Elizabethkuhnke's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Confidence

You’ve prepared, you’ve practiced, and you’re rearing to go.   Pumped with adrenaline and ready to take on all challengers, you walk into the arena where you’re met with an angry,hostile, resentful audience.


Whether you’re speaking to an assembly of 1 or 1,000 managing your listener’s negativity is paramount if you’re to communicate successfully.  Panicking will get you nowhere.  By applying the 3-D principle: Depersonalise,Detach, and Defuse you’ll increase your confidence and come off looking like a star.

  • Depersonalise  People carry their own agenda and personal baggage.  Someone’s response to you may have nothing to do with you personally.  For example, a client was struggling with a member of her staff, who was named Donna.  It turned out that the client’s husband had recently left her for another woman, whose name was also Donna. The problem wasn’t the staff member’s capability or competency, it was her name. Lesson learned?  Don’t take it personally.
  • Detach
      Contain your feelings, expunge your ego, and distance yourself from the emotion.  Engaging with the attacker sets up a
    competitive dynamic in which one wins and the other loses.  By remaining open and asking questions for gaining clarity you’ll neutralise the situation.
  • Defuse A bit of appropriate humour goes a long way in defusing negative energy. If your tension rises and you respond defensively, the negativity will increase. Remember: Respond to the situation; don’t react to the person.


Knowing What Triggers Your Reactions

 There are people in this world who just annoy you and you don’t know why. By investing time to recognise who and what sets you off you’ll increase your ability to handle whatever negativity gets thrown your way.  Below are different types you might recognise as Triggers:

  • The Know-It-All:  This person has an answer for everything and wants to actively participate in your life.  Acknowledge the positive
    contribution the person makes, and that you will consider their input.  You do not promise to act on their suggestions, just to consider them
  • The Fault Finder: Whines and complains about everything and comes up with no solutions.  This person takes pleasure in complaining.  No matter what you say, they’ll respond with, “Yes, but…” Tell them that you are looking for solutions, not further problems, and that you would appreciate their suggestions.
  • The Expert Challenger: These people need to be recognised for their expertise.  Acknowledge their contributions and remain open to their input.  By inviting and acknowledging the challenger’s expertise you’ll build rapport and create an ally.
  • The Wanderer: This person immerses himself in the minutiae of the detail when a quick answer is all that’s required.  To stop
    them from droning on, cut in, summarise what they’ve said and thank them for their contribution.
  • The Loser: This person never admits to being wrong or making a mistake.  With low self-esteem, this person can only make himself feel better by making other people wrong.  Let them save face by agreeing to disagree.
  • The Controller:  Dominance is paramount to this person.  Able to intimidate others by monopolising a conversation or activity, you can control them by asking for others to respond.  If the person continues to dominate the conversation/meeting/event take a break, and have a quiet word with them.
  • The Talkers:   No matter how good you are at connecting with an audience, there will be times when two or more people will engage in conversation during your presentation.  If it’s a large audience, ignore the disruption.  If they’re distracting the people near them, they’ll soon be told.  If it happens in a smaller group, you’ll have to manage the distraction.  You can do this is the following ways:
    • Make eye contact and stop speaking until they look at you.
    • Ask them directly to hold their conversation until the break.
    • Walk toward them, stop in front of them, and keep talking. 
  • The Hecklers: Ignore them and continue as you planned.  If you don’t respond to them, they’ll soon give up.  If they continue, ask their name and what organisation they represent.  This usually works because hecklers want to remain anonymous.


The point to remember about difficult audiences is that when someone is acting disruptively, it’s more often than not about something other than you.  The person is suffering from an unmet need.  Whether it’s the loser needing to be right, the complainer needing to be comforted, or the controller needing to dominate, by depersonalising, detaching, and defusing, you’ll remain in control and the other person’s negative behaviour might even disappear.


For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

And…Follow us on Twitter! www.twitter.com/diamondpolisher


Just a few short notes on how to exude charisma in a meeting situation.

The secret lies in body language – in what the experts call power moves. The choreography of physical dominance that, since the dawn of
hominid society, subconsciously warns the betas of an alpha’s presence.

The moves subtly declare ‘Obey this person,they are cool, they rule’!


