This Confidence quiz was originally published in "Good Housekeeping" Magazine (February 2014).
Following the publication of my book "How To Talk To Absolutely Anyone" (click here for details of the book), Good Housekeeping Magazine asked me to put together a quiz for their readers.
Here are 6 questions to quickly discover how confident you are in everyday life and how you can improve your confidence.
Grab a piece of paper and pen and write the numbers 1-6 down the page. Then answer each question below in turn and write the letter A,B or C next to the question number for the option or response that most reflects what you'd do.
A: Ask the nearest person to you even if they are obviously not an employee of the store
B: Wander around looking for an employee to ask
C: Wander the shop for a period of time looking for the item and eventually assume they don't have the item and go to another shop or look online.
A: Tell the waiter you are not happy and demand money off the bill
B: Tell the waiter it wasn't quite right but not to worry
C: Keep quiet and say nothing but just decide you won't go there anymore
A: Phone up and explain exactly what you need to make sure they put it right and send the perfect item as a replacement
B: Email the supplier and hope they get it right now
C: Decide to keep it yourself as it was only cheap and find something else as a gift
A: Just drum up a conversation with the nearest person or group that look like being fun to talk to.
B: Go and ask the party host to introduce you to someone
C: Stand on your own and give it a while to see if anyone will talk to you and if not make your excuses and leave early.
A: Say Thank you and engage in a conversation about it
B: Just say "Thanks" and look to change the subject quickly
C: Dismiss the compliment by saying something like "Oh it's only a cheap old thing I threw on today"
A: Go and ask the boss if you were considered and why you were not chosen.
B: Decide you'll wait and see if anything is said to you and if not raise it at the next appraisal
C: Tell yourself you never get what you want so your not surprised this happened in the end.
If you answered mostly A's this suggests you are very confident. You just need to make sure you are raising these things in a definite but friendly way and only escalating your firmness if you are not getting a reasonable response. Being too abrupt from the start can come across as rude or arrogant and actually be counter productive in some situations.
If you answered mostly B's this suggests you know what you want and are determined to get it but do lack some confidence to be sure you'll get what you want in life. Look back at the questions and see what it takes to get an A where you scored a B or C. Gradually increase your A's the next time a similar situation arises even if in a totally different context.
If you answered mostly C's this does suggest you lack confidence to speak up in certain situations and tend to put up with things that are not right for you rather than risk causing a scene.
Start by moving some of your C responses to B responses in the future and when comfortable at that level, look to move on to A type responses. Remember if you approach direct communication routes like phoning or speaking to someone instead of emailing then by using a friendly but firm tonality you usually don't risk a bad reply or a rude response.
Whatever you scored remember that confidence is only really your degree of certainty about an outcome or how you'll behave or be perceived in a given situation. You can change this and develop it over time. If your coming across as fair, reasonable and friendly there is no reason for someone else to take offense at that. If on the odd occasion they do it just means they are not good at handling situations.
It's not what happens to us in life it's the meaning we attach to it. So if you speak up and the other person doesn't like it you can take it to mean many things. However the one you choose greatly affects your confidence or life regardless of it being true or not.
For example, if you complain about something in a friendly but firm way and the other person is unreasonable in their reply does it mean you were wrong to complain or does it mean they are bad at handling communication and customer service issues?
In situations where you lack confidence realise that it's not a red light to stop and avoid the situation. It's an amber light to be aware this is a situation you are not use to. Realise that and think through your approach in a way you feel comfortable to speak up and over time it will get easier and you'll feel more confident.
The trouble is we always think the worst will happen and it never really ever happens in day to day situations.
Also realise that before you take any action, including speaking up, how you imagine that situation or conversation going has a great bearing on how it goes.
If you expect the person to be awkward and unresponsive they probably will be.
If you expect them to be considerate and accommodating there is more chance they will be.
Why? This is because what you imagine happening and expect to happen changes the words you use, your tonality and body language, which in turn affects how they process your communication and how they then respond to you!
Finally, if you ever get caught in that social party situation where you don't know anyone and want to start talking to people, simply ask someone how they know the host of the party. Everyone there probably knows the host or who invited them. They'll likely tell you a story of how they met etc and you can tell them yours and areas of common ground or conversation will likely develop.
You can get started today with my Free Coaching Course (complete the sign up form below) if you need help to be more confident and comfortable around people you don't know and to be able to talk to absolutely anyone when you want to.
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