“No! You may not call me a Confidence Guru! Absolutely not!” – Alan.
“But ‘Guru’ is an extremely respectable term in media circles!” – Television producer.
“That’s as may be but my fellow regulars at the Neptune Inn will take the… will mock me mercilessly if they hear!” – Alan
“How about Confidence Coach then?” – television producer.
“Ok then” sigh… “Let me introduce you to our ‘dates’ in the Green Room”
I’d been asked by a television production company to help coach some members of the public for live television. It was a dating programme. Interestingly most of the participants were in their late forties or early fifties. The usual participants were in their teens and twenties.
The datees would say a bit about their life, their loves, hates and hobbies directly to camera. We sat at a cocktail bar where everyone had to deliver a chat-up line and come up with an appropriate and, hopefully, humorous response. And, oh yes, we all had to strut our stuff down the catwalk (steady tiger!). Nerve wracking, of course, especially if you are not used to being in the limelight.
I taught the participants some basic centering techniques. I’ll say a bit more about the background to some of these techniques in the near future:
- Place your attention in your centre of gravity – just a few inches below your navel.
- Distribute your body weight evenly onto the ground
- Maintain wide vision and wide shoulders
- Balance your head easily on top of your spine
In the end we only had time to rehearse one or two things. The participants could sense the potential of the techniques however. And this seemed to really motivate them to simply have fun in front of the camera. A virtuous cycle?
Not everyone got a date. But everyone had fun. What is it about that wonderful mixture of relaxation and excitement that seems to make the world sparkle with possibility?
One woman who was really quite shy and reserved in the Green Room absolutely blossomed on camera. She demonstrated a golf swing, her hobby, to the camera and very shortly thereafter an eligible gent phoned in with a request to get know her better!
The two interviewers were impressed. How come a group of men and women in their late forties and early fifties could be such fun on camera? Why were they so much less inhibited than the usual datees in their teens and twenties?
The centering techniques certainly seemed to help. Is it true that wisdom that comes with increasing maturity? And, perhaps, the ability not to take yourself too seriously? If so then it’s good news for all of us!
The interviewers were also somewhat sceptical. Couldn’t these acting techniques stop people from simply being themselves?
I simply quoted Shakespeare “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players”
And I might have added – we often end up playing a part that is unsatisfying and unsuitable. A part that someone else wrote for us. These centering techniques can give us the flexibility, courage and motivation to try out new behaviours. Not all of the techniques will be suitable all of the time. Some of them will be entirely suitable but may take a little time to get used to. Some of them will be absolutely bang-on or, as the old sherry advert used to say, “One instinctively knows when something is right!” and we will take to them like the proverbial duck to water.
PS Many of the centering techniques I teach come originally from my training in Ki-Aikido. They’ve grown and adapted with me. Here is a link for my old sparring partner Charles Harris. We did our yellow belt grading together more years ago than I care to remember. He is chief instructor now for one of the biggest Ki-Aikido clubs in London.