A few years ago, I was taking an acting class at a theater in Chicago. The class focused on diction and vocal range in addition to acting strategies, consisting of around 10 students – all adults. Of the 10, one student was enrolled without stars in her eyes. One day she explained to me that she works for a law firm and a big part of her job is to give presentations. However, this was a problem for her as she felt she lacked confidence. His goal with this class was to develop acting skills that could also serve as presentation skills. I always thought that was a brilliant and proactive idea. And, according to Jeanne Joe Perrone, the techniques taught in acting classes are great tools for feeling more confident.
The four confidence techniques
Perrone recommends 4 techniques that work to increase confidence in our daily lives: “be on your breath”, “be in your body”, “free your voice”, and…an extra credit master class?
“Be on Your Breath”
First of all, “be on your breath”. This basically means that you should always pay attention to how you breathe. Remember to inhale and exhale at a normal pace. It may seem trivial, but being aware of your breathing has an effect on your confidence.
When you feel nervous, your heart rate tends to speed up and your breathing may race. This, in turn, will make you even more nervous, which has a negative correlation with your confidence. To master this, practice simple breathing practices of inhaling and exhaling when you feel calm. Count the normal duration of each breath, then try to translate this information to the workplace.
“Be in your body”
Second, “be in your body.” This means it’s important for your body, mind and emotions to work together. Also, be aware of what your body is doing and what it needs. One sure way to control yourself is to participate in routine physical activity.
According to Perrone, there are fun ways to really get to know your body. These techniques range from taking a martial arts class to brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand. By knowing your body inside out, you are able to present yourself with confidence.
“Free Your Voice”
The next tip is to “free your voice”. It’s something I really struggled with in acting class. Especially since I am often told that my voice has the depth and height of a four-year-old child.
However, by doing a simple trick like humming, you’ll be better able to acclimate to your voice. By being in tune with your depth and scope, you are able to present your work in a confident voice.
“Extra Credit Master Class”
Finally, Perrone says the best way to really align your confidence is to combine the 3 tips above. By focusing on your breath, your body, and your voice, you’re likely to not only increase your self-confidence, but also get to know yourself better.