Become a confident communicator Secret

Remember when your teacher was away and a relief teacher came to your class? The moment he or she stood in the doorway, everyone knew what would happen next: if the teacher stood there looking nervous and insecure, you knew this would be a slack lesson, with kids messing around. But when the teacher stood upright, eyes fixed on the class, radiating control, you realised there wouldn't be any playing-up in class today.

You communicate what you think, feel and want through your behaviours. You judge a person by the way she communicates, from the smiles, nods and warm laughter of friends to the raised eyebrow, stunned gasp or shout of stressful encounters.

Children with good communication skills can relate to different types of people, in friendly and challenging situations. They connect socially and defuse conflict. They say what they mean and their body language reflects their words. Their message is clear. If they're feeling good, they sound cool. If they're angry, they're furious! They're generally the popular children.

If you are being bullied, you are doing something to advertise your vulnerability. You look like limp celery, your eyes jiggle like a tea bag and your voice is muffled. You either plead, 'Don't bully me,' or you threaten back. The average bully won't respect you and continues her game. Shyness, secrecy and sarcasm are poor communication skills others don't know what you think and feel, so your friends do nothing to help. You need to change so that other children like you and help you.

Alternatively, if you are using bullying behaviours, you show that you need to be in control and expect to be obeyed. You attract false, temporary friends who suck up to you to be safe, and then gossip behind your back. You risk payback. Once you learn how to communicate with respect and empathy, you will attract genuine friendships.

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