I have had so many bad experiences. I remember standing there shaking, not being able to say anything.
I JUST KNOW I CAN'T DO IT!!!
Sounds like you are being too hard on yourself. I want you to make a list of things you know a lot about. Maybe a favorite movie or a book you have just read. Pick one of those topics that you know the most about. Write down three different points about that topic. For example, if it is a movie then three points would be: the characters, the locations, the story. Or three points could be: the beginning, the middle, the end.
Now without writing anything else down, I want you to spend one minute talking out-loud about each of the points. You can do this in front of your boyfriend or the mirror.
If you can do this without trouble, I want you to be proud of yourself. You just made it one step closer. If you do run into problems, repeat it with a different subject. Keep doing it- practice makes perfect.
When you are afraid, your memory is one of the things that you loose. But if your speech is organized so that you only have to remember the main points it means you need less memory. Just fill in the details later, which is what the above teaches you.
I still make mistakes, lots of them. I just do not concentrate on them when I do. I have been known to laugh in the middle of my speech when I make a mistake. Humans are not perfect. Which was very tough for me to understand-I am a perfectionist.
Here is the truth: when you make a mistake, no one really cares. Their human too! Humans make mistakes, so do not be hard on yourself.
I cannot speak for you, but for me the way I got over it was simple: I saw it as a challenge. Something to be overcome. Not something to run away and hide from. That is how I thought. It takes guts just to get up there, let alone complete a speech. If you can just stand up there, in my mind, you are already half way finished. Just complete the rest of the work.
I empathize and understand the fear. But do not let it control you.
I can't hide my bodies reaction to the nerves so I don't think I will be able to do this.
This is going to sound cold, do not worry about your bodies natural reactions. Thinking that way is not helpful. I mostly ignore my body and stay focused on what I am going to say next.
There are things you can to do to learn to control your body, especially in stressful situations. Meditation comes to mind. As well as regular exercise.
Meditation works because a calm mind means a calm body.
Use the time you have now to practice. However, as a very last resort, there is one method that is fool proof. Do not sleep the night before. When it comes time to do your speech you will be so tired that you won’t care. I have done this before and it works. I would not recommend this as a permanent solution though.
Asking the audience questions during the introduction part of your speech is a good method. I have done it before, and I notice an instant increase in energy from both them and me. Even if those question are rhetorical, it is still a good thing to do throughout your speech. It not only helps you remember what you are talking about, but it helps the audience follow what you are saying.
There is one method I have been known to do: before the speech I smile. I don’t know why this works for me but it does.
This method helps with memory and concentration: Put your fingers up to your temples and rub them. In fact, give yourself an entire facial massage right before your speech. Don’t forget to rub behind your ears. It works because it relaxes you and it feels good. Do not worry about people looking at you doing it before your speech, it is to help you help them by giving them a good speech.
One more method: This is a tactic used to fight depression, but I am sure you can modify it for fear. Try repeating the following words out loud over and over again: joyful, happy, calm, relaxed, blissful, warm, loving, caring, sweet, generous, pretty, gentle, wonderful.
I don’t know how everyone else does it either.