Well, this may sound quite philosophical but this is my personal experience. Let me tell you about how i got rid of my fear of public speaking.
I was in my 1st year of my college (bachelors, back in 2001) and till that time i had never ever faced any stage appearance. I never thought about public speaking and was quite shy to appear on stage throughout my School life.
But i always realised that this is something that i need to change.
So in my 1st yr of college, i saw a notice on our hostel notice board in Pantnagar university: "Debate on: Ragging - Should it be or Shouldn't it be"
I thought that this may be the right time to do something that i was always afraid of !!
I registered for the debate and prepared 2 pages to speak on the debate day.
The day finally came and i was in an auditorium sitting in Audience and there were around 300 people there.
Participants were coming on stage, speaking their part, the debate was getting hot..I was getting too tensed by realising that i cannot do this. It is just impossible for me to go on stage and speak in-front of 300 people!
I told my friend (Upendra Maurya - who also came with me and was from Agriculture branch in our college) that I am leaving from auditorium and I cannot speak on stage facing an audience. I was just too scared!
He said something which touched me, "Ankit, if you cannot speak now, you probably will never in future!"
And somehow i managed to stay there. My name was called and I had to go on stage.
My first public appearance was about to start !!! Believe me - that day I felt like dying is easier than facing a huge crowd !
Well, I was shaking ,shivering and was too nervous, but I was on stage!
And then, I could see 300 people. I had a piece of paper in my hand. I was looking at audience and was reading whatever i had written on the paper. I was shivering so much, but i managed to complete whatever I thought I had to say.
I was there for just 1.5 minutes, but that was really something that seemed horrible to me.
There was some applause when i finished. My friend was happy that i could go on stage.
And thats how I managed to kill my stage fear, it was my first public speaking experience, and i will never forget it. And then there was no looking back. Whenever i got any chance, anywhere, i used to go for it.
In my 4th year in college, i participated in a debate where i was awarded the 3rd prize.
So the moral of the story is:"Do what you fear most, and the death of fear is certain"
Whatever you feel you have been thinking throughout your life but you never did even though you had oppurtunity, do it. Believe me, you will feel that its a boost to your self esteem.
So, Kill your FEAR before it kills you !!!