Originally Answered: How to calm my nerves for presentation?
That's funny that you should ask, since I actually gave a presentation just this morning.
I have some techniques that I use to help me right before I give a speech or presentation that I will share, but keep in mind that they may or may not work for you too. Everyone is different.
I had a drama teacher once tell me that yawning is the fastest way to relax, putting your mind and muscles more at ease. This has been one of the best things anyone has ever told me! It works wonders for me. So 5 minutes before I have to speak...I am yawning. The tension slowly just disappears.
Another tip I find useful is to talk to the audience. Yes, really, talk. Not preach, lecture, or teach, but talk. Like you would to your best friend or favorite relative. If you imagine each member of the audience as someone who is a friend, then suddenly the audience becomes much less intimidating. This is something you will have to subconsciously train yourself to do as you present.
What also helps me is right before I get up to speak I imagine myself giving the best speech anyone has ever heard. That serves as encouragement to me that I am well prepared and there is nothing to fear.
When you talk to the audience members (friends!), focus on the ideas you are trying to communicate, not on each individual word. If you stumble on a word, just fix it. In their minds the audience will fix it too and quickly forget that you made a mistake.
As for the nervousness, shaky voice, and inability to breathe, well, that's a simply a product of adrenaline. Your body is preparing itself to either fight something or to run away. Naturally, you can't run away when giving a speech, so you're going to have to learn how to harness that extra energy and incorporate it into your speech. Take that energy and use it for gestures, facial expressions and other similar things to make your information more interesting to the audience.
Most of the time, pauses in a presentation seem like an eternity to the speaker, but in reality the audience perceives them as only a few seconds that have passed. Things that seem like a huge deal to you as the speaker often go unnoticed by the audience. So...don't worry!
The only other piece of advice I can give you is one that you may not like, but it the best of all. Practice giving your speech/presentation several times in front of something with eyeballs. First in front of a stuffed animal, then a best friend, then a group of close friends. Giving the presentation several times before doing it for real will reinforce the idea that you know your material and know it well.
Time and repetition are the only things that will cure nervousness in public speaking. The more often you do something, the easier it becomes. It's the same for public speaking!
Sorry I went on a rant...hopefully you can find something useful in what I wrote.
Best of luck to you, and you'll do a wonderful job on your presentation!