Archive: August, 2017

Improving self confidence

Simple Steps to Improve Self-Confidence

Posted on 24th August 2017 in Emotional Intelligence

Confidence comes and goes for all of us and as with leadership skills and public speaking skills we are not necessarily born with it. The most confident people around us are the ones who hold their heads up high, whose body language is open and relaxed, who speak with clarity and fluidity combining the 3 Vs – Vocal, Verbal, Visual. Confidence or appearing confident is in what you do and how you do it.

Confidence is something you can DO…something you can dial up or dial down to suit the occasion, to suit the people you are with. So if you re not feeling confident you can actively choose to DO confidence. Before you know it this generates a feedback loop which then generates real confidence as you are sending out confident energy to those around you.

Tips to improving your confidence

1. Take small steps outside your comfort zone

If you can regularly step outside your comfort zone your confidence will expand incrementally. If you don’t challenge yourself, your comfort zone will remain the same or perhaps even shrink. Keep pushing steadily bit by bit and see how your confidence will grow. Try to do something different each day that you haven’t done before. This doesn’t have to be a major exercise and can be as seemingly minor as taking a different route to work. Doing things differently each day will help break your routines and patterns and get you used to different situations.

2. Don’t be frightened of failing

Most of us are cautious because we are born with the natural instinct to protect ourselves. Don’t be frightened of failing. It’s not failure that destroys our confidence, it’s the not getting back up. The beauty of failing is that we learn a huge amount so as to help us with our next project, phase or decision – ask most self-made entrepreneurs. The founders of multi-billion pound businesses didn’t ‘make it’ first time. They could have had 3 to 4 failed businesses before they learnt how to become successful. The more you try and fail the more likely you are to succeed. The less you do because of fear and procrastination, the less likely you are to succeed. See some of the stories of our most successful entrepreneurs.

3. Breathe

When we are nervous and lacking in confidence we can very often forget to do the one thing that keeps us alive and will help us in the moment. BREATHE. Taking deep, slow, deliberate breaths fills the brain with oxygen which makes us more awake, more aware and more relaxed. Sounds obvious of course but look at how consciously even very experienced actors and singers work on their breath and voice before going on stage – it’s partly vocal warm up and partly relaxation and establishing a level of confidence. By taking control of your breathing you can take control of your body and in no time you will feel relaxed and everything will seem possible.

4. Do confidence

Confidence and how we feel about ourselves is all in our own minds. We control how we feel. If you are not feeling confident there are two things you can do to change how you feel and how you are perceived by others.
  • Change your state from that of someone who isn’t feeling confident to someone who oozes confidence. Tell yourself that you are totally happy with the situation, smile inwardly at yourself and tell yourself you feel confident. Setting the scene with yourself before you go into that meeting that you are going to make it a big success and that you are going to be totally relaxed in the situation makes all the difference.
  • If you are still feeling a bit nervous, all that is left is to act as if you are confident. Be willing to fake it. Stand up tall, smile broadly, shake the hand firmly and sit in a relaxed style. Speak clearly and with gravitas and you will appear confident which will result in you feeling confident.

Sartaj Garewal is the founder of Dynamic Presenting – a creative, leadership development consultancy, adapting theatre training to create leadership programs for business.

Dynamic Presenting – Enabling Powerful Communication

Actors inspiring business leaders

Actors inspiring business leaders

Posted on 14th August 2017 in Leadership Development, Theatre & Drama

Actors are hustlers and communicators. They have the perfect skills to help leaders develop their businesses and to inspire and engage teams of people and audiences.

Actors have got to sell themselves, perform, look the part and communicate at their peak 100% of the time. They can’t get away without being brilliant communicators and they’ve go to keep the audience’s attention 100% of the time.

Acting is more than pretending to be somebody else. The key skill of an actor is being able to play different characters. In order to do this they have to study and understand human behaviour. They understand the nuances of people’s behaviour, can decipher their needs, wants and desires. These are skills which are essential for managers and leaders in the business world who are working with teams of people.

The key skills every actor should have which relate to the working world:

1. Listening Skills

Listening is surprisingly one of the most important skills that an actor can have. Not only do they need to be able to absorb exactly what has been said and done, they need to be affected by what has been said and understand that there is meaning behind those words which is not always immediately clear. Actors who are brilliant listeners are always present and open, soaking up everything that is being said to them. In order to be a successful leader you’ve got to be a great listener. The best leaders are proactive, strategic and intuitive listeners who understand that you can learn and grow much more by listening to others than by talking to them. Talk less. Listen more.

2. Strong non-verbal communication

Non verbal communication is extremely important to understand as a method of communication. Body language, physical gestures, facial expressions, micro-expressions on our faces, eye contact and posture all immediately convey who you are in that moment. Think about how you feel when somebody gives you a weak handshake or a hand shake which is too strong or too fast…! We make instant judgements based on non-verbal communication. It’s often said that the bulk of communication is non verbal. How you sit, how you smile, how you actively listen, communicates a myriad of things.

3. Practicing Relaxation

Actors have to learn how to deal with nerves but that doesn’t mean they aren’t actually feeling nervous. Dame Judy Dench famously said that she always gets nervous before a performance.  “Lots and lots of things scare me; but you just get on with it. Fright can transform into petrol. I get stage fright all the time; the more I act, the more I feel it. But you just have to use it to your advantage.

Actors learn to deal with their nerves and understand the importance of relaxation which they practice. They limber up before performances both physically, vocally and mentally. Stretching, breathing exercises, mediation for 30 minutes or so. This could have benefits for people in business. If you are going to perform a speech you need to take the time to be calm and relax before going in before your audience. Arriving frantically late, stressed from traffic is the worst way to begin a presentation.

4. Story-Telling

Actors are brilliant at telling stories. Whether it’s at a family gathering, down the pub or on stage they are most often excellent at keeping us entertained. They paint images as they describe an event. They take on characters and impersonate the people they are talking about to depict characters. Many lessons abut story-telling can be learnt from actors. When telling a story in a business environment you’ve got to entertain your audience. Nobody wants to read slides from powerpoint, they want to hear you talk about something and if you can make them laugh a couple of times even better.

Actors are being used more and more for business training needs as they possess unrivalled communication abilities and understanding of human behaviour. This is why we take inspiration from actors and work with them for all of our client training. Meet the team:


Sartaj Garewal is the founder of Dynamic Presenting – a creative, leadership development consultancy, adapting theatre training to create leadership programs for business.

Dynamic Presenting – Enabling Powerful Communication

Leadership in an ever-changing world

How to be an inspirational leader in an ever-changing world

Posted on 3rd August 2017 in Leadership Development

Leadership has never been easy and it is not a trait that we are automatically born with. You have to learn those all important leadership skills which are particularly important when working with the diverse, melting pot of people in business today.

The world is moving faster than ever and multiple generations are working together in the workplace – Generation X, Y and Z all with differing outlooks and experiences of life. This combination of generations in an office can prove difficult for people in management and leadership positions. How can a young Gen Z leader who is ‘always on’ successfully work with an older Gen X team member who values work life balance?

It is very much up to the individual to develop his personal leadership style. Whether you are working in 2017 or 2030 the same rules will apply. You are a successful leader if people are ‘following you’ and it’s up to you to test the best way to approach leading a particular team. Herminia Ibarra reframed the core leadership concept of authenticity, showing that the most effective leaders scan the environment for clues on how to act and “fake it”, chameleon-style, until they find a style that works for them.

What if my style of leadership isn’t right or doesn’t work? 

Once you’ve decided your approach you’ve got to be strong and consistent so that people (your followers) can buy into this vision and spread the word within the business. The number 1 goal is to get the best out of people and your organisation. There’s a simple format that you can use to structure your approach to leadership whoever and whatever you are leading.

Decide and communicate what your bigger purpose is.

Setting your plan for your leadership position is like setting a plan for anything and it can’t be done quickly. It takes time and thought and an understanding of the culture and drivers of the people in the business.

Successful leadership vision

This is your chance to share your dream. Your vision needs to be clearly articulated at every possible occasion. You’ve got to focus on whats most important, know what you are doing and why you’re doing it. A useful vision would describe the impact you are having now and the legacy you’re creating 10-15 years from now.

Your mission

This is your written organisational statement of where you want to go and why. State what you want to achieve using a day to day leadership practice framework of meaning and values. This mission statement can be an evolving document which other individuals can contribute to. Its a guiding principle of values and standards and can bring together a ‘community of leaders’ all following the same leadership vision.

Successful strategies

This is how to achieve your leadership vision and mission. Plan it out in detail like a business plan. The strategies should encourage others to see how their contribution can make a difference and help others see a sense of purpose in their work.

Here are some examples from Strategy Business:

1. Distribute responsibly
2. Be honest and open about information
3. Create multiple paths for raising and testing ideas
4. Make it safe to fail
5. Provide access to other strategists
6. Develop opportunities for experience based learning
7. Hire for transformation
8. Bring your whole self to work
9. Find time to reflect
10. Recognize leadership development as an on-going practice
Leadership is not easy. Whatever your personal leadership style your job is to lead from the front. Work on your personal strength of character and always be authentic and stick with your personal principles as people are following you, you’ve got to be yourself, that’s the easiest bit.


Sartaj Garewal is the founder of Dynamic Presenting – a creative, leadership development consultancy, adapting theatre training to create leadership programs for business.

Dynamic Presenting – Enabling Powerful Communication