I have just read an interesting article from a contributor on LinkedIn that I love. Her name is Liz Ryan. She writes with such inspiration from the heart and her illustrations are great too! I hope you will read her latest blog in which she discusses; ‘How to get naked, win friends and influence people’. Read it here. It certainly gives us food for thought!
We all have personal branding – with our current job title or our industry designation and put on huge over coats and batten down the hatches of our inner self, losing all our fun, creativity, and often all our innovation. We all have the ability to come up with creative ideas which can help us each and every day in the workplace, if only we scratched beneath the surface to discover what is actually underneath.
Being creative can involve cooking a meal from scratch, creating a novel, doing some DIY, making up a bedtime story for your child, finding ways to cut costs, or even developing a creative solution to a negotiation impasse. Whatever you do, creativity helps you do it better.
Many business people will admit to saying, “I have no creativity at all!” You may well believe that your job has no requirement for creativity, or perhaps you’ve resigned yourself to the fact that you are just not the outgoing fun type. But having a creative mindset and being intrinsically you is not the sole domain of being arty – whether it’s painting, theatre, music, architecture, dancing, literature, and so on-but is important in any field, from medicine to business, and from engineering to economics.
Embracing ALL OF YOUR creativity is essential for fulfilling your potential, at work and in life. So why with all the liberalisation around our everyday lives do we still prefer to hide layers to the nakedness of ourselves behind our laptops and working uniforms? You are the same person that goes to work and when you arrive it is as if your ‘Heart and Sole’ dies….you become subdued, risk- aversed and oh so serious…
So, keep looking around in your organization.
- Do you see fun and creativity at work?
- Do you see joy?
- Do you see love?
- Or do you see fear, and in authenticity, and mediocrity?
If the latter, you may be witnessing the wall of the mind at work. At a basic and human level, this may be the single most dangerous stumbling block between your organization and long-term success!
I think it can be true to say that to be a highly empathic person one must not only have an insatiable curiosity, but find more interest in others than you. To be a leader who does little more than ‘bark up his own tree’, does little or nothing for the role of great empathy in any organisation today. So it is important to be a great ‘listener’ not an ‘examiner’.
George Orwell was a great example of someone who was able to demonstrate the power of using great empathy. In the 1920s, Orwell was determined to discover what life was like for those living with the socially depresses in Great Britain. “I wanted to submerge myself, to get right down among the oppressed,” he wrote. Orwell dressed up as a vagabond with shabby shoes and overcoat, and went to live on the streets of East London with beggars and tramps. The result, he recorded in a book he later wrote called ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’. Orwell realized that homeless people are not just “drunken scoundrels.”
He went on to develop friendships and so shifted the hieratical views of empathy. He realised that empathy doesn’t just make you good; it is good for you too.
To Succeed As A Leader
To succeed at being empathic as a leader you need the innate ability to understand what is really going on within—to the unique feelings and needs a person is experiencing in that very moment.
It is also vital for a leader who is truly emphatic to make themselves vulnerable. Removing masks and revealing your own feelings is something vital for creating a strong empathic bond. Empathy works two ways, at its best, it is built from mutual understanding—an exchange of our most important beliefs and experiences, as the American proverb says “Walk a a mile in another man’s moccasins before you criticize him.”
If you’d like to become a better leader and develop a greater awareness of emotional intelligence then develop your skills and understanding by attending our course Emotional Intelligence or call us for further details on 0845 5480228 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
In my opinion many leaders are still unclear about the purpose of coaching and mentoring in the workplace and what it ‘really ‘involves; when and where they should be used, and when and where they work.
Good coaching skills focus specifically on personal development rather than just accomplishing tasks. Through personal conversations with employees, coaching leaders organisations must build that all important rapport and trust. Good coaches effectively communicate a belief in people’s potential and an expectation that they can do their best.
In his book FOCUS: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, author Daniel Goleman explains how ongoing dialogue of coaching guarantees that people know what is expected of them and how their work fits into a larger vision or strategy.
Goleman suggests in his article the promotion of a positive coaching culture within the organization, this requires top level buy-in and visible support if it is to permeate throughout both the employee and organizational level from the top down.
Essential Ingredients To Embed Coaching And Mentoring In The Workplace
There are a few essential ingredients to successfully embedding coaching:
- Use effective questioning and listening
- Be flexible in style and approach
- Encourage experimenting and flexibility
- Respond to the culture and diversity of the organization
- Adapt to the content create trusting relationships
To prevent coaching from failing your organization must ensure
- Commitment and interest of the individuals involved
- Sufficient resources and organizational support
- Taking a holistic, personal approach
- Embedding the process in the organizational context
- Recognition of cross-cultural issues
- An enabling external environment
So in essence don’t write off the coaching leadership style. A great coach is essential – to sum up the best way to say it is not that they are your best friend, they are the organizations best friend – and that’s a partnership where everyone wins!
If you’d like to embed coaching within your organisation then take a look at our off the shelf Coaching and Mentoring course which can be run as n internal course for your managers. Full details here or call us on 0845 548 0228 or email email@example.com
There are many organisations around the world who are committed to creating the greatest in the customer experience.
And yet there are still many who just still get it wrong! To be exceptional it is important that you hire, train, motivate, and teach through great delivery, employees to communicate with their customers at every single touchpoint.
Sometimes ‘secret’ or ‘leaked’ material finds its way onto the open market telling us all a great deal about how to run a successful company, communicating brand messages effectively, and enhancing the customer experience.
Such a leaked article was posted on the site Gizmodo in August 2012. The title How To Be a Genius: This is Apple’s Secret Employee Training Manual.
With a deep insight in to the running of Apple and how its employees were trained was indeed quite extraordinary! Even the title of the post leaves little to the imagination and coaxes us to read on. This is a useful reference document for all course designers and developers in the pursuit of helping their clients achieve great customer experiences.
It is a reminder to the reader that absolutely nothing in the experience a customer receives when he/she walks into any of its stores is left to chance. Every step of the customer journey is noted and worked on back in the customer service department and the future of their training and development.
Interestingly the Apple Store’s training manual for Apple Geniuses spends as much time on communication as it does on process and technical knowledge.
According to Gizmodo, “Selling is a science, summed up with 5 letters:
- Approach customers with a personalized, warm welcome.
- Probe politely to understand the customer’s needs (ask closed and open-ended questions).
- Present a solution for the customer to take home today.
- Listen for and resolve any issues or concerns.
- End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return.
This YouTube video shows some more details on what customers can expect in an Apple Store.
Gizmodo quotes the following sample conversation from the training manual as an example of fearless feedback:
“Hi, fellow Genius. I overheard your conversation with your customer during the last interaction and I have some feedback if you have a moment. Is this a good time?”
“Yes, this is a good time.”
“You did a great job resolving the customer’s iPhone issue. I was concerned with how quickly you spoke to the customer. It seemed like you were rushing through the interaction, and the customer had additional questions.”
So whether you are an airline, hotel, cruise line company, automobile industry, restaurant, retailer, tech company, hospital, government services agency, and on and on…you need to constantly keep on top of your training, and although the Gizmodo article expresses some’ skepticism’ about these techniques, the article reaches the conclusion that ‘great’ training works!
So if you have the desire and need to drive up your customer service levels and need to develop your own training materials or unique courses to develop service skills in your organisation, then call us today on 0845 548 0228 for an informal chat or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking into the future, we must encourage our leaders not only to strengthen their psychological resources, but outwardly express positivity and in turn act as role models to their employees and display their own brand of ’ Great Leadership Management’.
It is sadly all too often the case that leaders are not psychologically equipped to handle decisions in the workplace.
In order to have the potential to serve as an energizing force within organizations today, leadership Management must be managed successfully to enable impact is to have positivity.
Often when leaders are thrust into an environment of stress and tension they are put under enormous psychological pressures and these very circumstances can result in ‘dire’ results. In any organisation it is prudent to remember some of the following factors when recognising a great leader;
- Leadership means having to make decisions at breakneck speed, giving little time for thoughtful consideration or consultation – so ‘speed’ is often of the essence.
- Leaders need to be trained psychologically to respond to crisis, not only to prevent stumbling in normal circumstances, but in a crisis when problems can be way beyond their control.
- Leaders must be flexible to adapt to their organisation to any situation and cope with any hierarchy that could be a hindrance to their decision they make.
- Leaders must be able to make any decision simply, the more complex the solution the less likely they are to resolve it with their employees.
- In my experience, the quickest way to lose your leadership credential is to not be able to demonstrate balance in a crisis. You must be able to remain calm and not lose control of any emotions.
- It is crucial that all leaders share the same common goal. As organisational processes are stretched in a crisis, leaders must not become dysfunctional. A leader in a crisis must have the flexibility to adapt to any situation regardless of the inherent processes of their organisation.
- Leaders must also be able to approach any crisis with a positive attitude and encourage this throughout any and every situation, to perform and communicate well, and show a solid dedication to the problem in hand with dedication and unfailing loyalty.
