We need to try things which we find foreboding or uncomfortable as it is an important step towards gaining self-confidence.
By asking a participant more than once to try something, we can increase the participation level.
This helps us reach our objective of empowering youth.
At the recent youth group meeting I observed a situation that resulted in participants stepping out of their comfort zone.
This situation occurred during a session of impromptu speaking. There was extra time available for more than the standard session. In this case the challenge was to come to the front of the room and present a short impromptu talk using two words which were given to the participant. The challenge was to give a brief presentation incorporating each of the words, such as ‘Apple'(the company) and ‘orange’ (the fruit) or ‘basement’ & ‘World War 2’, etc. The organizers started at one end of the room and methodically went to each attendee and asked if they wished to participate. Some of the less experienced youth declined indicating that they would ‘pass’, as this exercise can be intimidating.
As there was adequate time, once again the organizers went around the room a second time asking each attendee if they would like to participate. It was interesting to see that some of those who passed the first time were now willing to participate in the second round.
I am sure there are many explanations for this such as having seen the others participate or it was not so frightening the second time it was offered. I believe it has to do with how we are influenced by our peers or what also may be called the ‘herd theory.’ This theory is based on the basic fear of being left out.
There are some lessons here, such as:
After having seen someone else perform a challenging task, others who initially declined, may feel comfortable enough to try that task.
Demonstration by others can encourage someone to also try a challenging task.
Often people will reconsider their first reaction and try a task after initially declining.