It's unfortunately true that many people feel that speaking in public is like walking barefoot on hot coals. You can actually see their discomfort. They can't stand still. They constantly shift their balance from one foot to the other and back again, like marching in place.
For others, standing in front of an audience is like facing a firing squad. They plant themselves on a spot and freeze, afraid to move an inch in any direction or they might get shot. Or they hide behind the lectern or podium, afraid to move out from behind its protective shield to get close to their listeners.
Then there are those who can't figure out where to put their hands. They lean on the podium, fiddle with their glasses, juggle their slide pointer, run their hands through their hair, hitch up their slacks, scratch an itch, cough, blink, and display other mannerisms which only distract you from hearing what they're saying because you're hypnotized by all the nervous movements they've brought along with their speech.
It will be much easier for the audience to focus on what you're saying if you look confident, sure of yourself and happy to be there for the next 20-40 minutes. Here is a basic technique that'll make you look and feel cool and competent, no matter what's going on inside.
Before you start to speak, take three deep breaths and look the audience in the eye. Move your head from left to right and back again, taking in everyone seated before you. Smile.
At the same time, choose three people to speak to directly, one on the left, center and right. These are your guideposts to make sure you'll always make eye contact the whole audience.
If you're using a lectern or podium, settle your notes comfortably before you start. If you're using a slide clicker, hold it gently, don't squeeze it to death. You can use one hand to gesture while the other rests gently on the lectern if you like. Keep smiling.
When you are rehearsing your speech ahead of time, find a few appropriate moments to move away from the podium and speak directly to the audience. Move as close to them as you comfortably can. Keep your eyes on them as you make your key point, bending your elbows gently as you gesture to emphasize your main phrases. Don't move until you've finished discussing your point. Then walk slowly back toward the podium and repeat the process a few minutes later. Remember to keep glancing at your three chosen people on the left, center and right.
Moving gently and slowly this way will make it easier for the audience to both see and hear you. Bending your elbows gives the impression that you’re relaxed and comfortable in your skin. Standing in one spot while you're making your key points enables you make direct eye contact with the audience and allow your passion for your subject shine through.
Focus on the audience members who are really listening. Don't worry about the ones who aren't. As long as you continue to look at your three chosen listeners, the entire audience will hear and see you. You'll look comfortably in control and glad to be talking to them. Your body will move gracefully, your gestures will be natural, and the audience will focus on how strong and confident you look.
You'll never have to worry about where to stand or how to move about the stage because you'll know exactly what to do at every moment. You can forget about how you look and focus on the gift you're giving the audience. The more you concentrate on them, the less you'll think about yourself. When you forget to think about yourself, you automatically become the unique and sexy speaker they came to hear!