How to Reduce Anxiety When You Begin Your Presentation

August 11, 2020 by  

Do you need to calm your nerves during the first moments of public speaking? Here is how to reduce anxiety when you begin your presentation.

If there is one problem we all share as public speakers, it is being just a little nervous at the start of a presentation. For some people, of course, fear of public speaking is more serious than that. But even for the confident among us, the opening moments of a speech are a challenge.
We may experience the Imposter Syndrome—which tells us, “It is only a matter of time before everyone realizes you don’t know what you are talking about.” Or it may be the scary thought that you are going to forget what you are here to discuss. Or it might just be the (false) conviction that that is a serious collection of unfriendly faces out there.
Interestingly, these opening jitters are usually a much less serious condition than deep-seated speech anxiety. The “awful first two minutes” does in fact disappear, and before we know it we are discussing our slides or first important point. True fear of speaking, on the other hand, may already have been making you miserable over this speech for months, if you didn’t give way to speech phobia outright and found a way to avoid the speaking situation altogether.

So what can you tell yourself to gain the boost in confidence to slay this particular dragon?

You Already Know How to Be a Dynamic Speaker!
Recently, I discussed this beginning-a-speech-dread with a client. She is highly accomplished in her field and works at one of the leading organizations in her industry. I can almost hear the follow-up thought that she probably has as she looks out at an audience: “So what?” 
Actually, the “so what” can and should be the basis of her confidence and that of others just like her. Does that include you? It all has to do with having faith in yourself. And I don’t mean the religious kind.  When you know your material, not by heart but because you are passionate about it and are very familiar with the elements and concepts you are about to offer, you will actually forget to be nervous.  Once you get into your delivery you will be in your element and you will carry your audience with you.

The reason we get wrapped in anxiety when we are about to start our speech has to do with an over-focus on our performance. And that is usually closely intertwined with the information we will be delivering. We see our challenge as being some kind of superhero at a professional presentation. Precisely because of our accomplishments, we believe everyone will think less of us if we don’t perform at the level that’s appropriate for our position.
But audiences really aren’t scoping out your performance, in fact, they usually couldn’t care less. They are there to get something they don’t yet have, whether that’s information or insight or inspiration. And only you can give that to them. A collection of slides can’t do that, however solid the data on them is. Nor can a slick speaker who is light on actual knowledge. Those aren’t the ways to captivate an audience.
As I tell clients, you could leave your laptop in the cab on the way in from the airport, and still speak incisively for an hour on your topic. Who you are is the reason you have been tasked with giving this speech. So in the end, it doesn’t matter if you don’t follow the script perfectly in the first couple of minutes. You will absolutely still be delivering the value expected of you. Of course, you will! That is what I mean by having faith in yourself.
Why put up with the jitters or freezing on stage? Wouldn’t you rather learn how to love public speaking? Just try to enjoy yourself and if you do your audience will also enjoy your presentation.

When Memorization Can Help You in Public Speaking
Here is another, more practical way of ensuring that you hit the ground running: memorize the first minute of your talk. And actually, do the same with your conclusion.
Despite the negative press memorizing for public speaking has received, there are some solid reasons why committing your introduction to memory can help you. Obviously, doing so has the advantage of keeping you from stumbling through your opening remarks. Since you will only be committing a minute or so to memory, there is not much risk that you will leave out anything.

Just as important: the first 60 seconds is critical to launching your speech successfully. Judgments about you, and decisions about whether to accept what you are saying, are formed during this period. That is why it is necessary to grab or hook listeners’ attention and engage them right from the start.
There is nothing wrong and in terms of effectiveness, a lot right with strutting your best stuff when everyone is paying maximum attention. Why leave it to chance? Convince the audience they are in good hands. If the thought of doing that reduces your anxiety well, it should!

Three Ways to Help Your Sales Professionals Return to Work

July 14, 2020 by  

If you have ever been out of work for an extended period of time, then you might remember the challenges with getting the momentum and motivation back up to where it was.
Maybe it wasn’t due to a job loss. Maybe it was when your summer break ending and that first week back at school. Exciting, interesting, anxious, and not productive.  Right now it is likely due to the pandemic.
There will, of course, be challenges when your employees return to work, and especially salespeople. Either the transition from working at home or getting back to work being off will require a shift back into the normal work routine. Yes, there will be some excitement of going back into the office similar to those first days back at school. But there might also be a level of grogginess and resistance to the previous routine.
As leaders, it is important to ensure that you are aware of this possibility. It could take your sales team some time to warm back up. When you combine that with their fears/concerns about being in close proximity to customers or coworkers, they will be distracted and less effective than in the past.

