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7 Reasons Why You Should Put Plants In Your Working Area

7 Reasons Why You Should Put Plants In Your Working Area

While winter is hardly synonymous with cultivating flowers or plants, in many ways it is the ideal season for growing seeds. According to Beauscape, the primary advantage of wet weather is that it produces damp soil, which in turn makes it easier to remove weeds and plant new seeds. As a consequence of this, now is the ideal time to grow a host of seasonal plants, whether these are for your garden, home, or the confines of your workspace.

Integrating plants into your workspace can be particularly impactful, as it offers wide and diverse benefits both for the environment and you as an individual. Consider the following.

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1. Plants Reduce Stress and Blood Pressure

In both the UK and the US, studies have revealed that the presence of plants within a workspace can actively reduces stress. In Britain, for example, respondents were tested to compare their skin conductivity, heart rate, and blood pressure in rooms with plants and those without. The results were conclusive, and suggested that the mere presence of plants and foliage lowered the prevailing stress levels and increased the rate of recovery from bouts of anxiety. These results were supported by studies conducted in the US, which also revealed that integration of plants into the workplace also lowered employee blood pressure levels.

2. Plants help to drive Productivity

During the same research trials, it was also revealed that workers surrounded by plants were able to complete computer-based tasks with a reaction time that was 12% faster than alternative test groups. This carefully collated research also suggested that the process of tending for potted plants also help to improve focus over the course of a typical working day, improving the prevailing levels of concentration and attention to detail in the process.

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3. Plants improve Indoor Air Quality

In addition to this, including plants in your workspace can also have a positive impact on your physical wellbeing. The growth of living interior plants is known to create cleaner air, leading to improved physical health and lung capacity over time. This has been supported by various NASA studies, with one from 1973 revealing that various varieties of houseplant could be used to eliminate the volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) that are present in the air. Given that VOC’s are capable of causing burning eyes and respiratory issues, the careful integration of houseplants into your workspace can deliver huge dividends.

4. Plants help you to take care of the Environment

We live in an environmentally aware age, with even industrial cities around the world investing in Eco-friendly initiatives. Increased levels of awareness are also impacting on individuals, who are constantly seeking out ways to create a healthier environment. The growth of potted plants at work offers a practical example of this, as this encourages you to take small, but practical, steps towards living a more sustainable lifestyle. While it is a relatively small action, when combined with office recycling and energy conservation it can have a cumulative effect over time.

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5. Plants add color and texture to the office

From a purely aesthetic perspective, the use of plants helps to integrate color, texture, and softness into the typical office. Plants are renowned for softening the harsh metallic sheen of filing cabinets, for example, while also infusing bright colors into sterile workplace environments. If you are an entrepreneur, you should also consider cultivating seasonal plants in your businesses reception area, as they have the potential to create a natural and welcoming aesthetic that appeals to clients and employees alike.

6. Plants make your office more comfortable

Similarly, it is crucial that you make your workplace as comfortable as possible (especially of you are to optimize productivity throughout the typical working day). This is particularly important when it comes to humidity, which can rise exponentially during the summer and create an oppressive working environment for staff members. It is worth noting that the recommended humidity range for human health and comfort is fixed between 30% and 60%, and falling short of such figures can trigger employee fatigue, diminishing immune systems, and even respiratory discomfort. Plants can negate these issues, however, as they have the capacity to naturally control humidity levels and elevate them into the required comfort range.

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7. Plants drive improved creative thought processes

On a final note, there have also been fringe studies that have explored the influence of plants of creative thought processes. One delivered particularly interesting results, with the introduction of foliage and household greenery into one office increasing creativity by an estimated 15%. Although there are many potential explanations for this, the most sensible is that the presence of plants invoke our natural instincts surrounding food and create a calmer state of mind.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay / GLady via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

Not a lot of people are good at public speaking. You could even say that virtually everyone needs to get some practice, and preferably good guidance, before they can learn to stay calm when facing a room full of people. Having all eyes on you is an uncomfortable experience and it takes time to get used to. However, even if you can manage to control your stage fright and stay focused, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your presentation won’t put people to sleep. This is usually the case with long presentations on a very dull subject, with the presenter speaking in a monotone voice and dimming the lights to play a PowerPoint presentation.

You have to work hard to develop the right skills

If you want to be remembered and actually get people engaged, you need to make your presentation fun and enjoyable, without coming off as corny or desperate to please. I know, it doesn’t sound that easy at all! A good presentation during a promotional event or given to an important client can be a game changer for your business, so it is easy to get stressed out and fail to perform all that well. Luckily, giving an interesting lecture is something that can be practiced and perfected. There is plenty of advice out there on the topic, but let’s look at the most important aspects of giving a memorable and fun presentation.

1. Make your presentation short and sweet

With very long, meandering speeches you tend to lose the audience pretty early on, and from then on out it’s just a test of endurance for the few bravest listeners. Not only will people’s attention start to drop rapidly after sitting and listening to you talk for 30 minutes, but you also risk watering down your core ideas and leaving your audience with little in the way of key phrases and important bits of information to take away from the whole ordeal. Famous speakers throughout history have known the importance of condensing the information by using well thought out sentences and short phrases loaded with meaning.

JFK’s famous: ”It’s not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” expresses so much in very few words and gets the audience thinking. Ancient Spartans, for example were famous for their quick, dry wit, often demolishing their opponent’s argument with a single word or phrase. You’ll want to channel that ancient spirit and be as concise as possible when preparing your presentation.

