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Fear of looking dumb

I was 26 years old when I first started my journey as a professional speaker, I made the rooki mistake of opening my seminar by flaunting my resume to a room full of high school teachers in an attempt to prove I was worth listening to. It backfired of course. Withon 10 minutes, I noticed 50% of the room had sat back in their chair and folded their arms across their chest.

Living in fear of sounding dumb can rob your audience of knowing the real you.

Most of us have a need to be accepted by others. But this can also be a barrier that prevents us from being ourselves. When we fear that our audience will perceive us as inept or unintelligent, our default may be to try to flaunt our grasp of large words or clever witticisms or our professional expertise in an effort to convince them that we are smart and capable.

The reasons for feeling this way can be many, and they can often stem from as far back as your childhood. Many women in particular have the fear that they may appear not smart. Yet overcompensating for this fear can have the opposite effect if others are driven away by what they see as an immodest attitude or sense that you are urgently trying to prove yourself. The simple desire to be judged as smart can cause you to reject your true self and adopt a persona. But in trying to persistently project an image of supreme intelligence or capability, you actually demean yourself.

The simplest way to combat it is to make a personal commitment to being yourself in your home, your workplace, and among strangers. Ask yourself how you believe the individuals you encounter will react should you speak awkwardly, need clarification, or fail to be the best. The truth is, your audience wants you to be human. They will listen to your message because they recognize the goodness in your soul.

The fact that you are willing to be yourself, letting your many affirmative attributes express themselves naturally, will help you make a positive first impression. Your confidence and easygoing manner will say, "this is who I am, I am proud of the person I have become and here is the message I have to share”.

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