I wish I could say that practice would calm your nerves...
...Or that standing a particular way would make it less scary.
...Or that drinking chamomile tea would soothe the jitters.
I wish I had a magic potion or a mystery cure or an infomercial promising the cure for stage fright.
And while some people might tell you that they have found their own answer, I don't have a cure.
I am nervous every single time I speak. Whether I am sharing my thoughts in a room with 5 of my coworkers or an audience of thousands. I get nervous every time I get ready to push the publish button on my blog posts, for goodness' sake.
I am always nervous when I am getting ready to speak. I can't even eat before a presentation. My stomach is always in a knot.
But here's what I CAN tell you. All of the years of practice, of presenting over and over again, of wanting to flee, but somehow showing up, have taught me one thing. I can survive the panic. I will not die if I miss a word, or skip a slide, or don't get a laugh (although that does kill me inside).
So while the fear has never subsided, for me, it is a good thing. It is a sign of how much I care about my audience. Every time I get ready to speak, I worry that I haven't given them enough value. That fear makes me want to practice more, to find one more interesting tidbit, to rework my introduction. It drives me to try harder.
And while I haven't learned how to eliminate the fear, I have learned to trust myself as a presenter and to trust that my audience will share in the experience.