How to speak in public

I've never had to read anything that's poured from my heart onto a page out-loud to a crowd but I'm no stranger to public speaking. I both adore and hate public speaking. I hate the feeling of clammy palms and my heart in my throat before I speak. I hate that I can't breathe and, sometimes, for a moment it feels like the beginning of a panic attack and all the things that might entail. I hate that I am the focal point. I am the singular attraction. The pressure sucks air from the room. I hate that there enough people in this room watching me to cause a riot.  I hate that I get scared.

Here's the thing I know I do love: I love making people laugh.

There's something rewarding about seeing a smile flutter across the lips of a room. I'm having fun when I hear that first titter of laughter flutter across the room. I'm elated when it continues.

I am aware that public speaking shouldn't always be hilarious. At the same time I am also aware that when I make things funny I relax. I'm a people pleaser. I make a joke in the first five seconds and everyone including me relaxes.

So here's my one singular tip for public speaking and it has nothing to do with underwear or imagining people naked: be prepared

If you know that being funny helps, prepare a few hilarious moments ahead of time. (I normally do these in the form of memes when given the chance to present, audiences love memes.) If you know that you enjoy surprising people do your research well enough that you can truly surprise your learned audience. If you know that the smell of lavender calms you shove some in your pocket and rub it on your hands.

I feel like when I am prepared I can talk without fear.

What tips do you have for public speaking?