By Emanuela Giangregorio MPRCA
Communications professionals are expected to model great interpersonal skills. We are not all naturally confident and assertive, and often find it difficult to say “no” or get others on board with our ideas. The good news is that these skills are all learnable through awareness and practice. No matter where you are on the confidence scale, below are Three Confidence Boosting Practices…
- Practice High Self Esteem
“Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your handbrake on.” – Maxwell Maltz
Self-limiting beliefs and self-doubt are the biggest confidence killers. They are rooted in fear of failure, and a disproportionate perception about the consequences of failure. Are you aware of your inner voice? What is the running commentary that goes on inside your head? What sorts of things do you say to yourself ? The first step to practicing having a high self-esteem is developing your self-awareness and knowing when your thoughts are empowering and when they are disempowering. I don’t know anyone who can truly say they feel empowered when they say things to themselves like “I’m not good enough” or “They probably won’t like me”. These are examples of limiting thoughts that lead to limiting self-beliefs that lead to low confidence. Next time you have a limiting thought, dismiss it as you would swipe a boring news article on your smartphone. Then replace it with an empowering affirmation, like “I am confident because I am competent.”
- Practice Positivity
“Choose to be optimistic; it feels better” – Dalai Lama XIV
If you think about the people you really like to spend time with, it’s likely they are all optimistic positive people in their outlook. An outlook is the way a person chooses to interpret their experience. Having a positive outlook is easy when things go well. The best time to practice positivity is when things are tough. Now, “tough times” means different things to different people. I’ve seen a woman reduced to tears because she broke her finger nail minutes before she had to go out. I’ve seen a senior executive complaining to his team about how the Compliance Department are a “useless waste of space” because they raised quality issues in his department. I’ve also seen a manager, who knew her job would be redundant in 3 months and had to train others to do her job before she left, say to her team “everything happens for the best; you’ll see that this restructure will benefit the business and give you opportunities that you never had before, so embrace it.” Negativity leads to unnecessary misery. Why be miserable? This doesn’t mean you should accept everything and not complain when you are dissatisfied. However, when you complain from a mental state of positivity, you are likely to see far greater collaboration than when you are projecting from a place of negativity.
- Practice Visualising
“Visualization is daydreaming with a purpose.” – Bo Bennett
If you feel you’re lacking in confidence, practice visualising a version of yourself that is confident. To do this, choose a time of day when you have 5 minutes to yourself and can sit comfortably with your eyes closed. Take a deep breath in and let it out slowly. Do this two more times. Now, imagine yourself in a work place or social scenario where you would love to exude confidence and assertiveness. See yourself in that scenario. Pay attention to what you look like, what you’re wearing, your body language and what you’re saying. Now magnify that image of yourself. See yourself in this movie as a highly confident person. FEEL how proud you are to be that person. All the time, breathing deeply in and out. See how others are responding to this confident version of you. Open your eyes and pay attention to how you feel. Do this for 5 minutes each day, for 21days in a row, and notice the difference.
In conclusion, if you are able to interact with others confidently in a variety of situations, you will not only be more successful but your life will be enriched too. Would you like to learn more and be coached on techniques to unlock your ability to positively influence others with confidence? Attend my course “Building your Confidence, Assertiveness and Influence” through PRCA SEA.
After this course you will have an increased self-awareness, and will benefit from the opportunity to understand and practice some confidence, assertiveness and influencing techniques that work. With ongoing practice, these skills can become second nature. This will reduce your anxiety, help you become more effective in delivering successful outcomes and greatly improve your working relationships.