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Get Over Your Smartphone Addiction

Get Over Your Smartphone Addiction

    At dinner with a friend last weekend, we lamented our husband’s incessant use of smartphones while “spending time” with our children. It turns out we are not alone. Smartphones are not just for work. They are for everything, all the time.

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    A Documented Phenomenon

    According to a recent study by the UK-based Ofcoms, smartphone addiction is reaching epidemic proportions.  When asked about the use of their smartphone devices, 37 percent of adult participants admitted they were highly addicted to their devices.

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    Over half of adult respondents claimed they have used their smartphones will socializing with others, nearly a quarter have used them during mealtimes, and over a fifth used them while in the bathroom.

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    Another study originally published in the Journal of Personal and Ubiquitous Computing concurred that smartphones are taking over some people’s lives. The researchers identified what they call a “checking habit” – when you repetitively look at your device for 30 seconds or less and access a single application. Apparently, this is a habitual response to boredom, and/or the need for constant distraction. It is easy to see how an out-of-control checking habit could result in negative consequences ranging from a traffic accident to a strained relationship with a family member.

    And How Does That Make You Feel?

    David Greenfield, Ph.D. is a psychologist and the author of Virtual Addiction: Help for Netheads, Cyberfreaks, and Those Who Love Them (non-affiliate link).  In Susan Davis’ article for WebMD,Greenfield is quoted as saying that computer technologies can be addictive because they’re psychoactive, alter mood, and often trigger enjoyable feelings. E-mail in particular gives us satisfaction due to variable ratio reinforcement, meaning that we never know when we’ll get a great e-mail, so we keep checking over and over again.

    So how do you avoid becoming a slave to your smartphone without throwing the baby out with the bathwater?  Here, some tips:

    • Don’t buy the Lexus of phones: There is no need to purchase the most feature-rich, complex device on the market just because it’s available. Select a phone that meets your needs and ignore the bells and whistles that will only serve to confuse you.
    •  Don’t go app crazy: The more apps, the slower your phone works, and the faster it runs out of battery. Constantly buzzing and beeping apps can also be distracting. The truth is, most people only use between 5-10 apps regularly. So stop the downloading madness.
    •  Leave the phone in another room: If you constantly have the urge to check your smartphone, leave it in another room so that you aren’t tempted to pick it up. This is especially useful if you have set aside time to do something away from your phone, like finish a report or play a game with your family.
    •  If you’re talking to someone, don’t answer it: Unless you are expecting an urgent call, do not allow your phone to interrupt an in-person conversation.  Sneaking peeks at your phone or typing away on it while someone is trying to command your attention will negatively impact your relationships and productivity.
    (Photo credit: young businessman playing with his cell from Shutterstock)
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    Last Updated on December 2, 2018

    7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

    7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

    When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

    You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

    1. Connecting them with each other

    Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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    It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

    2. Connect with their emotions

    Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

    For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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    3. Keep going back to the beginning

    Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

    On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

    4. Link to your audience’s motivation

    After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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    Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

    5. Entertain them

    While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

    Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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    6. Appeal to loyalty

    Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

    In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

    7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

    Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

    Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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