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10 Things Only Bosses Understand

10 Things Only Bosses Understand

“By working faithfully eight hours a day, you may eventually get to be a boss and work twelve hours a day.” – Robert Frost

Plenty of employees love to hate their boss, but what about you?

Maybe you resent the tasks you’re saddled with. Perhaps you’re fed up of being micro-managed. Maybe you have aspirations to jump in the hot seat yourself.

Despite usually falling into either the “love ’em” or “hate ’em” camp, life is far from straightforward for the boss.

Whether you’re tiring of your own boss, have future ambitions to climb the corporate ladder, or you’re already enjoying the perks power, let’s take a look at some of the things only bosses would understand.

1. You can’t switch off.

Far from being able to clock-out and skip cheerily to the nearest bar without a care in the world, you carry your burdens with you everywhere you go. You’re constantly reminded of tasks that haven’t been done. Always thinking of what tomorrow will bring, never being able to completely let go.

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And then there’s your staff. Are they on your side? Motivated? Happy?

It’s easy to underestimate all the pressure that running a successful business brings.

2. You know they’re talking about you.

Being a boss means making tough decisions. It means keeping your distance. Sometimes, it even means that you’ll have to part company with good people, despite knowing the devastating financial implications that will bring.

On occasion, you’ll need to ruffle a few feathers. In better times, you’ll be patting people on the back and offering words of encouragement.

No matter the situation, though, you’ll always be the focus of attention. Always the talking point. With any luck, you’ll be the subject of kind words and admiring glances. But experience tells me you’re going to have to get used to being the bad guy.

3. You don’t understand why your staff don’t give a flying fig.

I hate to break it to you, but most people really don’t care that much about how well the company is doing. I mean, sure, some will appreciate the overtime and almost everyone is glad to have a job, but they’re definitely not that bothered about hitting sales targets or breaking any productivity records.

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It’s a job. They clock-in, they clock-out. And they want that unfortunate time in-between known as work to be as easy and painless as possible. If they can get away with doing just a little bit less for the same rewards, they will.

Sorry about that.

4. You work more but earn less.

One of the biggest misconceptions about bosses and business owners is that they are swimming in cash. But those fortunate souls who are running a business often work far longer hours, and for less money than they pay their employees. Paid overtime doesn’t exist once you ascend the ranks. If your workload requires you to work long into the night, that is what you must do.

And there’ll be no slap on the back, no gratitude—just the murmurings of your staff, wondering why you’re tired and grouchy today.

5. You don’t have anyone to turn to.

There is a security blanket afforded to employees: Mess up a task and a helping hand is never too far away. Need some advice? You’re co-workers will invariably steer you in the right direction.

As a boss, though, you’re on your own. Mistakes are reflected in the bottom line. Rash judgments are now brutally exposed to all. The buck stops with you.

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6. You’re drowning in bullshit.

Far from being the glamorous gig that many imagine, being a boss means you’ll be dealing with many infuriating, time-sucking tasks. Even with a great team to delegate work to, you’d better get used to dealing with daily mundane queries and tackling an assortment of unexpected issues.

Get used to morphing from trusted confidante, motivator, relationship counselor, bad cop, good cop, life coach and everything in-between: Everyone is going to want a piece of you.

7. You don’t sleep as well

Being the boss takes its toll. The targets, budgets, arguments, appraisals, hiring, firing and selling can leave you a frazzled shell of your former self. Late nights and early starts wear you down and cause you to question every decision and thought. Which then means you start to doubt the outcome. It’s a vicious circle.

No more drifting off into a dreamy, blissful slumber for you—Waking to a cold sweat, fretting about looming deadlines is now the norm.

8. You don’t know what the hell you’re doing.

You’re not always right. And sometimes, you’ll need to make a decision or take a stance purely on gut instinct. It’s a fine balance.

Your team need to know you’re in control. But now and again, you’re not. The trick, is to never appear flustered; always projecting a sense of calm and control… despite not having the slightest clue how things are going to pan out.

