Conquer Your Fear of Public Speaking

Conquer Your Fear of Public Speaking

You start to shake a little bit. Your hands are a little clammy. There’s this weird hole in your stomach that feels like you haven’t eaten in days. You’re thinking it might not be too late to cancel. Except that you’re at the podium, in front of all these people. You can’t turn back now.

 

Public Speaking constantly ranks as one of people’s most common fears. The idea that you might make a mistake and be humiliated in front of a room of people who are staring at you is terrifying for more than 40% of the United States. Whether it’s to an auditorium of people, or just to a handful of coworkers, public speaking gets people queasy. 

 

If you’re looking to overcome your fear of public speaking, try these steps.

Preparation

In telling the story of how he overcame his fear of public speaking, Richard Branson says you must prepare. Take the time to find your own voice and inject your own personality into what you are going to say. Give yourself an outline and know the key points you want to make. Having a firm understanding of what you’ll be talking about will help you stay calm and on track.

Practice 

Along with preparation comes practice. Give your speech in the mirror. Give your speech to your dog. Give your speech to a friend. Give your speech to a couple friends. Start small and work your way up to larger crowds. Practice makes the words come easier. It’ll help you remember what comes next. It’ll give you more confidence as well.

Talk Slowly, Breathe Deeply

Taking a couple deep breaths automatically relaxes you. Take a couple before you get up to speak. If you are using cue cards or a paper, write “Talk Slowly” at the top. When you get nervous, you’ll start talking quicker without realizing it. That little reminder can keep you calm and help you realize it’s okay to give yourself small moments.

Pick someone out in the crowd

Generally, the fear that comes with public speaking has to do with the public part. We have no trouble talking with friends at a party or over coffee, but expand that number and have them all staring at you, and all of a sudden our mouth dries out. One thing that works for some is to pick someone in the crowd and focus on them. This will help you feel like you are delivering your speech to an audience of one.

Remember It’s Normal

Finally, remember that getting nervous about public speaking is normal. As we mentioned earlier, nearly 40% of people say they have a fear of public speaking. You’re not alone in this.

Work Together For Success

Work Together For Success

Your relationship with your coworkers is just like any other relationship, it takes work, commitment and determination. Just like family, you can’t always choose your coworkers. Some of them might drive you a little crazy, but if you want to succeed you’ll have to figure out how to work with one another. According to Henry Ford, success comes after you have come together, kept together and found a way to work together.

Coming Together

You’ve probably heard of the “honeymoon period” for people in relationships. Everything is great and awesome and everyone likes each other. The same thing happens when someone new is hired, or you start a new job. Things are looking great and you’re getting along with your new coworkers just fine. This is just the beginning. Coming together is arguably the easiest part.

Keeping Together

Once that honeymoon period is over, it’ll be harder to keep things running smoothly. Little things your coworkers do that you didn’t notice before will start to wear on your nerves. You might find misunderstandings happen more frequently and that your work suffers as a result. Keeping together means working through these issues and finding resolutions. That’s progress.

Working Together

Once you’ve found ways to understand one another and support one another then you can start to work together. Working together comes as everyone starts to focus on the common goal of the business. As Henry Ford points out, this is where success is found. It’s not an easy stage to get to in a relationship, be it with your coworkers or otherwise. But once you’re there, you’ll find success.

Confidence Is A By-product of Success

Confidence Is A By-product of Success

Confidence wins all

No matter whether you are in the business of selling a product or service, you are a baker of delectable treats, or you are a purveyor of words in rhyming couplets, your greatest asset is confidence. Your confidence is magnetic. It is infectious. You have the ability set the tone for every interaction in your life through the sheer force of your belief.

You don’t have to be a naturally confident person to exude the confidence required for success. Confidence is a by-product of preparation. Become the best you can be in your chosen field. If you are in sales, then learn everything there is to know about your products. Get with a mentor and learn the ins and outs of sales. Become adept at reading and projecting the appropriate body language. Practice, practice, practice. Preparation creates confidence.

