When you’re dating a guy, it’s easy to think he’s perfect. You’re in a love haze, so be careful because there are definite differences between the boy you date and the man you marry. It’s true that people can change, so don’t ditch a guy just because he seems like a slacker at first. It’s okay to give him a chance to prove himself. However, if you don’t eventually see some of these characteristics, don’t be afraid to dump him and move on to someone new. If you’re young and having fun at this point in your life, it’s okay to date around and have flings, but before long you’re going to want to settle down, so make sure you do it with a quality man, not an immature boy.
The boy you date asks you to “hang out,” which involves less commitment than a date. He wants to have fun with no strings attached. The man you marry asks you out on dates and is clear about his intentions with you. He wants to be with you and wants you to know where you’re headed.
The boy you date talks with you about people you know from your past, or pokes fun at that guy at the bar, or only shares funny stories because he can’t connect on a deeper level. The man you marry can hold a conversation with you about books, movies, music, and other common interests. This makes for a more substantial relationship in the long run.
The boy you date will say he never wants to get married or have kids, and nothing will change his mind. Don’t try–this is a red flag that he’s not Mr. Right! The man you marry might change his mind about wanting to marry and have kids after he’s met you.
The boy you date hears your attitude, takes it personally, and starts firing it right back at you until it spirals into a major fight. The man you marry can handle your attitude and talk you down from a ledge. This is especially important when you have major life crises or a bad day at work.
The boy you date calls you mean and immature names to make himself feel like a winner. The man you marry fights fairly. He doesn’t call you names or use physical force, no matter how angry he gets.
The boy you date cares too much about looks, and will tease you for looking sloppy until you fix yourself back up to his standards. The man you marry understands that everyone has good and bad days as far as looks go, and won’t hurt your feelings or love you less if your weight fluctuates or you have a bad hair day or forget to shave for awhile.
The boy you date will say “I’m sorry” because he just wants you to cheer up or stop nagging him. He says “I love you” because he doesn’t want to lose you, even though he doesn’t really feel the meaning of the words. The man you marry will say “I’m sorry” because he honestly is, and he never meant to hurt you with his words or actions. He says “I love you” because he truly means it, and wants you to feel that love every minute of your life.
The boy you date will expect to have things done for him because that’s what his mom did, and that’s what other girls have done for him, and he doesn’t have to take care of himself. The man you marry will know how to take care of himself: how to cook, clean, do laundry, pay bills, and more–because he’s already a man. It’s important for people to have this figured out before they’re ready to marry, which is a great way to tell what type your guy is.
The boy you date doesn’t want to meet your friends because he just wants to be alone with you all of the time. The man you marry wants to hear stories about your friends until he can meet them and get to know them himself.
The boy you date well, you’re too embarrassed to take him to meet your parents, not that he’d ever bring it up himself. The man you marry wants to meet your parents, and impresses them when he does.
The boy you date is always the one you fantasize about marrying, because he’s cute and all you do is have fun together (until the first big blow-up…). The man you marry is never a sure thing. You hem and haw over if he’s right, if you should settle down with him, if your relationship can make it long term.
The boy you date doesn’t listen to you or fully engage in conversations. He nods while you talk, then changes the subject or just tells you what you want to hear. The man you marry cares about what you have to say. He wants to know your thoughts and opinions on anything from major issues to tiny moments from your day.
The boy you date runs at the first sign of trouble because it’s too much drama for him, and he doesn’t want anything tying him down. The man you marry sticks with you through tough times because he’s committed to you and the relationship, and wants to see it through to the end.
The boy you date doesn’t reach for the check, and huffs if you ask him to split the bill with you. The man you marry pays when he takes you out, even after you grab the check and insist five times that it’s your turn to pay.
The boy you date never gives you security. You don’t know how he feels or what he’s up to when he’s not with you, and your friends might even have money riding on how long you’ll last. The man you marry will make you feel secure. You’ll always know he loves you, you’ll be able to trust him, and you’ll know that you two can make it through anything.
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: