KissingPro saidHow have you overcome your fears?
Practice, practice, practice!
I've spoken spontaneously before crowds of thousands. And TV & radio audiences of who-knows how many? And also spoken from prepared text. That's what I do, it comes so naturally I hardly think about it anymore.
With a live audience, I try to look right into single faces. I scan the audience, going from one to another. I have no fear of people. Rather, I draw my strength from them. It's the same as addressing people at a cocktail reception, or students in one of my classrooms, or my soldiers in formation, just multiplied several times.
Actually I love it, I thrive being on stage, in front of an audience. But I do have to practice it, to keep the skill current.
When I taught college, at the beginning of each semester, after a break of a month or more, I was clumsy at first in my lectures. It took me about 2 or 3 weeks of daily presentations before I really started to "click" and have it down.
If you threw me onto a stage today I'd be fair, but not at my best. I need that regular practice. That's one of the reasons I was reading at church, so my skills wouldn't atrophy. You should look for other public speaking tasks for yourself, whatever they are.
Toughest for me is being blinded by stage lighting, where I can't see the audience, just a black wall. I NEED the audience, to see their faces, to work with them. So I must imagine them sitting there, and pretend to be looking at them, as I usually do. That's a tough one, for which I have no solution.