In today’s 100 mile and hour whirlwind lives of ours it is harder than ever to meet the right person. With the rise of speed dating events and singles nights it is clear to see that we are looking for all the help we can get with finding ‘the one’. When time is limited and you are dealing with everyday stresses it’s hard to put your dating cap on and be on your top form, that’s why when you do get the chance you’ve got to make sure you make an impression as it may be your only chance to impress Mr. or Mrs. right.
Some guidance on dating wouldn’t go a miss I’m sure, so have a read on to see how you can use my advice to make a good impression and maybe a second date. Behold my friends……the 15 do’s and don’ts when dating.
1. DO Turn up on time.
Imagine that for every minute you are delayed your date will be thinking about how the possibility of them being stood up. You’ll have left them in the restaurant or bar looking at their watch feeling self-conscious about everyone watching them sitting there alone.
2. Don’t talk about how great you are.
How off-putting! Your date does not, I repeat NOT want to hear all about you. They want to be listened to, respected and engaged with. There will be plenty of time for them get to know you, just wait your turn and reveal more about you when the time calls for it.
3. DO be interested.
If you’re meeting for the first time it’s likely you’ll find out a lot about your date that you never knew. Some of it may be of interest to you, some not, but act like you are interested. Think of the effort they have made to tell you things that are important to them and show some interest in what they are saying. Which leads me to my next point.
4. Don’t keep checking your phone.
This shows total lack of interest and disrespect to the conversation. If you check your phone you are clearly saying that your phone is more important than the person sitting opposite you. Prepare to get the bus home.
5. DO Listen more.
We all like the sound of our own voice but when you are getting to know someone and the relationship is in it’s raw phase then quieten and take in what has been said. Speak less and show your interest by listening more.
6. Don’t be under-dressed.
Being overdressed is far better than turning up looking a scruff. Your date will appreciate the effort you made and if they haven’t made as much of an effort then they will aim to the next time you meet up.
7. DO ask more questions.
That’s right by now you are so interested in what they are saying that you want to know more. Listen, take in the information and ask questions to prove that what you have heard is computing.
8. Don’t try and be perfect.
No one is perfect and no one is looking for Mr or Mrs perfect. No relationship is built on perfection so no need to worry if your date doesn’t seem too impressed with your little quirks or silly habits. Your imperfection is what makes you perfect.
9. DO Make eye contact.
People will assess honesty through eye contact. The more you look away when you are speaking the more dishonest you will seem. You don’t need to stare your date out with your lovers eyes, just know that a better connection will be made if you keep your focus on them.
10. Don’t spend too long talking about past relationships.
This subject is best mentioned and not elaborated on. Nobody wants to hear how much you loved your ex and how wonderful your life was with them. If you find yourself in the middle of this conversation I suggest you moonwalk out the bar and get a taxi home.
11. DO be honest.
The relationship between you two will start off in the best possible way if you are totally honest with your date. This is the way I see it. You should always be proud of expressing exactly who you are and what you stand for and if it doesn’t sit well with them then you know that they aren’t the right person for you.
12. Don’t think too far ahead
Enjoy the moment! Forget what might happen, what could happen and all the variables and just enjoy your date, focus on connecting and being happy in the moment.
13.Do offer to pay for the bill.
Guys find it attractive if a lady shows intention of paying for the bill. It’s sexy, and shows that she is able to look after herself, but guys if you are reading this do not let the lady pay on the first date. Take control of the payment as the ladies like the same quality in us.
14. Don’t use cheesy lines.
You’re not thirteen years old any more so don’t even go there. Cheesy lines should be left to teenagers, movies and people that have no interest in ever dating again. Not wise and not cool, enough said on that one.
15. Do throw in a compliment or two.
We all love a compliment and I suggest that throwing one in to the conversation will only be a positive move. Keep it simple, keep it clean and say it like you mean it, not just because you are returning a compliment.
Now go and get working my good people and may cupid be looking down on you. Adios!
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: