Google doesn’t just hire anyone, like certain movies might have to believe. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be a certified technical genius either. In fact, if you are something called a “smart creative”, they may very well be looking to hire you.
What is a smart creative? The simplistic name is definition enough to get the point across. A smart creative is someone that combines a technical way of thinking with never-ending ideas and ways to tackle complex issues. These are the people who might not be in the top percentile of their universities or even in positions that allow them to use their interesting perspective or really shine.
If you’ve ever felt like you might not be especially appreciated for your ideas, don’t despair. Here are five signs that you are a smart creative that Google would love to hire:
1. You use analytics to your every advantage
Not many people can take numbers and crunch them at the same time as they paint a solution. Innovative companies absolutely look for the type of people who can take hard facts and data and turn it into results. Smart creatives know data can be invaluable in many aspects and can utilize it. However, as in most aspects of being a smart creative type, they also know the limits of what data alone can produce – they don’t let either side of their brain take full control, in essence. Not only are they comfortable with data in all of its forms, but they know how to use it to the best of their ability to make decisions.
A big aspect of smart creatives’ personalities are that they are very results driven, and results tend to come with numerous heavy decisions to make. Decisions, like problems, almost always have more than one way to handle it. Data is a way to decide with logic and creativity is a way to look at something with a new perspective – a smart creative like you wouldn’t settle on just one of those. Instead, folks like you listen to both sides, use that data and come up with solutions and answers others may very well have never thought of.
2. You are hands on
If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself – right? Smart creatives feel that way on a multitude of levels. It’s not so much about control for them, either. Instead, people with your mindset enjoy being hands on. Being savvy with technology, tools and your imagination is second nature, so it is only natural that a project you are involved with becomes your baby, in a way.
You are also not the sort who would likely prefer to wait for someone else to fix things or move them along so you can get things nice and done. It’s not enough to imagine, dream and design the project or concept – smart creatives don’t stop there and leave the grunt work to others. They are the ones who dream the dream and then build it on the merit of their own intelligence, perseverance and hard work. Waiting around just isn’t your style and neither is letting someone else create the concept that your imagination painted.
3. Collaboration is no problem
A lot of people, when they get a good idea or are working on a project, don’t always play as nicely as they could. Ask anyone in college and you’ll hear horror stories involving group projects in which members never did their fair share, pitched in anything, or lifted a finger. While the working world might not see the same level of nonparticipation, there are just as many coworkers out there who will make any group efforts or collaborations either a nightmare or, worse, all about them.
Smart creatives like you don’t pay any mind to those roadblocks, however. You are an open book, ready and willing to share your ideas with everyone, share solutions with your company and share ideas anywhere you think they could be of use – and sometimes even when no one wants to hear them. The point is: for a smart creative like you, the thrill is in the work, in the process of turning an idea into a reality, not in kissing up to the higher-ups or making a good impression. That’s not for you.
4. Your perspective is a new one
The ideas coming out of your mouth and out of your mind might get some strange looks, but that typically is only because they are ones that are genuinely fresh. People who have eaten stale ideas for long enough will always be surprised with any actual freshness. Smart creatives deliver a dual deal with their ability to look at something creatively and intellectually. The simultaneous perspective is something that lets you look at old situations, old problems and consider them in a whole new light. Given enough time, you could find a clever solution and innovative companies are absolutely aching for that kind of talent.
5. You’re all about results
It’s not about the recognition, the process or the accolades – it is about results for smart creatives. Those wonderful ideas that pop into your head are not content to be idle fantasies. Instead, they and you want them to come to fruition and, chances are, you are going to make it so. Looking at a problem is a challenge and a smart creative like yourself is looking at that finish line from the get-go; nothing else. No lazy thoughts, no waiting on others, it is all you and that is how you like it. At the end of the day, the results are the trophies that you want to put up on the proverbial wall and, knowing your mindset, there will be plenty.
If you’ve been feeling like you don’t quite fit in in the workplace or your perspective isn’t one that is very well appreciated, don’t worry, Google is always looking for more people just like you.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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: