A few years back, 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. Out 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 consists of giving presentations. However, this was an issue for her since she felt she lacked confidence. Her goal with this class was to develop acting skills that could double as presentation skills. I always thought that this was a bright and proactive idea. And, according to Jeanne Joe Perrone, techniques taught in acting classes are great tools to feel more confident.
The four techniques for confidence
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 masters class?
“Be on your breath”
First, “be on your breath”. Essentially what this means is that you should always pay attention to how you are breathing. Remember to inhale and exhale at a normal pace. This may sound 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 can go out of whack. This will, in turn, cause you to feel even more nervous which has a negative correlation with your confidence. To master this, practice simple inhale and exhale breathing practices when you are feeling calm. Count how long each breath normally lasts, and then try to translate that information into the workplace.
“Be in your body”
Second, “be in your body”. What this means is that it is important for your body, mind, and emotions to work together. Also, be cognizant of what your body is doing and what it needs. One sure way to keep yourself in check 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 fully knowing your body, you are able to present yourself in a confident manner.
“Free your voice”
The next tip is to “free your voice”. This was something that I really struggled with in acting class. Especially since I often get told that my voice has the depth and pitch of a four-year-old.
However, by doing a simple trick such as humming you are better able to acclimate with your voice. By being in tune with your depth and range, you are able to present your work in a confident voice.
“Extra credit master’s class”
Lastly, Perrone says that the best way to really become aligned with your confidence is to combine the 3 above tips. By focusing on your breath, body, and voice, you are likely to, not only increase confidence but also get to know yourself better.