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Leadership and Self-Confidence workshop for Young Rural Women
Helen Dugdale
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Leadership and Self-Confidence workshop for Young Rural Women

Narrabri Sunday 9th January 2022

Recently, I was asked to present a few personal development topics at the Zone 4 “Stand Out and Shine Workshop, held in Narrabri. The aim of the Royal Agricultural Show for this program is set out on their website:

Each local show society holds a competition, with the winner going on to compete at a zone level. Finalists from each zone then compete at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Over the course of a series of interviews, talks, and functions, contestants are evaluated on personality, confidence, ambition and goals, general knowledge, rural knowledge, presentation and speech. Finalists are also asked to demonstrate knowledge of their local community and current affairs. Apart from their potential ambassadorial qualities, contestants are also judged on their involvement in and experience of rural affairs.”

These days the “Miss Showgirl” is more than about looks and deportment. The program offers workshops on social skills, public speaking, interviewing skills, nutrition, and confidence, to name a few.

It used to be called the Showgirl Society – think – ‘Miss Showgirl’ at all the rural agricultural shows. It is now called the “Sydney Royal Ag Shows, NSW Young Women Program”

I was fortunate to be involved in this workshop, with 10 amazing young women. The future of rural NSW is in good hands if these young women are an indication of our next generation of leaders!

My presentation included topics such as leadership; overcoming anxiety; public speaking skills; building self-confidence; and empowerment. Throughout all these topics we kept bringing it back to having a belief in themselves, rather than letting things overwhelm them. Keep reminding themselves of all their good points, the ‘Why’, the ‘What’ they want to do in their current journey, and what they can offer their community.

For example, we discussed ‘What makes a good leader”? These young women are already leaders in their community, just by stepping up for this Rural Show program, they are showing leadership potential and are good role models.

We then discussed the strategies they could implement if and when anxiety starts to affect them. We discussed this issue of negative and positive self-talk and asked them to imagine overcoming their anxiety and doing a great job, being successful. They all came up with their own ‘self-fulfilling prophecy' instead of the negative self-talk. What if their self-fulfilling prophecy was a positive one?! The more you say it and believe it, the more likely it will happen. For example, if someone is always saying things like “I’m hopeless, or “I’m gonna mess it up”, then they probably will. If they said things like “I can do it”, “I am capable”, “I am determined to do a good job”, then that is more likely to happen.

We also discussed the difference between low self-confidence and being over-confident, and the pitfalls of both. They came up with suggestions of a balanced self-confidence that they feel comfortable with.

We finished off with some impromptu public speaking. Setting out an argument and being persuasive in a non-confrontational way. They all did very well and felt more empowered to be able to put forward an argument in a variety of situations, and feel confident about it.

It was a privilege to be involved with these remarkable young women and I hope to hear more about their successes, as well as their journey to the Royal Easter Show.

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2 Violet Street, Narrabri, NSW 2390
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