Friday, 26 April 2013

Giving a confident presentation

Last week we discussed how to build confidence in children, but what about our own? Many of us find our confidence is put to the greatest test when giving a presentation. 

If you've been asked to give a presentation or speech, perhaps for a wedding, work, end of term show, etc you may feel very daunted by the prospect. However, this doesn’t have to be a daunting experience, but rather an opportunity to entertain, showcase your leadership skills or build your career. Below are some tips to help you give your best possible presentation.

  • Studies have shown our emotions aren’t as visible to others as we think, so don’t panic that everyone will know how nervous you are. Plan ahead so you feel in control of things and to help prevent last minute panics.
  • Be careful not to memorise a speech word for word. If you forget one word or phrase it will throw you off completely and will seem much less authentic too. Instead, write down some key headings and points and practise what you want to say about each. When the time comes, take your headings in to the room with you to jog your memory.
  • Everyone, even the most experienced speakers, gets a little nervous before doing a presentation. Do not let the nerves control you. Believe in yourself. If you go into a presentation believing it will go well, the chances are it will. 
  • Control your body’s nervous response by using slow, deep, calming breaths. 
  • Studies have shown that people like others more if they have seen them before. So try to work the room beforehand and speak to as many people as you can. Getting your face out there will cause the audience to respond to you better. 
  • Children are not the only ones who love stories; adults do too. Use stories and examples to captivate your audience. 
  • Go slow, it will not only help you relax, but will make your audience understand what you are discussing. 
  • End strong. This is the part the audience is most likely to remember, so make it crisp, clean and powerful! 

The old saying, “fear is worse than fear itself” applies to presentations. So just remember that it is very unlikely to go as bad as you may think. Believe in your capabilities and the audience will follow suit. Good Luck!

Friday, 19 April 2013

Building confidence in children

From infancy to adulthood children face a range of changes and potential problems along the way. While we can't step in and live their lives for them, we can arm them with the tools they need to contend with each stage of their lives.

Helping to build confidence in children is a great way to help your child cope with the ups and downs of childhood.

Confidence can help a younger child manage the friendship problems they commonly experience, as well as helping children of all ages deal with sibling rivalry, problems with schoolwork and bullying, among other issues.

A confident child is more resilient to the fluctuations of life. They will not take things personally or blame themselves for things that are not their fault and can therefore find it easier to deal with the sorts of issues that crop up in childhood and adolescence.

Want to learn to build confidence in children?
First Psychology Scotland is running two FREE events this spring aimed at parents and educators of children and young people. You will come away with a range of tips and tools that will help you build confidence in children!

Glasgow: 9 May, 7-8.30pm, Centre for Contemporary Art

Edinburgh: 16 May, 6.30-8pm, City Art Centre

Places for both events are limited so book now to avoid disappointment!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Recognising the Signs of Autism

Tuesday 2 April was World Autism Day and although this date has passed, it is never too late to raise awareness. It is estimated that autism spectrum conditions (including Aspergers syndrome and other persuasive developmental disorders) occur in 1-2% of the population. As a parent you never want to believe that your child may have such difficulties but it is important to get an early diagnosis as the younger the child the greater the impact of treatment.

The signs and symptoms of autism vary according to the individual. However children with autism spectrum conditions have problems in the following areas:

  • Problems with social interaction. This includes non-verbal communication behaviour such as eye contact impairments, abnormal development of peer relationships, a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, and a lack of emotional or social reciprocity. 
  • Impairments in communication. This includes marked impairments in the development of language and conversation skills, repetitive use of certain words/ phrases and a lack of interest in imaginative play. 
  • Repetitive and restricted behaviour. This includes an abnormally intense preoccupation with a particular subject or activity, very rigid routines or rituals, repetitive movements (such as hand flapping) and a persistent preoccupation with parts of objects. 
If you suspect your child may be suffering from autism spectrum disorders it is important to trust your instincts – after all, you know your child best. Consult your GP who can provide you further information and advice and refer you on if necessary.