Gripping fear – Public Speaking

Hi Brooke, I need help/guidance. I am terrified of speaking in front of large crowds. I don’t typically have to do it very often, but as I am growing up the ladder at my job, its becoming a more of a thing. And I feel that I am limiting my career growth because of this gripping fear. And I want to fix it.

I think I am super confident and a good speaker overall, getting the point across, if the group is small AND I can read/receive audience feedback (verbal / body language). Ive narrowed it down to – I dont like to just hear myself keep talking without any interaction. If I am in situations where I have to just talk for >5 mins I mumble, cut short and rush through, just to get it over with.

I have gone through models, and they work great, until the actual moment – when everything goes out the window. Example: Today I had to say a few words in front of a large group (70+) and I started great I think, but I mumbled, and jittered after a few words of hearing myself talk & folks staring at me and my natural/default is to just rush through and end the talk.

Thoughts I have been running through:
* I will be ok
* Worst case I will screw up, its not the end of the world.
* I am in a position of authority, and have value to add
* I accept that I will have the feelings of fear and my heart will pound. I will allow it to happen.

But this is just not working when I am in the practical situation. I want to fix this for the long term, and dont want to limit my growth because of this gripping fear.
So now my thoughts are
* I need to practice,
* maybe i should take toastmasters
* I should present myself more opportunities to try and potentially fail.

And the flip thoughts
* its not needed, I can do my job without working on this, I will just continue to impact in other ways.

How do I allow myself to be uncomfortable, and yet not have a pounding heart, gripped with fear, and hurt my growth chances.
Help please!