In the book Do Less, Achieve More best-selling author Chin-Ning Chu writes, “Before the Angel of Success arrives in your life, you should devote yourself to preparing your welcome for her. Polish your craft and strengthen your body to be fit, so that you can do your job and enjoy success when it comes. Sharpen your mind and spirit so they are ready to face challenges that accompany a visitation from the Angel of Success…If you are not ready when the angel knocks, she will flee. And who knows when she will make it back around to your door again?”

Do not fall sway to procrastination

You know the old saying don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today? That is a cornerstone in the building of success. Create a masterplan with long term and short term goals and do not let yourself wiggle out of them. Procrastination is a voracious, self-feeding beast. Give in to it one day and it’s harder to avoid giving into it the next. Each day, tackle your most difficult, mentally consuming tasks early while you still have energy and focus and stay on task.

Make sure you set achievable goals

You are ambitious and like the Brain from Pinky and the Brain, your ultimate goal may be to take over the world.

However try as they did, Pinky and the Brain never managed to achieve their quest. If your goals are out of line with what’s possible you will get overwhelmed by the weight of them and give up before finding out whether or not you really have it in you.

 

If you want to be successful you have to create goals that are achievable. That is done by breaking the ultimate goal into smaller achievable chunks with reasonable deadlines. The success of each milestone goal fuels you to keep going forward with renewed energy and enthusiasm.

 

Believe in your potential

In a blog called 7 Steps for Creating the Life you want, Jack Canfield originator of the fabulously successful Chicken Soup for the Soul franchise puts forward the idea of the inverse paranoid. “Imagine how much easier it would be to succeed in life if you were constantly expecting the world to support you and bring you opportunity. Successful people do just that.”

 

Make the success of others an integral part of your own success

Brain Tracy has said, “Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, ‘What’s in it for me?’”

 

When you help others you invariably help yourself in the process. You learn from the experience, you have reason to feel good about what you’re doing and the contributions you’re making, and that boost in self-confidence helps you stay on track with your own goals.

 

As a by-product of your good deeds you will create reciprocal loops, where others will want to go out of their way to help you.

 

There is a Chinese proverb that says, “If you always give, you will always have.” The more you give, the more you will have.

 

Make lists. Lots of lists

Keep yourself on track with to-do lists every day. Not theoretical lists you keep in your head, but actual written lists you can see and cross off as you go. Seeing list of to-do’s crossed out one after the other keeps you motivated, quells thoughts of procrastination and builds confidence.

Productivity In Four Easy Steps

Productivity In Four Easy Steps

If all of us got everything we wanted to get done everyday, we’d all be superstars of success. Sometimes no matter how well thought out our goals, we still fall short of our daily, weekly, monthly objectives. “How,” we lament, “can I accomplish what I need to do within the limited time I have everyday?”

There are all kinds of methods for increasing productivity and focus, so the answer to that question will be different for each person. They key is finding the productivity hack that works best with your schedule, your mentality and your aspirations. Here are a few to get you started on your quest for the perfect one!

 

Top 1, 2, 3

Everyday you’re probably faced with a list of things that need to get done as long as your arm. All those things are probably significant (otherwise they wouldn’t be on your list) but some of them are definitely more important to your success than others. Often we’ll spend our day dealing with whatever issues are currently under our noses. The ding of our email or the ring of our phone. The day ends up getting squandered in little bits, while the big things fall behind in the queue day after day.

 

So at the beginning of each day, pick the three things most essential for your success out of the list and put them at the top of your to-do list. Put the most important first, followed by the second and third. Make those three things your priority. Let the emails and phone calls and the rest of the day’s distractions take a back seat. Even if you only complete the top thing on your list, you’ve completed the most important task for the day!

 

25 minutes on, 5 minutes off

Go at your chosen task full on for twenty five minutes. At the end of that time, take a five minute break then spend twenty five minutes on the next task. Because you’re working in such a short time frame you’re ultra focused on not wasting a second of the time you’ve got allotted to the task. You may not be able to squeeze in very many twenty five minute intervals into your day, but you’ll find great productivity in the ones you do create!