Here Are Three Ways That Could Help You Handle This Reentry Phase with Your Salespeople:

1. Refresh Understanding
Ensure that everyone on your team knows what your company’s mission is and the core values that make up your culture. Constantly reminding your sales team about why you are there and what part they play in the mission of the company and the value to the customers will help everyone focus on what is most important. Also do what you can to bring your company’s mission and values into the conversations with customers, especially when making sales calls. This will allow you to sell from a place of opportunity to help your prospects and not feeling or being seen as opportunistic.

2. Listen to Concerns
In addition to following the guidelines for what needs to be in place for the safety of your employees and customers, have regular meetings with your team and listen closely to their concerns. Some of your team will be eager and willing to jump back in and others will be more anxious. The careful balance is that you want to listen but you also don’t want to encourage the anxious energy. Mitigate where you can, support them at all times, even if that means some of your team cannot come and work during this initial return phase.

3. Be Realistic
Set realistic goals and timelines for their sales production. If you have been closed down or operating with a skeleton crew and your product/service has an extended sales cycle then it will take them time to build that pipeline back up. It will also take the reps time to shake off the internal cobwebs. For most companies, sales volume won’t be like it was before – not any time soon. I have seen owners reset their figures in their mind, but the real key is to be honest and transparent and set proper expectations for your sales team. Even if it feels grim with little chance to earn a bonus or commission it is better than getting everyone excited and failing to hit the numbers.

The truth is that not every business will survive this time in our history. Many have already closed for good and others won’t be able to sustain even after reopening their doors. Those that do make it will most likely not just survive but will thrive and flourish. The success of your sales team will be the key to your recovery from this.

10 Simple Ways to Express Gratitude

June 30, 2020 by  

Being thankful to someone and showing them how grateful you are may seem like a small thing, but it can have a massive impact on someone’s life.
Can you imagine a world where everyone was grateful for the things that were done for them? Even a simple act of kindness, like a smile, for example, could brighten someone’s day and make them want to help again in the future.
You can make your life – and the world – better by expressing your gratitude!

Try these methods to show your gratitude:
1. Send a note saying thank you. Sometimes it is nice to read about how thankful a person is. Taking the time to write something down rather than just sending a text message makes it more personal too.
2. Give them a hug. You can only do this where appropriate, but if you are feeling grateful about something, it is okay to give your family or close friends a hug. Of course, not everyone will be receptive of a hug, so ensure that you know how they are going to react beforehand.
3. Offer a free favour. Even if it is something small, do something nice for someone without expecting anything in return. Think of what the person wants or needs and do your best to help, even if it is just making a cup of coffee or doing a small chore
a. Actions speak louder than words, and this simple act will show how grateful you are.
4. Give a little gift. A bouquet of flowers or a box of chocolates won’t cost much, but the act of giving them shows that you have thought about the person and that you are grateful for what they do for you.
5. Be happy for their achievements. Show someone how pleased you are with their achievement. A nice handwritten card or some flowers would be a nice thought.
6. Write a list. This will only take 5-10 minutes but will show just how much you care. Sit down with a pen and paper and make a list of 10 or more things that you love about someone. Mention the things that they do for you that you are grateful for. Send that list to them.
7. Give them public acknowledgement. Not everyone will love being made a fuss of in public, but for some, public praise would be appreciated. This works especially well if you are the boss and those you wish to offer gratitude to are your employees.
8. Just be there. Always be available for those you care about, even when things are not going well for you. When you are supportive of others, you are showing how much you care and that youâre grateful for the times they were there to support you.
9. Surprise them with kindness. This works especially well with your partner. Surprise them with a lovely dinner or clean the house when they go out shopping. These simple tasks will mean a lot to someone, especially if they are busy or stressed with very little spare time.
10. Look for the good in every situation. You may not always feel grateful for the things that are going on in your life. Especially if you feel as though things are going wrong. However, now is the time to be most grateful.
a. Look for those little things that are going right for you. Focus on these positives and be grateful for them. They can help take your mind off any negatives.
b. Notice the little things that others do for you, even in unpleasant situations. Let them know that they made a positive difference.

You do not have to make grand gestures to express gratitude. Even the smallest act can show someone how thankful you are.

5 Ways Help Your Business Stand out from the Competition

June 13, 2020 by  

Meet customers’ needs in these critical areas to stand out from the crowd.
Everywhere you turn, there is more competition. No matter what type of store or business you operate, there are bound to be others clamouring for your customers and your piece of the market. Plus, with consumers counting every penny and business purchasers scrutinizing expenditures like never before, winning over new customers and up-selling old ones has become more challenging.  In addition, great, consistent customer service will always bring customers back and they will also likely tell their friends how well you handled the problem.

What will cause customers to buy from you rather than your competitors? The answer is to meet their needs in these five critical areas:
1. Price
Getting this right is the first order of business. Nearly three-quarters of Americans say they are living a simpler life, spending less and being more frugal as a result of the recession, according to the latest American Pulse survey from BIG research. More than one-third of the survey respondents said that being able to pay their bills on time was a “luxury.” In the face of this overwhelming need to fulfill shoppers’ demand for affordability, it is essential to meet or beat the competition’s pricing on selected front-line products and services. Then you can provide bundled services or additional products at more profitable price points.

2. Added Value
Online comparison shopping is the norm these days, and whether you sell online, offline or both, shoppers are looking for that little extra nudge when choosing where to make their final purchase. Free shipping, coupons and buy-one-get-one sales are currently among the most popular incentives. You can also offer unique incentives, such as a special money-back guarantee or a free initial consultation, depending on your type of business, product or service. Evaluate what your unique customers need in this recession-era economy and create a special incentive that will motivate them to take action.

3. Convenience
Gone are the days of cheap gas and moms with unlimited time to shop. Now customers want and expect convenience, which accounts in part for the tremendous surge in online shopping. If you have an e-commerce website, streamline the checkout process, particularly for returning customers. Make it easy to find in-depth information about products and to make returns, and offer great customer service via e-mail and by phone for shoppers who want
immediate answers. Traditional brick-and-mortar store owners should re-evaluate hours of operation, as well as checkout wait times and staffing to ensure a speedy and convenient shopping experience, especially if working mothers are your bread and butter.

4. Trust
Customers are careful to spend their limited dollars wisely and are scrutinizing each purchase to make sure they are making a “safe” decision. They want to buy from companies they trust and believe in. Increasingly, shoppers are looking at business owners’ backgrounds, the company history and even staff bios, and they want to learn what other customers have experienced. Recommendations from friends and peers, including consumer opinions posted online, are among the most trusted and can have the greatest influence on a purchase decision. So include testimonials, reviews or a message board on your website that helps customers understand why they should believe in your company and trust what you sell.

5. Conscience
Increasingly, consumers want to know you’re a good corporate citizen. Businesses with a conscience care for their communities, others who are less fortunate and the world around them. Does your business engage in green practices? What are your charitable affiliations? Detail your activism on your website, in your company newsletter or through in-store promotions. Get involved at the local level and encourage your customers to participate, such as through food or clothing drives, or by cleaning up the local park. You’ll establish a positive relationship with customers that sets you apart from your competition and motivates like-minded customers to buy from you.

Consumers are more knowledgeable and savvy than they have ever been, so it is crucial to differentiate your company. Use the tips above, and you will be well on your way to making your company stand out from the crowd.

Why Effective Communication Is Necessary in the Workplace

June 3, 2020 by  

Today with so many employees working from home, keeping in touch is key to maintaining high achievement and having your staff feel connected even though they are not in the office. The information below relates to workplace communication however, it also is true for today’s issues due to the pandemic we are all dealing with both at home and for work. Without clear, regular communication from managers and with colleagues, employees will feel more isolated and find doing their work more difficult.

1. Helps With Diversity
Effective communication promotes smoother operations, as well as reduces the chances of any errors occurring within the work done. With efficient communication in an organization, workers and supervisors can communicate effectively, despite their cultural or language differences.
Incorporating foreign employees in the organization becomes a lot easier with such communication, as it allows them to cope a lot more easily with the language difference. This has a positive impact on the company’s productivity as more work will be understood and completed. More importantly, it will help if you need to outsource some unique and experienced talent for the success of your organization.

2. Facilitates Innovation
Effective communication at a place of work often promotes a good feeling towards the organization itself, among the employees. If your employees discover an idea that can lead to more success in your firm, they will feel confident to bring up such ideas. So, employees do not only become more creative and confident but also put these creative ideas to use, which has a positive influence on the outcome of the company.

3. Enhances Team Building
Good communication flow in an organization helps your whole workforce act as one team. Unnecessary competitions among departments are reduced when all units operate as one team to enhance the overall growth of the organization.
As well as this, employees will start to feel appreciated in the workplace if they have access to all needed information to complete tasks. So, the sense that the management favours one department over other departments can diminish as a result of excellent communication, making employees work in unison.

4. High Turnover Rates
No employee enjoys waking up every morning to attend to a company that doesn’t make them feel appreciated. Many are the times that employees will get excuses to have a break from the office if they cannot talk to managers or workmates comfortably. However, with effective communication, employees feel more secure to share their thoughts and concerns with coworkers and supervisors. This makes the workplace environment feel like a more comfortable place to attend daily, as employees tend to feel more free and happy while in the organization.

5. Enhance Employee Morale
In addition to employee benefits, communication plays a vital role in raising employee morale. Issuing high pay does not lead to long-lasting relationships in the workplace, while communication is deteriorating.
You may find out that employees only wait for their payslip at the end of the month, with no intention of enhancing workplace productivity. However, with excellent communication in the organization, employees will feel more involved in the company’s activities making them more willing to put in greater efforts for the organization.
Furthermore, if a manager ever corrects an employee’s work, the employee is more likely to take such corrections positively due to already having built up a positive relationship with them.

6. Promotes Global Growth
The ability to communicate with clients matters significantly, especially when it comes to dealing with those who are from a different culture. Most customers prefer companies that can understand them no matter the culture, and give back positive results.
When dealing with foreign individuals, it is necessary to comprehend a language or signs that both parties understand. This enables your workplace to benefit from more clients, and therefore surpass the competition in your field.

The Limitations of Bad Communication
Whilst it is good to be aware of the ways that good communication is necessary for any workplace, it is also good to know the limitations of having bad communication in business too.

Creates Conflict
With the communication of false or incomplete information, it can result in anger and disputes among staff. For instance, if managers ask employees for the accomplishment of a certain task which they were uncertain of in the first place, this can lead to conflict if the employee has completed the task incorrectly because this would be a waste of time on the employee’s behalf.

Lowers Employee Morale
False or poor communication can reduce self-esteem among employees, resulting in hatred towards the workplace. For example, if employees try too hard to enhance the success of a place of work when the rumour hovering around is that no effort is being made, employees feel less motivated to bring in greater effort, leading to lower productivity.

More Employee Errors
Unclear instructions from the management result in the heightening of employee errors. Besides, if an employee fails to understand the instructions given, the chances are that the end results will be the opposite of the expected. So, information must be delivered through the right channels, and in a way that employees are encouraged to ask more questions if they do not understand the given instructions.

From the points above, we can conclude that communication is a great tool in every workplace if incorporated in the right way. So, every workplace should enhance good communication skills by training employees on how to deliver information effectively and with clarity to avoid the challenges that crop up from ineffective and confusing communication.

7 Things You Must Do to Get Your Emails Read

May 24, 2020 by  

How many emails do you get a day? A week? And I bet you have at least 2 email accounts, business and personal. And of course; Facebook messaging, IM, iMessage. You probably feel like a great big inbox. I certainly do! So with these kinds of odds to get your message noticed, it is amazing that we read anything, especially ones trying to sell us something. There are things you can do to get through the clutter.

1. Make it relevant – Relevance is the key. This opens a whole lot of opportunities as relevance is something you can only determine if you
a) know your customer and
b) can target your email campaigns.
Also, relevance can be increased with personalization and not just about the recipient. If your customer knows you then send it from you. We all like to feel special which is so much better than To Whom it may Concern… From This Great Big Company.

2. Know your customer – If you aren’t doing ongoing customer insight research, you can’t know your customers. Remember you are not your customer nor are your employees. Reach out to customers frequently. Ask them to rate your offer, product, service, and communications. Analyze your customer results to identify trends such as is a particular group that always open the email X? Another group that seems to like email Y? Identify them and send out the emails they want not the others!

3. Segment – not all customers are the same so your email list should not be one “catch-all”. Identify and segment different customers even if it is just geographic and tenure to start. The research you will be doing will add to this. Then make sure you take into account their preferences.

4. Don’t use SPAM hot words such as spam algorithms and hot-word lists which are always changing so make sure you are testing your subject lines and content against spam guidelines. Your email service provider can help you keep current! You may be unknowingly using words or phrases that are flagging you! Don’t get complacent either. If it worked last year, it may not work this year.

5. Use a reputable Email Service Provider – in this instance size can matter. The large email service providers have direct relationships with many of the ISP’s so have the ability to fix incorrect spam flags quickly. Plus, they offer superior data analytics tools, training, and knowledge! Check out Mail Chimps reporting on Email Marketing Stats. It has become the standard for many marketers! Remember, your email won’t be read if it is sitting in spam or worse, not delivered at all!

6. Keep it short. Remember the goal is action and emails should give just enough information to get a customer to act, call, click or buy and nothing more. If your offer is complex, simplify it. If you have lots of relevant info, let them find it online if interested. Make it easy for them to skim and see if they want to act not wade through a novel to figure out your point!

7. Send it late evening or night. Why is this important? Being one of the first emails of the morning (or during that 3 am sleepless night session) just gets better results. Again, this shows the importance of working with an email provider that has auto-scheduling, and the servers to allow for a quick send even if your list is HUGE. The worst time? Noon or early afternoon. Check out Mailer/Mailer’s email open rate report for the details.

If you follow these 7 tips you will likely have more openings from your customers so more success for your business.

Why Leaders Should Ask Questions?

May 14, 2020 by  

Many leaders hesitate to ask questions because they fear it will make them appear weak. Leaders are supposed to have all the answers, right? Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), the world we live in has become so complex that it is simply not possible for anyone to have all the answers, no matter how tenured he or she is. But there are all kinds of benefits to asking questions, regardless of how much you know.

Here are a few:
1. Great questions lead to great discoveries. If you ask profound questions, you get profound answers. If you ask shallow questions, you get shallow answers. If you ask no questions, you get no answers at all.
2. Great questions are the anecdote to advice. Our own advice can be great sometimes, but lousy or misinformed other times. Giving advice is easy and costs little, at least on the surface. In organizational settings, however, a leader’s advice can quickly get translated into a “direct order” with no room for further discussion.
3. Great questions develop the critical thinking skills of others. If you are a leader, the critical thinking skills of your team will likely determine how far you go. When you give answers, you get followers. When you offer questions (and coach through the process of determining the best answer), you develop more leaders.
4. Great questions delegates responsibility. At the end of the day, if you are the person everyone comes to with every problem, your leadership bar will remain low. Leaders need followers who can solve problems on their own. In addition, keep in mind that a person is always more motivated to act on and own a solution he or she has come up with themself than to follow the guidance of someone else.

What do Great Questions Look Like?
It is true that most leaders don’t become great at asking questions until they become great at listening (something that should cause each of us to pause and consider). There is a learning process for everything. But in the meantime, let us consider some examples of what great, powerful questions look like.
Leading vs. Non-Leading Questions: A leading question proposes a solution in the form of a question. A non-leading question opens up the possibility for multiple solutions.

Consider the differences between these two examples.
Leading: “What would happen if you tried having training meetings on Tuesdays?”
Non-Leading: “What are some different options for conducting training?”

Closed vs. Open-ended Questions: Closed questions require a “yes” or “no” answer while open-ended questions can have many outcomes.
Closed: “Have you thought about creating a new task force?”
Open-ended: “What are some ways you could approach this challenge?”

Advice vs. Possibility Questions: An advice question is basically just advice in the form of a question.
Advice: “Couldn’t you address that situation at this afternoon’s meeting?”
Possibility: “When (or how) could you address that situation?”

Why vs. “Tell Me More” Questions: Why questions can be abrasive and feel accusatory, regardless of their intent. No one likes being on trial. Using a “tell me more” approach opens up the dialogue.
Why: “Why did you decide to ship only seven orders?”
Tell me more: “Can you tell me more about the thought process for this shipment?”

Actually asking great questions instead of giving advice is probably one of the hardest disciplines leaders encounter. The first step is to stop yourself from giving unsolicited advice. The next step is to respond with a question. The next step is to make that question a powerful one. I encourage you to give it a try and actually stick with it. Ask someone to give you feedback on your question-asking ability. It will be slow at first, but eventually, it will start becoming natural. Besides the leaders you serve will develop right along with you.

Companies Should Consider More Remote Work Options

April 30, 2020 by  

The rise in technological development in just the past few years alone has completely transformed the modern workforce.
Fast internet connectivity and better software focused on teamwork and collaboration, for instance, continuously reduces the need for face-to-face interactions.
One of the biggest trends on the rise, however, is the idea of remote work. Remote work a type of flexible schedule where employees work from their home office either partially or fully during the workweek is already offered by a number of giant industry names such as Amazon and Google, and more and more companies every day are beginning to incorporate this kind of flexibility into their own offerings to employees.
In this article, I will discuss the benefits of remote work, and how it can lead to happier and more productive employees.

Remote Work = Better Work-Life Balance
The quality of any project is directly dependent on the skills and training of the people assigned to it. As such, big companies like to invest in the well-being and professional development of their employees by offering better financial compensation, advanced healthcare plans, and various training programs.
But work-life balance is also a ‘perk’ that today’s job seeker is seeking, as the rigidity of the office environment isn’t for everyone. By allowing employees to work from home, companies show that they are invested in creating the best environment for productive work even if it means managing remote team members.
As it happens, this kind of flexibility has surprising results. According to a report by Ultimate Software, 90% of people who work remotely feel more productive than they did in the office, where they were easily distracted by co-workers, meetings, or other activities.
In addition to feeling productive, these employees also experience a better work-life balance. Not only do they avoid feeling chained to a desk, but they have the freedom to decide when to work, allowing them to experience more autonomy in their work, which is commonly linked to higher job satisfaction and greater creativity.

Access to Qualified Talent
Offering remote work as an option to potential employees allows companies to have access to talent at a global level. Managers can now select candidates from a very diverse pool, which allows them to improve the overall level of skill and experience within the company.
Furthermore, thanks to online learning platforms, it is easy and low-cost to offer training to new employees who are not in the office. This way, companies can work with people from all over the world, while making sure they have all the right skills for the job.

A Better Employer Brand
In today’s workforce environment, companies of any size must find ways to attract millennials, who are taking over from the previous generation. But millennials have a different view on life and work and don’t like to feel attached to a company that doesn’t fulfill their mental and emotional needs.
Characteristics of brands that attract millennials in today’s workforce include a friendly work environment, a positive workplace culture, opportunities for growth and development, and an openness toward work flexibility/remote work.
Work-life balance is particularly important to millennial job seekers, and the ability to work from home may just make the difference between their choosing one company over another. It could also help to make them stay in the position longer, as often when they are unhappy they just leave.

Fully Remote Companies Exist
We now see successful tech companies (Zapier, Fiverr, Toptal, and more) that operate on a completely remote setup. This means there is no going to the office every day (even for the CEOs and mid-managers), but people still function as a team.
While this is a new structure that requires different company processes in terms of communication protocols and access to resources, today’s technology is ready for this phenomenon. If tech giants operate on this premise, it is not very difficult for well-established corporations to integrate remote workers as well.
The secret is to find the right tools for collaboration (such as Slack or Zoom) and make sure everyone is integrated with the team. Of course, companies will also need to shift their focus on goal achievement and be less focused on task management since remote workers are capable of managing their own time as they see fit.
The remote worker is not a passing trend, and the sooner companies understand this, the better. Otherwise, corporations run the risk of losing valuable employees, which could hinder productivity and raise the cost of hiring. In addition, companies that are rigid about working remotely also run the risk of looking inflexible in the eyes of partners, prospective employees, and supporters.

7 Tips for Becoming A Successful Person

April 16, 2020 by  

Success means being able to achieve or surpass a goal, purpose, dream, need, want, desire, intention, or expectation. It usually relates to a superior performance or meaningful accomplishment like winning an oratorical contest, passing a government licensure examination, getting an outstanding citizen award, realizing above-target business results, or even living and staying healthy beyond a certain average life span.
The core value of success, for any person, is being able to acquire the “total capacity” and the “ascendancy” not only to help themself and their family but to a great extent, to help others similarly grow and succeed towards their desired future. Total capacity bespeaks of a person’s perception of themself, their skills, knowledge, and abilities, as well as their experience, values, reputation, industry, and sense of social responsibility. When a person has the total capacity, they develop a character that gives them the ascendancy of a role model who can influence the lives of others, directly or indirectly, through the superior value of their thoughts, words, and deeds.

But success has become more elusive. Life now is so complicated, disruptive, and unpredictable due to changes in the context of society beyond the capacity of many people to face and overcome. This is exactly the reason why a methodical approach to personal success is a contemporary necessity, and this involves going through the following steps:

1. Know yourself, what you have in stock as a person.
Success escapes people who do not know themselves. You have to dissect your totality with clinical precision. Be honest in the exercise of knowing who and what you are. Do not hide anything; after all, it is only you who knows everything about you. Ask yourself: What are my strengths? Where am I weak? What are my past successes and what did I do then? What are my failures and what were the causes? Do I have the character, reputation, and predisposition to help others?
In the exercise, never entertain the idea that you have been a failure. Delight in the fact that you are already approaching the threshold of success as you painstakingly submit to a realistic self-analysis.

2. Know your needs, wants, desires, and passions.
Your decision to trek a success path, and the probability of you reaching your desired destination, have to be reconciled with where you are now. This is the point where you need to know where you stand in the hierarchy of human needs (i.e. physiological, security, love, recognition, and self-fulfilment). Why is this important? Here, you will basically know where you want to go: what needs you have to satisfy, things that you still want after satisfying your needs, and a notch higher, those that you desire to have in the future.
Amidst your needs, wants, and desires, what is really your central goal in life? Is your goal something that you are happy with and most passionate about? A clear discernment of your passion is critically important because you should never pursue anything that you are not interested in. Your passion is both your beacon and live energy for a long and tedious journey to success.

3. Count your blessings and ascertain the risks.
What do you have at stake to achieve your goal and be successful? Do you have the necessary physical, mental, and psychological preparedness, and the character and maturity, to lead and live a disciplined life to success? Do you have the support of your family, relatives, and friends in your success endeavour? What financial resources do you need, and do you have it? If not, what are your options should you need them? What are the potential roadblocks to what you intend to do? Is there alignment between your goal and what you have?
These are the major questions that you have to impose upon yourself for realistic answers. Otherwise, you run the risk of chasing an ideal goal that does not match your realistic capacity to achieve it. There is wisdom in learning from the history of success greats who, while being handicapped and underprivileged, succeeded by relying on their vision, focus, persistence, courage, sense of humanity, and friendship. You can do the same because you also value the importance of success with your willingness to strategize on it.

4. Know your choices, make a decision, set your objective, and plan for it.
If what you have are sufficient to pursue your goal, which is a product of your passion, then immediately go for your goal. Develop a quick plan and set objectives and milestones that should usher you through and tell you, at any given time, if you are on track.
If you do not have what it takes to work on your goal without necessarily failing, you can either postpone working on it while doing things that will help you achieve it at a later time, or you can abandon and change your goal in favour of another option with the same or equivalent fulfilment at the end.

5. Get organized and be systematic, take the side of quality.
As you chase your goal, you have to conserve physical and mental energy. The odds against success are great, and oftentimes discouraging. As a famous quip avers, “Success is an exercise of perfection, always demanding and precision-hungry. At times, it is demoralizing. And in many occasions, you can lose your identity” You can insulate yourself against the drawbacks of chasing success by mapping out all that needs to be done in an organized, comprehensive, and systematic manner that makes you efficient and effective.

6. Maintain a strong appetite for new knowledge, keep current with the times, and learn how to learn.
Go into purposeful reading. Learn from people and from the lights of their experience. Expand your circle of friends, and get interconnected with those who can help transfer knowledge to enhance your capacity in pursuing your goal. Enjoy the enormous power of the Internet for both historical and new knowledge. Be visible in your community and in organizations where you can better appreciate and practice the high essence of teamwork, sharing, and communication.

7. Embrace humanity, humility, modesty, and patience.
Demonstrate sincerity and dedication to people. Show them your commitment to your purpose in life, and your predisposition to help others without expecting anything in return, financial or otherwise. Mark your word and keep your promises. Be humble, and remain modest in your needs. Have the patience to withstand and overcome failure, delays, and errors, while learning from such dysfunctions including the ignorance of others. Stay calm, reasonable, and tolerant.

All these qualities build a very strong character of respectability and dependability.
After you have knowingly gone through the step-by-step approach to success, you will be surprised and fulfilled that you have succeeded in liberating yourself from the bondage of status quo because you have become: purpose-driven, change receptive, knowledge-hungry, organized, contented with what you have, sharing and collaborative, and excited about humanity. Above all, you remain guided by the thought that success is anywhere in what you think, what you do, and what you share. It resides in you and is always people-friendly.

12 Keys for High-Energy Public Speaking

April 1, 2020 by  

High-energy speakers are more engaging and memorable for their audience so if you want to be sure to get your message across and be remembered, here are some tips to employ.

1. Display Confidence in Your Style: Confidence in a speaker begets confidence and trust from your an audience. Listeners will simply believe in you and the vision you are offering if they sense that you are truly and passionately committed to it without question.

2. Demonstrate Your Passion. Nothing compels attention more than a speaker who believes with all his or her heart in an idea. Interestingly, passion also overcomes weak platform skills, which simply become consumed in the fire. Playing it safe, in other words, isn’t safe. When you share your passion you can ignite your audience.

3. Create a Strong Opening and Closing: The most critical parts of your speech are your beginning and your ending. Your audience is paying the most attention at these times and will remember most strongly what you give them at these points in your talk.

4. Let Your Audience Know Where You Will Be Going Together: Let the audience know upfront where you will be going together in terms of your topic and main points. Audiences want to trust that they are in practiced hands, with a speaker who knows their topic deeply and fully.

5. Learn the Art of Being Conversational: Even the highest-profile speeches tend to sound conversational these days. However important your message, listeners will respond better if you sound like you are just sharing some thoughts with them, rather than speaking from on high.

6. Achieve Clarity and Conciseness: Speakers are sometimes afflicted with a terrible disease known as the I Can Talk About This Forever Syndrome. As subject experts, they don’t feel the need to prepare for a presentation. If you follow their lead, your talk may truly feel like forever for your audience. Instead, stick to the specific facts and key points of your topic as being clear and concise shows you care about your audience and want them to take away those key issues.

7. Take Charge of the Stage: As a public speaker, you have a stage to command whether it is in an auditorium, the space in front of a conference room table or actually on a stage. Pair your movements with the main parts of your speech; and again, be purposeful. Don’t wander or use too much body movement as it is distracting to your audience.

8. Employ Storytelling: It is important to make storytelling a part of your presentation because people remember stories, especially ones they can relate to. Data is fundamental, but too often it won’t get to the emotional heart of what you are trying to get across to your audience. Stories ignite people’s emotional response. You need that to happen.

9. Use Strong Body Language: What an audience sees is an important part of how they will judge you. Be the picture of self-assurance. Use spare, clean, and powerful gestures to emphasize your words.

10. Introduce Vocal Dynamics: If your voice isn’t an asset of your public speaking, consider getting some coaching in vocal skills. Your voice is your most reliable tool for influencing others. If it doesn’t compel people to listen, you are at a disadvantage. You need to project your voice, speak clearly and not too fast or you will lose your audience. However, if you speak too slowly they will get bored so choose a good pace of speaking for your delivery.

11. Use Metaphors: Employing metaphorical language will help make your speeches vivid and memorable. Nothing makes a concept come to life, with emphasis and power, like a comparison an audience can instantly relate to. Tailor your examples to your audience so that it will be relevant. When that is true it will be more memorable for them.

12. Find the Physical Dimension of Your Message: Despite our Digital Age, you are not a talking head, and your speech or presentation needs a physical dimension. Ask yourself if you truly embody your speech. Listeners will buy your persona if it is active and interesting. Most people today use PowerPoint or some other tool to reinforce their presentation. That is good but do not put everything you are going to say up on your slides. Rather, it is meant to reinforce your key points and remind you of the points you want to expand upon.

If you employ the above tips you will have more successful presentations and a more retentive learning experience for your audience. Just remember to have fun, too!

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