I get VERY nervous when speaking to a group of people.

I get VERY nervous when speaking to a group of people. I am attending Toastmasters which I love - however I realise that my problem is nerves in front of people I know - I could address a
large crowd of strangers with no trouble at all - but even a small group of people I know makes me physically shake so much I cannot hold a pen - and my heart beat so hard I can hardly breathe. I am WORSE after several months at Toastmasters - at first I loved it but now I have got to know them all and am more anxious to perform well my nerves are worse!! I am naturally very outgoing - have no trouble talking to anyone and happy to go up to strangers at parties and chat etc - so what's wrong with me? I guess I am just so concerned about performing well in front of people who matter to me that it causes the problem. I tell myself to "get a grip" and I know they will think better of me and enjoy my talks more if I am NOT nervous - but It seems to be an automatic physical reaction that I cannot control mentally. I would love to buy one or several of your tapes that might help me - could you please recommend which one/ones you think most appropriate? Many many thanks.

Thank you for sharing with me your feelings about "public speaking" to small well-known groups - believe me, this is very common - you are certainly not alone.

I would certainly encourage you to continue with Toastmasters - they are a fine organisation and with more and more exposure, practice and facing this issue - you will eventually come through. Do you practise going to your "Peaceful Place" and doing visualisation? If so, then in your visualisation just picture yourself having really delivered a great talk and being congratulated for it. Creating a Mind Chart about what you will talk about is a good idea too - the pictures will stick in your mind and you'll easily be able to recall them when giving your speech.

My tape / CD PP15 - Overcoming Fear may be helpful to you (you can check it out on my website) and I have a paper on my site about handling fear which you may like to read.

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