Originally Posted by parKer
#2 Look at people's foreheads. It will give the illusion of eye contact. 2 seconds per forehead should be enough. Find someone in the audience who is a "nodder" or "smiler," usually it's the teacher and your friends. Their positive feedback will help your confidence. Do a sweep across the room of foreheads (divide the room into thirds and give some love to each third), but when you feel like a freak-out is coming, find your nodders/smilers. Avoid the floor and clock at all costs.
If you're short on time and practice and want to get over the anxiety fast, this is an extremely useful quick tip.
I am terrible at presentations, and had to perform in front of an audience of 200 people for a skit as a host.
When it was time to put on the show, the one thing I am glad I did was stare towards the audience at a level barely above their eyes/heads. It's an excellent illusion to anyone but yourself that you're really focused on the audience, where in fact, at least in my mind when I was speaking, I was pretty much projecting to a large empty room, or at least a room of weird, meaningless entities.
Also another thing that helps is your stance as well.
Stand up straight and tall. Lift up your chest. In this way, you can physically feel a sort of confidence that allows your voice to project wide and far. And this helps to get you on track, or at least to keep talking rather than hit a blank and stop altogether. Talk loud and clear. With the forced effort to talk out there, you're less able to go "umming".