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7 Best Ways To Deal With Online Bullies

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7 Best Ways To Deal With Online Bullies

We live in a time where a huge part of our daily interactions with people lies online, in a virtual world where speed of communication is key, and entertainment value is significant, if not vital. The Internet has enabled us to cross time and space barriers, allowing instant access, responses to and sharing of information. Everyone is no longer mere consumers of information, but also producers.

This overall ease of instant communication, though powerful, is very often abused by people who lack good intentions–people who are careless, mindless, insensitive, unhappy with themselves, culturally unaware, bigoted, self-centered, biased, or simply mean-spirited.

How should we deal with the online bullies who leave nasty comments on our Facebook posts, our Tweets, our WordPress, our Tumblr, our YouTube videos, our Instagram photos, and wherever? How do we deal with these strangers? What about those who are our acquaintances, or “frenemies”? How do you stop the constant chain of discouraging notes and the on-and-off harassment.

Here’s the complete guide to chasing those sources of negative energy away from your online social life.

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1. Send them a private message

Confront the bullies. Tell them that you know what they are doing. Tell them that what they are doing is wrong. Don’t be afraid to communicate with them. They might even be shocked that you dare to speak up. By sending them a personal message, you make yourself appear to them as an actual person who can be hurt and feel pain, and less of virtual person whom they think might not even exist.

But do not send a hateful message of vulgarities, slurs and insults. You can’t fight hate with hate. Don’t be defensive and insecure about the whole thing. You don’t want to add on any more negative energy and make the whole matter worse. Be nice. Be the bigger person. That’s what that differentiates you from someone mean and hateful.

2. Expose them

Bullies often think that they can simply hide behind their computer screens while they go about spreading hate online. If you know who they are, you have the choice to tear off their veil of anonymity. Let them and their evil deeds come to light. Don’t let them get away for free. Let people know who they are. Warn others about them. By helping yourself, you also help others from getting hurt.

3. Own the names they gave you

Don’t let the labels the bullies put on you terrorize you. Own the ‘name’ by saying, “Hey, you can call me a xxxxx all you want but that won’t make you any better a person, or me, any worse.” The truth is, there is no point in telling the bullies to stop calling you what they call you. Because the more you dislike the ‘name’ or the ‘label,’ the more they will use it against you.

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So don’t be afraid to speak using the very terms that the bullies use on you. By not avoiding the use of those terms yourself, you show the bullies that you do not feel fear or sadness at the mere sight of those words. You own the names when you truly overcome the power they have over your happiness. Don’t let the words of the bullies make you doubt yourself, or hate yourself. Don’t let the names have power over you and your emotions.

4. Be open about it

Don’t allow yourself to be a victim silenced by fear. Don’t tell yourself that you are not affected when in reality you feel wounded and trapped. Don’t ignore the facts and what had happened. Because if you do–if you keep mum about it and act like you’re fine with everything–the bullies might really believe that you are alright, and that they are not hurting you that much. In this case, they might become even more aggressive with their taunting.

Be bold. You don’t have to be afraid if you have nothing to hide. Being a victim of online bullying is not something to be ashamed of. If you turn things around and make it something you are unafraid to be open and honest about, you will emerge as victorious. You win by being open about it.

This is how we fight bullying–by talking about it, sharing about it, and helping each other brave through it. While the bullies will always be there as bullies, every bullied person will come out of the battlefield as a stronger and wiser being.

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5. Tell your friends and family

We all need some love and support in the times of personal crisis. Just because you try to seek help and comfort in someone other than yourself doesn’t mean that you are weak–it just means that you are human. We are all social beings who need to talk to each other about our day and our feelings. It’s not healthy for anyone to keep everything in. At some point, you will have to let it out to feel better.

Nobody wants to be bullied, criticized or humiliated. It is not a nice feeling to be disliked by other people. At this point, instead of throwing yourself a pity-party and wallowing in your own self-sympathy, you should talk to your friends and family. You will be surprised by the amount of love and support you’ll get. Don’t be ashamed of yourself. And stop thinking that people will be ashamed of you.

It is necessary that you have your friends and family as your allies. Often, true friends will not only stand with their friend who is bullied, they will help to fight back as well. Let your friends and family speak up for you. This is not just your battle–it’s the battle of everyone who loves you. Friends and family are the perfect reminder that you are not alone and that you are loved.

6. Report/block them online

As the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.” If you need to report or block the people who are harassing you, do so right now. Reporting or blocking people online doesn’t mean that you are “afraid of them,” or that you are “unable to handle them.” That would be the same as saying, I don’t wear a seatbelt while driving because I think I can handle the roads and I’m not afraid of accidents. But accidents do happen. Even if you don’t bump into people, some might just come crashing into you. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

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Look through your privacy settings and make the necessary changes to better protect your private information and content. Social media sites, like Facebook or Twitter, are not responsible for your protection. You are the one responsible for your own protection.

7. Ignore them

If it’s just a single hate comment or a small thing (not regular insults and spam), you should just ignore them. Let the haters do their thing. When no response is given to them, they will simply move on to other things and other people. Don’t always see the need to correct people, because most of the time they won’t care what you say. They won’t try to understand. Your explanation means nothing to them. Don’t become mean or aggravated because of them. If you choose to fight fire with fire, the whole situation is only going to drag on longer.

Remember: Be kind and forgiving. Don’t sink to their level.

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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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