The media is always telling us what to wear, what to say, etc. to impress people. However, to be with someone happily you don’t have to do so. It’s really important to be ourselves and feel worthy of ourselves instead of trying hard to impress and caring too much about what others think. When you can find such a person, never let him/her go. Below are the signs you’re dating someone you don’t have to impress at all.
1. You don’t mind revealing your shortcomings
Maybe you’re the messy type that knows where everything is located. Perhaps it’s known that for you, making dinner is a struggle. It’s okay, you’re loved anyway. You know you’ll never be put on the spot for your bad cooking when the person you’re dating steps up and shares the responsibility with you. Your date surprises you with dinner or teaches you to cook as opposed to bringing over friends and family expecting you to turn into a chef.
2. You can admit what you don’t know without feeling ashamed
Everyone is an expert on something. More than likely, you appreciate if your date has a high intellect. If anything they impress you with their knowledge. If your date finds that you clearly don’t know something, they never make you feel ashamed. You get the relief of telling them you don’t know and they never make you feel any less for it. You may notice your differences bringing you closer together, rather than further apart.
3. You can reveal your past mistakes and feel understood but not judged
You really know where you stand with your date when you can reveal mistakes you made with no fear of being ridiculed. They take the time to relate to you and understand your actions. You’re not made to feel ashamed of the things you’re not proud of. They don’t see you as less than perfect, but the human being that you are.
4. You don’t mind showing your silly sides
You can be goofy as often as you want and it’s all taken in good fun. They know you can be serious, but they bring so much playfulness and joy out of you. You’re more willing to be vulnerable and get in touch with your inner child than you would be with most people. You give each other comic relief. They get just as silly as you and give you laughter as medicine.
5. You don’t feel the need to change your inner self to make him/her more satisfied
The person you don’t need to impress makes you want to express more of who you are, not alter it for them. They know who you are and never ask you to be anything different. They don’t make you feel like you have to adjust to eating what they like and take up the same hobbies. No need to sharpen your fantasy football skills or take up hiking if that’s not your thing.
6. You can always be frank and there’s no guessing game
What a relief to be able to say exactly what is on your mind without having to soften it. You don’t have to water down your strong, opinionated views. The two of you don’t give each other much of an opportunity to misinterpret each other because you’re direct and honest with each other.
7. You’re treasured because of your personality but not because of what you have
They love the gifts you bring to the world more than the gifts you buy. The enthusiasm you experience dating each other comes from excellent chemistry of your personalities. Your material objects are not mentioned much because you’re the real treasure. You find that you spend more time genuinely talking about each other than emphasizing your possessions.
8. You don’t mind showing your weak sides and can vent your emotions freely
They not only listen to your troubles, they want to hear them. Your relationship has surpassed simply impressing them when they request you count on them when you’re not at your best. They’re actually disappointed if you don’t reach out to them when you’re sad. They want to talk to you when you feel weak or low not because misery loves company, but because they know you’re a human being. You cycle through an array of emotions and the person you’re dating wants to experience it with you.
9. You can enjoy quiet time without each other without worrying what to say next
Rest in peace awkward silence, you just don’t have these moments anymore. The silence is peaceful and charges the air with loving, comforting energy. Sometimes a glance in the eyes or a smile says it all. For many, enjoying the company of someone else in silence for the first time is the official point of reaching ultimate comfort with the one you’re dating. When the person you’re dating helps you clean up your house, car, or helps you with any weakness, you know they care. How relieving is it that you get to continue being your awesome self and appreciated for it? Soak in every comforting moment, confide in them, and know that your possessions are only just that. Every bit of what you have to say is appreciated, whether it’s a corny joke or you’re suffering a loss. Everyone likes feeling acknowledged. The beauty about dating this person is that they never expected you to impress them anyway.
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: