SELF-CONFIDENCE AND COMMUNICATION SKILLS

About this course

Over 80% of the UK dance workforce is freelance, with many freelancers juggling multiple roles in a portfolio career. While there are many benefits to freelancing, such as autonomy, flexibility, and frequent artistic collaborations, there are challenges, too - financial and job insecurity, difficulties with work-life balance, and informal working practices such as verbal contracts. According to my own research conducted with colleagues Dr Rachel Farrer, Natasha King, and Lindsay Jenkins, self-confidence is a key psychological skill that freelancers rely upon as they navigate a freelance career. Greater self-confidence can help freelancers to persevere in the face of challenges, focus on their own artistic vision, and articulate their worth. The good news is that self-confidence is a skill that can be developed, which is the focus of this course. There is also a final section on communication skills and social support, given that networking and negotiation are additional key skills within a freelance career.

This three-week course is designed to help you enhance your confidence and communication skills in a variety of situations, enabling you to understand where confidence comes from and types of thinking that can inhibit confidence. Comprising of short webinar-style videos and accompanying worksheets, the course will help you learn how to create more positive judgements of yourself and your abilities, how to develop a growth mindset, deal with criticism (and your inner critic), how to effectively set and monitor goals to help you achieve your ambitions, communicate and listen effectively, and how to be more assertive. This course is generously supported by One Dance UK as part of their commitment to champion freelancers in the UK dance industry. 

The course comprises 8 videos with over 100 minutes of content introducing you to the theoretical foundations of self-confidence and evidence-based strategies and ideas. There are 8 worksheets (totalling 29 pages) which can you edit or print and complete again and again. Topics covered in the course include:

  • Defining self-confidence

  • The difference between self-confidence and self-esteem

  • The origins of self-confidence

  • Achievement goal theory and to focus on your own goals rather than on comparison with others

  • Developing a growth mindset

  • Effective goal-setting

  • Dealing with criticism

  • Dealing with your inner critic

  • Creating affirmations

  • Using positive self-talk

  • Creating positive images

  • Communication skills: clarity and concision; nonverbal communication; active listening

  • Assertiveness

  • Preparing for difficult conversations

  • The importance of social relationships and social support

How to use this course

This course is comprised of short instructional videos and work sheets with practical tasks and exercises. The videos introduce you to the theoretical foundations of each concept, to equip you with the understanding you need to make positive changes. Each video is accompanied by a work sheet with a range of tasks and exercises to help you apply what you have learned to your own life. Don’t skip anything: the courses are designed to build knowledge and skills cumulatively and should be done in order.

While I suggest you could take around 3 weeks to complete the course, this really is just a suggestion. Don’t try and do the courses quickly – if anything, take your time and give yourself longer than the suggested course duration! As the videos and work sheets are concise, you may be tempted to do the whole lot in one day, but I strongly discourage that. You need to leave at least one or two days between videos and accompanying work sheets so that you can reflect on what you have learned, and practice the exercises. Some exercises should be done over a period of days to get the full benefit.

Finally, just like we need to practice our dance skills, you will need to practice these psychological skills, too. Doing them once will have some benefit, but doing them over and over is what will really help you to create positive change and start seeing a real difference in how you feel. Commit to continuing with at least two or three of the exercises from this course over the next couple of months, and reap the rewards!