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12 Reasons You Should Start A Blog Today

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12 Reasons You Should Start A Blog Today

I started my first blog a little over three years ago. Since that time I have been blogging about four or five times a week. It has been a great learning experience, and a source of personal and professional growth. It has also done many great things for my business, and has opened up a number of career opportunities that wouldn’t have otherwise been there for me. In this article Here are 12 reasons why everyone should start a blog.

1.  Blogging is challenging, and challenges are good

Anyone who thinks that blogging isn’t challenging hasn’t really done it. It is a challenge to sit down and write, and to do that consistently. It is a challenge to put your ideas out there, but you shouldn’t be scared of it. You should embrace it because it makes you grow, and by growing you become more complex as an individual. It is a challenge that you can handle, and handling challenges can make you happy.

2.  Learn new things

Handling challenges and becoming more complex makes people happy–so does learning. When people learn, they grow, and feel fulfilled. Blogging is a learning experience. You learn how to write. You learn how to access social media to spread your message. You learn the difference between a catchy title and a dull one. More importantly, through your writing, you can learn a lot about yourself. All of these things can increase your happiness.

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3.  Make a difference in the lives of others

Don’t think that your voice doesn’t matter. It does, and what you have to say will have a positive impact on others. The first time that someone reached out to me to say that they consistently read my blog, and that what I wrote helped them, was a very meaningful moment. I realized then that I could make a difference in people’s lives. It made me feel great, and it motivated me to keep writing.

4.  Become an expert at something

A blog allows you to develop your thoughts around a particular idea or topic.This will lead to learning more about that topic and networking with others in that field. If you are consistent in our approach you will find that, over time, you will learn quite a bit about that topic. This can build into a unique expertise, which can lead to new business and career opportunities. I have experienced this in my career as well.

5.  Build your online brand

Blogging is a great way to build an “online brand”. Why does that matter? It matters if you want to keep the door open for continual business and career opportunities. I have had many people contact me over the years on topics such as marketing, sales, and leadership development for consulting opportunities, speaking engagements and other interesting business endeavors. These are some of the topics that I most frequently write on. One of the best ways to create, and control, your brand, is to frequently write on topics that you wish to be known for.

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6.  Expose your ideas to a larger network

When you blog, and include social sharing options on your blog posts, you have the opportunity to expand your sphere of influence to a much larger network. The key here is to write consistent, high quality content that people find interesting and want to share. Sound daunting? It’s not if you start with what interests you. You are more likely to put thought and effort into topics that are of interest to you, and the great thing is that there really are no rules. Anything that is interesting to you is interesting to someone else out there, and that person  will share your content with his or her network.

7.  Create new opportunities for yourself and your business

When you become known for a certain topic, you could get picked up by the search engines, and people who are looking for expertise in that area will eventually reach out to you. This will result in new and interesting career and business opportunities that wouldn’t have otherwise been possibilities.

8.  Have new and interesting experiences

New experiences are fun, and they help to break routine and make life more interesting. Blogging is a great way to have new and interesting experiences. It may be as simple as learning the platform, or having a unique conversation with a follower of your blog. It also may be something like doing a guest post on someone else’s blog, or writing on a topic that requires a little “field work” or research. Make it fun. The more you do, the more likely it is that you’ll stick with that activity.

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9.  Meet new and interesting people

Making new friends is a positive and enjoyable experience. Blogging on topics that interest you will allow you to network and create relationships with people who are interested in similar things. You will also likely connect with other bloggers. Learning about different people, and their unique experiences, can be enjoyable.

10.  Document your life in an empowering way

A blog doesn’t have to be a journal, but it can be if you want. There are really no rules. You can blog about a topic of interest, your random thoughts, or about your personal experiences. My blog is all of the above. When we include personal experiences, our blog becomes a documentary about our lives. It is a great way to record experiences that we can look back on to learn from and reminisce, and share with our loved ones.

11.  Confront your fears

For some people, taking a side, having an opinion, and voicing that opinion online is simple, perhaps even natural. For others it is, at first, a terrifying prospect. If you fall into the latter category, it can be empowering to overcome this fear. What is the worst thing that could happen by blogging? Someone disagrees with your opinion? Big deal. You can handle that. In fact it’s a really good thing for your opinion to be challenged from time to time, as it causes you to analyze it to make sure it is sound.

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12.  Find your authentic voice

Blogging (and writing in general) has been perhaps the most effective means that I have discovered to find and develop my authentic voice. Writing is like art. You start with a blank canvas. Everything that comes after that is coming from an authentic place. With blogging especially, you are free to write on any topic that you choose. It isn’t like school, where you are confined to the terms of a teacher’s direction (and subject to his or her interpretation). When you blog you are free to discover who you are, what you have to say, what interests you, and how you can add value through your words. This is the process of empowerment.

More by this author

Ryan Clements

A lawyer turned marketing professional, entrepreneur and writer who writes about entrepreneurship, career and personal development.

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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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