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9. You don’t even know why you’re doing this.

What with the stress, the hours, the pay, the lack of praise and the general disinterest of others, you can be forgiven for doubting your cause, because being a boss is mainly a thankless task.

People expect their wages on-time, every-time. They expect thanks, praise, direction and understanding. The tough decisions, acts of kindness and carefully planned long-term strategies largely go unnoticed.

But that’s fine, because…

10. You wouldn’t have it any other way.

There’s that little something that burns inside of you—a flame that very few possess.

It means that no matter how hard your day, or how difficult the path you tread, you simply couldn’t contemplate settling for mediocrity. Fleeting temptations to jack it all in and take the easy option are just that. They barely last a few moments.

You have to push on. You have to improve. You have to better yourself.

And these are things that only bosses would understand.

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

Not a lot of people are good at public speaking. You could even say that virtually everyone needs to get some practice, and preferably good guidance, before they can learn to stay calm when facing a room full of people. Having all eyes on you is an uncomfortable experience and it takes time to get used to. However, even if you can manage to control your stage fright and stay focused, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your presentation won’t put people to sleep. This is usually the case with long presentations on a very dull subject, with the presenter speaking in a monotone voice and dimming the lights to play a PowerPoint presentation.

You have to work hard to develop the right skills

If you want to be remembered and actually get people engaged, you need to make your presentation fun and enjoyable, without coming off as corny or desperate to please. I know, it doesn’t sound that easy at all! A good presentation during a promotional event or given to an important client can be a game changer for your business, so it is easy to get stressed out and fail to perform all that well. Luckily, giving an interesting lecture is something that can be practiced and perfected. There is plenty of advice out there on the topic, but let’s look at the most important aspects of giving a memorable and fun presentation.

1. Make your presentation short and sweet

With very long, meandering speeches you tend to lose the audience pretty early on, and from then on out it’s just a test of endurance for the few bravest listeners. Not only will people’s attention start to drop rapidly after sitting and listening to you talk for 30 minutes, but you also risk watering down your core ideas and leaving your audience with little in the way of key phrases and important bits of information to take away from the whole ordeal. Famous speakers throughout history have known the importance of condensing the information by using well thought out sentences and short phrases loaded with meaning.

JFK’s famous: ”It’s not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” expresses so much in very few words and gets the audience thinking. Ancient Spartans, for example were famous for their quick, dry wit, often demolishing their opponent’s argument with a single word or phrase. You’ll want to channel that ancient spirit and be as concise as possible when preparing your presentation.

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2. Open up with a good ice breaker

At the beginning, you are new to the audience. There is no rapport, no trust and the atmosphere is fairly neutral. Even if some of the people there know you personally, the concept of you as an authority on a particular matter giving a speech will be foreign to them. The best way to encourage a warm and friendly atmosphere is to get some kind of emotional response out of the audience right at the beginning. It doesn’t matter what emotion it is, you just need to connect with them on a more personal level. It can be shock, curiosity, laughter, knowing smirks, nervousness – whatever gets them out of that initial feeling of indifference. There are different kinds of effective ice-breakers, but generally speaking, the most successful ones utilize one of these tactics:

  • Joking
  • Tugging on their heart strings
  • Dropping a bombastic statement
  • Telling an interesting and relevant anecdote
  • Using a metaphor or drawing comparisons

You can make a small, self-deprecating comment, stir the presentation one way and then suddenly surprise the audience, use sarcasm, open up with a short childhood story that taught you a lesson, quote a famous person and elaborate on it from personal experience, use an inspirational anecdote or hit them with a bit of nostalgia. Just remember to keep it short and move on once you’ve gotten a reaction.