 

Time blocking

At the very beginning of the day or even the night before block the full day out in advance. Fill your calendar in blocks. Hour, half hour, quarter hour, however long you choose. Be sure to give yourself solid blocks to work on your priorities and also to leave blocks open where you can deal with the miscellanies of the day that will come up, like returning phone calls and emails.

 

As best you can, start and finish each task in its allotted time so nothing on your list falls through the cracks.  This kind of forced structure is just what some people need to keep them on track.

 

90 minutes at a time

There’s been lots of research that indicates most people can concentrate well for a stretch of about 90 minutes and then our focus starts to disintegrate. So to take advantage of your body’s natural focus rhythms, schedule your most important tasks in 90 minute blocks. In between take 20 or 30 minute breaks where you can attend to less absorbing tasks.

 

That’s my ninety minutes. Off for quick walk about to replenish my energy levels!

Plan To Take Your Goals To The Next Level

Plan To Take Your Goals To The Next Level

In order to achieve anything in life you need to know what you want to achieve. Of course you could just wake up everyday and wait to see what happens. Some good things might show up that way, but they won’t be the good things you choose. To achieve the things that mean the most to you, the ones that express your deepest aspirations, you need goals. Specific, measureable, achievable goals and have a plan of action to achieve them.

 

Write your goals down

The first thing you need to do is figure out your end result. Your final goal. Don’t worry if your final goal seems overwhelming or outside of your abilities. The fulfilment of a final goal is the result of a fulfilment of a series of intermediate goals along the way. Once you’ve decided on your final destination, you can plan out your route to get there. Even from the outset it’s important to remember, your original map will probably have to be revised along the journey so you’ll have to be on the lookout for detours and dead ends.

 

Be SMART about it

Smart goals are:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Relevant

Timely

 

How do you eat an elephant?

The answer to the question, how do you eat an elephant is, one bite at a time. That’s why it’s so important to break your goal or elephant down into smaller, bite sized chunks. Say you have five smaller goals that need to be accomplished in a given week or month. Having five goals can feel almost as overwhelming as the one big one, but if you separate them completely, say slot them into a different day of the week then they become more manageable. On Monday I’m concentrating on the elephant’s tail only. I don’t have to even think about the legs or the ears because those are for another day altogether.

 

Create regular success

The best way to keep yourself motivated in the pursuit of your ultimate goal is to find regular success. That means concrete achievements along the way. If your goal is to become president of your own company, then write down all the steps you need to take to get you there. What new skills do you need to perfect? Is there someone who can help you or teach you something you need to learn? Set a deadline for learning that skill, for meeting that person and hold yourself accountable. The more things you achieve, daily, weekly, monthly, the more motivated you’ll be to keep achieving.

 

 

Celebrate the successes

Keep track of your progress and celebrate your successes. Each small success brings you closer to the ultimate one. Don’t be embarrassed about drawing big red checkmarks on your calendar. Take people who helped you in a given week out as a thank you. Share the positivity!

 

Adjust your goals as necessary

Confucius says, “When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.”

 

If you find yourself hitting brick wall after brick wall after brick wall, it may feel like  continuing with the effort is simply a waste of time and energy. If all your efforts are constantly producing negative results, you’re right, they probably are a waste of time and energy. That’s not to say your goal is a waste of time and energy, just your chosen method for reaching it.

 

A single negative result doesn’t necessarily indicate you need to change things up, but a succession of negative results does. Don’t waste time banging your head against that wall. Reassess your end result and figure out an alternate route.

 

Make like a postage stamp

Whether going around the block or around the world, whether it takes a week or ten years, a postage stamp sticks on the package until it gets to the final destination.  To reach your final goal you need to have the stickativity of a postage stamp.

Turn Success Into A Destination

Turn Success Into A Destination

How many times have you heard, if you want to get somewhere, you need to know where you’re going. You probably can’t even keep track.  Of course you know that. But have you ever taken the time to write out not just what your goals are, but the whys behind them? Your reasons for choosing the objectives you’ve chosen? What it is about yourself that makes you think you’d be good at this thing you’ve decided to focus your energy on?

 

Ask yourself some questions

To figure out your strengths and the sorts of things that truly inspire you, ask yourself, What values do I want to bring to my life’s work?  Those could be things like integrity, leadership, entrepreneurship.

 

What makes me excited to get up in the morning? Are you more excited about trying new things or do you prefer the comforting predictability of routine?

 

If I could choose any job what would it be? What am I really good at? Is there an intersection between what you’re really good at and what you would love to do? Can you create one?

 

Who are the people I admire most? What attributes do they have that I can find in myself? You can use the successes and achievements of others as a guide for creating your own map to success.

 

A personal mission statement

It’s not quite enough to simply write down what you want to achieve. Include the impact you will have on yourself and those around you. Also include the sort of person you need to be to achieve that goal. I am a personable, engaging leader with the ability to make others feel good about themselves and their choices.

 

Marketable skills

What are you really good at? Is there something you want to get better at? What do you want to excel at? What skills do you need to excel at your chosen field?

 

Do your skills align with your goals? If not either reassess your goals or do what needs to be done to improve your skill set.

 

You are in charge of your future. You can get choose where to focus your energies. Whether where you are is good enough, or if you want to change it.

 

Assess your strengths and weaknesses. Figure out if you have any attitudinal issues that may be holding you back and address them. Decide what you can be excellent at then go about making yourself excellent in that specific area.

Learning to Cultivate Patience

Learning to Cultivate Patience

When you ask people if there’s anything about themselves they’d change, an answer that almost always makes it near the front of the line is more patience. All of us have goals and desires and once we’ve settled on them we’d like to see them DONE as soon as possible. Yesterday would be nice.

 

What we can’t seem to get our heads around is that doing something worthwhile takes time. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. Not every single worthwhile thing takes time and all things done quickly aren’t worthless. For instance, Paul McCartney dreamt the Beatles song “Yesterday” and scribbled it down upon waking in about a minute. There’s an example of brilliance finished – Yesterday! But in general, we’ve got to work longer and harder for our worthwhiles.

 

Time is the active ingredient in success

Let’s think about dinner. Sure, you can tear open a box of Kraft Dinner, boil, mix and have your meal ready in ten minutes. If you use the microwavable kind you can probably do it in a minute. That’s a perfectly serviceable dinner. However, if you want to have a worthwhile dinner experience you’ll read up on recipes. You’ll plan a menu, go shopping, cook, create ambience in the room, decorate the table. You will go to all kinds of lengths to make the experience memorable. All of that takes time. And  patience in the preparation.

 

The dinner experience can be extrapolated out in all kinds of ways. For instance, maybe you want to start running, but you’ve never run anywhere except to catch the bus. You might be able to run around the block right off the bat. And if that’s your first run, you’ll probably feel pretty good about that. But now that you’ve decided running is your thing, you have your heart set on the big race. A marathon.

 

Now you’re in preparation phase. You have to run every day. Set up a training schedule. Get the right shoes. Make a commitment to your running future. Unthinkable hours for the foreseeable future. When you finally cross that finish line after the race will all that time spent preparing be worth it? Absolutely.

 

Time spent is an investment in your future

Whether you’re looking to accomplish a specific goal, or land the right job, learn to play an instrument or become a motivational speaker, it won’t happen as fast as you wish. You will have to learn and practice and fail and do it all again. But all the time you spend doing those things is an investment in your ultimate success. Worth the time spent.

Failing Is The Next Best Thing To Succeeding

Failing Is The Next Best Thing To Succeeding

I read Anne of Green Gables for the first time recently. Anne is a plucky, smart 11-year-old girl who inspires everyone around her with her imagination and determination. When I came to the part where Anne says, “Next to trying and winning, the next best thing is trying and failing,” I responded verbally to the little orphan that had set up a homestead in my imagination – “Why to go Anne!”

 

The superiority of trying over thinking

So often we have plans for the future. Things we’d like to do, things we’d like to try, accomplishments we’d like to get under out belt. Plans are great but until we actually take steps toward concretizing them, they are really no more than wishful thinking.

 

Despite what people who claim to know one secret or another say, no amount of positive or wishful thinking will ever move something out of the realm of possibility into the realm of reality. For that we need action.

 

The greatness of failure

The reason failing is such a good thing is that failure is the result of trying. Action taken. If you failed, you made plans, you put them into action, you proved to yourself that you were capable of more than just thinking. That you were willing to put yourself on the line. You also learned what didn’t work. Finding out what doesn’t work is invaluable in the journey toward finding out what does.

 

Try once then try again, then try again

It is the rare individual who succeeds on the first try of anything. Failures are the steps up the ladder to success. And as exciting and fulfilling as succeeding on the first try is, the sense of accomplishment is even deeper with a failure (or two or three) behind you. So try. Succeed or fail, you’ve done something good.

Choose Your Future

Choose Your Future

Time to pull out our crystal balls. Let’s look into the future. Twenty years hence. Look at all the things you’ve accomplished.

Is that project you were so intent on finishing done?

Did you even start it or did you let the excuses you usually fall back on get in the way?

Don’t say you don’t know what will happen in twenty years. It’s easy to surmise. Your present is an extension of your past. Your future in turn is an extension of your present.

How do you spend your days now?

How do you spend your time now? Do you plan for your future or leave to it to another day? Are the accomplishments you say you want to achieve real or are they just words? If they’re just words then go ahead and keep talking.

If however they are things you actually want to do and you’re not already in the process of accomplishing them, what’s stopping you?

All the fears

Fear takes up so much space in our lives. We all know about the fear of failure and the fear of success. What about the fear of missing out?

That’s the fear of missing out on the end of that Netflix series you suddenly got so invested in. Or the fear of missing out on time with friends. How about the fear of missing out on leisure time? Another name for that one is laziness.


So that’s present you and all your reasons for not getting on with whatever grand plan you have for the future.

Back to the future

Now let’s go back to twenty years in the future you, the one staring back at present you through the crystal ball. What are you going to say to present, excuse making you?

You will say, Success or failure, the fears of doing were always greater than the actual doing. Along with that you will say you don’t remember or care about whatever you were wasting time with in the past, but you do care about the things you didn’t manage to accomplish. You will tell yourself you wish you expected better of yourself when you had a chance to follow through on your goals.

Use every day to make your future-self proud. Looking back into the past twenty years from now the words you want to be saying are, “Well done.”

“You’ve got to go out on a limb sometimes because that’s where the fruit is.” Will Rogers

"You’ve got to go out on a limb sometimes because that’s where the fruit is.” Will Rogers

It’s easy to keep your head down at work and do a decent job. To do enough to keep you from getting fired, and maybe even secure a promotion down the line. Some people feel like that’s all they really should do. There is an old saying, “the nail that sticks out the most, gets hammered.” It gives people the idea that if they try something and fail, or suggest something new, they’re likely to be singled out and ostracized.

Getting the Fruit

The truth is, if you never try, you’ll never succeed. Like this Will Rogers quote suggests, the best fruit is often a little out of our comfort zones. It takes a leap of faith to see what the rewards of our actions will be.

You need to have confidence in yourself and your ideas in order to try them. You might fail. The branch might snap, or there might not be any fruit at the end of the one you reach for. The thing is, you’ll never know until you make the grab.

Or Staying Put

If you’re happy where you are and have no desire to grow in your profession, it might be a good idea to stay close the truck of the tree. But if you want to grow and succeed, you’re going to need to go out on a limb once and while to try something new, something risky, something outside your comfort zone. When you do, you’ll find, sooner or later, that the fruits of your labour are there waiting for you.

 

So push through the fear you may have of “getting hammered” and find the fruit that grows out on a limb.