So, how to enter a meeting room:

Don’t just scuttle in head down

Pause briefly inside the door

Survey your domain and as you approach your seat, move something – a chair a piece of desk furniture – to assert the fact that this is
your territory.

Try to get the tallest chair.  It’s important

If the chairs adjust, spring yours to the top height.  If you’re stuck on a short chair, sit on the
front edge so you look poised for action.

Don’t sit with your back to the door: studies show it makes you subconsciously worried about attack from behind.  Your pulse and blood pressure rise.   You look uneasy

And lastly, smile and breathe from your boots!

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

And…Follow us on Twitter! www.twitter.com.diamondpolisher

Beliefs and behaviours. They’re closely connected. Whatever you choose to believe about yourself – be it good or bad– impacts on your behaviour and influences what others believe about you, too. Choose your beliefs carefully. They’re life-determining forces. We’re going to look at how you can apply your beliefs to fuel your success. In addition, we’re going to give you a few tips to help you instil some positive beliefs when you’re getting bogged down in negativity.

From your earliest days your belief patterns are determined. Some of you were treated with love, care and respect, and believe yourselves worthy. Others of you were treated with indifference – or worse – and believe yourselves to be worthless.

I’m often asked, “Can I change my belief systems?” And my answer is, “Yes.” The next question is, “How easy is it to change a belief system?” and I say, “Nothing worthwhile doing is easy. And, it can be done, if you want to badly enough.”

Some people want to hold onto negative beliefs. By telling themselves that they’re incapable, worthless, or just not very smart, they give themselves permission to fail. Tell yourself that you’re capable, worthy, and clever and you have to live up to that belief. If you want to succeed in whatever you do, you have to believe you can. As my children often remind me, “Your chances for success no matter what the undertaking can always be measured by your belief in yourself.”

Follow these simple steps to harness the power of positive belief:

  •        Identify your beliefs. Think about who you are, what you stand for and what is important to you. If you struggle with this exercise, imagine what your best friend or trusted colleague believes to be true about you. If you find any negative beliefs creeping onto your list, eliminate them.
  •        Embed your beliefs. Once you know your positive beliefs, store them. Make them your mantra. Write them down where you can see them every day. For those of you who are more visual create an image that represents you and your beliefs.
  •        Act on your beliefs. Once you have identified and embedded your positive beliefs, act on them. Nothing great was ever accomplished without a healthy dose of self-belief.

Remember: If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will either.

Tip: If you find yourself feeling less than positive, make a conscious effort to claim your space, move with purpose and free your natural voice. By doing so your self-belief will rise.

Technical: Research clearly shows that positive self-belief improves performance both intellectually and physically

Caution: Don’t allow temporary setbacks to trigger you into negative beliefs. Part of the power of positive belief lies in the determination it fuels in the face of adversity.

Finally: Believe and act as if it were impossible to fail. You may be in for a pleasant surprise.

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

And…Follow us on Twitter! www.twitter.com/diamondpolisher

The three principles of self-assurance are clarity, confidence and commitment.

So, how do you demonstrate confidence when you’re shaking in your boots?

How can you create a presentation that is clear and compelling?

What do you need to know to convince your audience?

If you are confident, there is no mountain too high, no valley too low, no river too wide to keep you from reaching your goals.  But what if you’re not feeling confident?  What if every little word going through your head is telling you, “You can’t do this”?

Start by cutting off the negative self-speak.  “Whether you think you can or think you can’t you’re right,” said Henry Ford.  Given the choice, go for the positive.  Look for what you do well and remind yourself on a regular basis.  Why waste time and energy being your own worst enemy when a little bit of positive self-talk can lead you to success?

Next, find yourself a role model.  Someone credible.  Someone who speaks with passion and conviction.  Someone whose way of presenting makes you sit up and take notice.

Once you’ve picked your person, observe their behaviour.  What does that person do that rings true for you?  Is it the way they use their voice?  Is it how they command attention through stance and gesture?  Is it how they use their eyes to connect with their audience?  Chances are it’s all of the above.

Once you have noted the behaviour, make it your own.  Look at your audience, not at the floor (ceiling, wall, table).  When you move, move with purpose.  When you speak, speak from your core.  Smile.  If you look like you’re enjoying what you’re doing your audience will enjoy the experience with you.

Self-trust is the first secret of success. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

All of us are hit from time to time with bouts of self-doubt.  The occasional bout is normal and keeps us humble.  When the bouts become a way of life, however, we stand little chance of achieving our goals and realizing our self-worth.  Negativity is a draining emotion.  It can lead to depression and self-destructive behaviour. It can make a person ill.  Successful people don’t give air time to negative self-talk.  Successful people have a belief in their own abilities.  They claim their space and welcome others into it.  They know they have the right to speak and to be heard.  If you act like a confident person you will feel confident.  And the more confident you feel, the more confident you will be.

When you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun.  And when you have fun, you can do amazing things. – Joe Namath

 Remember, communication is a contact sport.  The audience only receives what you put out.  It doesn’t matter if you feel confident or not.  If you act as if you are confident, that is what the audience will receive and believe.  And if the audience believes you are confident, you’ll find yourself agreeing with them!

Here are three things you can do to improve your confidence:

  1. No More Negative Self-Talk.  If you find yourself saying, “I can’t…” change the wording to “I can…”  At first it may feel uncomfortable; it may sound false to your ear; you may even fall into the trap of saying, “Yes, but…”  Stick with it.  The more you substitute positive language for self-denying, self-destructive messages the more positive and confident you will feel.
  2. Model Excellence.  Look for those people who inspire you in the way they communicate.  Observe what they do, the way they move, the way they speak.  Note their gestures, the variety in their voices, the way they engage with their listeners.  Make those techniques your own. 
  3. Practice.  To change behaviour takes time and commitment.  The more you practice the more comfortable and confident you will feel.  Before long, you will be presenting with clarity, confidence and commitment.  And won’t that be fun!

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

And…Follow us on Twitter! www.twitter.com/diamondpolisher

How to make the most of your next meeting

Don’t miss the chance to impress your colleagues, clients or boss – and inch closer to that pay rise. Use Kuhnke Communication’s top tips to achieve your aims and make the most of each and every meeting.

 First of all, make an entrance. When you enter the room, hold for a moment to take in the scene.  If you’re carrying a notebook, pad, or lap top, hold it by your side, not in front of you.  Hiding behind your props makes you look defensive and as if shielding yourself. Once you’ve surveyed the room, acknowledge others who may already be there before moving.  A simple smile and nod of the head will do before you speak.  Do not scurry into the room.  When you move, move with purpose.

Next, sit upright, with your weight evenly distributed.  Leaning forward shows interest and involvement, sitting back indicates that you’re stepping out of the discussion and are reflecting on what’s happening. Feel free to take as much room at the table as you can.  Men spread out leaving women squished in wherever they can fit.  Folding your hands, leaning forward with your elbows resting on the table demonstrates that you’re claiming your space.

When it comes to your part, whether presenting or pitching. Distribute your weight equally between both legs (i.e., don’t stand with your weight mostly on one, bending the knee of the other, jutting your hip out). Standing ‘4 square’ with your feet and knees placed evenly beneath your hips makes you look strong and in control.  Put your hands in the power position (elbows bent, hands together at waist level, finger tips touching or one palm resting in the other.) You can also hold your hands by your sides.  This may feel uncomfortable and it’s the strongest position you can take.  You’re completely open to your audience, in your most vulnerable position, saying in effect, “Here I am.  I have nothing to fear.” Hold your head as if it were floating on a gentle lake, with your chin parallel to the floor.  Lifting your chin can make you look arrogant and dropping it may make you seem unsure.  Establish strong eye contact.  When you speak look at your audience 65-85% of the time.  NEVER look at the screen behind you if you’re making a power point presentation.  And NEVER read from your notes.  The moment you break eye contact, you give away your power.  NEVER stand with your hands clasped in front of your pelvis (Fig leaf position), this makes you look defensive and protective.

Finally, avoid any other common mistakes. Women give up their power by making themselves small.  They tend to bring their shoulders forward and hold their arms close to their bodies.  In addition, they often stand with their legs crossed, making them look like little girls instead of powerful women. They also tend to nod frequently in agreement and smile to excess. This makes them appear conciliatory, which, while fine in theory, can be interpreted as relinquishing power. Strive to maintain a neutral stance as described above, with a calm and impartial expression.

 For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

And…Follow us on Twitter! www.twitter.com/diamondpolisher

Use these simple tips to assert yourself and claim your space in the office, making the difference between being perceived as powerful, or merely part of the pack.

  • Consider your stance. Place your hands facing each other and steeple your fingers. This forces your palms apart and, whether you are sitting or standing, you arms will take up more space. This is a highly effective negotiating posture; watch how CEOs, politicians and solicitors use it.
  • Delay your introduction. When you first meet a person, engage them in conversation for a few seconds before giving your name. By then he or she will have a reason to remember it.
  • Be aware of your body language. If you nod to show empathy, it can be misinterpreted as agreement. If you disagree with something, say so verbally. This will avoid misunderstanding. When talking, keep your head upright, even balanced on your neck. Relax your shoulders, keeping your upper chest softly opened like a book. This position will give you a look of authority and influence.
  • Practise speaking with a lower, more even delivery. A lower voice has more credibility, which is why most commercial voiceovers are done by men. If your voice rises at the end of sentences, force the intonations down.
  • Don’t allow others to interrupt you. If co-workers try to interrupt you, increase the volume of your voice and keep speaking. If they continue to speak over you, put up one finger to indicate that you have not yet finished. If that doesn’t produce the desired result, hold up your hand as if to say, “Stop!” Or say, “Excuse me, I hadn’t finished.” Assertiveness shows that you are confident and aware of your rights. The more you practise, the easier it will get. You’ll feel good about yourself too.

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

And…Follow us on Twitter! www.twitter.com/diamondpolisher

It’s that time of year:  Awards Season. While the BAFTAS, Oscars, Grammys and Emmys may lead in the glamour stakes, most industries hoststheir own award ceremonies, in which the achievements of its outstanding performers are acknowledged.  Regardless of what business you’re in, there will be winners and losers when the prizes are handed out.  Whether you take home the bacon, or leave empty handed, how you manage the process reflects on your ability to win and lose with grace and dignity.

Whilst competition in life is healthy and beneficial, one of the hardest lessons is how to conduct yourself when you achieve success and suffer failure.  When all eyes are on you, how you manage your feelings and express them in your words, gestures, and expressions determines how people judge you.  Win or lose, by acting with good will, grace and enthusiasm, you’ll be demonstrating the characteristics of a champion.

  • Winners should behave with grace and dignity.  A warm smile, an appreciative look at your partner/date/audience, with your arms loosely placed confidently by your  sides is the perfect body language to avoid appearing arrogant.
  • Losers should also behave with grace and dignity.  Take the high road and save your tears, pouts and screams of frustration for behind closed doors. A warm smile and eye contact are good places to start for containing frustration whilst appearing happy for the winner.  If you didn’t pick up a gong speak graciously to the one who did. Lean forward in the winners’ direction to show affinity and alignment with them and smile.  Behave like a winner and you’ll look like one.
  • Winners should feel free to look happy.  Is there such thing as being over the top?  There are those who say that when Gwyneth Paltrow cried at her acceptance speech that she was a bit de trop.  And when Sally Fields cried out, “You like me.  You really like me!” some people were embarrassed for her thinking she had gone a step too far.  I thought she was expressing he joy and surprise with grace and good will.
  • Losers must appear calm and happy for the other winner. A lack of positive emotion will make you look like a sour puss.  And negative emotion will make you look like a poor sport.
  • When making a speech, keep your voice upbeat, put the smile in your tones, and make your words short, snappy and sincere.  Droning on for any more than 25 seconds is taking your audience into boredom land.
  • The most successful way to remain graceful when winning? Smile and say nice things about the people who helped you get where you are.  Without them you wouldn’t be there.
  • The most successful way to remain graceful when losing?  Smile and say nice things about the winner.  Also, commend the people you worked with.  You never know when you’ll work together again.  Treat everyone with respect.
  • When coming face to face with losers, winners should reach out and tell them what you thought was good about their performance.  Let them know what you respect about their work.  Speak with sincerity.
  • When coming face to face with winners, losers should compliment them on their performance and congratulate them on their win.
  • Whether winning or losing, act with good will. How you respond will be remembered long after the red carpet is stored away for another year.

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

And…Follow us on Twitter! www.twitter.com/diamondpolisher

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