dummy pill. What an amazing thing the mind is.
Anyway, try it. Use the Force.