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10 Things You Wish You Knew When You Were a Teenager

10 Things You Wish You Knew When You Were a Teenager

Think back on your teenage years. Awkward, right? How many things do you wish you had know then? How different would your life be if you could go back and change just the slightest thing? Here are 10 things you wish you knew when you were a teenager.

1. You can (and should) be weird!

First and foremost! This is the most important lesson of all. Every teenager is strange—even the straight-A, social butterflies. It’s learning to embrace this weirdness that is so hard to do. When you’re a teenager, you just want to fit in. You want to blend into the crowd and graduate without being picked on. Ironically, as a an adult, it’s important to be unique. It’s at this point that you look back on your strange teenage self and wish you had embraced it then.

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2. You always have a choice.

Don’t feel stuck. Not in anything, be it a friendship, a relationship, a class, or a college path. You’re young, and you have your whole life ahead of you! Don’t get trapped in anything. A single choice can change your life, and you’re at the perfect age to take a different track.

3. You can be anything you want.

You don’t have to become a lawyer because your father is one. You’re in high school, with your whole life ahead of you. What do you want to do? Don’t be discouraged by pressure from grown-ups or counselors. If you love art or music, follow your dreams! But be practical: think of the life you’re trying to make for yourself, and figure out how you can get there.

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4. You don’t have to be a follower.

High school is the prime time to gossip and spread rumors. It’s when it’s “cool” to start drinking and smoking. Everybody’s doing it, but you don’t have to. Rise above the petty drama and be your own person. Stay on the right path and you’ll accomplish more in one semester than the majority will accomplish in their entire high school careers.

5. Your thoughts create things.

Ideas are a gold mine. A comic book about a blue werewolf? Start drawing! Don’t discount anything you think. This is the age when your ideas make you feel like you could conquer the world—and you probably could! Don’t talk yourself out of anything. Follow through on anything that crosses your mind. Providing, of course, that it isn’t dangerous or flat-out ridiculous—no flying on homemade wings!

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6. Cherish your friends.

Your friends have your back. They support you when you have to tackle a difficult presentation, and they’ll talk you down off the ledge when you have a failing grade. Cherish these relationships. Friendships in high school are so valuable because you learn a lot from them about what type of person you want to be, and how you’ll treat friends later.

7. Don’t forget your friends.

This is not a restatement of the last tip. This one is regarding relationships. Too often, teenagers let their boyfriends or girlfriends become their world. Just know that no significant other is better than your true friends. It might seem like it at the time, and the relationship might make you feel special, and you might really like kissing…but more than likely, you’ll be single before too long. An you know who will still be there? Your real friends.

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8. You need to learn forgiveness.

It’s too easy to hold a grudge when someone wrongs you. The hardest part is forgiving someone—but it’s also the most rewarding. If your friend ditches you for a new special someone, even if you never did that to a friend (because you knew, right?), take your friend back when they need you. Be kind and open and forgiving, and you’ll be a person everyone thinks favorably about.

9. Don’t try to be cool.

Don’t work too hard to be cool. Don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t do drugs. Don’t do anything you feel pressured to do. Do things because they’re the right things and you want to do them. Do that, and you know what? You will be cool.

10. Love yourself.

Read over all these tips again—do you notice a trend? They’re all about being yourself and being true to yourself, which culminates in loving yourself. This might hurt, but it’s best to learn now: There will always be someone better looking than you, more popular than you, smarter than you. Don’t fight it. Don’t hate them because of what they are, and don’t hate yourself for what you think you’re not. Love who you are and be the best you possible.

Featured photo credit: Diversity Teenagers Friends Friendship Team Concept via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

1. Connecting them with each other

Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

2. Connect with their emotions

Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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3. Keep going back to the beginning

Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

4. Link to your audience’s motivation

After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

5. Entertain them

While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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6. Appeal to loyalty

Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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