If you are thinking of proposing to your girlfriend soon, there are some things you should consider before doing so. You don’t want to just jump right in without being prepared first. Being prepared for something this important in your life is very important because you don’t want anything backfiring on you when she says no. You want to do everything possible to make sure she says yes, so check out these 7 things every guy needs to consider before getting down on one knee.
1. Make Sure She Will Say Yes
First, before you go out of your way to get a ring for her or plan to make this the most romantic thing for the two of you, you want to make sure she is going to say yes. You can do this by uncovering some knowledge about what she will say during the conversations the two of you have.
Has she ever said she doesn’t want to get married? If she hasn’t, then this could possibly mean she will say yes. Also, make sure she wants you as her husband. Does she constantly say, “When can we get married?” or “Are you ever going to marry me?” If she does, then you know she will say yes. Look out for subtle signs.
2. Don’t Make it Obvious You Are Going to Propose
You want her to be surprised so try not to make it too obvious, but you also don’t want her to think you don’t want to marry her either. Although you want to plan it, you don’t want her to find out by giving it away either.
You could tell her “someday” you will ask her but don’t let her know when because it should be a huge surprise. Keeping it from her might be a little difficult, especially when you try not to keep things from her. However, this one time won’t hurt and she will be very happy that you surprised her.
3. Don’t Let Anyone Else Know
Another way of keeping her from finding out is by not letting anyone else know you are going to ask her to marry you. You should keep it from everyone because you never know who is going to slip out and tell her about the surprise. You have worked so hard in planning this huge surprise and don’t want anyone ruining it for you or her.
You should definitely not tell her family or her friends and try to keep it from your family and friends because they could even slip out and tell her. You don’t know who you can trust to keep this one huge surprise from her so keep it to yourself.
4. Finding the Right Ring
You want to find the perfect ring for her; one that she will cherish and love for the rest of her life. You want to make sure it fits her but realize that size doesn’t really matter as long as it is not too small to fit.
The main things you want to be aware of when buying something so important includes cut, color, clarity, and carat. The most important thing she will see is how big the diamond is and how shiny it is. Although many guys tend to think that size is the most important aspect of a ring for their girlfriend, this isn’t the most important. You should work with the jeweler to make sure your ring is edited to look the best and within your budget, of course.
What you should do is find the perfect ring for her and an affordable one for you, and make it personal for her. Have the jeweler make it the way she will like it. The most popular diamond there is for an engagement ring is the brilliant round cut. This is because, depending on the design you choose, it shall reflect your feelings towards her.
5. Be Creative With How you Propose
Everyone is going to be asking you both how you proposed so you want to be as creative as possible. This is not the only reason you want to be creative though. You also want her to really love how you popped the question. Make it more about her, than you. You know what she likes so make it fun, creative, and in a way she will always remember.
6. Make Sure You Both Look Nice When you Pop the Question
The reason for this is because you know she will want to start taking pictures. Because of this, you will both want to be picture ready. The perfect way to have her picture ready is to let her think you are taking her some place nice and fancy.
This way, she will get dressed up and you will both be picture ready without her knowing the real reason for it. Don’t think she will be disappointed if you don’t take her to her favorite restaurant, after all she will then have a beautiful diamond ring on her finger and will be marrying the man she loves, you.
7. Try To Make it Earlier in the Day When you Propose
You will want to make sure it is earlier in the day that you propose, this way you won’t be too nervous and you will have the rest of the day for making phone calls to tell your friends and family and for the congratulatory emails you will get. You will want to call and tell everyone you know about what happened on this awesome day. You will also want to reply to those congratulatory emails and send out thank you cards. Also, she will want to start planning the wedding already!
All-in-all, make it a day about her but also about the both of you. You want everything to go smoothly for you two and to make sure you are both as happy as you should be. Also, no matter how confident you think you are, you are going to be nervous but once she says yes, it will all be worth.
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: