Think lifeguarding is just for outgoing, extroverted types? Being shy or quiet doesn’t mean you can’t be an effective lifeguard — in fact, there are plenty of positives that more introverted personalities bring to the job. Being a good listener and observer are important skills for lifeguards. However, you still need to be able to enforce the pool rules, even if you aren’t super-comfortable speaking up. Here are some tips on how to do it.
1. Feel secure in your training.
One reason you may not feel comfortable speaking up is if you question whether you’ve mastered the skills you learned in training. By making sure that you are confident in your pool procedures, swimming skills, and lifesaving practices, you will know that you have the skills and authority to back up anything you need to say to your supervisor, fellow guards, or pool patrons.
2. Get outside your comfort zone and introduce yourself.
Being on a first-name basis with the people you see daily can help you feel more comfortable speaking up. Introduce yourself to your regular pool-goers so that you know their names, and they know yours. Sometimes this is all it takes for good relationships and even friendships to begin. When you feel well-liked by those around you, it’s a lot easier to speak up when needed. Still don’t feel like you can get up the nerve? Odds are good that one of your fellow lifeguards is more outgoing than you. Maybe you can team up to make it easier to break the ice.
3. Remember that speaking up can save a life.
Feeling shy during class or being quiet in a group of friends may not be a big deal, but as a lifeguard, speaking up when necessary is one of your core job responsibilities. Getting involved when there is unsafe behavior happening in or around the pool is something you’re paid to do. Consider it like being an actor — sometimes you have to pretend that you’re outgoing and loud if that’s what the job requires.
4. Know that being loud doesn’t necessarily make you effective.
While some of your fellow guards may be able to socialize easily and speak up without a second thought, don’t worry if you’re not that way. Just because you aren’t talkative or loud doesn’t mean you aren’t good at your job. In fact, most of the resume-building aspects of lifeguarding have nothing to do with whether or not you’re outgoing. Being responsible, taking initiative, leading, and communicating are all things you can easily do without being an extroverted person.
So if you think that lifeguarding isn’t up your alley because you’re quiet or shy, it may be time to reconsider. Check out our blog to find out if summer lifeguarding is the right job for you.