Giving a presentation isn't like performing in a play or singing in a choir. You aren't playing a character and you aren't part of an ensemble. It's just you, as yourself, on the stage, in the spotlight, talking to a room full of people.
I remember the presentation I gave during a marketing class in university that let me know I was not a good presenter. It was a group presentation, and like many university students we waited until the last minute to divide up our speaking responsibilities so I didn't have a lot of time to think about what I was going to say. I felt woefully unprepared and I'm sure it showed. When it was over and I sat down I couldn't remember anything that I had said. It was like temporary amnesia and that feeling stuck with me for a long time. I tell that story when I'm conducting presentation skills seminars now and talk about the hurricane in the brain.
When I got my first teaching job at a small language school in South Korea in 1996, I remember feeling very nervous and completely unprepared once again. I had no teaching experience and my training had consisted of shadowing one of the other teachers in a couple of classes the day before. Looking back, she had been working with her students for a while and had already established a good rapport with them, so assuming that my new students would respond the same way to me as hers did to her was pretty unrealistic.
In any case, before I walked into my first class I tried to give myself a little pep talk. I told myself three things that I thought were true. 1. I know more than they do about English. 2. This knowledge is something that they want, so it has value. 3. They came here to get my help. This helped me calm down and remind myself what was important. My job was to find ways to help them and give them what they wanted.
When I gave my first conference presentation in 2005, I had already been a teacher for five years. (Yes, I know the math doesn't work. I went back home and tried some different things for a while.) There's something different about speaking to your students and speaking to your peers. It can feel like you are being judged in a way that you just don't feel when you're teaching. The power dynamic in the room is different, especially when there are more experienced teachers in the audience. But here's the thing, you should still know more about the topic you are speaking on that most of the people attending your talk. The content you are sharing needs to be useful to them and, thus, have some value. Finally, the people who attend conferences often come to take away a few ideas to use in their classes or to think about teaching in a slightly different way so, in essence, they are there to get some help.
Keeping these three in the back of my mind has helped me become a more confident speaker and I find that it also helps my students brainstorm possible presentation topics. They need to ask themselves: 1. What do I know more about than my classmates? 2. Will it be interesting and/or useful for for them? 3. How can I convince them that it has value? They can then turn their answers into a complete introduction with a hook and once that has been done, sharing their content with confidence and enthusiasm gets a lot easier.