Simon Willison’s Weblog

Public Speaking: How can I control my stress during my presentations?

My answer to Public Speaking: How can I control my stress during my presentations? on Quora

Make sure you have run through your talk, in full, out loud in the privacy of your home or hotel room at least twice.

Have written notes available (either on paper or index cards or in the speaker notes of your presentation)—you shouldn’t plan to use them, but having them there can act as a security blanket (“if I freeze up and forget all my lines at least I can always fall back to reading from my notes”).

Remember: the audience are on your side. No one who is watching a talk wants the speaker to do badly, and they’ll happily forgive umms, errs and stumbles—in fact they probably won’t even notice them whereas you’ll be acutely aware of every single one.

If you forget what you’re going to say next, just pause for a moment to recollect yourself. What feels like a minute of silence to you on stage will only be a few seconds of real time, and the audience won’t notice.