Traveling is one of man’s given gifts. Like birds migrating, we definitely enjoy the joys of traveling. We enjoy the sight of a new view and the taste of a new culture. Often times, we explore a place that is completely different compared to our usual lifestyle. These adventures become part of our sweet memories.
Islands have always been one of the famous destinations to just wind down and kick off our shoes. Off goes those pinching shoes as we snuggle our feet beneath the warm sand. It’s the time where we enjoy the sight of the never ending blue waters and be mesmerized by all the marine life it preserves.
However, how do we choose the best islands to bask in? What are the best islands?
It can be a huge dilemma which this article is going to narrow down for you. Now you can easily arrange your travel plans.
1. Bali, Indonesia
Bali has been a tourist hotspot for years, however, there’s more to Bali than the edges of it. The traditional massages and the usual spas are definitely perfect for relaxing or for a long honeymoon, however, take the chance to explore the smaller islands around Bali.
With a niche for temples and a mixture of culture, you’ll definitely find hidden treasures there. You’ll be surprised by the friendliness and the welcoming attitude by most of the locals on the smaller islands. If you love to fish, enjoy experiences with the locals and a great bargain for amazing fish, Bali as well as its surroundings are perfect for you.
Although keep in mind that the monsoon period ends in the beginning of March hence if you’re planning to head there it’s wise to keep track of your calender.
2. Maui, Hawaii
Maui is the third biggest islands in Hawaii. With it being both the financial as well as the traveling hub, this island is acclimated to all travelers’ needs. An island that hosts two amazing volcanoes, you’ll have the chance to take a peak at the Haleakala crater—an experience that not many has had the opportunity to enjoy.
Maui also hosts one of the vastest varieties of marine life. Since the marine habitat is an important part of the Hawaiian culture, they’re protected and respected hence you’ll have to keep in mind not to destroy the corals or litter around the water. On the other hand, you’ll have the opportunity to surf, enjoy the finest fish and mingle with the locals as well as understand and participate in their culture.
Maui has its own weather: it usually rains in the night as well as the early morning. If you’re planning for a nice surf, be sure to ask the locals for the best spots as well as the best weather during the week.
3. Lanzarote , Canary Islands
Lanzarote is one of the smaller islands in the cluster of the Canary Islands. A rather gated island, it’s famous for travelers or tourists who are looking for a spot that isn’t populated and touristy. A fancy island wonderland, Lanzarote offers visitors to embark on different adventures. Its crystal clear water makes it perfect for snorkeling and or diving. One can describe the experience as a feast to the eyes, especially watching the multi-colored corals.
It’s a perfect place for couples who are looking to spend their honeymoon or rekindle their romance. You can enjoy a beautiful fine dining experience during the night and in the day you can take a walk down the vineyards and sip on your favorite glass of red wine.
Lanzarote is also famous for its hospitality and international crowd, hence you might end up making some amazing friends during your vacation there.
An untouched land, that’s what one can describe Borneo. It’s situated and surrounded by rainforests, caves, and water. Its crystal clear water makes it perfect for divers to discover marine life while it also makes a perfect place to swim with the sharks. If you’re an adventurer by heart, then Borneo would be perfect for you as you can constantly enjoy different activities throughout your trip.
Borneo is also the home for the world largest flower, the Rafflesia. It’s a flower that smells like rotting flesh, but looks beautiful.
As prices there are rather reasonable, you won’t have a problem enjoying your time there. Be sure to always enjoy the local delicacies, as it’s the pride and joy of Borneo. If you’re invited to stay in the long houses of the locals, always keep in mind of their tradition and culture, as in that part of the world respect can take you a long way.
5.Viti Levu, Republic Of Fiji
Viti Levu is the largest island of the Republic of Fiji. Although in comparison it’s smaller than Connecticut, USA. Its small land allows it to retain its uniqueness and the Fijian culture. Due to it rarely being a famous tourist destination, it’s kept its beauty and travelers are accustomed to adapting with the locals instead of being an outsider.
Viti Levu would be the perfect destination for friends to celebrate or meet up as its close knit community encourages bonding and enjoying each others’ company. It’s said that the island of Viti Levu has been submerged and covered in lava many times that the rugged terrains and the aftermath of those incidents still remain.
Native Fijians strongly believe in their culture and heritage, even though the island’s small you’ll definitely discover treasures that will always keep that island close to your mind and heart.
Therefore, if you’re planning to travel to an island soon, take these places into consideration; you’ll definitely have an adventure.
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: