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20 Ways Celebrities, Parents, and You Can Combat Bullying

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20 Ways Celebrities, Parents, and You Can Combat Bullying

When Beyoncé dropped her Lemonade flick with the world a few weeks ago, the Internet, of course, went berserk. But then came the immediate attacks following the “Becky with good hair” lyric from her short film.

Her fans, notoriously known as the “BeyHive,” attacked other celebrities, assuming they were the proverbial “Becky,” causing the rift between Beyoncé and her famous husband, Rachel Roy and Rita Ora.

But there has to come to a point where I’m sure Beyoncé probably thinks her fans take things a little too far. Bullying, be it in person or online, is never OK. Roy eventually tweeted her frustration with the attacks, when some of the “BeyHive” bullied her teenage daughter.

And that’s just one recent incident. Malia Obama recently decided on Harvard as her school of choice in the next two years. But when Fox News posted the story to their website, the President’s daughter was bullied immediately. The commentary got so bad, Fox News had to close the post to comments.

Let’s not forget the Old Navy ad of the biracial family that met a barrage of racist insults and comments. It was so bad, Jack McCain, son of Senator John McCain, came out in public to slam the insults.

And it doesn’t end there! Dejah Jones of Newport News, Virginia; Nicole Mittendorff of Fairfax, Virginia; Amy Inita Joyner-Francis of Wilmington, Delaware; Destiny Gleason of Warrenton, Missouri — all of these individuals recently took their young lives from the result of constant bullying. The list is as long as time itself.

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So what gives? Does Beyoncé, Old Navy, and Fox News have at least a moral obligation to combat extreme bullying? In fact, why not everyone put more of an effort into fighting against bullying? Yes, our country was founded on free speech and liberty, but it was also founded on ensuring domestic tranquility and promoting general welfare to one another, per The Constitution.

So, let’s all work to put bullying in its place. Here’s a list of ideas to adapt to get started.

1. Speak up.

If you see something, say something. Not speaking is not an excuse. There are entirely too many anonymous avenues available in workplaces, schools, and universities to allow bullying to continue.

2. Don’t share social media depicting bullying.

We have a real problem with glorifying violence. Chances are you see at least one video of kids viciously fighting or bullying each other on social media once a week. Don’t fuel the fire by sharing it.

3. If you do share, give ways to stop it.

And implement it in your life. It’s one thing to share something because you’re disgusted by it. It’s another thing to leave a disproving comment and then do nothing to change your own behavior. Facebook and Twitter both have functions to report abusive material. Use it. If enough people report abusive posts, these companies will have no choice but to act.

4. Write more letters to leaders.

If your child is being bullied, inform the principal. If the principal wants to sit on their hands, inform the superintendent. If they decide to twiddle their thumbs, inform the major or the local television station. Everyone has someone to answer to.

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5. You’re not entitled to your own opinion.

I know this is an American right. But think about it. If you were really allowed to say whatever you want, why are there affirmative action laws in most workplaces? So, while legally you are allowed to have an opinion, it could cost you your job or livelihood. You’re entitled to your opinion, not a job. Learn to shut it up and keep things to yourself.

6. Learn empathy.

Words do hurt. Take yourself out of your bubble and try to understand words that don’t affect you could wreck havoc on someone else. We don’t know each other’s story, so don’t assume a little name calling or teasing is OK in every situation.

7. Recall some of your misfortune.

Before you start teasing the new coworker on the job for being a little out of the loop, simply recall how ridiculously clueless you were starting out on a new job. Yeah, doesn’t feel good, does it?

8. Humble yourself.

Not everything requires to be pointed to and laughed at simply because everyone else is laughing. Someone who was a great friend maybe turned into a real jerk. Humble yourself and do not fall into that category.

9. Pull out your cell phone and share it — with law enforcement

If you’re going to use social media to call out bullying, make sure the local law enforcement officials know, especially if it’s a serious crime taking place. And from the looks of many bullying videos that turned into brawls, it wouldn’t hurt to forward your video to the cops.

10. Stop giving excuses for kids.

In Shawano, Wisconsin, fining parents for bullying is a reality. Stop saying kids will be kids and other lame excuses. It could cost you a ton of money! And yes, this law in this small town is growing to be quite popular around the country. You’ve been warned!

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11. Don’t be scared to be an iron-fist parent.

Sometimes a little tough love is all it takes to get bullying children to realize their behavior will not be tolerated. Cut the phone and iPad use. Disconnect the laptop and cable. Cancel all their leisure activities until they can show and improve their behavior towards others.

12. Stand up for yourself.

You have a right not to be physically or verbally antagonized. And if they don’t want to listen, have an authority figure break it down to them.

13. Know when to get authorities involved.

Be able to distinguish horseplay from nefarious play. And if you’re not 100% sure, get them involved anyway and let them make the determination.

14. Use your platform.

Are you so proud of your thousands of Instagram and Twitter followers? Use your own platform to reach thousands of people in your own network when promoting anti-bullying.

15. Encourage celebrities to use their platform.

Simply because celebrities are celebrities, they shouldn’t sit idle and allow people to viciously attack others, especially if it’s being done in their name. Many celebrities, like Lady Gaga, have spoke up about bullying. In fact, she started an anti-bullying foundation. Unfortunately, her message needs to be heard throughout all of Tinseltown a little louder.

16. Know your harassment laws in the workplace.

Some of your coworkers will treat the workplace like a playground. If you suspect bullying, even if you’ve informed your supervisor, get familiar with workplace harassment laws just in case. You never know when you’ll have to call legal counsel to get your point across that you will not be bullied at work.

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17. Please. Please. Please don’t be scared to talk to someone.

Many of the poor souls who’ve taken their lives over bullying tend to have one thing in common: the lack of support. If you’re being bullied, please don’t feel you’re alone in the world. There are many online bullying forums to chat about bullying anonymously if you’re scared to address it in person.

18. Join anonymous groups — even if you’re not being bullied.

It makes even more sense to take a peek every now and then into forums if you’re a parent of a bullied child or someone you love’s being bullied. Get help, insight, and tips from others actually going through the ringer.

19. Encourage stricter laws for bullying around the world.

Shawano, Wisconsin is on to something with fining parents for bullying. Other cities and countries should follow suit. Hitting people where it hurts the most (their wallet) gives them no choice but to MAKE change happen or face some serious legal ramifications.

20. Don’t feed the trolls.

Many bullies are simply crying for attention. Don’t give it to them. Let them bask in their own misery alone.

21. Stop sitting idle.

When we hear about another young person taking his or her life, it’s not enough to pray and wish their family strength. Going to town hall meetings, speaking out about the deaths of numerous young people to administrations that are often left shrugging their shoulders, going to the media, or even campaigning to Capitol Hill are some of the loudest ways you can combat bullying.

Featured photo credit: Sad by Loren Kerns via flickr.com

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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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