February 26, 2016 4:34 pm
Confidence in tricky situations
I’ve been asked a couple of times about situations and how people can feel more confident when they’re dealing with parents, who’ve perhaps said something inappropriate in front of the children, who may be have done something that is not at all appropriate within the setting and that could give rise to a safeguarding issue. In those situations, the people who are dealing with them have not felt confident to tackle a parent or to actually try and nip the situation in the bud, and as such the situation has escalated.
I’d like to share with you three tips on how you could make yourself feel more confident when dealing with those sorts of situations, and they’re things that you can do in everyday life. You can practice them and they’re hopefully really practical for you to use in any situation that pushes you out of your comfort zone.
The first thing to do is watch your body language. When somebody’s being aggressive or being very assertive, watch their body language. You’ll notice that they start to sit up straight, their shoulders are back, their chest is out. You’ll see their chin is high and they are conveying that sense of power, they’re conveying that sense of ‘I’m in control here’ and that can be a very tough thing to deal with if you’re not used to having to deal with it.
I find that the trick in those situations is to try and trick your body into feeling a bit more confident. In those situations, just watch how you’re standing, watch where your arms are folded, are they folded in front of you, are they behind you? Are you sitting, do you start to feel like you’re crouching, or you’re starting to fold in on yourself, and if someone’s being very assertive towards you and you need to deal with this, then just make sure you sit up straight.
If you’re sat down, maybe put both feet on the floor and make sure your arms are uncrossed, keep your shoulders back and your head up. You’re not looking here to be aggressive but you’re looking to be assertive. You’re looking to say to the other person, ‘I have control of this situation and I’m going to manage it’.
The next thing is eye contact. Eye contact is a really powerful tool, I don’t mean staring at the other person, you don’t want to be trying to stare them down in a staring competition; but what you’re doing is you’re catching their eye and you’re saying, ‘look, this is not right, I am in control in this situation and that you are the person that is going to then take the lead’.
There’s an awful lot you can get from eye contact. You can see whether there’s a fury behind the eyes, you can see if someone’s just tired and they’ve come out with this comment and it’s inappropriate but they are absolutely shattered. You can tell if they’re sad, you can tell if there’s something else going on there that they’re not telling you and that can help you as you’re dealing with the situation and the conflict further down the line.
The final thing to remember, and this is really, really crucial is to breathe. It’s so easy to realise when you’ve dealt with something that you’ve been holding your breath and you’ve not let that breath out. Just breathe. I find that if I’m in a difficult situation where I may have to give some difficult advice or I have to deal with a situation, maybe I’m having to tell a Judge something that he really doesn’t want to hear : once I’ve stood up straight, I’ve made that eye contact, & that I breathe, it allows your body to just relax a bit.
You’re sending breath to the right places, you are giving yourself a moment as well in that breath, you’re letting yourself have that moment to essentially get ready and prepare for what you’re about to say and what you are about to do. So give yourself that moment.
So in dealing with difficult situations, my three confidence tips are:
- Body language
- Eye contact
Want more guidance, videos & templates, join the Safeguarding Academy here
Get my free weekly safeguarding newsletter here