Great, you've been promoted! Now you have to make a presentation to your company's regional heads. If you struggle with talking in front of people, you're probably terrified. To banish fear, gain confidence, and become a great speaker you must prepare and practice. Try these three steps:

1. Write it.

According to the concept of channel capacity, there's a limit to how much information people can process in one sitting. When you want people to retain the information you're giving, you can't overload them with a half dozen directives and expect them to synthesize it all on the spot.

Script out your entire presentation. By doing this, you prepare, and with preparation you alleviate your fears about presenting. This also ensures that you say only the things you want the audience to hear.

Start by mapping out the presentation's first five minutes. Follow the simple rule that each presentation should have only one main point and no more than three sub-points.

Now script the closing five minutes. Keep in mind there is no quicker way to lose people than to drone on in a way that doesn't seem to be building toward a main point or conclusion.

Consider this: If I only had five minutes to speak, what would I say? What about three minutes? One minute? Practicing the one-minute version of your talk will help you get to the core material.

With your opening and closing mapped out, it's time to add the meat in between. Bring in stories and anecdotes with details that connect the audience to your topic. Include one story for each point or sub-point.

2. Slow it.

It's time to work on delivering your script. The most common mistake is going too fast. This will likely be the first time your audience hears most of what you're telling them. Give them time to digest it as you proceed.

Slow your pace with pauses. Hearing your pace quicken should be your mental cue to take another pause. Take three-second, five-second, even seven-second pauses in between each point. If you don't slow down and simply pause between your thoughts, much of what you say will be lost.

The best communicators use repetition. Don't be afraid to repeat important points.

Slowing down makes your job easier. You're able to think about what you're saying as you say it, and it's easier to follow your script.

3. Triangle it.

Prepare using the "success triangle." By mentally rehearsing with the success triangle, you're "pre-creating" the pressure of the presentation, so you can feel it, experience it, and be prepared. Using the triangle for nine minutes per day is the equivalent of practicing in front of a mirror for an hour.

For three days before your presentation, spend three separate, three-minute segments per day mentally rehearsing what you want to say and how you want to say it. Do this prior to each meal. If you have more time, by all means expand the practice as many days as you can. If for some reason you have less than three days, don't worry. Get in as many three-minute segments as possible. Just give yourself at least a sixty-minute break in between.

When you're in a one-on-one or a small group meeting, you have to be even more finely attuned to your audience. In a big presentation, you control the show from start to finish. In a small meeting, you have to be prepared to respond to anything the audience throws at you. Stay calm, and listen.

To stay calm, control your breathing. In the sixty seconds before your presentation, take at least one centering breath (inhale through your nose for six seconds, hold for two, exhale for seven). This helps get your heart rate under control and enables you to listen better.

Roughly 20 percent of communicating is speaking, while 65 percent is listening. Don't get caught up in planning what you're going to say next and not pay full attention to your listeners.

If you are interrupting someone, you are not truly listening. Interrupting sends the message that you really only care about what you are saying.