Glossophobia is the #1 fear is in North America. The second greatest fear is death.
You guessed it. Glossophobia is the fear of speaking in public; it also includes the fear of speaking in general.
I have spoken competitively since I was 16. I have been a professional speaker since my early 20s. But that doesn't mean I still don't get nervous before I present. For me, the nervous energy is now a good thing. The important thing to remember about your nerves is...
Be like a duck. On the surface appear calm and collected. And underneath, paddle like heck!
Early in my competitive speaking career, I had my moments. In high school, I won several competitions to represent my district in the state speaking competition. That was a big accomplishment. I got that far, then stood in front of a room staring straight ahead with no words coming out of my mouth. Embarrassing...humiliating...paralyzing.
Being able to stand in front a group of people (from 2 to 2,000) with confidence is hard for most people. But you CAN overcome it. And you will be better for it. Even if you have to "fake it till you make it", the internal confidence you build is very important personally and professionally.
Professionally, it builds your credibility, and you will be more confident in meetings and one-on-one meetings. Look them in the eye and speak with confidence.
Here are a few of my tips to help you reduce your glossophobia:
The internet offers A LOT of great articles about overcoming your glossophobia. Check out this article with other wonderful tips.
You don't have to become a professional public speaker. The ability to speak comfortably in front of groups is enough to boost your confidence and success light years ahead. As a for the nerves, it's OK if you still have them. Just remember, the duck!