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12 Reasons You Should Start A Blog Today

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 January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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