Confidence When You Need It

Sitting in an interview or standing up to make a presentation is much easier when you are feeling confident. Confidence gives you a presence and an inner strength. Appearing confident makes you more attractive to your listeners – they listen to what you say. Being confident makes you appear in control of a situation. So wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could ‘flick a switch’ and turn on confidence when you need it? Well you can – and here’s how in 5 easy steps.

Firstly, let’s explore and play. Remember a time when you felt totally confident – fully in control – feeling I can easily do this! As you remember that event, see what you saw then, hear what you heard, and feel how you felt. Just re-live the situation until you are actually ‘there’ – seeing what you saw, hearing what you heard, and feeling what you felt. You may also have a particular smell or taste associated with the experience – if so, smell what you smelt and taste what you tasted. Let the sights, sounds and feelings come over you. Now you have that feeling of confidence in your body that you had during that past event. Doesn’t it feel great!

Even if you have not got a memory of a time you felt totally confident, you can imagine it. One of the wonderful things about the human mind is its ability to dream – to imagine – to create in your mind a situation where you are totally confident and fully in control. And as you do, notice what you see, what you hear, and what you feel. Even this imagined scenario of feeling totally confident and fully in control causes your body to actually have those feelings. Your body cannot tell the difference between a real and an imagined scenario and gives you the feelings.

You can also imagine what a person you admire feels, whether that person is a movie star, a politician or somebody you work with. In your mind, you can imagine that person in a particular situation – perhaps in an interview or perhaps giving a presentation – and you can see what they would see, hear what they would hear, and feel the total confidence they have – the feeling of being fully in control. As you do, notice that you actually feel the confidence!

So now that you know you can feel the confidence in an imagined scenario, you can also aggrandize or enhance your own memory of that time you felt confident. As you re-live that experience – as you see what you saw, hear what you heard, and feel the confidence, feel totally in control – just heighten the feelings – turn up those feelings so that you are feeling even more confident – even more totally in control – even more powerful. The only limit is the depth of your imagination.

The Technique

Step 1

Be clear about the resourceful state of mind you wish to have – above it was described as being totally confident, fully in control, totally powerful – but you should use your own words to describe the state you want to be in.

Step 2

Decide on an ‘anchor’ you will use to fire off the totally confident (etc.) feeling. The desired state of mind will be ‘anchored’ to an easily repeated gesture, or phrase or symbol. This might be squeezing the top of your little finger or making a tight fist with your hand. Or it could be a phrase you say in your mind such as “I’m confident – really confident!” or “yes, yes!”. Or it may be something you see – a symbol perhaps. Just remember that you will need to repeat this ‘anchor’ at the start of your interview or presentation, so the anchor should be easy to repeat in the appropriate situation.

Step 3

Go back to a time in the past when you felt totally confident (or however you describe it) – to a specific occasion when you felt totally confident – and re-live the experience so that you see what you saw, heard what you heard, smell what you smelt, and feel what you felt.

Step 4

Just before the experience reaches its peak – when the sights, sounds, smell and feelings are almost at their strongest – anchor it as described in Step 2.

Step 5

Now think of something totally different or look out the window and notice what is happening outside. Just come out of the state you entered. Now fire off your anchor again and notice the extent to which you feel totally confident (or however you describe it). If it is not as intense as you want it to be, repeat the process to more closely link the anchor and the desired feeling of total confidence.

Repeat this process often to reinforce the link between the anchor and your desired state of feeling totally confident. Repetition will keep the anchor active so that you can be confident just when you need it.

Build Rapport & Instantly Connect With Your Interviewer

What does Building Rapport mean?

Rapport is a relationship of trust, sympathy, respect and understanding. It is essential for good communication as it ensures that others are open to your views and ideas. It is a situation where you know you are being listened to. Rapport is when two people connect – when they ‘click’ or ‘hit it off’ – when they understand and like one another, even though they might just have met.

Therapists, counsellors, businessmen, sales people, trainers and educators all understand the importance to their work of building the trust and empathy that is rapport.

I’m sure you have seen two friends sitting at a bar or table and its obvious they like and understand one another. Their body language matches and mirrors that of the other – they use similar gestures, make and hold eye contact, and eat or drink at the same time. They are relaxed in one another’s company. If you could overhear their conversation you would notice that they use similar words and phrases, and their voice tone, rhythm and talking speed all match. They are in rapport with one another.

So, if you are going for an interview, wouldn’t it be useful to know how to go about building rapport with your interviewer? Wouldn’t it be useful to know that you can deliberately connect with the other person and know that they are really listening to you, and are sympathetic to you?

How to build rapport

Knowing what happens when two people are in rapport gives us an idea of how to go about building it. The signs of rapport discussed above give an indication of what we need to do to build rapport. However, rapport is a relationship between two people – you and another. For rapport to exist or be established, both people need to be doing certain things, and you can only control your side of this relationship (at least initially). So you need to take their cue and follow their body language, words or voice. Here’s how:

Match or mirror aspects of their body language, in order to build rapport

When two people are in rapport, they match and mirror one another’s body language. To match another person, tapping their left foot for instance, you would tap your left foot too and at the same pace. If they gesture with their right hand, to mirror them you would gesture with your left hand – it should look as if their gesture was done in front of a mirror! The intention is not to fully mimic the other person as that may well be offensive to them. Rather, what you need to do is pick up on some aspect of their body language and adopt it yourself.

For example, look at their posture. In an interview, you most probably will only see the upper part of the other person’s body. How are they sitting? How do they hold their head? You can easily adopt the same posture without it being consciously noticed.

Most people use gestures when they speak. Unless the other person’s gestures are so unique that it would be obvious if you copied them, you can use a similar gesture. It doesn’t have to be exactly the same, just similar.

People have different breathing habits. They breathe at different rates and from different locations. Some breathe in the top of their chest, others in the middle or down near the abdomen. They can breathe fast or slow. Watch people and notice their breathing. Practice breathing the way another person does, both in terms of the location and the pace. Then you will be able to match other people when you need or want to.

However, do not try to match a person who breathes very fast or very slow – this could be both uncomfortable and dangerous for you. Instead, match the rate of their breathing with your finger – lift it as they breathe in and lower it as they breathe out. Your gesture will be in rhythm with their breathing.

Words and voice tonality can also help with building rapport

Notice the words and key phrases that people use. Again, without actually fully mimicking them, use the words they use when you talk to them. Subtly include their key phrases in your own conversation. You could also occasionally repeat their sentences, especially when they ask you a question. Repeating their sentence will seem as if you are considering it before you answer, but done at the same pace and rhythm can be a rapport builder.

People speak at a particular tone, pace and rhythm. You can adopt these too, but its best not to do all at the same time as this might sound like you are mimicking them. Try talking at the same speed as the other person. Or adopt a similar tone. You don’t have to get it exactly right – a movement towards their tone, speed or pace will build rapport.

Smile! An easy way to build rapport

The easiest way to build rapport is to smile! Smiling at someone usually produces a smile in return. When both people are smiling – when they are doing the same thing – they are in or on the way to being in rapport. However, unless you already smile a lot, you will need to practice until you do it naturally. Attempting to turn on a smile when you don’t usually smile might end up like a snarl! People who smile frequently are generally liked by other people – people like to be smiled at. Smiling also increases a person’s level of happiness. So, smile, smile, smile!

Practice

Some of these techniques for building repport come naturally to people and others need to be practiced to build proficiency. Take them one at a time and practice them. As you become more familiar with them, you will be able to productively use these techniques when they are needed. Try these techniques when sitting on the train or bus – you may be pleasantly surprised by what happens – you may even make a new friend!

Training Needs Analysis – a 5 Step Process

training needs assessment and analysis

Training Needs Analysis (frequently abbreviated to TNA) is an essential though often a daunting part of trainers and training managers’ jobs.

As a full training plan for an organisation or a department happens, at best, once a year, a Training Needs Analysis is an activity that is only infrequently required. This infrequency, combined with the amount of paperwork involved, makes a Training Needs Analysis more intimidating and overwhelming than it need be.

In this article a Training Needs Analysis is simplified into a 5 Step process..


Step 1: Set the TNA in Context.

The key to getting a TNA right is to set it within its proper context, whether the focus of the TNA is company-wide, a department or a new project team. The context of a Training Needs Analysis is the organisation’s business plan and this should be readily available, especially at the higher levels of the organisation.

The business plan will spell out the organisation’s goals and objectives. Ideally, each department, each section and each team will have specific objectives related to the overall organisational business plan. Whether this is the case or not, the training manager will need to assist the relevant line manager in clarifying the objectives of the business unit that is the subject of the Training Needs Analysis (be this a team or section or a whole department). If there are sub-units or teams within the business unit, the objectives of each should be clarified.


Step 2: Identify the Knowledge, Skills, Behaviours and Attitudes required.

In order to meet the objectives of the business unit, what knowledge, skills, behaviours and attitudes are required? The focus here is not on individual roles but on the business unit as a whole. If there are sub-units or teams within the business unit, this process needs to be completed for each. This is an important task, but it is primarily the responsibility of the relevant line manager and the training manager should only play a supporting role.


Step 3: Cascade Down from the Business Unit Level to Individual Roles.

Having identified the knowledge, skills, behaviours and attitudes required to meet the business unit’s objectives (and those of any sub-units), this should now be completed for each individual role. Again the starting point is the objectives of each role and this keeps the focus of the TNA on business objectives. Job descriptions for the various roles will be useful here.


Step 4: Assess the current levels of Knowledge, Skills, Behaviours and Attitudes.

The current level of knowledge, skills, behaviours and attitudes should be assessed for each individual. Where performance appraisal systems are in use and capture such information, this will greatly assist with this task. Where gaps are identified, a training need exists in that area for the individual concerned.


Step 5: Collate the Material.

The information gathered on gaps between required and existing levels of knowledge, skills, behaviours and attitudes for each individual should be collated at each sub-unit or team level. This will identify the training needs of the sub-units or teams. Collating the information of all sub-units or teams will then identify the training needs of the overall business unit in question and the Training Needs Analysis is complete.

The information gathered at each step of the process should be retained as it will be useful for subsequent Training Needs Analyses. In particular, while the information on the knowledge, skills, behaviours and attitudes required for the business unit and each of its sub-units and individual roles is time consuming to uncover, it is invaluable not only for future TNA’s, but for many other organisational purposes too such as recruitment and performance appraisal.

Once the Training Needs Analysis has been completed, solutions to the identified training needs should be developed in consultation with the relevant line managers and individuals. As the Training Needs Analysis was focused on business objectives throughout the process, the training solutions too will be focused on better meeting business objectives.

This makes obtaining the necessary resources easier to obtain as the ROI (Return on Investment) can be more straightforwardly stated. Additionally, evaluation of training provision will be also be straightforward as the training will have clearly stated objectives.