A comfortable speaker relaxes the audience and makes them more receptive. This comfort flows from your confidence in your message and in your ability to deliver it, both of which can be learned.
Why do so many people struggle with nerves when speaking? Perhaps it dates from an unfortunate bad experience back in school, or stems from a fear of embarrassment or humiliation if the speech does not go well. Unfortunately, the traits of an uncomfortable speaker present distractions from the message being delivered.
We all recognize the signs of nerves – the wringing hands, shortness of breath, rushed pacing, and uneven or nonexistent eye contact all serve to put audience members on edge. Tension is contagious, and rather than absorbing the message they anxiously await the end of your speech. Truly, the best reason to be comfortable as a speaker is that it leads to the audience being comfortable.
Their are a variety of physical and psychological techniques to lessen stage fright, many of which can be coached and learned. But far more effective than those in combating nervousness is having a targeted, well-written, and well-prepared presentation when you reach the stage and step up to the microphone. With confidence in your message and in your ability to present it clearly, fear and nervousness are set aside as an issue.