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2. Open up with a good ice breaker

At the beginning, you are new to the audience. There is no rapport, no trust and the atmosphere is fairly neutral. Even if some of the people there know you personally, the concept of you as an authority on a particular matter giving a speech will be foreign to them. The best way to encourage a warm and friendly atmosphere is to get some kind of emotional response out of the audience right at the beginning. It doesn’t matter what emotion it is, you just need to connect with them on a more personal level. It can be shock, curiosity, laughter, knowing smirks, nervousness – whatever gets them out of that initial feeling of indifference. There are different kinds of effective ice-breakers, but generally speaking, the most successful ones utilize one of these tactics:

  • Joking
  • Tugging on their heart strings
  • Dropping a bombastic statement
  • Telling an interesting and relevant anecdote
  • Using a metaphor or drawing comparisons

You can make a small, self-deprecating comment, stir the presentation one way and then suddenly surprise the audience, use sarcasm, open up with a short childhood story that taught you a lesson, quote a famous person and elaborate on it from personal experience, use an inspirational anecdote or hit them with a bit of nostalgia. Just remember to keep it short and move on once you’ve gotten a reaction.

3. Keep things simple and to the point

Once you’re done warming up the crowd you can ease them into the core concepts and important ideas that you will be presenting. Keep the same presentation style thoughout. If you’ve started off a bit ironic, using dry wit, you can’t just jump into a boring monologue. If you’ve started off with a bang, telling a couple of great little jokes and getting the crowd riled up, you have to keep them happy by throwing in little jokes here and there and being generally positive and energetic during the presentation. You need a certain structure that you won’t deviate too far from at any point. A good game plan consists of several important points that need to be addressed efficiently. This means moving on from one point to another in a logical manner, coming to a sound conclusion and making sure to accentuate the key information.

4. Use a healthy dose of humor

Some of the best speeches and presentations in the world, which have been heard and viewed by millions, all feature plenty of humor. No matter the subject, a great speaker will use natural charisma, humor and beautiful language to convey their points and get the crowd excited about what they are saying. A great example of building rapport with the audience through the use of humor is Barrack Obama talking about the government building Iron Man.

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It is silly and fun, and absolutely not something that you would expect from a man in a position of power speaking in such a serious setting – and it’s exactly why it works. The more serious the situation and the bigger the accent on proper social behavior, the harder your jokes will hit.

5. Try to tell a story instead of ranting

Some people can do all of the above things right and still manage to turn their short and fun little presentation into a chaotic mess of information. You don’t want your speech to look like you just threw a bunch of information in a blender in no particular order. To avoid rambling, create a strong structure. Start with the ice breaker, introduce the core concepts and your goals briefly, elaborate on the various points in a bit more detail, draw logical conclusions and leave your audience with a clear takeaway message. You want to flow naturally from one part to the next like you are telling a big story chapter by chapter.

6. Practice your delivery

Standing in front of the mirror and practicing a speech or presentation is a technique as old as mirrors – well, come to think of it, as old as human speech, since you can see yourself reflected in any clear and calm body of water – and that means that it is tried and true. The theory is incredibly simple, yet the real problem is actually putting in the effort day in and day out. Work on your posture, your tone of voice, accent, pauses between sentences and facial expressions. The most important thing is to talk slowly and loudly enough to be heard and understood clearly. Many famous speakers, such as Demosthenes and King George VI, overcame speech impediments through hard work.

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7. Move around and use your hands

Although you won’t instill confidence in your project if you are very jittery, moving around erratically, not knowing what to do with your hands and making fast movements, standing dead still can be just as bad. You shouldn’t be afraid to use your arms and hands when talking as it makes you seem more passionate and confident. The same goes for moving around and taking up some space. However, try to make slower, calculated and deliberate movements. You want your movements to seem powerful, yet effortless. You can achieve this through practice.

8. Engage the audience by making them relate

Sometimes you will lose the audience somewhat in techno-babble, numbers, graphs and abstract ideas. At that point it is important to reel them back in using some good, old-fashioned storytelling. Make comparisons to events from everyday life that most people are more than familiar with. By making things look simple, not only will you help your audience get a better understanding of the subject by enabling them to visualize the information more clearly, you will also draw a connection between you. After all, you are all just regular people with similar experience, you just happen to be performing different roles at the moment.

9. Use funny images in your slides

Although slides are not really necessary at all times, if you do need them to make your point and present your information more effectively, it’s best to liven them up. They say that facts aren’t always black and white, and your presentation should reflect this. Add a bit of color, make the information stand out and use an interesting animation to switch from slide to slide. You can use the slides to add some more humor, both in terms of the text and the images. An image that is used to elicit a positive response needs to be funny within the context of what you are discussing. For example, if you are discussing the topic of authority, an image of Eric Cartman from South Park in a police uniform, demanding that you respect his “authoritah,” is a nice way to have a bit of fun and lighten things up.

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10. End on a more serious note

When all is said and done you will want the audience to remember the core concepts and keep thinking about what you have said after the presentation is over. This is why you should let things naturally calm down and end with an important idea, quote or even a question. Plant a seed in their mind and make them think. Let us turn to Patrick Henry for a great way to end a speech: “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

As you can see, there is quite a bit to learn when it comes to giving a good presentation, one that is both memorable and fun. Be sure to work on your skills tirelessly and follow in the footsteps of great orators.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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