Finally, Leaders need to realize and address the fact their need to continually grow with their organisational skills, be able to bend with adversity and be prepared to offer honest feedback and advice even at the stake of being unpopular. In any organisation it is the true leader who drives it forward and champions it to be the very top of its league
Further reading; see Post by Dr. Marla Gottschalk
Industrial & Organizational Psychologist / Workplace Strategist; Note to Managers: Positivity Matters
This is just a quick post to challenge your thinking if you are about to embark-upon a new adventure or a major change at work. It’s relevant for those of you working your way through a culture change programme. In December 2009 I took a trip to Italy and part of the vacation took a tour to Mount Etna to visit the Volcano. Our tour guide was very helpful and kept our interest as we made our slow ascent to the coach park near the summit of the mountain. One of the facts she mentioned got me thinking, hence my post.
My eldest son Scout is a serious mountain biker and spends all his spare time riding various mountain biking trails around the United Kingdom and Europe. His forte is the steep downhill style of riding rather than the easy going cross-country tracks. http://bit.ly/IscUQS
A pivotal service crucial to all downhill riders is the’ uplift’ where a purpose-built trailer or chair lift carries their bikes to the top of the hill or mountain from where they begin their downhill run.
I began to see a similarity between this sport and how organisations should achieve that’ wow’ in the way they treat their customer experience. Any training can often feel like an uplift, a huge uphill climb to reach the top. When you walk this path to get to the top along any step of the way it becomes very easy to falter. Often when implementing culture change it can feel like you are pushing a rock uphill. If you stop and take your eye off the track for even a minute, you can lose your foot fall risking all the effort your organisation has tirelessly put in place.
What we can all do in our organisations is to view our training at every stage of this trail. Otherwise as with a gravitational pull, a giant slalom or mountain bike trail we will be back at the bottom before we have accomplished what we have set to roll out to both our internal staff and customers alike.
Continuing with this metaphor a while longer, we must always implement change at the top of the mountain not the bottom. Training should start with management understanding the principles of customer experience. It is only then key messages can be cascaded down from the top to the bottom of this organisational trail.
Just like my son the mountain biker, if you start with a short run first to get the experience and flavour of what you want to achieve, you can quickly grow and increase momentum. Just like those mountain bikers gathering pace through the paths and trails, only then will you find no amount of resistance can stop the results of your endeavours i.e. your training taking over the organisation at brake neck speed.
With a strong infrastructure in place your training will amplify your insight for the customer experience. In many organisations, too often though this infrastructure has never really been in place. You may have paid a small investment for your training needs, but only enough to patch up the problem like a sticking plaster on a mountain biker’s knee. What you need is a platform, a base that will make turn your insight for a great customer service into a crucially important factor in your whole team.
You must work on this platform everyday regardless of facing any resistance. As the platform gets bigger and stronger you will get the opportunity to launch the new concepts and ideas of this training a little farther ‘uphill’ towards your ultimate goal. To be the best, the ‘pro’
The uncertainty of the need for such a strong commitment to deliver a great customer experience is a key stumbling block in many organisations. It is crucial to realise that to be the best and to have a champion customer experience is about the ‘uplift’, the effort in pushing to the top.
Delivering a great customer experience demands that the organisation takes its own journey, following a strategic trail that will lead it to its final destination, its aim or purpose. Along the route there will be many cracks, crevices, loose rocks, to snag the unwary traveller. Sharing an inspirational vision from the top, and cascading the vision down throughout the organisation is critical to delivering great customer service. Overcoming all these barriers along the way is essential.
And for that extra, ‘wow.’ Watch this Video of my son’s Mountain Biking!
Are you overcoming these barriers in your organisation?
Author Cheryl Gregory
Delivering the best customer experience depends heavily upon the commitment of your teams and the leader’s role in this is vital. In the context of the organisation we recognise that the leader can exist at all levels not just within senior management.
To help you become a better leader we have compiled for you a list of 20 Golden Rules that every leader should practice in their daily routines. Here’s the first five, you can download the full list here in a handy little PDF.
|1||Develop the confidence and courage to make bold decisions that may seem daunting.|
|2||Always take a balanced, mature and un-blinkered view by being objective.|
|3||Recognise success is actually achieved through others, make and implement plans to develop others.|
|4||You work for your team NOT the other way around.|
|5||Avoid ‘heat of the moment’ reactions, deal with situations with composure. Building trust takes time … destroying trust takes no time! It’s better to sleep on it than act in haste.|
|6||As a leader you must distance yourself – do not try to be everyone’s best friend.|
|7||Catch people doing things right. Deliberately give praise in a ratio of 5:1 (positive:negative).|
|8||Always be supportive of others within your management team.|
|9||Get yourself a sponsor, to offer you reassurance, help build your confidence and to bounce ideas off. If necessary use external coaches.|
|10||Make time for yourself to be proactive, to think about the future and set goals.|
|11||Clearly communicate and be focused on your team’s short term goals.|
|12||See the future, keeping one eye on next week, next month and next year.|
|13||Focus on how little has been spent rather than how much has been made.|
|14||Always be open to and look for new opportunities that can develop you and your business.|
|15||Don’t avoid or negotiate your way out of team or customer problems … listen, question and own it until it is completely resolved.|
|16||Ask yourself ‘What if…’. Who would replace you? Who would be your second in command etc? So make and implement plans to develop others in preparation for your next move.|
|17||Meetings are meant to motivate so make sure they are necessary. Make sure that each one you hold educates, entertains, informs and reflects a positive and fun culture.|
|18||Seeing is believing, so hold up a mirror so that people can view themselves using tools such as customer feedback, 360 profiles, facts and evidence. Don’t just give your views.|
|19||Learn what motivates your team, how they best respond. Remember that each individual is different and requires a different approach.|
|20||Remember when you were ‘in the team’ and ask yourself “what did you desire / expect/ of your leader?”|
So how many of these do you display?
In order to master anger management, you need to gain control over your emotions. You’ll need to get into a mindset that allows you to think before you act or speak.
If you don’t learn to control your anger, you may destroy the relationships around you and cause physical and emotional harm to everyone, including yourself.
Anger serves an important purpose. Anger is an emotion that tells us that something is wrong. It may even help us to get out of dangerous situations, but sometimes the threats are just perceived and anger is not an appropriate emotion.
Anger itself is not the main problem here though. It may help you to try to feel less angry in some situations, but for the most part your goal should be to learn how to express yourself in a healthier way.
Here are some strategies that will help you to keep a cool head:
1. Don’t React. Think about the situations that have gotten you into trouble in the past. You likely immediately reacted to the problem at hand with angry emotions. Whenever you’re presented with a stressful situation, it’s important withhold rash reactions. Think about what’s really going on, and then decide how you really feel about everything.
2. Take Cool Down Time. You’re not always in a situation where you can take as long as you want without a reaction. If you’re feeling extremely angry, make sure you take a few moments of cool down time. Before you react, try counting to ten in order to give yourself at least a moment to get into the right mindset.
3. Don’t Worry About Others. Sometimes you feel terrible about other people’s opinions of you. When you get caught up in making everyone else happy, you end up forgetting about yourself. This is how your emotions can take control, but you can only ignore yourself for so long.
4. Start Exercising. A daily exercise routine can help you to release energy and emotions. If anger arises, you can also go out for a walk or play some sports as an outlet for that anger.
5. Don’t Hold Grudges. A grudge only hurts you in the long run. Learn the art of forgiving and forgetting. This will bring peace to you and the person you’re holding a grudge against.
6. Practice Relaxation. Anger arises more often if you’re tense and stressed. Study different relaxation techniques that will help you to unwind.
Some of these techniques include:
- Taking a Bath
- Deep Breathing
- Listening to Music
7. Learn Healthy Anger Expression. The trick is not to completely ignore your anger, but to express it in a healthy manner. After you have taken some cool down time, consider your words and communicate why you’re feeling angry in a calm fashion.
Suppressing Your Anger
You may think that you have mastered your anger, but you might actually be suppressing your anger, which could end up making everything worse.
When you suppress your anger it ends up buried deep inside and will come out in undesirable ways.You could start to feel overly stressed, you could get headaches, or you may even start to have problems with high blood pressure. Your mental health may begin to suffer as well. Suppressing anger has been known to lead to life-long problems with depression.
You should remember that if you’ve been feeling especially out of control, seek the help of a health professional.
Do you feel as if everyone is taking advantage of your good nature? Do you think they would still do it if you were more assertive?
Becoming more assertive is a goal that many of us want to achieve. We feel disrespected and we want to be able to stand our ground without guilt or fear. Developing a backbone is not an easy task, but it can be accomplished if you’re committed to it.
Here are some simple tips that will enable you to strengthen your assertiveness as quickly as possible:
1. Stop apologizing. Many of us use the term “I’m sorry” far too frequently and often at inappropriate times. Think about when you use those two simple words. Is it in a situation that you truly should be sorry for?
- Once you’re able to stop apologizing for every little thing, you’ll become more assertive. Learn to differentiate between when there’s a need to apologize and when there isn’t.
- Hitting someone’s cart in a grocery store because you weren’t looking warrants an apology.
- Drinking the last cup of orange juice before your spouse is not a situation that warrants an “I’m sorry.”
- If you’re watching television and your child prefers to sit in the chair you’re sitting in, “I’m sorry” isn’t appropriate.
2. Speak up. Tell those around you what you need. Assertiveness requires good communication skills. Be clear and firm with what you desire. Practice standing up for yourself by conveying your wants and desires to others.
- There’s no need to be aggressive or nasty. Simply communicate that you have thoughts, opinions and needs, too. Once you begin to express these better, the people around you will learn how to appreciate and respect you more, too.
- If you want to develop a backbone, this isn’t the time to be a mouse and stand in the corner. Voice your opinion and be proud of what you have to say; people will take notice and listen.
3. Be committed and patient. It’s wonderful that you’ve decided to make positive changes in your life. It’s something that you should be proud of! Unfortunately though, a complete transformation won’t occur overnight. You’ve entered into a journey, and you must be willing to stick it out!
- You’ll experience good and bad days, but you mustn’t give up. As long as you remain committed and patient, you’ll succeed in what you’re trying to accomplish.
- Focus on the big picture down the road and imagine how much your life will improve once you’re able to stand up for yourself.
4. Work on your body language. Body language is extremely important in any situation. When trying to become more assertive, your body language must reflect this as well.
- Stand straight, speak up, make sure your hands aren’t crossed over your chest, and maintain eye contact with whomever you’re speaking with.
- If you look assertive, people will perceive you as such. If you keep your eyes on the floor, have your hands across your chest, or mumble incoherently, you’ll have trouble to get your point across.
Assertiveness can help you in your personal life, career, family, and many other areas. Though it may take a bit of time, as long as you make positive steps to grow your new backbone of assertiveness, it will be there before you know it!
If you find yourself stuck, perhaps it’s time to explore the reasons why. With some simple self-exploration you can pinpoint the areas of your life that require change. It may require you to leave your comfort zone, but in the end you’ll likely find that it was all worth it!
It’s also important for you to build an action plan. If you stay organized and follow a simple plan of action step by step, there will be nothing that can stop you from achieving your goals.
Here are some ideas that can get you on your way to getting unstuck:
1. Set Up Accountability. When you hold yourself accountable and keep a close eye on your goals, you’ll be better able to identify when you’re stuck in a rut. The first step is to really figure out why you’re feeling stuck in the first place.
2. Set A Time Goal. You’re stuck and you’d like to be unstuck, but chances are you’ve been putting off working toward your goal. You’ve already decided to make yourself accountable and now it’s time to give yourself a time limit – so do it!
3. Be Not Afraid. Being afraid of change is one of the biggest reasons why you get stuck in the first place. Perhaps you’re feeling trapped in your job and, in order to get the job you’d like, you have to go back to college. You need to get over your fear and see what you need to do to apply. You’ll be happy you did when you land your dream job someday.
4. Look For Role Models. Find someone who has been through your situation or something similar and see how he or she was able to overcome obstacles. If possible, ask this person questions.
5. Change Your Thinking. It’s true: your actions first start as thoughts. When you think positive and brave thoughts, you’ll be motivated into action!
6. Take Time. Remember to take some time for yourself to collect your thoughts. You may discover some insight into how to solve your challenges. Make sure you’re completely alone with your thoughts without any distractions.
It’s easy to remain in your “stuck” situation because it’s familiar and you know what’s going to happen. You might even feel safe. However, eventually the dissatisfaction you feel will take over and you’ll realize that the only way to get “unstuck” is to take immediate action to change.
Make the Change
Once you choose your timetable, you’ll want to break down your changes into small steps. Track your progress and tweak your system to make sure your changes are making a difference.
For example, if you’re feeling stuck in a relationship, you’ll first evaluate where you think the concern lies. Perhaps you aren’t communicating effectively. If so, you can set a timetable of three months to overcome this challenge.
You can then break down the problem into smaller steps by reading a book on communication, talking about it with your partner, or attempting counseling sessions. As you go through these actions, you’re constantly keeping a close eye on how it affects your relationship.
In the end you have a firm decision about your relationship’s progress and you no longer feel stuck. If you hadn’t taken action, it’d be impossible to improve!
Repeat the Process
Once you’ve applied this system to one aspect of your life, you can use the same strategies whenever you’re feeling stuck. Whether large or small, there are always actions you can take to break through barriers!
Are you suffering from burnout? Whether it’s caused by work issues, stress at home, relationship challenges, or a combination of all them, it can cause a frightening feeling of hopelessness!
Burnout often causes a feeling of numbness and not knowing how to get your life headed back in the right direction. Take heart – hope is not lost! There are some strategies you can utilize to overcome burnout, once and for all.
Try these techniques to get relief from burnout:
1. Don’t blame yourself. Life is hectic and stressful, especially with all the intense demands placed on our shoulders. If you’re feeling burnt out, rather than blaming yourself, be proactive in getting back in the saddle so you can feel like yourself again.
- Remember, you’re in control of your destiny. Focus on what you can do, not what you think you should do.
2. Stop being so serious. With the stress and responsibilities you carry on a daily basis, you may be in need of some plain ol’ silly time. Release your inhibitions and have some fun!
- Whether it be dancing in your living room or swinging on the swings at a local park, take some time to find your inner child again. This will help you let go of your current stress level, even if it’s just for a little while.
- Making time to have fun will give you a chance to refocus and get your life and priorities back to where they need to be.
3. Stay healthy. It’s important to stay in peak physical condition when you’re under constant stress. Eat many servings of fruits and vegetables, drink large amounts of water, and exercise.
- Fit exercise into your busy schedule by making an appointment with yourself to exercise, and then keep your appointment!
4. Improve your time management skills. You may be burnt out because you’re trying to fit a week’s worth of stuff into a single day. Unfortunately, that’s impossible! Learning how to budget the time in your day more effectively will relieve a lot of this time pressure and stress.
- Good time management will lessen the feeling of being overwhelmed, as well as enable you to have the time you need to do what you want to do.
5. Get enough sleep. This allows your body to rest, rejuvenate, and start the upcoming day with more energy. You can also deal with stressful situations better when you’re alert and focused.
- If you adhere to the 8 hours per night rule, you’ll find yourself more focused, levelheaded, and patient.
Final Thoughts on Burnout
No matter how you may try to sugar coat it, modern life isn’t easy. It’s no wonder that sometimes we feel like we can’t juggle everything any more! Although these feelings are normal from time to time, they can escalate out of control.
Before we reach that point, it’s important to get our lives back in the right direction. These burnout strategies and tips will enable you to better handle every-day stresses so you can enjoy all the amazing gifts life has to offer!
Do you start sweating at the very idea of delivering a speech or making a presentation? Many people suffer from some form of anxiety, including panic attacks, when asked to stand in front of even a few people.
Studies have shown that many of us are more afraid of public speaking than death!
Unfortunately, there are many occasions where we simply can’t avoid delivering a presentation. Whether it’s a business presentation, client meeting, community event, or just a family gathering, there will always be times when you have to stand up and speak, so you might as well sharpen your speaking skills!
Learning to speak in front of a group is very beneficial. Conquering that fear of public speaking could mean a raise at work, a more prominent role as a community leader, or more fulfilling relationships.
Here are the top five reasons why people fear public speaking:
- Fear of failure
- Feeling vulnerable
- Fear of judgment
- Being unprepared
Conquering your fear of speaking in front of a large crowd will certainly take some time and practice, but it’s not impossible!
Follow these tips to help you feel more confident about presenting:
1. Prepare yourself. Prepare a game plan for your presentation. Choose your desired outcome and visualize your successful speech.
2. Get familiar. Learn everything about the area where you’ll be delivering your presentation. Familiarize yourself with the stage, microphone, staff, the room’s features, seating layout, and more.
3. Release your nervousness. You should be energized and focused on your presentation when you enter the room – not on how nervous you are. Begin by taking a few deep breaths to rid yourself of your tension.
4. Get personal. Imagine having a conversation with just one person in your audience. This will allow your presentation to become more personal to your colleagues.
5. Make eye contact. Always make sure to look the audience in the eye so you can forge a stronger connection with them. Make eye contact with one person at a time – as if you’re speaking directly with them.
6. Keep moving. Avoid standing behind the podium while giving your presentation. This could lead to the feeling of being disconnected from your audience. Walk around the stage or stand beside the podium when presenting your speech.
7. Know your audience. Research your audience while preparing for your presentation. This way, you’ll know who’s going to attend so you can better prepare yourself.
8. Stay positive. Keep a positive attitude when asked questions. If you don’t know an answer to something, don’t try to fake your knowledge. Just say: “I don’t know,” offer to find the answer after the presentation, them move on.
9. Accept invitations. When you’re invited to speak at an event or meeting, always accept the offer no matter how nervous you feel. Remember: practice makes perfect!
10. Find a coach. Find a coach to help you strengthen your public speaking skills before the big day. This personal guidance will help you gain confidence and blast past your fears.
Becoming an effective presenter doesn’t have to be stressful. Following these tips will empower you to overcome your fear, while building strong personal skills that can unlock many new opportunities.
We all have a tendency to become side tracked. We may want to complete an important task, yet many distractions poke and prod us away from our goals. How can we keep our focus on the task as hand?
Distractions may be hard to ignore, especially when it’s a chatty coworker, a ringing phone, a demanding spouse, or many other things. Thankfully, there are some tried and true strategies we can use to put the distractions on hold and place an intense focus on our task.
Try these techniques to develop an intense focus:
1. Remove distractions. You can’t focus if you’re constantly checking your email, Facebook, or other time-stealers! You’ll get more done if you allow your mind to get in the groove with some peace and quiet.
- Turn off your email, close your web browsers, shut off your phone off or forward it to voicemail, and put on headphones to avoid loud noises. You’ll be glad you did!
2. Remain committed. You know that you have something you should finish, but are you one hundred percent committed to seeing it through to completion? This is where you need to be honest with yourself.
- If you’re not fully committed to your task, you’re more likely to allow distractions to overtake your mind. More often than not, you’ll use distractions to create excuses and exceptions that try to justify your lack of focus.
- If you are committed, it will be easier to ignore distractions and keep your focus. This is something only you can decide.
3. Set a time limit. Even if the task itself doesn’t have a time limit, assign one anyway. If you have a deadline, you’ll be more apt to complete your task in a timely manner.
- Rather than giving in to the surrounding distractions, you’ll be competing against the clock to get things done on time.
4. Take frequent breaks. This may sound contradictory, but it actually makes a world of difference for the workaholic. If we work too long at one time, not only do we become physically tired, but our minds tire as well. This makes us more susceptible to distractions and shatters our concentration.
- Work intently for an hour and then allow yourself a 10-minute break. When you return from the break, you’ll be more focused, your mind will be clearer, and you’ll be more likely to work for another hour without losing focus.
- This strategy allows you to get more work done in a shorter time.
5. Use a list. Lists are wonderful tools that help you accomplish your work quicker and easier. Before beginning, write down everything you need to accomplish and then cross out each task as you complete it.
- The process of crossing things off your list is a great motivator to keep you working without distractions, plus it helps to build the momentum to get everything done.
6. Reward yourself for a job well done. When you’re able to stay focused on an important task, reward yourself! Just keep thinking about the big picture and your reward once you’re finished with the task at hand.
- This will keep you on target and you’ll finish as quickly as you possibly can. Everyone loves a treat for a job well done!
Remember, you’re human, too. Losing your focus is easy in an existence that’s filled with daily distractions and annoyances. However, you’ll find that you can keep an intense focus on something if you practice these techniques. Make them a habit and enjoy your rewards!
Critical thinking is often characterized as a scientific, analytical way of thinking. It helps us form more knowledgeable opinions and make better decisions. That certainly seems like a beneficial skill to have, but how do you develop the ability to think critically?
Critical thinking doesn’t equal higher intelligence. In layman’s terms, it’s just a more logical way to think about solutions from all angles.
Some of us may have stronger critical thinking skills than others, but we can all learn how to improve and develop our mind.
Here are some suggestions that can help you strengthen your critical thinking skills:
1. Clarify. Make sure you have a clear understanding of the problem you’re trying to solve. You won’t be able to reasonably analyze a situation and locate a solution if you’re not completely clear on what you’re trying to accomplish!
- It’s also important that you place your own feelings about the situation aside. You cannot get a clear understanding of the issue if you have prejudiced opinions and biases about it.
2. Attempt to find a solution. Take some time with a pen and paper to define all possibilities. At this time you’ll also want to map out how you’ll be able to reach each of these solutions.
- Include the benefits and challenges of each solution. To learn how to improve and develop your critical thinking skills, you must be open to new ideas, so try and incorporate as much as you can into your list.
3. Information. Next, gather as much information as possible to support all the solutions you’re considering, as well as information you need to refute them.
- Considering your solutions from all angles will keep you from making a haphazard decision, which would not be classified in the realm of critical thinking.
4. Learn how to analyze. Now you have a problem, a list of solutions, and all the information you need to support or refute each of those decisions. So what do you do with it all?
- You’ll need time to analyze everything. Take everything into consideration and don’t assume anything. Make sure you have irrefutable evidence to back everything up. The more you practice this, the better you’ll ultimately get at it, so keep plugging away.
5. Conclude. Make an intelligent conclusion to your original problem. Make sure you have the documentation to back up and prove your decision. Always make sure this is a reasonable conclusion that is relatively simple to put into action.
- If you’ve put the time and effort into analyzing the problem and gathering the information, your conclusion should be able to support itself.
Final thoughts on Critical Thinking
By following the steps explained here, you have just used your critical thinking skills! Though it may seem unnatural at first, as with everything, as you continue to practice these strategies, your critical thinking skills will continue to improve and develop.
Thinking critically can help you with many aspects in your life. Keep practicing these skills on a regular basis and soon you’ll enjoy the benefits of better decisions and superior choices!
Everyone has unique talents and strengths, but whether we’ve discovered and actively developed them is the real question! Maybe we’ve been told that we’re good at something, but we let our skills go untapped while we wait for the confidence and courage to take action.
There are even some people whose self-esteem is suffering to the point that they truly believe they don’t possess any talents at all! If this is you, please believe that your talents are there, just waiting to be revealed to you!
These tried and true strategies will help you develop your strengths to their full potential:
1. Research. Perhaps you think that you’re strong in one area, but you aren’t completely sure. This is where you need to look into things that interest you or that you believe you might be good at. See what resources are available and what it would take to make the commitment to strengthen your strengths.
2. Patience. Developing your strengths to their full potential won’t occur overnight. To fully develop a talent, you must be patient. Patience is not easy and many of us tend to struggle with it. But if you can be patient, you’ll definitely reap the benefits at the end of the process.
- A useful way to think of developing your talents is to consider it as a journey. It may take a while, but you’ll learn a lot along the way.
- You’ll make mistakes and celebrate milestones, and by the time you’re done, your strength will be fully developed to the peak of your abilities.
3. Set goals. People are more successful when they set goals. Write down what you’d like to accomplish and what date you’d like to achieve this by. Remember to be realistic and review your goals frequently to keep yourself on track.
- Post your goals in places where you’ll see them throughout the day. The refrigerator, bathroom mirror, and your computer monitor are a few ideas. This will not only keep you on track, but it’ll also motivate you to reach these goals as quickly as possible.
4. Believe you can do it. Confidence can be one of your greatest strengths and assets. When trying to improve yourself in any capacity, if you truly believe that you’re able to accomplish anything, you’ve won half the battle.
- The battle with your mind is often greater than any challenge you face in reality.
- You may have tough days when you’re unsure of yourself, but as long as you get back on track quickly, you’ll build momentum. Remember, you can do this!
Final thoughts on Developing Your Strengths
Strengthening your strengths may be a daunting and overwhelming journey at times. And, yes, it will take some work. But everything worth anything involves hard work!
It’s important to focus on the big picture and remember the rewards you’ll enjoy once this process is over. Also, ensure that you have the unwavering belief that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. By possessing these two attributes, you’ll be on the road to success in no time!
Change can be a scary thing. When you make a change in your life, you bring yourself into the unknown.
You travel from a safe place to one where you don’t know exactly what will happen.
The truth is, there is nothing you can do to stop change. This world is always changing – sometimes for good and sometimes not. The best thing you can do for yourself is to learn the best ways to adapt to change. You’ll soon learn that there’s no reason to fear!
Here is a list of strategies to conquer your fear of change:
1. Think Positive Thoughts. When you embark on a change in your life, think it through in a positive way. Instead of thinking about what could go wrong, picture it all going right.
2. Learning Life Lessons. Think about some of the past changes you’ve gone through in your life and include both the positive outcomes and the negative ones. Regardless of your past, it’s likely that you’ve learned an important life lesson. Yet, if you keep your life stagnant, you’ll lose out on the many important life lessons and experiences.
3. Write Your Thoughts Down. Writing down your innermost thoughts can provide a similar release as confiding with a close friend. Change can be scary, but if you provide yourself with a way to conquer the fear, you can find the courage underneath.
4. Try Hypnosis. Hypnosis and self-hypnosis techniques have been known to help when we need to alter our thinking. Hypnosis can help you relax by feeding you transformative thoughts.
5. Positive Motivation. If you want to get over your fear of change, you have to actually want the change. If you do, you’ll do whatever it takes to get motivated. You can do this by reciting affirmations, writing directions down for yourself, or asking a trusted friend or family member for help.
6. Stay in the Present. Staying in the present moment can help you conquer any fear. It’s far too easy for your mind to get caught up with regrets about the past or worries about the future. In moments of self-doubt, focus only on whatever you’re doing at the moment. This moment is all you have, so you might as well enjoy it!
7. Break Down the Change. If you’re planning a big change in your life, perhaps it will help to break down the change into a series of smaller steps. Doing so will help you to feel less overwhelmed if you can easily transition into a change instead of feeling shocked and scared.
8. The Right Time. Remember that it’s always the right time to change. Don’t make excuses for yourself. Believe that you can do it and go for it!
9. The Back Up Plan. When you embark on a path of change, it may be the unknown that scares you most. If possible, carefully plan through your change. Think about all the possible scenarios and outcomes – positive or negative – then make a plan. When you have a plan, you’ll ease your fears of the unknown and feel at least a little more comfortable with the change.
Change for the Better
Change is going to find you one way or another, so you might as well learn how to go with the flow and learn how to let go. Sure, this is easier said than done, however, learning how to better adapt to change can improve all aspects of your life!