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A lot of it is just practice. If you spend a lot of time reading out loud, it'll help. Try reading out loud to your parents or friends to practice for class.
And don't forget to breathe!
When I first started college I was terrified of public speaking. I mean terrified. I've always been kind of shy and the first time I got up there I was shaking so bad I thought I was going to fall down. But I got used to it and now I love giving presentations. It takes a bit but you get used to it. One thing that really helped me was just getting up there and talking like I was at a party or something. I never really had anxiety when talking to groups of friends at parties, so i just pretended that's what it was. I was still nervous, but it helped and now it's nothing at all.
Oh yeah breathing is good and so is keeping a bottle of water close by.
The water is more for if you are getting up in front of the class and presenting for more than a few minutes.
I make sure I'm always at least two sentences ahead of the reader when we're forced to read out loud. I hate reading out loud too, and I'm really no good at it, but reading ahead makes you feel more confident when you have to read, because you've already read it once. Hope it helps :D
practice:) Practice in front of your mirror:)
don't look directly at the audience just look in their direction or in other words don't look in their eyes
I used to be afraid of reading out loud but then I started reading out loud all and it cured me :-) Constantly read out loud all the time and do it in front of who ever or in a front of a mirror.
@Pspman: Yeah that's a good one. My COMM 210 instructor suggested looking at the top of their heads because to them it looks like you are looking them in the eyes.
One thing you should remember is that everyone else thinks you're much more competent than you think you are, and what you're feeling is not even remotely obvious to anyone else, even if you feel like you're blushing.
Also, we tend to think if we mess up or something that others will laugh at us or make fun of us, but the fact is that almost everyone else thinks the same thing. We will not make fun of someone for messing up when we know that we might do the exact same thing. Sometimes it is helpful to make fun of your own mistakes. If you can make fun of your mistake before someone else has the chance to, you defuse the situation. Sometimes just having this knowledge is enough to allow you to relax and read, present, or speak in front of groups.
Know your topic very well, practice with a set piece in private over and over and over until you become bored. Then do it again with say a young child as your audience. Have props well prepared so that they will not fail and cause your presentation to falter. Be prepared to laugh at yourself and acknowledge any slip-ups. Go into the presentation with the attitude that you will be learning something new and remember that once it's over you will be able to do it again maybe even better. You will start to enjoy this type of activity once you've done it a few times. The first time will fly by so fast you may not remember it. Good luck!
Short story. One time I was giving a presentation and I was moving around quite a bit. At one point I tripped on the floor outlet that my laptop was plugged into and stumbled without falling. I said, "Oops. wingspan Van Dyke show" Nobody got it but me and the teacher, and I had to explain it when I open the presentation for questions. But it didn't matter that nobody got the joke but me and the teacher. The only thing that mattered was that I got it and that made me feel better. I didn't feel foolish because I pointed out that I was not perfect and I referenced a famous klutz to defuse my embarrassment and it work instantly.