You want to meet someone and have decided to go online. That is proactive, forward-thinking, and a very great move, but care must be taken not to fall into habits that will spoil your dating experience- especially if you are an older person. Studies show that senior online dating is increasing daily and also that seniors tend to have better date choices than younger people. However, studies also reveal a lot of challenges online daters commonly face that result in bad dating experiences. Keeping these tips in mind will help a great deal.
1. Never go “Wow!” over the pictures.
While on the internet, it’s very easy to feel in control and maintain very high expectations. The feeling of being in control is wonderful and anyone would confess that it makes them feel powerful, but you have to fight it- especially as an older person.
If what you desire is a true connection- a true relationship with a person whom you love and who loves you in return, you must bring your most empathetic and mature self into the dating adventure. This probably is the reason why seniors often make better choices in online dates and why senior online dating sites are experiencing more success compared to other online dating sectors.
This simply means not saying, “Wow, she is gorgeous but I prefer blondes to brunettes.” You wouldn’t behave this way sitting across from this person, so don’t do it online. What you need is happiness, so go for it!
2. Avoid being obsessed about details.
Your focus shouldn’t be on which movies they like, bars they frequent, schools they attended, or restaurants they visit. If what you want is true happiness and you intend genuine love, your focus should be on where he or she lives, whether or not he or she seems intelligent, and whether or not he or she has similar interests. Don’t be deceived into believing that someone out there exactly suits your preferences. Instead, focus on the most important and desired traits. What’s most important is the profile tone, and evaluating it should be your focus. If you can evaluate the profile tone (which may seem difficult), you may have a better chance of guessing what the person is like even without profile images or meeting him or her in person.
If you focus on trivial things, there is the chance you will pass over the profiles of people who could actually make you happy. Finding a genuine relationship is about how you both understand your differences, yet meet each other’s desires. The key to this is reading between the lines to get a clear understanding of the person. Is he or she well-adjusted, reasonable, friendly- a person to whom you would be naturally attracted if you were to meet him or her in person without regard for movie tastes, books, and restaurants?
Never ignore signs of bitterness, boastfulness, and insincerity. You can easily detect if someone is insincere if there are any claims of perfection! Everyone has flaws, and claims of perfection in many areas is a warning sign. Also beware of a person whose profile states, “My friend did it and suggested I have the same experience so I took it on”.
3. Mind personality claims.
Most explicit claims about a person’s personality should be ignored. People are very unreliable when reporting about themselves, and understanding this will save you a lot of trouble. People who ignore warning signs about personality claims in profiles have bitter stories to tell about online dating. Claims about oneself may not always be lies, but the way people see themselves is frequently different from how others see them. It’s best to meet people and confirm their claims before putting confidence into those claims. Keep in mind that we humans are expert “self-justifiers” and only external events can really reveal negative traits. Am I right? The only claims worth believing are age, education, location, and job. When it comes to self-evaluation, people are biased and self-aggrandizing.
4. Don’t get too attached when judging a profile.
You may have evaluated a profile but that’s not all. No matter how great you are at evaluating profiles or how great a person seems to match your tastes, there is still lots more to know about him or her. You can learn only a little from a profile, but you can learn much from behavior: the tone of voice, eye contact, how responsively and beautifully they smile, how attentive they are during discussions, how and what they say about themselves, how they ask questions, and so much more. Never ignore the fact that vital information is only disclosed by people when they are relaxed and in a good mood. Your goal shouldn’t be to look for the perfect person that suits your taste but to have fun with the possibility of meeting your match.
5. Don’t move too fast.
It’s never advisable to do this. However, there is a greater chance of moving too fast in online dating. It is a big temptation. “His profile says he needs a relationship. Would he even be on a dating site if he were not really serious? I have gotten to know so much about him/her even though we’ve met only once. What am I waiting for?” Getting impatient with dating and moving too fast in a relationship is the worst thing you can do. After a few dates you are still getting to know this person while growing the connection. Getting attached too soon can scare off your date or dampen your budding relationship. Note: It’s difficult when you badly want to have a connection with someone, but getting to know another person takes time, so take the time.
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: