Most recently I’m coaching more teenagers around their increasing fear, worry, doubt and anxiety when they‘re called to engage in life’s face-to-face communication. Eg-
– ordering food in a cafe
– announcing their arrival at reception
– asking a staff member a question
– holding a conversation with someone they don’t know very well
It’s concerning, and no doubt largely born through the age of technology and the consequential dilution of essential human-to-human contact.
I liken the art of face-to-face interaction to a vital muscle in the body and the age old saying, ‘use it or lose it.’
Sadly, I fear the trend is favouring ‘lose it’ as teenagers (but not limited to) rely more and more on phones, apps, social media, messenger and groups. Talk is heavily reliant fast finger typing & tech based interactions, in stark preference to the old-fashioned way: two faces, minds and hearts sharing the same physical space.
Teaching teenagers to peel back the layers of their anxiety, fear and doubt so they understand it and steadily build up their self-belief and essential skills needed to strengthen their face-to-face communication ‘muscle’, is a regular element of coaching conversations. I’m relieved to say this conversation and the learning involved brings great results. When teenagers learn how to work with their emotions, rather than against them and consequently hiding away from life, they emerge as more resilient, optimistic and confident adolescents. Who doesn’t want more of that for teenagers?
With this in mind, you may wish to discuss these points with young people in your life –
💡5 Face-to-Face BOOSTERS with your teens.
They support over 50 mental and emotional fitness tips, tools and tactics shared in the book written especially for teenagers – ROC & RISE . 📚
1. Notice what you’re thinking about ordering food in a cafe.
Are your thoughts dragging you down or lifting you up? It’s a choice you can make and change once you’re aware.
2. Tell yourself ‘I can order food’ I’ve done it before and I can do it again.
The more I practice, the easier it will become for me. Avoiding it will not help me. Doing it – will help me getter better at it.
3. Before and as you order, notice your body-talk. Is it tense or lose? Body talk will usually match the thoughts swirling around in your mind.
Start to unwind your shoulders, arms, hands and any tension trapped in your legs. Your body and mind make a good team when they’re reminded to work together.
4. Practice looking at staff members when you order.
Eyes up naturally pulls your chin up, which helps you project your voice and be better heard. This lessens the much feared ‘pardon’ which can cause you to feel more anxious and we don’t want that.
5. Notice how you improve each time you order. Grab as many opportunities as you can to rehearse your skills.
Be aware that it’s your willingness to practice that’s causing your improvement.
You did good!!! From little things big things grow!
It takes time. It’s worth it!
This idea is shared with teens in Claire’s book ROC and RISE. Endorsed by Maggie Dent and loved by teenagers and their families worldwide.
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