Many public speakers get nervous before a presentation. If your nervous tension disappears after a few minutes of speaking, then you simply have “starter’s gun” nerves. It is this that makes most people pace nervously in the wings before they get up to speak. If this is you, it may be helpful to put the image of a sprinter and starter’s gun in mind, but make sure that the gun went off well before you started speaking.
Here are a few ways that can help to get your session started before you're actually on stage:
1. If possible, mingle beforehand with the audience. Ask questions that get them on topic and get you thinking about your message.
2. Put a topic handout on the seats so that people can get into your message and what you are all about before you start speaking.
3. Play music to warm up the room.
4. Send out an email to attendees letting them know who you are and what the session is going to be about.
5. If you are speaking at a venue-based conference, consider a pre-event room-drop of handouts relevant to your topic.
You get to choose when your session actually starts.