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Now you’ve probably read the title of this blog and thought “what is a swimming duck face?” To clarify, it is not the ‘duck face’ we’ve come to know from selfies, with big exaggerated pouts, but situated in a swimming pool. No.

The ‘swimming duck’ is what you are when you are trying to be calm when internally you are actually panicking. Imagine a duck on the water – they appear serene and calm, but underneath the surface they are paddling like mad.

We all know what it feels like when you have learnt a whole new section of vocab in your BSL course and you are really keen to actually use it in practice – but the idea of chatting with a deaf person leaves us feeling more anxious than we’ve ever felt in our lives!

To master your ‘swimming duck face’ is not about pretending that you are all calm when in fact you are not – it is more than that.  It is about believing that you can do this and you’ve got this – actually understanding that nothing awful is going to happen and if you do get a sign wrong when describing your holiday, then it is not the end of the world.

You are having a general conversation, a chat – and no-one expects your language to be perfect.

So instead, be calm, breathe and give it all you’ve got.

Here are some tips of how:

  1. Strike a powerful pose – if you’re nervous for something (like a BSL exam or presentation) then take a moment by yourself to strike a powerful pose. Science suggests that doing so boosts testosterone – a hormone linked to confidence and power.
  2. Create a playlist – get yourself in a buzz with a playlist that gets you pumped. When faced with unnerving situations it may be a good idea to get yourself a playlist that puts you in the best mood possible.
  3. Believe that you are the confident one! – If you’re in the middle of a situation and get caught out (maybe you don’t understand what’s been signed at you) – then confidently handle the situation. You may be embarrassed inside, but try not to take it too seriously, we all make mistakes sometimes – and the more you start believing in yourself, the easier this will be.
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