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12 Habits That Will Shape You To Be Profoundly Influential

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12 Habits That Will Shape You To Be Profoundly Influential

Influence – one trait we all wish we had more of. It’s easy for us to see how our lives might change “overnight” if we simply had more influence in our social spheres. The art of influence can seem like it’s incredibly difficult – as though you’re born with it or not. Fortunately, such a mindset is a myth. To become profoundly influential, all it takes is mental persistence with a few shifts in attitude and perspective.

1. The networking mindset

If you want to be influential with anything you take on, getting yourself and your message around receptive people is perhaps the single greatest step to take. As best-selling author Jeff Goins has proclaimed, every genuine story of success is a story of community. If you’re interested in taking your own life far, invest your time, talents and energy in the lives of others. Help uncover what they want to get out of life and equip them to boldly move forward.

2. Challenging the status quo

All influential figures across history – and indeed, some of the present day – have been boat-rockers and picture-shakers. Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Jesus, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Anne Frank all stepped out of their comfort zone and challenged those around them with truth. While this is nowhere near an exhaustive list of influential figures, and each of these people certainly walked the Earth in different ways and places, all of them challenged the status quo and caused people to re-examine their perspectives. It must be noted that these people also rocked the boat to make things better in life – not just for the sake of being a rabble-rouser.

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3. Proactive engagement

To become profoundly influential, you don’t have time to wait around and ask for permission to change the world. You need to become a self-starter. Be someone who makes things happen because it’s who you are and you have a vision you must bring to pass. The secret to becoming proactive almost overnight? You need to get fired up over something. That something should be whatever you can ultimately “get lost in.” This is the main grouping of activities in life that never seems to run dry for you. Find how you can bring value to other people through this passion and let yourself loose.

4. Welcoming disagreement

Being okay with and even embracing the thoughts of other people is a fast and reliable way to become incredibly influential. People love having their ideas acknowledged, appreciated and shared. When in conversations with people, really try to dig at the core of their desires and what has made them into the person they are. Allow them to express their ideas for themselves, and don’t jump in at the soonest opportunity to actually disagree. Welcome that disagreement – explore the side of the conversation you’re less familiar with. It will help people feel validated, seen and heard.

5. Be a huge believer

People can try to knock optimism and healthy self-belief as much as they want, but these two traits fuel the bedrock of one’s actions. If you believe you can achieve a goal, people will see this and it will begin spreading to them. People witnessing a leader believing in something infuses courage and confidence in the people.

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6. Don’t react to anything – respond instead

If you want to influence outcomes of meetings and conversations as often as possible, don’t be a lightning-fast reactor. People want to know that they’ve been heard, and listening is one of the most powerful and underrated tools for becoming highly influential. Genuinely consider their point of view and respond with something authentic and positive.

7. Be a self-guider

One of the hard truths about being a person of influence is you need to know you can’t always be at the beck and call of others. If you have a dream you want to chase, the hardest and least comfortable time is in the beginning – when you and you alone need to push yourself ahead. Of course, there will come a time where you’ll need to request the assistance of others, because nothing great happens alone. However, those with the greatest influence repeatedly embrace the mindset that they’re initiating their own goals and have the resources to make it happen.

8. Help inspire conversation

Creating opportunities for conversation is the quickest way to connect people. Out of humans come the most brilliant and beautiful things in the world, so in order to advance technologically, relationally and in all other ways, we first need to connect humans. Conversation allows ideas to be shared and for people to relate further with one another. Helping potentially new best friends become connected is a reliable and altruistic way to become influential.

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9. Keep the main thing, the main thing

When you reach the end of another day, it’s easy to want to simply drop down and forget about everything for a while. But if you’re honest with yourself, if you didn’t spend the day involved in what you really care about, it will always nag you until it gets acknowledged. Don’t let lesser priorities rule your day. Influential people always begin the day with a clear set of priorities, and this enables them to truly run the day, instead of the other way around.

This applies to conversations too. Influential people refuse to let themselves get knocked off track – at least for long. It’s okay to allow other people to lead in different contexts, but help keep the main thing the main thing. If a result needs to be reached, bring people back to the center when they seem to be veering off.

10. Help people succeed

There’s truly nothing that will help you succeed faster than helping other people succeed. All people have desires that they want to live out, and there’s no shortage of people wanting help with this. Naturally, people want the biggest results for the lowest amount of effort, but when you genuinely help someone reach a goal, they are extremely likely to notice it. Become a huge fan of other people for reasons you’re authentic about – don’t just smother people with compliments. Find traits about them you can legitimately support them through and eagerly let them know about it.

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11. Build pathways for the future

It’s no secret that the state of the world is (and kind of always has been) volatile. The only real guarantee in life is that it will end one day, so when people think about the future, naturally most are apprehensive. People don’t like thinking of the future often because it quickly reminds them how little of it they have planned out. If you can become a reliable source of strength for helping people plan for the future – and getting them results – success will start to stick to you like glue. People feel outrageously reassured when they can see a firm future for themselves. It’s one of the few forces that unabashedly unlocks higher levels of human potential.

12. Approach everything as a learning experience

Those who treat all life events as a learning experience are exponentially more likely to succeed and become highly influential. Adding value to your own life and those around you comes with learning, then application.

Now get out there and become influential!

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Brad Johnson

Top 5 Kindle Author | Author of 10 Books

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

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

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

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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