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Anxiety - fear of seeming dumb watch

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    I study a literature degree and have 4 hours of seminars per week - luckily I am now in my final year. I have only, voluntarily, spoken up in a handful of seminars but a few of my modules have been very interactive and, after being prompted on many occasions by the seminar leader, I became a lot more confident speaking up and actually appreciated being pushed.

    I feel like I'm back to square one though now. My problem is that I have very low confidence and think I am not intelligent (despite getting a mix of firsts and 2.1s on my assessments so far). My course has a lot of very outspoken people on it and I always worry about what they would think of me if I say something completely stupid and wrong. I struggle to think on the spot but when I'm sitting down writing an assignment I find that many points come to me - I am actually scoring higher than those I thought to be more intelligent than me.

    In spite of all this, I still go bright red when talking to the class even if it is just a few words and I generally struggle to articulate myself (both in seminars and with friends) as I'm constantly worried I may say the wrong thing.

    Does anyone else experience this? Any advice?

    My situation is no where near close to yours, although I do know how you feel about having to participate and speak up in front of people.
    In terms of presentations, and in fact any kind of participation, the best advice I can give you is to fake your confidence completely. People are more likely to believe in the words of others who speak with confidence in what they are saying, that in someone who's voice is uncertain. This sounds difficult, and it is, but with practise and preparation it becomes quite easy. Especially with presentations, having the material prepared and knowing what you want to say will mean that you are able to deliver information in a calm and relaxed manner, and others will think that you know what you're talking about, and will trust in what you're saying.

    Everyone has exactly the same fear as you, even the people who are confident and out-spoken, everyone is afraid of being judged - some are just better at hiding it. The point of being able to present is to share your own thoughts and ideas about something, there is no right or wrong really. Remember that you are on exactly the same level as these people, and so your ideas and opinions are just as valid and their's, and although they may differ, neither is any more right than the other.
    If you do say the 'wrong' thing, just in a general conversation, the best thing to do is laugh it off.
    Once you start doing this, you'll notice the insignificance of silly mistakes like that, and will be able to let go much more easily. Everyone makes mistakes everyone says silly things, it is about how you deal with the situation that matters.
    It is not easy to be confident, but the more you practise pretending to be confident, the more naturally the confidence will come to you.
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