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Where Would You Be Today Without Social Media Tools?

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Where Would You Be Today Without Social Media Tools?

Where Would You Be Today Without Social Media Tools?

    Social media is becoming completely integrated in our lives.  It has altered the way we communicate as human beings

      and changed the way we do business.  It has flattened corporate hierarchies and tightened our relationships.  Of course, traditional ways of networking and messaging still hold true, such as text messaging, email, phone calls and in-person “meetups” (tweetups in the social media world).  The greatest part about this technological alteration is that you get to choose which social networks you want to participate in, how much time you spend per week engaging with others and what your career aspirations are (and how these tools can get you from point A to B).  The decision is yours and the power is in your hands. From a business standpoint, social media tools are free advertising and allow you to target and measure the impact of marketing programs.  From the individual perspective, these tools can literally regulate your day-to-day operations and routines.

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      What social media tools are there?

        There is a social media tool to satisfy every type of person.  Of course, there are the industry titans such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and YouTube.  There are others that are still commonly used and well-known, such as Delicious, Stumbleupon, Digg, Reddit, and Flickr.  These tools can help you regulate your life if they are paired together.  For instance, I use Google reader in combination with Delicious to sort through articles and save my favorite ones.  From there, I can link to those saved articles on my blog or push them out through Twitter.

        Our habits have changed because of the social revolution/evolution. I bet you wake up each morning and check your RSS feeds instead of navigating through the WSJ or Us Weekly.  What’s the point of going to all these sites, when the information can travel right to your “doorstep.”  In some ways, social media has made us lazier, yet it has made us more productive simultaneously.  If you have a question you want answered, all it takes it one tweet.  Twitter has become the ultimate customer service machine (ask Comcast or GoDaddy).

        Need to book a flight, peruse reviews of destinations and mingle with fellow travelers, then join travbuddy.com.  Do you go to Church?  Yes, there’s even a social network for people who go to Church.  For all you knitters and crocheters out there, there is a social network for you at ravelry.com.  You can manage and live your entire life online now with all of these tools.  Of course, I would recommend that you get out there and meet people because reality always trumps virtual reality.

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        What the experts are saying

          After speaking to a diverse group of social media experts, I’ve come to a few major conclusions.  The first is that social media has enabled us to connect to many people across the world, without much effort.  Without that level of connectivity, it’s harder to make new friends and keep in touch with previous acquaintances.

          Also, the feelings and emotions that these bloggers get from participating in social media keeps them active.  When you take away these social tools, it hurts productivity and it simply makes life a lot more dull.  Your life is made up of relationships that you grow like plants and when they blossom, new opportunities surface. Social media tools create an environment where you can develop more relationships, with people who have common interests.  If you don’t believe me, then here’s what the experts say:

          “A social media free Web would be quieter and less fun – more about finding information than it would be about gaining and nurturing relationships, forcing us to find digital connections, instead of personal connections, to achieve our goal.”

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          “Without the help of social media I would probably not have connected with so many people or gotten a whiff of so many exciting ideas and opportunities.”

          “I would be 20% more productive but have 20% less friends!”

          “Instead of fun-filled moments connecting with friends, downtime would be sadly predictable and stunningly boring.”

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          “Without social media tools, I would be doing one of two things:  A) sitting at my desk, listening to crickets chirp, waiting for my phone to ring or B) watching my small children cry after me as I headed to the airport once again, to do face-to-face consulting.”

          “Without social media I’d be relegated to doing business one phone call at a time, one e-mail at a time and one deal at a time. It provides an exponentially flowing opportunity to reach thousands in an instant, while adding a human element.”

          “Without social media tools, I’d feel like the anchor on local TV news, simply broadcasting the news rather than interacting and building community around it.”

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          • Adam Ostrow, editor-in-chief, Mashable

          “Without social media I’d have a less geographically diverse group of friends, but also a tighter circle of really good friends locally.”

          Now it’s your turn!

          You’ve heard from me and some well-known social media experts.  It’s your turn to think hard about what social media tools have done for you. How might life be different right now without them?  Could you live without your Facebook profile and friends?  What would you resort to?  Would you be sending more emails or calling your friends more?  Remember that you can always unplug…

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          Dan Schawbel

          Dan Schawbel is the leading personal branding expert for young professionals.

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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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