10 tips for successful public speaking

 has put together a list of ten tips that will help improve your public speaking skills.

  1. Know your material. Pick a topic you are interested in. Know more about it than you include in your speech.
  2. Use personal stories and conversational language – that way you won’t easily forget what to say.
  3. Practice. Practice. Practice! Rehearse out loud with all equipment you plan on using. Revise as necessary.
  4. Know the room. Arrive early, walk around the speaking area and practice using the microphone and any visual aids.
  5. Know the audience. Greet some of the audience members as they arrive. It’s easier to speak to a group of friends than to strangers.
  6. Relax. Ease tension by doing exercises. Transform nervous energy into enthusiasm.
  7. Visualize yourself giving your speech. Imagine yourself speaking, your voice loud, clear and confident. Visualize the audience clapping – it will boost your confidence.
  8. Realize that people want you to succeed. Audiences want you to be interesting, stimulating, informative and entertaining. They don’t want you to fail.
  9. Don’t apologize for any nervousness or problem – the audience probably never noticed it.
  10. Concentrate on the message – not the medium. Focus your attention away from your own anxieties and concentrate on your message and your audience.
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6 tricks to help you remember names

I have a terrible time remembering people’s names. Let me rephrase that, I have a terrible time learning people’s names. I don’t know how often I’ve been embarrassed when someone greets my by name and I can’t remember who the person is.

I envy those people that remember your name from the first time they hear it. Anyone with such an ability has a head start on building strong relationships.

Here are 6 tricks I use to help imprint that new name in my memory:

  1. Show interest in the other person – Your initial frame of mind makes a big difference in name retention. I have lost countless names because I was thinking about the impression I was creating, and not listening to the person I was meeting. There’s an irony in making a bad impression because you’re too focussed on making a good impression.
  2. Repeat the name back – It’s easy to confirm what you heard by saying something like, “Nice to meet you, Joan.” If the person’s name is a little unusual, you can repeat it to make sure you’re pronouncing it correctly. If you’re unclear about a name given via telephone, ask for the spelling. Saying the name immediately helps lock it in the memory.
  3. Use it often – When you’re speaking with someone you’ve just met, use their name throughout your conversation. End your conversation with their name.
  4. Write it on their forehead – Not literally! Picture the name you’ve just learned on the person’s forehead. Visualizing this incongruous image reinforces the name.
  5. Use word association – Dora the Explorer is easy to remember because of the rhyme pattern. Mike Holmes is easy to remember by playing off his last name; Holmes on Homes. Come up with some sort of word association on a person’s name.
  6. Write it down – The best thing I can do to learn a new name is to write it down. The minute I walk away from the person, I pull out my pocket pad and write the name. 90% of the time, that’s all it takes to seal the name in my mind. The other 10%, I can pull out the pad and refresh my memory.

Our names are important to us. We appreciate those people who, with seeming lack of effort, learn and remember our names. If you want to make a strong impression on the people you meet, make the effort to remember names.

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A self-management checklist

Everybody faces challenges in managing certain aspects of their lives. Someone who loves to go trail riding on a bicycle will have no problems motivating themselves to exercise. However, putting aside time to sit and read might be problematic. On the other hand, the reader might have problems putting down the book and getting active.

This self-management checklist can be applied to any area of your life where you need to gain some control.

  1. Set specific goals. You can’t measure achievement if you don’t know where you’re going. Set specific goals such as: I’ll walk for 30 minutes per day; or I’ll write a 1,000 words each day; or I’ll lose 20 pounds.
  2. Set specific times. You need to determine when you are going to accomplish your goals. Work with specific times; whether it’s a deadline for a one-off project or regular times for on-going behaviour.
  3. Track your progress. Write it down. You can use a journal, a calendar, a graph or any other form that works for you. Make sure you track both your successes and failures so you can refine your systems.
  4. Set rewards or penalties. You’ll need some motivation to help you move forward. Set small rewards to mark the completion of small steps. Set larger rewards to mark major accomplishments. You might even set penalties for not reaching goals. You could, for example, make a donation to a food bank every time your weight went up instead of down.
  5. Take small steps. If you’ve been sitting in front of the TV for ten years, don’t try and run a marathon tomorrow. Changing a habit takes time and you need to start slowly.
  6. Break it down into pieces. Regardless of your readiness, if the task seems overwhelming, you may never get started. Break down large tasks in to small, logical and manageable pieces.
  7. Monitor time increments. Use a timer to help you stay on track. Set it to the best interval to help you measure your progress.
  8. Share your goals. Telling someone what you hope to accomplish can add another level of motivation. It’s easier to fool ourselves than to fool others. Tell someone what your goals and your deadlines are; get them to check on you to see if you met the goal.
  9. Have a work buddy. It’s not just enough to share your goals with someone, you need to have a buddy that can meet with regularly. Keep your goals on someone else’s agenda. This should give you an added sense of responsibility and motivation to reach your goals.
  10. Review with your buddy. Have your buddy do more than review accomplishment. Review the written track of your regular progress. They might spot patterns you don’t see and give you some help for getting back or keeping on track.
  11. Eliminate distractions. Reading through e-mail may seem productive, but it’s not going to help you read three chapters of a book. If need be, turn off the phone, shut down the computer and throw the television in the garbage.
  12. Review and rework your system. Your self-management plan may not work the first time you try it. There will be times when your self-management process falls apart. These steps are not static, but need to change and grow with you. Make time to review your process and see what changes can be made.

Some people look at self-management techniques as cumbersome, getting in the way of productivity. The truth is, if you look at successful and productive people, you’ll find some type of system guiding them. Give it a try.

7 Reasons to Volunteer

Once a month, my wife and I volunteer to visit a seniors home and conduct a church service for them. Periodically we wonder about our time commitment to these folks, but their gratitude each month helps us see the importance of being there.

If you want to make a difference in your community and in your own life, volunteering is the way to go. Here are seven reasons why you should make the commitment.

  1. To give something back to others – First and foremost, volunteering is about giving. Agencies and organization that require volunteer services are generally involved in improving society and the world around them. When you volunteer, you contribute to their efforts to improve life.
  2. To learn something about yourself – You might find out you have a knack for relating to seniors. You might have compassion when working with people during disasters. When volunteering puts you in new situations, you discover skills and traits you may not have used before.
  3. Because you have a passion – You love animals, so you get involved with an animal shelter. You’re concerned about the environment, so you join a wetlands cleaning project. You practice magic tricks in your spare time, so you entertain at a children’s hospital. Put your passion to work.
  4. To develop new skills – Get involved with Habitat for Humanity and learn how to put up drywall. Volunteer in a suicide-prevention program and learn crisis intervention. Many volunteer organizations provide training for the skills you will need to use.
  5. To have some fun – An afternoon of baseball as a Big Brother will be far more entertaining than sitting on the couch watching baseball.
  6. To improve your resume – If you’re a web designer and you volunteer to build a web site, you have a new entry in your portfolio. Volunteering in your skill areas will add experience to your resume.
  7. To feel good about yourself – Hopefully, when you decide to volunteer, it’s not with ulterior, self-serving motives. However, when you sincerely give of yourself to others, it’s amazing how good you start to feel about your own life.

It’s time to do something! Get out there and volunteer.

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6 ways to maximize your talent with motivation

Everybody loves it when the underdog wins. The theme crops up regularly in movies: whether  or the latest version of , something feels right about a group of misfits pulling it together for an eleventh-hour victory over the perennial champs.

We love these stories because they make us believe we have potential to be winners, regardless of how we feel about ourselves at the moment. The fact that underdog stories are not reserved for fiction, but play out in real life, heightens our perception that we could become winners, if we just knew how.

Bad News Bears

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Motivation is often the only difference between winners and losers. You see two equal teams competing, playing with similar skills, and having breaks and mistakes on both sides. Yet one team wins. What is the difference? Motivation!

If you want the edge that makes a difference in your , you’ve got to use motivation to get the most out of your skills. Here are some practical tips to maximize your motivation:

  1. Know what you want – If you don’t have a clear idea of what you’re trying to accomplish, you’ll never get there. The person who complains about lack of success, or more frequently, the “unnatural” success of others, is often sitting around, waiting for something to fall in their lap. Winners know what they want to achieve and set the steps to get them there.
  2. Record your progress – Don’t scrub your to-do list every time you mark a task completed. Use those check marks to remind you of the progress you have made. In turn, the record can push you forward to new accomplishments.
  3. Use rewards – There’s nothing quite like recognition to bolster your self confidence and motivate you to continued success. When you receive recognition, or are rewarded by others, hang on to those as reminders of things you have done well. If your current project doesn’t come with external rewards, create some for yourself. Use rewards to mark milestones and motivate you into the next phase.
  4. Challenge yourself – Don’t be content to merely repeat last year’s success. Athletes don’t limit themselves to winning championships, but are constantly looking for ways improve their personal best. Whether it’s adding to current skills or completely re-inventing yourself, personal challenges can motivate you.
  5. Think positively – The power of positive thinking may seem like a cliche, but it works. William Hazlitt said, “If you think you can win, you can win. Faith is necessary to victory.” Negative self-talk is going to get in the way of your success. Surround yourself with the things that will help you think positively.
  6. Remember the why – Remind yourself of the reason for your current undertaking. Why are you trying to be successful in the endeavour: to bring financial security, to create a good life for your family, to help someone in need, to see your name in lights or engraved on a trophy? All these are valid drivers and revisiting them from time to time will motivate you to go forward.

Bill McCartney, a former head coach at the University of Colorado said, “All coaching is, is taking a player where he can’t take himself”. The greatest coaches don’t necessarily have all the greatest athletes, but they know how to get the best out of the team. The greatest personal successes don’t come from people who have all the talent, but from those who know how to maximize their talent through motivation.

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10 tips for busting stress

Do you have trouble remembering things? Are you having trouble sleeping or is your stomach in knots? Are you sleeping too little or too much? All of these can be symptoms of stress. A certain amount of stress is good –or

Smiling can imply a sense of humour and a stat...

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even necessary– for all of us, but it is easy for it to get out of hand. Here are a few simple tips that can help you deal with stress.

  1. Evaluate the situation. How important is this activity to the overall goals and direction for my life? If it’s not really that important, don’t sweat it.
  2. Be positive. Positive thoughts can generate positive results and negative thoughts, negative results. Even something as simple as changing your perception from, “I have to get the done by Monday,” to ” I am going to get this done by Monday” can make a big difference.
  3. Visualize a successful outcome. Rather than focusing on the pressure of finishing a task, focus on the benefit or reward that will come from completion.
  4. Reward yourself. If the situation or project doesn’t have an intrinsic benefit or reward, create one. “Once I’ve finished painting the bedrooms, I’m going to spend a day relaxing at the beach.”
  5. Change the things that cause you stress. For those stressors that can be changed, do so. If you hate going to the supermarket at peak shopping times, reschedule for quiet periods. If lack of sleep adds to your tension, get to bed earlier.
  6. Strive for excellence, not perfection. Recognize that any number of factors can affect the perfect completion of a job. Strive to make your work the best in can be under the circumstances.
  7. Take care of your health. A fit body responds better to stress.
  8. Have fun. Play as hard as you work. Develop a sense of humour. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
  9. Have a quiet place. Go somewhere that takes you away from the things that cause your stress. Have a peaceful corner at home. Take a walk in a park. Get away from the office at lunch hour and sit on a bench.
  10. Talk to someone. A friend or family member can be a good place to get things of your chest. In more serious situations, perhaps a support group or a counsellor is in order.
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