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9 Surprising Things You Lose When You Say Sorry

9 Surprising Things You Lose When You Say Sorry
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Hundreds and thousands of years into perfecting communication to better express ourselves, and we are still far from mastering it. Saying something and meaning it often stand miles apart from each other. Why? Well, that has something to do with our evolving social structure, convincing us to use words out of context that were clearly designed to serve other purposes. Or maybe this change is psychological as Psychologist Andrew Howell at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton explains.

For example, the word ‘sorry’ should be hard for anyone to use in a conversation. It was supposed to make you humble, somewhat vulnerable, and not at all a fun experience. But, even such a strong word is now being used as an icebreaker. ‘Sorry, are you Nathanial?’ ‘Sorry, but it is my leg you are stepping on!’, ‘Sorry, but you are being incredibly rude.’ Sounds familiar?

If you look at these instances, you will see that using the word ‘sorry’ in some cases is downright ludicrous. Are we blind to this? Of course not! But, we keep disregarding the original value of the word sorry and keep using it because we think maybe it makes us more acceptable to the world.

But, what we do not realize is each needless ‘sorry’ robs us of our inherent nature. And believe it or not that involves losing good bits of our character that make us a unique human being. What are we losing by saying sorry too many times? Surprisingly, a lot.

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1. Confidence

Say, you are planning a presentation for your office. And, although you have given your 100 percent to it, you feel it is not enough. That is understandable because our inherent nature pushes us to do better than the last time. But, if you start the presentation with an apology, you will lose your confidence and fail to navigate the presentation as you have planned thus losing clients, and maybe your job, in the process. Making mistakes doesn’t have to be this costly for you, only if you keep a lid on the frequent use of the word sorry.

2. Insurance

At the scene of a car accident, approaching the authorities or possible witnesses with a ‘sorry’ can take that big fat insurance payout away from your table. Even if you think you are at fault in the accident, you need to understand that there are multiple variables at work here, that decide the reason behind the accident and who is at fault.

So, if you are not a professional, it is best to leave that can of worms to the experts. And if you know you are not at fault, saying ‘sorry’ might make you look like you are at fault, canceling further investigation and leaving you to pay for damages, on top of your own medical bills, of course.

3. Credibility

Saying sorry too often and to every one might make you lose your credibility. With a habit like that, you will surely be taking a lot of heat from the office and society. A true apology can be relieving. But, needless use of this word as your favorite conversation starter can put you in a bind. People will expect more from you thinking you are to blame for everything, and that is not something you want to live with.

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4. Respect

As the word sorry implies submission, needlessly using it would eat away at your self-respect and distort how others see you. Say, you are standing in a queue and there comes a (not so gentle) man taking the spot in front of you. His excuse, he is on a tight schedule. Now the right thing to do would be to tell him to go at the end of the line like he is supposed to. But, starting your conversation with a sorry will defeat the whole purpose and cost you your respect.

And not to mention it won’t make you the guy who stands up for his right (spot in this case), but the guy who uses apology to request his spot in the world (queue). If you never saw it that way, it is better that you start now, to protect how people see you.

5. Value/Self Esteem

Although we now use the word ‘sorry’ very often, we do know what it stands for. So, misusing it can taint your consciousness with guilt of losing value by apologizing for nothing at all! For example, two drunks bump and spill drinks on you in a party. It is clearly their fault, but you saying sorry, just makes things confusing. You surely didn’t mean to apologize! You just used sorry as everyone else does. But, the people in the party laugh at you, which can hurt your self esteem.

6. Companionship

Your overuse of the word ‘sorry’ might make your relationships overly complex. They say, communication is the key to a successful relationship. But, when you are accustomed to using strong words (like sorry) without meaning them, what else can you expect other than arguments? For example, you might use sorry as the means to avoid discussion, and in an attempt to bury certain issues. But that’s not the way to handle things. Burying issues and not resolving them might only breed more problems. And we all know how that ends.

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7. Identity

Yes, you can lose your identity a bit every time you utter the word ‘sorry’ unnecessarily. How? Well, what makes you unique is your thoughts and viewpoints. But, using the word sorry unnecessarily may take away your confidence. And, with your confidence gone, you won’t find the required push to run with your own fascinating ideas, but favor others’ viewpoints. That is potentially character assassination, and can eat away your individuality piece by piece.

8. Appeal

Your charm and personality trait that attracts others hinges on how you express yourself. Adding sorry in your conversation kills the magic and makes you look unsure. Want a more vivid image of that? Well, let us say, you are in a bar and you find someone interesting. You walk up to that person and ask, ‘Sorry can I buy you a drink?’

The person you are addressing will simply think that you either lost a bet and have to buy a drink for him or her or you are apologizing because you do not believe you are worth even a second of the person’s time. Just adding one sorry could really end your conversation, or worse, make the other person ask you why you are apologizing. Either way it ends with you embarrassed and alone.

9. Impression

The first impression is the last impression! We literally get vibes from people  the first time we meet them. It helps us decide whether we will be friends or not. Since we are big on social structure, making friends is something we consider important. However, saying sorry too many times can seriously damage that legendary first impression. When you are meeting with someone and start by saying sorry, the person in front of you tries to look for flaws in your sleeves that you are asking him or her to look past. And that is not very helpful.

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Yes! It is serious, but not that you have to go to a rehab to get back what you have lost. All you need is confidence and control over using strong words (like sorry) in conversations. Just a day or two into this process, and you will start to feel empowered, more confident, and a bit aggressive (in a healthy way). Why not take the first step towards making a clear point every time you speak and avoid putting sorry where it doesn’t belong?

Featured photo credit: http://www.careergasm.com/ via careergasm.com

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9 Surprising Things You Lose When You Say Sorry

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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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