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Brush Up On These 10 Important Skills Many Young Adults Are Losing

Brush Up On These 10 Important Skills Many Young Adults Are Losing
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In today’s world, we constantly rely on tools, electronics, and connected devices. Growing up in a world of ever-increasing connectivity is bound to require different skills than were needed before. Being a millennial myself, I feel many criticisms from older generations relating to this are misplaced. On the other hand, young people do stand to lose some important skills if we let new technologies completely obscure our approach to life. We might not need to know how to repair things like fences or old-time appliances, but the DIY mentality could be powerful if applied to our new devices. By taking the best of older generations and combining it with today’s unique demands and skill sets, young adults stand to be more empowered than any generation before. Though you don’t need to give up your love of technology, the Internet, or gaming, these 10 skills are still ones we could all benefit from brushing up on.

1. You need to know how to fix things

While it’s unlikely that our generation will need to know the same mechanical skills that past generations knew, our world is constantly growing more technologically connected. Because of this, we shouldn’t overlook the importance of fixing something ourselves. By growing more familiar with the inner workings of our technological tools and toys, our generation stands to be more efficient and self-reliant, and save some money. Things like simple button repairs or frayed cords are straightforward repairs; we shouldn’t be intimidated by learning how to fix our own electronics. Some easier repairs on mobile devices for example, run between $60 and $150. The same repairs can be done in less than an hour if you are familiar with some of the basic parts that go into the devices. Though the objects we are fixing may be different, younger generations should still value knowing how to do something yourself. Just remember that tinkering with your electronics often nullifies your warranty: only do repairs on items when the warranty has expired.

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2. You need to value and connect with nature

Another skill our generation is in danger of forgetting is valuing nature. While many people today are concerned with environmental causes, many of us neglect to explore the nature that surrounds us. Though our connected devices do show us the entire world, it’s important to remember that basic knowledge of local plants and animals can come in handy. Not only that, making a habit of going outside helps with vitamin D production, and may even help with anxiety.

3. You have to be able to rely on your memory

While there’s nothing wrong with embracing new innovations, one skill our generation may be losing is committing things to memory. By always having search engines at our fingertips, we are relying on our memory less. It’s important to remember that basic skills and knowledge may be required when you don’t have an Internet connection, so committing things to memory is a valuable habit to get into.

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4. You need to know how to cook

Many people in younger generations are more than happy to rely on fast food and microwave meals to get through the week. However, as our society faces increasing concerns with the lack of nutrition in ready-made meals, it’s important that your body is getting everything it needs. One way to ensure this is by cooking at least some of your meals, something most of us could do more of. Though it seems intimidating, a few basic cooking skills are really all you need to supplement your diet.

5. You need to value thriftiness

In today’s world, planned obsolescence and brand obsession attempt to keep consumers spending more than ever. However, it is important to remember the financial crash of 2007/2008 and the challenges we faced. It is crucial that younger generations remember to value thriftiness. Ultimately, the less you spend on possessions, the more you can spend on people and experiences. While we probably don’t need to go as far as the older generation’s world war rationing, keep in mind that possessions are just possessions, and that a new phone doesn’t offer much more than your current one. By wearing things out before you replace them, you stand to save a lot of money, and will be less at the beck and call of corporate marketing.

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6. You need to appreciate simplicity

Another quality younger generations should try to hold on to is simplicity. Thankfully, younger generations seem to still be on board with this one, as many millennials are turning away from typical big ticket purchases like cars and homes. While we don’t need to forfeit a comfortable life, if we consume less, we have more resources at our disposal to help others. As the first generation to grow up with the Internet, we are aware of the world around us than ever before. If young people can use this power to live more simply and give more to those who need it, we will truly be living up to our potential.

7. You need to expand your vocabulary

Another skill young people should try to retain is a good vocabulary. Language has always fluctuated and changed over time, and many of our “proper” expressions today would have been considered unintelligent, offensive slang 100 years ago. In this way, it’s not necessarily wrong to use abbreviations or Internet slang; however, remember that different ways of expressing yourself make what you’re saying stand out better. Having a rich vocabulary does not require you to ignore messaging language trends, but learning more words to express yourself will make your message more powerful.

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8. You need to know basic DIY skills

Another skill young people should try to keep is basic DIY repair skills. Almost everyone will go through a time when something in their house or apartment breaks but they don’t have enough money to fix it. By learning basic repairs and how to use basic tools, you stand be more empowered in your life. If you don’t need to rely on others to fix absolutely everything, you will save money, save time, and probably impress your significant other.

9. You should have some basic survival skills

Along with basic do-it-yourself repairs, young people shouldn’t shy away from learning basic survival skills. While younger people today are probably less likely to be outdoorsman, you never know what situation you might find yourself in. A wrong turn on a back road, or getting lost during an easy hike, can quickly lead to needing to survive a night outdoors. If you know basic skills like how to make a fire, or not to leave your vehicle or supplies, it might just save your life.

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10. You have to be able to apply yourself to long tasks

Finally, one skill young people should value is the ability to internalize long books and films. Today’s world moves fast, and our media generally reflects this. Gone are the days where films would normally last over two hours, and the longest book many of us of have ever read is probably one of the Harry Potter books. However, in life we are often required to tackle challenges that take months or even years of perseverance and work. While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying today’s fast-paced media and reading material, it is always helpful to try to finish classic works of literature or older, longer films. By forcing your brain to focus on longer tasks, you will be better equipped to deal with real life situations that require determination and persistence.

Featured photo credit: xflickrx via flickr.com

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Alicia Prince

A writer, filmmaker, and artist who shares about lifestyle tips and inspirations on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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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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