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12 Common Online Dating Mistakes You’ve Probably Made

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12 Common Online Dating Mistakes You’ve Probably Made

The world has changed pretty quickly. More and more, we’re finding our jobs, our cars, and our homes online – and we’re also finding love. In fact, the online dating industry now reports annual revenues of nearly $1.25 billion. Because it’s such a nascent phenomenon, though, there’s a pretty steep learning curve. Before you reach out to that potentially perfect partner, make sure you go about it the right way. Avoiding any missteps can give you a better chance to initiate contact, land a date and hopefully see it blossom into love. For some of the more common online dating mistakes to avoid, read on.

1. Don’t Post Your Best Photo

People don’t often look like their best photos. If you do, wonderful. If you’re like the rest of us though, you’re only setting yourself up for failure if you post your best one. Instead, post normal, everyday photos of yourself and avoid any pictures where the light catches you perfectly and gives you that (unrealistic) movie star look.

2. Take the Time to Really Read Member Profiles

People put a lot of time and effort into creating their profiles – do yourself a favor and actually read them. If you’re outside someone’s age or location range, don’t make contact. If you’re a pet lover and a profile catches your eye, don’t reach out if that person is allergic to cats. Reading online dating profiles thoroughly may take a bit of time, but in the long run, it’s going to make your search for that perfect someone a lot more efficient.

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3. Be Careful What You Say and Who You Say It To

Don’t automatically assume that people on a particular dating website don’t converse with one another. If you’re telling one individual what a party animal you are but you try to come off as a homebody to attract another, you might get caught dead in your tracks.

4. Cast a Broad Net in Your Search

Rather than looking for reasons not to reach out to people, try to find things that do attract you to them. Contact anyone you might share common interests with and see where it goes. If you’ve never been attracted to brunettes, loosen up a bit. If you think you’d never date an avid sports fan, give it a shot. You never know what type of person you might fall for and the content of online profiles is limited by nature, so send messages to some folks the computer may not automatically match you with and you might just surprise yourself.

5. Consider a Paid Membership Over Free Websites

Going with one of the free dating websites like Plenty of Fish might seem like a no-brainer instead of paying for a membership with Match, but generally members of paid websites are more serious about finding a relationship. Your results aren’t guaranteed either way, but you could find yourself wasting a lot of time if you don’t consider shelling out a few bucks for a short-term subscription.

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6. Make Your First Message Original

Don’t simply write up a stock introduction and copy and paste it to all candidates. Instead, get an idea of how you want to present yourself and zero in on something in each member’s profile to comment on. If you work in similar industries, mention that. If you have a common hobby, break the ice that way. A lot of members can spot generic messages pretty easily and many won’t respond to them at all. Most importantly, don’t make your first message something as pedestrian as “Hi.” It’s not too hard to come up with a more engaging intro than that.

7. Cut to the Chase as Quickly as Possible

Don’t fall into the trap of endless email conversations or mindless texts that drag on for days. After a few electronic messages, ask to speak on the phone. Have some brief conversations and then request a date. Finding a suitable partner takes time, so it’s important to meet a candidate as quickly as possible to see if there’s a spark.

8. Be Up Front About Your Intentions

If all you’re looking for is a roll in the hay, say so tactfully. If you prefer to be friends first long before any romance, mention that as well. There’s no need to hide your intentions – they’re eventually going to come out.

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9. Don’t Stalk Members If You Don’t Receive a Response

If you message someone you think is a perfect match for you, do not obsess if you don’t receive an email in return. Everyone is different and if someone’s just not into you, simply move on to greener pastures.

10. Avoid the Urge to Get Your Hopes Up

It can be very easy to believe you’ve found “the one” based simply on a profile, but avoid the urge to get your hopes up until you meet in person. That’s when the rubber meets the road. Building up high expectations beforehand may just be setting yourself up for failure. Be patient and cautious and take things one step at a time.

11. Be Careful When Divulging Personal Information

Be very careful about any personal information you divulge, especially before you’ve met in person. Identity thieves peruse dating websites, which means it’s important to keep your guard up at all times. Use a separate email address that contains no identifiable personal information until you’ve met and determined that this is a real person with the right intentions.

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12. Don’t Go Overboard on a First Date

If you get to the point of a personal meeting, don’t drop a wad of cash on the first date. Instead, keep things low-key and low-cost – there’s nothing wrong with meeting for a walk in the park or grabbing a latte at Starbucks, as cliché as that might sound. If you get into the habit of spending big bucks each and every time you score a date, your budget is going to feel the pinch.

Online dating is convenient, in some cases free, and it’s a great way to meet people if you’re a busy professional – but don’t forget to venture out into the real world, too. Believe it or not, not every single person is a member of an online dating website. Get more sociable at the gym, involve yourself in your community, and get out more often with your friends. That way, you improve your overall chances of finding that special someone.

What mistakes have you made in the course of your online dating activities?

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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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