I don’t know about you, but my mom is seriously one of the coolest people out there.
She’s always been there to make me laugh, wipe away my tears, and help me become the person I am today.
Is your mom super cool? Here are some signs that you are ridiculously lucky to have your mom around.
1. Your mom is one of your best friends.
She’s the first to know about everything new in your life, and you have regular hangouts. For example, my mom and I try to go out for sushi, and we even went on a double-feature mother-daughter date at the movies.
2. But your mom makes sure she puts her role as mother over her role as friend.
Even if you guys are BFFs, she is your mother before she’s your bud, and even if you don’t like it, she will make sure to put your best interests at heart. My mom makes it clear that she’s not only my friend and drinking buddy, but someone who will put me in my place when I need it.
3. You can always count on your mom to be there to listen.
If you’re going through heartbreak or need advice, you call her up. She will listen, always, without judgment. (Thanks, Mom.)
4. Your mom is your biggest cheerleader.
My mom is always the one to encourage me and lift me up, no matter what.
Got a dream? You can bet your mom is there to support it, and she will constantly remind you that you need to chase it, even when you’re not so sure of it yourself.
5. You and your mom have the best inside jokes ever.
You’re constantly giggling to each other. In fact, it’s quite a trip watching you two interact on a day-to-day basis. My mom and I are constantly cracking each other up (we’re so dang hilarious).
6. You and your mom always stick together at family gatherings.
Who else is gonna keep you entertained while your great aunt Ethel talks about her cats? I always stick to my mom like glue at family gatherings so we can giggle at the weirdness of it all.
7. Your mom always puts family first.
Even if she’s got an awesome career and social life, family always, always comes first. She was never late to pick you up from school because of a meeting, and she never forgot your birthday, because you were — and still are — the priority in her life.
8. Your mom always calls and asks how your life is — and she genuinely cares.
She needs to know how you’re doing on a regular basis, and if you say anything other than “I’m doing great,” she will try her hardest to rectify the situation.
9. Your mom always keeps a watchful eye. . . but she doesn’t hover.
You never feel smothered by her, but you know she’s always got one eye on you to make sure you’re on the right path. She tries to stay relatable and remember what it was like being your age.
10. Your mom lets you make mistakes, but she’s always there to help you get back on your feet.
My mom lets me go through heartbreak or fall on my face sometimes — and I know how hard it is for her to watch. But she knows that I need to make my own mistakes, and she’s always there to help me back up.
A cool mom knows that she can’t live your life for you, and she knows you’re going to date someone you shouldn’t, or hit a rough patch every now and then. But when you inevitably do, she is there to wipe away your tears.
11. Your mom knows that she’s just an older, wiser kid at heart.
I still remember what my mom said to me before I left for college: “Here’s the most important piece of advice I can give you: if you get the spins after drinking too much, just bite your tongue and it will distract you.”
Cool moms don’t pretend like they’ve been chaste and perfect their whole life. A cool mom doesn’t play the “holier-than-thou” card, because she is human too, and she’s made the same mistakes you have. She knows that you’ll make them too, and she uses her wisdom to help you whenever you need it.
12. Everyone loves your mom.
Your friends totally want to hang out with your mom, and have suggested she come along on more than one occasion. My friends are currently begging me to invite my mom to my New Year’s party this year. I’m not kidding.
13. Because your mom is hilarious.
She totally knows what’s going on, and she’s struck the perfect balance of being “in” and still being a wise, strong woman. The result is a fabulous sense of humor.
14. Even when you’re mad at her, you still know how much you care about her.
If your mom is like mine, she drives you crazy sometimes, because she always has your best interests at heart, and that means you butt heads every now and then. But even when you do, you can’t possibly love her any less.
15. Your answer to “Who’s your biggest hero?” is always “my mom.”
Stand aside, Wonder Woman. Mom rocks way more than you do.
I believe I’ve written quite a few essays over the years illustrating this very point.
16. You can’t imagine who you would be without your mom…
Your mom built such a strong foundation for you. It’s difficult to separate who you are as a person from who she helped you become as a person.
I try to picture my life without my mom, and I truly can’t.
17. …because your mom is one of the most important people in your world.
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: