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15 Easy Ways to Make Others Smile

15 Easy Ways to Make Others Smile
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I love making people’s days better, and I know I’m not alone.

Although we are constantly worried about our own problems, bills, or the way people think of us, making someone else smile or improving their day through a simple act of kindness can completely turn your mood around, too. What’s better? These kind, positive actions aren’t that hard to do, nor do they take that much time from our busy, frantic lives.

Here are 15 super simple, fun ways to make other smile.

1. Crack a dad joke or terrible pun

Okay, I know not everyone is super witty or clever or quick on their feet enough to do this. But even a simple joke or witty commentary will do. Humor is one of the quickest and easiest ways to make someone smile (crazy, right?!).

Some people might find you corny or cheesy, but deep down inside their laughing too. Besides, your simple act of courageousness and your willingness to be vulnerable enough to tell a joke will win the reward of a smile, making others feel better.

2. Give a genuine compliment

Compliments are often mistaken as creepy come-ons for one reason: they aren’t sincere. If you truly like the way a girl’s hair looks or a guy’s smile looks, they’ll be able to tell immediately by the way you say it. If you truly mean it, this simple sentence, that took maybe 15 seconds to say, can make someone’s entire week.

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3. Reach out to someone you miss

Sadly, I see a lot of people use the excuse of, “Well, they haven’t talked to me in X years either and the phone works both ways dontchaknow?!”

What a sad thing to say. If you’re yearning to spend time with with a close friend or relative, reach out and see how they’re doing. Be the first to initiate contact. Again, genuine gestures go a long way here. Even just a Hey, I really miss you and hope you’re happy with life text will hit them right in the feels.

4. Food

Even people who are dieting or exercise a bunch love pizza and burritos, but not together. Or maybe…

*Bonus points: If you make something from scratch. Even if they’re burned cookies, it’s still really cool that you did that and the recipient will appreciate it (and probably laugh it off with you).

5. Send your mom or loved one “just because” flowers

This is fairly self-explanatory, but random gifts and treats are so much more appreciated when they’re given spontaneously.

Birthdays, Mothers Day’s, and every other Hallmark holidays can be spotted from a mile away with the expectation that a gift is coming. Although gift giving in any form is appreciated, random gifts are always the best.

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6. Tell someone you’re proud of them

These words are so heavy and meaningful, but some of that meaning is often lost because we’re only told that by our parents or family members. Telling a close friend or significant other that you’re proud of them after they accomplished something meaningful carries substantial validity.

In fact, try flipping the switch and tell your parents you’re proud of them for something they did. There comes a time in your life when you’ll finally realize that they’re not just superheroes, but actual people, too.

*Bonus points: Praise them publicly

7. Write and send a handwritten letter or note

I had a pen pal recently bring up a really good point about our current culture. In our highly communicative, fast-paced lives, we often have, like, six to ten conversations going at once.

Between social media, email, text messaging, and Tinder, the intimacy of letter writing has sadly diminished. In fact, disappeared. But, if you think about it, there aren’t many things on the planet that can be more complimentary. The fact that you sat down for 15-20 straight minutes to carefully craft a message to one person, and one person only, is like one hundred specific compliments wrapped in an envelope and stamped with love.

8. Listen fully

Again, there are a lot of distractions in the world around us, and some for good reason. Life is crazy beautiful! There are countless things to look at and see and do and experience. However, one of the kindest, most touching things you could do for someone is be fully attentive when they are talking. I can almost guarantee they will kindly return the favor when you want to talk, and they will never forget how much you care.

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9. Say “I’m sorry”

We’ve all done someone wrong, but it’s never, ever, ever too late to make it right. The ship rarely ever sails, but our egos make us thinks they did. It doesn’t matter if it’s been days, weeks, months, or even years since the incident happened, owning up to something you did that hurt another person will go a million miles in one heartbeat.

10. Give a huge tip

For some reason I’m unsure of, people seem think, and tip, like the check they pay at the end of the meal is what the waiter, waitress, or bartender pockets. Now, I’m not saying that all people tip poorly, or all service is super great, but giving a great tip, especially when the service warrants the pay, will make that persons shift endlessly better.

11. Say what’s up to the mailman

Dude, he brings your mail every day. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the sleet, in the snow, in the squelching hot sun, and any other inclement weather pattern in-between, he’s always there. That sort of reliability and timeliness deserves a proper introduction at least. Or, if nothing else, a head bob and a smile.

12. Realize when someone is bumming out and encourage them

The world is inherently negative, and it’s very difficult to pull ourselves out of funks alone. I can remember several times when friends recognized I was down and did something they knew would pull me out of it.

But it doesn’t have to just be with your friends. People can be read pretty easily. Older gentleman hanging his head on the bus? How hard is it to turn and say, “Hey, you okay?” Believe it or not, we’re all scared and worried and get depressed at times.

However, we’re all in this “mess” together. Kindness always comes full circle.

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13. Give thanks

It’s often said that successful people start their day by giving thanks for one thing or several things they have. Even when you’re striving for more, or trying to make a better life, it’s always good to stop and recognize the beauty that exists around you.

How can a rose grow in the middle of New York City on it’s own? Astounding. This is also true for others. Someone holds the door for you? Thanks, m’am. The barista at the coffee shop you frequent buys your coffee on a Friday?Frick yeah! Thanks! Waitress fills your water glass without you having to ask for it? Well, you get it by now. It’s pretty easy to recognize moments of graciousness if you keep your eyes out for them.

14. Be available even if you don’t want to be

Okay, don’t ever tell someone that you don’t want to be there for them. That’s not only extremely disrespectful, but also very hurtful.

What I’m encouraging instead is to be willing to drop the things you want to do to be there for someone. This can be a text message convo, a phone convo, or a late night trip to Baskin Robbins after a bad breakup or a job firing. There will come a time when you’re called on to be there for someone when you have other stuff going on. Be there and light up their world.

15. Smile at everyone you see every single day

I intentionally saved this one for last for two reasons: 1.) It’s the easiest one to do and can be applied to everyone you pass during the day (I’m looking at you, city dwellers) and 2.) It’s so effortless. Actually, I want to challenge all of you. Next time you’re on your lunch break at work or walking around the busy mall on a Saturday, look up from your phone for 5 minutes, make eye contact with the person in passing, and give them a warmhearted smile. Again, sincerity, not creepiness, is the key here.

But if you make it from the heart, you’ll be truly amazed at what will happen.

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Positivity is a lot like a stone being dropped in a calm lake. Once you drop it in (via a simple action), it will send ripples of kindness and happiness in every direction.

Featured photo credit: Young happy hipster woman looks through binoculars via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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