2. Nobody but me: The reality of it all is that you are the person who is directly responsible for you. People can give you advice, but you must put all of this into action. Who better to do this than you? You can direct the boat, meaning you, to go in any direction you care to. You have had excellent "upbringing" but you must ultimately carry the load to the dock. "Full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes" was a popular phrase during the second world war and you can adopt these principals by what you do to help yourself.
3. Plan: Remember it is best to write down a plan of attack. You can think about doing something till the cows come home, but it takes a definite plan to accomplish your goal(s). Your biggest bugaboo is talking in groups and in class. Take the easiest to do first and build upon that into more difficult situations. But you must do something--anything--that will move you into the direction that you wish to go. Go for it.
4. Evaluation: How did things turn out? Remember, just doing something that you would not have done before is a success. Just because speaking was difficult does not mean a failure. Doing and moving forward is a sign of success. Don't beat yourself up. Take each event as a challenge to overcome your feeling of "should I or shouldn't I." Just go ahead and do it and then go on to the next event. Don't look back, just keep moving forward.
5. Give yourself permission: Permission to fail or succeed, but it doesn't matter if you think you have failed if you are determined to pick yourself up and more forward. Also give yourself permission to talk disfluently. There is not a person alive who does not falter over some words when they talk. It is not important to strive for perfection because no one is perfect. Give yourself permission to take each day as it comes and don't worry about it being a sunny day. Some days will be good and some will not be so good, but in each day there is some good. Just being able to get out of bed in the morning makes it a good day.
6. Aggressive: Some people think of being aggressive as being negative and well it could be, but we are thinking in terms of aggression as being positive because we are not going to beat somebody up, we are going to be aggressive with our urge to talk in situations that otherwise we might have been hesitant to talk in. You have the right to talk in any situation you want to talk in and to use any word or words you need to use to express yourself. Free speech and the right to speak is a fundamental principal that is inherent in our democratic society. Don't let anybody, much less yourself, hold you back. Remember the rat who broke through the maze by just deciding that he wasn't going to take it any more. More power to you.
7. Don't care: Don't let other people beat you up with negative words. These are the people who have more problems than you do. These people beat other people up because of their own personal problems and they think by doing so they gain in stature. In truth, they become smaller. You can't control other people around you, but you can control yourself. "Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me."
8. Don't think about talking. Be spontaneous: "Let 'r rip." Nobody thinks about talking, except people who think about talking. Sounds redundant, but think about it. Get ready, get set, go: This is how we think about talking and what happens is that we usually get stuck on the first word of the sentence and we are afraid to talk because we think we will have "problems." More than likely, the only one who cares is you. People usually value "what" you have to say rather than "how" you say it. People, including yourself, will get past the few disfluencies in your speech if you just talk. Remember you have all the words, vocabulary, and the ability to speak that anyone else has, the exception is that you think about talking and other people don't.
9. Say all the words you want to say: Don't hold back. Attack each word and keep moving on to the rest of the sentence. Start with a capital and end with a period. That's how we talk: from the first word to the last.
10. Less is more. Stop and go: Stuttering takes alot of energy and the less energy you use the better. You are already doing this. When you feel yourself getting "stuck" on a word, Stop, Lighten up and move gently and smoothly into the rest of the word and sentence and keep the flow going as easily and gently as you can. Don't panic, just keep the flow going and incorporate your attitude of forward moving into your speech. Most people do not use much energy in their speech nor do they think about talking--they just do it! Have fun with speaking, enjoy the moment and don't ever get down on yourself. Pick yourself up and get moving with talking. Don't hold back.