Practice the Three Rules of Confidence
With the start of the new school year, the opportunity for our children to make new friends and set up a successful school year comes once again. We all want to see our kids have high self-esteem so they can make friends with their new classmates. To do so, however, requires confidence, which is a skill that is often underdeveloped in children, and even some adults as well. Confidence, like any other skill, is something that needs to be constantly practiced in order to grow. To help build our students’ confidence in time for the new school year, we will be focusing on the Three Rules of Confidence in this week’s classes. Just like any other material they might learn in class, it’s important for students to practice confidence at home, too. Plus, practicing and implementing this with your children at home is a great way to do some extra family bonding, and have everyone develop this critical skill more. Keep reading to figure out how you can help you and your children build their self-esteem and confidence skills at home!
The Three Rules
The Three Rules of Confidence are as follows:
- Voice Projection
- Eye Contact
- Body Posture
Following these three steps will ensure that you present yourself more confidently to those around you, and the more you implement these rules into your daily life will quickly allow your confidence to bloom.
In classes, we make sure to have our students practice their confidence often. Whether it’s being loud when answering questions, tackling challenging drills, or even speaking in front of the whole class, our students learn how to implement the Three Rules of Confidence into their daily lives.
Remember, the more time you spend practicing, the better you will get, and the more your self-esteem will flourish. Over time, these practices will turn into innate habits and routines, and help you take your confidence wherever you go!
Simply put, Voice Projection means speaking loudly and clearly. Like a projector casts an image onto a screen, you must practice projecting your voice out to your audience. In order to appear confident when speaking, people have to first be able to hear you. The first step to having good voice projection is learning how to speak from your Diaphragm. The Diaphragm is a thin muscle that divides the chest and stomach, and is responsible for creating the vacuum effect that allows us to breathe. It pulls air in and pushes our breath out, including the breath we use to speak.
To practice speaking from your diaphragm, first stand or sit nice and tall, and place your hands on the surface of your stomach. Flex and release your core muscles, and notice how it feels on your hands. Then, practice speaking while contracting those muscles, keeping your hands on your stomach to make sure you can feel the muscles tightening. Notice how using your core muscles and diaphragm in this way allows you to control your speech volume and intensity with ease. Once you get the hang of it, try speaking at different volumes using this same method, until you’re able to consistently project your voice the way you intend.
One additional note is to keep in mind the setting you find yourself in when conversing, as this will determine the appropriate amount of projection needed for optimal confidence. When inside a more private or personal setting, such as a friend’s home or the break room at work, be mindful not to over-project. Speaking too loud when it is not required will take away from your appearance of confidence. On the other hand, if you are in a more public or open space, such as a noisy restaurant or business meeting, it is important to project your voice a little more so that everyone who needs to hear you is able to do so without difficulty. In these types of situations, speaking too softly can cause your speech to be drowned out by other, louder noises, which will muddle your confidence. The bottom line is, people need to be able to hear you loudly and clearly, but within a range of what is reasonable for the given situation.
To help our students practice Voice Projection in class, we have them take turns introducing themselves and sharing a fun fact with the rest of the class. If they are not loud enough, then we have them try again, and encourage them to speak loudly and clearly. This helps students learn how to control their volume, while also speaking loud enough so that everyone can hear.
The second essential rule of confidence is eye contact, which means looking people in the eyes when you speak. It is important to maintain eye contact with your audience as you speak, because this will increase engagement with the information you are presenting. Locking eye contact will ensure that the people you are speaking to are listening and following along with what you say. Think about the times when someone has spoken to you while averting eye contact and looking away from you. Usually, the speaker in those situations comes across as either shy and timid, or guilty of some soon-to-be-revealed slip up (you know that look your dog gives you when you walk in after he just ripped all the fluff out of the couch cushions?). When in a conversation with someone, maintaining eye contact will help get your point across more clearly, and your audience is more likely to “buy into” what you’re trying to tell them.
To practice eye contact at home, go into your bathroom and position yourself in front of the mirror. Look yourself in the eyes, and practice speaking to yourself. If you have a presentation of any kind coming up, you can practice what you want to say in this way too! Just make sure you lock eye contact with yourself while you’re speaking. And remember, it’s ok to break eye contact every once in a while, as long as it serves a purpose. For example, breaking eye contact can be used to draw attention to any visual elements of a presentation, or to highlight something relevant to the current conversation. Another way to strategically use a break in eye contact is for dramatic effect to emphasize certain words or phrases. Just remind yourself to always come back to eye contact, because that’s what increases confidence levels!
In classes, we always make sure that our students are focused and paying attention while the instructors or other students are talking. When a student’s gaze wanders off, we quickly and respectfully remind them to stay focused on the speaker. Eventually, students develop the discipline to maintain eye contact, which is also very helpful in school. Our goal is to build good habits for our kids that will help them not just in karate class, but everywhere they go!
The third and final rule of confidence comes down to the way we sit, stand, walk, and carry ourselves throughout our daily lives. Believe it or not, body posture is a form of nonverbal communication that most people tend to notice and decipher before we even start speaking. The way we hold our bodies has the ability to tell others how we are really feeling. When someone is slouching or leaning over, that communicates a lazy, timid, or uninterested attitude, which detracts from our appearance of self-esteem. On the contrary, standing tall with broad shoulders and your head held high gives off the appearance of someone with conviction, who is determined, and… what’s that word im looking for? Oh right, confident.
To improve your confident body posture, take note of the way you hold yourself while you sit or stand. When standing, make sure your feet are planted firmly on the ground, with your hips straight and not leaning too far on either side. From there, lean all the way over and try to touch your toes. On your way back up, slowly unbend your torso, and picture each of your vertebrae snapping back into place, stacking one on top of the other. As you do this, you may notice that you’re standing slightly taller than before, which is a good sign. When sitting, try not to slouch into the back of the chair. Keep your bottom slightly forward with feet flat on the floor, and align your back the same way, straight and as tall as you can. Practicing good posture will not only boost your presentation of self-esteem and confidence, but will also keep your body in better shape and health as you age, so this really is a win all around.
Body Posture is an important factor in confidence, and we do our best to ensure that our kids practice good standing and sitting postures. When standing, we encourage our kids to stand straight and tall, hands to their sides, and heads high. When sitting, our students are taught to sit criss-cross with hands resting on their knees, backs straight and heads high as well. It may seem like a small detail, but the way we hold ourselves communicates our mood and feelings to our audience, so it’s important to monitor what our bodies are saying!
Practice, Practice, Practice
Just like we always tell our students, if we want to develop skills and build good habits, we have to commit to spending time each day practicing them. The good news? These are all things you can do with your children, to benefit yourself and your loved ones! Plus, more time spent with our kids will also help to develop the special, one-of-a-kind bond between parent and child that we all strive to have. So, for the month of September, let’s all help our young ones improve their self-esteem and confidence skills for the new school year, and you will notice major improvements in you and your childrens’ lives. Just remember: always follow the Three Rules!
Do you utilize the Three Rules of Confidence in your daily life?
What other things do you think might make us appear more confident?