Meeting new people, presenting to the class, and lining up for a scary ride.
These are the three most common times North Ipswich Girl Guides wished they had more confidence.
That’s what they told me at their Girl Power camp this weekend.
North Ippy Guides are into hard core camping – I’ve seen them dig their own latrines.
But even the toughest among us can feel anxious when we’re faced with an unfamiliar or risky situation.
Here are the Five Handy Confidence Tips I shared with these Girl Guides, aged from six to 14 years old. Perhaps you’ll find them helpful, too.
As the Guides learnt, you can call them up any time without anybody noticing, just by counting them off the fingers of one hand.
Fingertip 1: Straighten your posture.
When you lift you head and push your shoulders back, you start to look confident to others. When you look confident, you’re on your way to feeling confident.
If you’re sitting, lift and straighten your torso.
If you’re standing, plant your feet firmly on the ground, a little width apart for balance.
Drop your arms to your sides so your rib cage is unconstrained to do its job – the next tip.
Fingertip 2: Take control of your breathing.
Be conscious of your breathing and aim for deep, slow breaths: in through your nose and down your throat to your ribcage, which will expand to hold and release all the breath you need to get through the tricky situation.
If you allow yourself to breath quickly, you’ll pump up your neck and shoulders where the muscles are not conditioned for breathing and you’ll tense up instead of relaxing.
This type of shallow breathing can constrict your voice, and a breathy, raspy or squeaky voice does not convey confidence.
Fingertip 3: Remember, it’s about them, not you.
You’re facing the other people because you’ve got something they need – they are looking at you, waiting for you to help them.
You’re sharing information and demonstrating that you know the topic and you can help them know more about it.
You’re entertaining them to think more positively.
They want to know about you, and can’t find out until you tell them your name and answer their questions.
Focusing on the others and their needs means you won’t be thinking about yourself and your anxieties.
Don’t let them down – you’re their champion!
Fingertip 4: Reflect on your strengths.
You might not feel like you’re very good at the situation you’re in at that moment, but you wouldn’t have lasted up to this point if you hadn’t made it through countless other anxious or scary occasions.
Call up a few memories to remind yourself that you can be brave and strong when you really need to be.
Remember the interview prior to getting your first job? You nailed it, didn’t you?
Remember meeting your partner’s parents for the first time? You’re together now, aren’t you?
Think about what you are good at and enjoy doing well – that will help you remember you’re a worthy individual with a purpose and plenty to contribute.
There’s usually something we’re very good at doing or being that the others we’re facing might not be, and remembering that we all have different strengths can really help us maintain self-belief.
Fingertip 5: Smile!
When you smile, your face breaks! The tension is released.
When you smile at someone, they usually smile back – so that’s double the tension released. You’re going to find it easier to face what you have to when you’re not so tense.
Confident people are not afraid to smile. If you smile, others will think you are confident and have faith in you to be able to do whatever it is you are about to do – for them and for yourself.
When you enter a room full of strangers, who do you notice first and most? The confident people. How? Usually because they are smiling. Welcoming. Comfortable in their own skin.
We are drawn to confidence, and when we’re feeling confident, others notice and are drawn to us.
When you need others to pay attention to you (so you can get that promotion, help them understand the importance of your message, be accepted into a group, etc.), appearing confident will help you achieve this aim… with just five barely noticeable, ‘handy’ actions.
Need help with confident communication? Presence training can help.