A look around, and you realize the world has suddenly become a place where people are there only to fight and argue with each other, be judgmental, and overall negative. You see how people on social media and in real life try to force their opinion on others while always criticizing them. It’s like we’ve all witnessed people breaking into huge fights over social media and a sudden growth of intolerance among people.
However, when we think about people bad-mouthing others or making them feel inferior, we realize, those, with an educated mindset, seldom respond to whatever people say to them. You might often think how people can be so calm and wise to never get bothered by what people think about them and how they just keep on being their amazing selves. Here are a few reasons shared by some of the most mentally strong and stable people, about why they don’t respond to hateful slurs.
Silence Is Indeed The Best Answer:
Most people often seem to be more interested in pinpointing what you’re doing wrong and how you need to change things. However, there also are individuals who choose to turn a deaf ear towards such negativity. Why? Because they believe people are always on the lookout to find a reason through which they can feel better by giving their insecurities a voice. Such people can never be happy with your success or achievement because they, themselves, were unable to be at your level or have faced failure, at some point, when you didn’t. To be honest, it isn’t even their fault that they are never happy with what you achieve, so it’s best to leave them be. Are you aware of how people laughed at Edison’s initial phonograph invention? Had he paid any attention to their negativity, he wouldn’t have been able to come up with any of his breakthroughs and wouldnt have gotten so many inventions patented to his name. Whatever good or bad you do, people will judge you and not responding to their pessimism will save your time and energy which you can use elsewhere.
Because It’s Just Their Opinion:
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, so, if someone criticizes you it’s what they believe or how they perceive things. You can’t really change that, can you? People who are emotionally and mentally strong don’t take anything as an insult because it’s just someone’s opinion and it can be good or bad. Just like you would be happy to receive positive feedback, overthinking about people’s negative remarks will only make things harder for you. Focus on people who are kind with their words, as for criticism, you should handle that gracefully. The thought process of negative people who are always criticizing others is mostly irrational and illogical, and responding to such unreasonable opinion and behavior will only lead to distracting you from acheiving your ultimate goals in life.
They Win With Goodness:
While some people’s hobby is to spew hatred and create discomfort in the lives of others, there are also people who respond to their unreasonable attitude with generosity. They do so because they want to end complexity in their’s and the toxic individual’s life. The more you let hatred grow, the more you complicate your life. Your goodness might neutralize their obnoxiousness and force them to change their hateful opinion about you.
Their Health And Happiness Surpasses All:
You can’t always battle the negative impact of people’s unconstructive tirades. But, for people, who want to perform well in their lives and live happily, their physical, mental and emotional well-being is of crucial importance. We know how vocal slurs can leave a lasting impression on our minds and personalities causing people to be stressed, depressed and anxious but it only makes one vulnerable to a number of health risks. Depression and stress can cause irreversible damage to a person’s personality, affecting his/hers performance and happiness. If you’ve noticed people who rarely respond to affronts are relatively happier and healthier in life as compared to those who always end up in an argument with their haters. You should remember that while you may not have control over people’s opinion, you have control over your own emotions and you can eliminate forces that strive hard to rob you off of your peace of mind, joy and success. If your happiness and sadness are based on the opinions of others then you can never be satisfied or let alone, be happy with what you have.
They Look For Solutions:
We are not here to please everyone; you can never be good or bad enough for someone. People with mental and emotional strength don’t drag themselves into problems, they look for solutions. Interacting with discouraging people and putting all your attention to their words and actions will only give that hatred fillied individual more power over you which in turn creates hurdles for you. If you want to improve your performance and bring peace to your life, your main focus shouldn’t be on what they say, just find a solution to handle them in a dignified manner.
The only person, who should be making any decisions for your life, should be you. It’s never wise to react to an insult and the wisest way to respond to something negative is to simply ignore it. People who make you feel bad about yourself are just people like you and what they think and say is not a word of God, so in this case, ignorance certainly is bliss.
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: