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How To Become A Social Media Listener In 5 Easy Steps

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How To Become A Social Media Listener In 5 Easy Steps

    A few days ago a friend of mine posted (on Google+) that nobody is listening on Twitter anymore. He offered his specific help to promote someone’ blog post there but got no answer. Obviously, because the other part wasn’t even listening. This story made me think about how people are consuming social media.

    Nobody will question that the biggest trend is to be a “broadcaster”. Use social media to promote your business, to enhance your brand, to increase sales. That’s what everybody and their mothers are teaching you nowadays. There’s so much noise in this area that it’s almost impossible to discern useful information from gibberish. That’s why many people entering in social media have really overwhelming experiences.

    I’ve been there too. I had my fair share of learning “how to influence people using social media“. But after having enough, a new trend in consuming this type of interaction emerged. Namely, I became a listener. And it took me only a few weeks to realize that the benefits of being an honest listener instead of an obsessed broadcaster are far more interesting than I thought.

    For instance, I can easily get access to trends. I gave up TV a few years ago and I don’t consume news in the traditional media form. But my need to stay informed didn’t disappear, on the contrary, so I just use social media to see what are the directions, who are taking the lead and what other people are saying about that.

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    Also, by constantly perusing my social media stream I grow what I like to call ”my filtering muscles“. I learned how to easily identify what is important from what is just meaningless repetition. And that proved to be extremely beneficial in other areas too, like casual social conversation. I can easily spot a lazy conversational partner and sparkle the interaction, if need will be. People seldom get bored while talking to me. Or so the rumor goes, anyway…

    But maybe the most important benefit of being a listener is that you get access to a lot of actionable information in your field. Promotions, events, new groups or things like these can be easily spotted and taken advantage of if you’re constantly keeping your eyes on the right streams. All you have to do is listen.

    So, how can you become an effective social media listener?

    1. Organize Your Broadcasters In Groups, Circles Or Lists

    Pretty much every important social media platform has this feature nowadays. You can organize your stream in smaller chunks. If you have a really big social media window, it will take some time to put it into ”folders“. But in my experience this will really pay off in the long run.

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    Also, as you grow the list of people you follow, do take the time to add them to their specific group, circle or list too. In time, their messages will become more consistent and it will also be a way for you to identify if that area really benefits you or not.

    2. Assign Specific Times For Perusing Each Group

    Don’t do it everywhere, anytime. It’s not working. I know, because I used to do it like this: on the computer, in my backyard looking at my iPhone or on the couch, scratching my iPad. The message will get diluted and the initial thrill of interacting will rapidly fade away.

    Instead, schedule some time for some specific list or topic and then drill down all the way to where you were last time you checked it. Dive in, immerse and try to get the most of it. Don’t give in to the thrill of interaction instantly, Just follow a fixed routine and let the results grow slowly.

    3. Respond

    This is not action. This is interaction: you’ll send a powerful message that you’re there, that you’re listening and that what the other part says is important to you. Also, be careful what you respond, with whom you’re engaging in and what do you really expect out of this.

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    Sometimes it will just be a casual information, but most of the time, after I started a thoughtful conversation on social media with somebody I was looking forward to do it for a long time, well, it ended with at least a constant and solid relationship, if not with some real life business stuff too.

    4. Follow Up

    Do this on requests, events or just facts. Ask around if there’s any change or if everything will go as planned. If somebody plans a launch, be there and help but also clearly state your implication in that project. If there will be a meetup, confirm your presence and the logistical details.

    That activity will prove that you’re there. That you’re alive and you’re having at least some simple synapses. People hate talking to robots, you know. So just by showing that you’re there and you’re interested in something, chances that you’ll ignite a solid interaction will grow exponentially.

    5. Take Notes

    I know this sounds utterly unproductive, but it isn’t. At least in the beginning. Do a daily writeup, sketch something in your journal or draw a mind map. Again, do this at least in the beginning. As your interactions will grow both in numbers and depth, you will find less and less useful to write down what happened.

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    But, as any other journaling activity, it will help you understand not only what is really going on out there (for instance, are they only posting boring links or stupid cats videos?) but also what are your real expectations. Are you happy with the time spent there? Just be honest.

    ***

    If you really take the time to look around, you’ll realize that social media is not just a noisy marketplace where you got to strive to make your voice heard at any price. It’s also a space of information, discovery and inspiration.

    In the end, like in any other area of life, it all depends on what you really want to make out of it.

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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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