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Think Twice If You Want To Be A Crowd Pleaser

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Think Twice If You Want To Be A Crowd Pleaser

I think there has been a time in our lives when we have wanted to be popular. In school, the prettiest girl always got all the boys, was invited to prom by the cutest guy, was awarded homecoming queen, etc. There’s something very desirable about being popular and all the attention that comes with it.

Social media is a great way to give yourself a self-esteem boost. You upload a new picture and you get a lot of attention on it, and the more likes you get, the better you feel about yourself. I think sometimes people often believe that people who are popular are the happiest. Contrary to popular belief, that is not always the case.

Your number of “likes’ does not define you

Let’s just say you’ve had a pretty bad day. Maybe you and your boyfriend broke up, you lost your job, or something else happened that made you feel like you’re at a really low point in your life.

But, on the bright side, you feel like you look good today so you take a quick selfie and post it on your social media. Over the next 24 hours you get a lot of likes and comments. All of this will make you feel better temporarily, and the more likes and comments you get, the more likely you’ll be perceived by others that you’re up pretty highly on the social ladder.

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What all these people don’t know is what happened during that day or how crappy you feel. It’s not uncommon to get lost in the completely fake world that is social media.

Do not envy those who are popular

“Do not overrate what you have received, nor envy others. He who envies others does not obtain peace of mind.” – Buddha

You have to really sit down and think about this one. Think about a friend who you rarely see because they are constantly engaging in other social commitments. You would have to be okay with hardly ever having a moment to yourself, and you would have to keep up your image through social media.

Imagine how exhausting that must be. Not only do you have to maintain the life you lead off the internet, but then keep up with the one you have through the internet. You have to ask yourself this question, “what value will being popular add to my life?” The answer to this can be quite simple, we all want to feel a sense of connection and belonging.

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By trying to maintain a ton of relationships with people, you will most likely end up feeling worn thin and become unhappy and miserable.

Dr. Brian Gillespie, who is an assistant professor of sociology at Sonoma State University, discusses that by trying to maintain a relationship with a large number a people compared to your small core group of close supporters, you’re setting yourself up to suffer from something sociologists refer to as a “role strain”. Meaning when a person has many social obligations such as their giving their time and energy, they become frustrated and are unable to meet the expectations of their social role, such as being a friend.

Gillespie says, “it’s stressful when you’re trying to be too many things for too many people.”

He further goes on to discuss three main attributes that a good friend should have:

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  • emotional support (post-breakup talks)
  • instrumental support (helping you move)
  • companionate support (watching your favorite tv show with you)

Ideally, it would be great if a friend has all three, but it’s important to have at least two attributes. Friendships are about quality. When you surround yourself with people who have these, you will notice that your need to be accepted by many people will diminish. In fact, you may begin to prefer your circle to be smaller.

It could affect your health

As previously stated, by trying to maintain a number of relationships with people you not only tire yourself out mentally but also physically. In the short term, you may find that by always having plans to meet up with people throughout your day, you will eventually exhaust yourself. You lack sleep and resting time to recoup from all that exerted energy. Symptoms of depression can also set in when you’re always around many personality types and trying to attempt to keep up with the needs of those people.

Long term effects could be a bit more severe. The desire to try and please everyone can cause quite a bit of extra stress that is just unnecessary. You can become overexposed to cortisol as well as some other stress hormones that can disrupt most of your body’s processes. If this happens, you will have an increased risk of heart disease and digestive problems.

Social networks can just cause problems

Although many don’t want to admit how involved they are with social media, they are. Unfortunately, it’s the way we keep up with what everyone is doing. Can you remember the last time you went to dinner and didn’t check into the restaurant before even sitting at the table? Or do you remember the last time you ate your food before snapping a photo of it and posting it on Instagram?

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Social media can become far more important and complicated than it needs to be. Instead of focusing on letting everyone know what you’re doing when you’re doing it, take the time to fully enjoy the moment you’re in when you are in it.

If you’re going out to eat, leave your phone in the car. This will allow you to fully engage in conversation with who you’re at dinner with while also allowing you enjoy the time spent at the restaurant. The next time you feel yourself pulling out your phone to post something on social media, ask yourself if there’s really a reason to post what you’re doing in your personal life. You will be surprised at how much happier you’ll be when you keep many aspects of your life private.

Keep track of your social activities

It’s important to keep track of your social commitments so you can be aware of when you’re about to tire yourself out. It’s equally as important to realize the drastic difference between a friend and an acquaintance. You, of course, will want to spend more time with your friends because they will provide you with the most support. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t spend time with those you do not consider “friends” but rather not spend time with them frequently.

Everyone is different. It’s strongly encouraged to sit down and decide for yourself what your own personal social needs are. Truly analyze your relationships with people so that you are able to see who is a friend and who is an acquaintance.

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In closing, please remember that you are not defined by the number of likes and comments you receive on social media. You are who you surround yourself with, and you want those people to be a genuine and sincere group. How many you consider a friend? That is for you to decide.

Featured photo credit: www.shuttershock.com via shutterstock.com

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Erica Wagner

Erica is a passionate writer who shares inspiring ideas and lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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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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