Thursday, May 17, 2012

Teens – Faking Confidence (Five Days of Blogging)

I know as a teen there were things that really intimidated me.  Big crowds, job interviews, college interviews, dealing with some adults, giving speeches to audiences, etc.  There were times when I would almost freeze up.  Of course, freezing up would lead to failure, and in many of these instances, failure is a very poor option.

I learned quickly that faking confidence was a key to allowing me to be successful.  I use that technique to this day.  I’m not a social person, so meeting new people is very intimidating.  So, I fake confidence.  Look them in the eye, big smile, shake hands, show enthusiasm, try to identify their interests and get them talking.  It works! 

It works even beyond just meeting new people – job interviews are a great place to fake confidence.  College interviews are no different.  How about those speeches we inevitably have to deliver – faking confidence gets the audience on your side quickly.
To me – this is one of the best lessons I am teaching my teens.  That when they are nervous – fake confidence!

Now, understand, this is not the same as misrepresentation.  You never present yourself as more than you are or embellish your abilities.  However, you can confidently state that you don’t know how to do something but you are eager to learn! 
One of the ways we encourage them to fake confidence is through participating in Gavel Club - this is a speakers' club where they are asked to give speeches several times a year in addition to evaluating the speeches others give.  We see this as an excellent opportunity to get them confortable speaking in front of audiences.  Seeking ways to give your students opportunity to practice is key. 
Faking confidence can be life saving.  How many times have you heard that attackers choose victims that appear vulnerable?  Square your shoulders, walk with a purposeful gait, look people in the eye, and show that you are not to be trifled with.  It’s not sure-fire, but research shows it makes a difference.

Life skills are so important.  You can be the most prepared, but if you can’t deliver in a coherent and articulate manner, then employers, recruiters, and prospective colleagues may never know.  It’s all about the confidence.
What other life skills do you feel are critical?

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