I was always terrified of public speaking.
When I was in middle school, I was a shy guy. I couldn't even look adults in the eye. I didn't like talking to people I didn't know.
Now...things have changed.
I've fallen in love with public speaking and will speak whenever I can! I feel comfortable speaking, even when I don't know what I'm going to be saying! What changed?
The 1st thing you need to know: You'll always feel nervous
The feeling of fear never goes away. You just get used to it. It's normal to feel nervous and EVERYBODY feels it. Even the professional speakers do. With practice, you get better.
Start by knowing your material. Practice a lot
Part of my fear of public speaking was the fear of screwing up. I was scared that I'd embarrass myself. I was scared I was going to be bad. Practice helped with this.
I would practice a speech on a particular topic weeks before
I would practice in front of the mirror. Practice while jogging. Practice while doing pushups. If I could deliver the speech while being distracted, I believed I would not screw up.
I would imagine the fear, the crowd, & practice more
I'd try to get in the mindset of the fear I'd feel. I'd imagine the crowd in detail. Again, I would deliver the speech. It helped me emulate the experience.
Next, get over the fear of talking.
I'd gather people I knew together and practice in front of them. Sometimes I would do random topics. Because I knew them, I was a bit less nervous. The more I did it, the more comfortable I was.
Toastmasters groups and other clubs help
I was lucky to have a debate class to practice. But having a community going through it with you and critiquing you helps tremendously.
At the end, you have to force yourself up to the stage
The first speech will take all of your effort to get up there. Even if it's in front of a small group.
Getting up to the stage is the hardest part.
Afterwards, let your practice take it away! You will do great! If you need to, get a friend to help drag you up. Once you're over that. You're on your way!
Just get to the point where you're about to get on stage.
After that, you brain does the rest!