3. Keep things simple and to the point

Once you’re done warming up the crowd you can ease them into the core concepts and important ideas that you will be presenting. Keep the same presentation style thoughout. If you’ve started off a bit ironic, using dry wit, you can’t just jump into a boring monologue. If you’ve started off with a bang, telling a couple of great little jokes and getting the crowd riled up, you have to keep them happy by throwing in little jokes here and there and being generally positive and energetic during the presentation. You need a certain structure that you won’t deviate too far from at any point. A good game plan consists of several important points that need to be addressed efficiently. This means moving on from one point to another in a logical manner, coming to a sound conclusion and making sure to accentuate the key information.

4. Use a healthy dose of humor

Some of the best speeches and presentations in the world, which have been heard and viewed by millions, all feature plenty of humor. No matter the subject, a great speaker will use natural charisma, humor and beautiful language to convey their points and get the crowd excited about what they are saying. A great example of building rapport with the audience through the use of humor is Barrack Obama talking about the government building Iron Man.

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It is silly and fun, and absolutely not something that you would expect from a man in a position of power speaking in such a serious setting – and it’s exactly why it works. The more serious the situation and the bigger the accent on proper social behavior, the harder your jokes will hit.

5. Try to tell a story instead of ranting

Some people can do all of the above things right and still manage to turn their short and fun little presentation into a chaotic mess of information. You don’t want your speech to look like you just threw a bunch of information in a blender in no particular order. To avoid rambling, create a strong structure. Start with the ice breaker, introduce the core concepts and your goals briefly, elaborate on the various points in a bit more detail, draw logical conclusions and leave your audience with a clear takeaway message. You want to flow naturally from one part to the next like you are telling a big story chapter by chapter.

6. Practice your delivery

Standing in front of the mirror and practicing a speech or presentation is a technique as old as mirrors – well, come to think of it, as old as human speech, since you can see yourself reflected in any clear and calm body of water – and that means that it is tried and true. The theory is incredibly simple, yet the real problem is actually putting in the effort day in and day out. Work on your posture, your tone of voice, accent, pauses between sentences and facial expressions. The most important thing is to talk slowly and loudly enough to be heard and understood clearly. Many famous speakers, such as Demosthenes and King George VI, overcame speech impediments through hard work.

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7. Move around and use your hands

Although you won’t instill confidence in your project if you are very jittery, moving around erratically, not knowing what to do with your hands and making fast movements, standing dead still can be just as bad. You shouldn’t be afraid to use your arms and hands when talking as it makes you seem more passionate and confident. The same goes for moving around and taking up some space. However, try to make slower, calculated and deliberate movements. You want your movements to seem powerful, yet effortless. You can achieve this through practice.

8. Engage the audience by making them relate

Sometimes you will lose the audience somewhat in techno-babble, numbers, graphs and abstract ideas. At that point it is important to reel them back in using some good, old-fashioned storytelling. Make comparisons to events from everyday life that most people are more than familiar with. By making things look simple, not only will you help your audience get a better understanding of the subject by enabling them to visualize the information more clearly, you will also draw a connection between you. After all, you are all just regular people with similar experience, you just happen to be performing different roles at the moment.

9. Use funny images in your slides

Although slides are not really necessary at all times, if you do need them to make your point and present your information more effectively, it’s best to liven them up. They say that facts aren’t always black and white, and your presentation should reflect this. Add a bit of color, make the information stand out and use an interesting animation to switch from slide to slide. You can use the slides to add some more humor, both in terms of the text and the images. An image that is used to elicit a positive response needs to be funny within the context of what you are discussing. For example, if you are discussing the topic of authority, an image of Eric Cartman from South Park in a police uniform, demanding that you respect his “authoritah,” is a nice way to have a bit of fun and lighten things up.

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10. End on a more serious note

When all is said and done you will want the audience to remember the core concepts and keep thinking about what you have said after the presentation is over. This is why you should let things naturally calm down and end with an important idea, quote or even a question. Plant a seed in their mind and make them think. Let us turn to Patrick Henry for a great way to end a speech: “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

As you can see, there is quite a bit to learn when it comes to giving a good presentation, one that is both memorable and fun. Be sure to work on your skills tirelessly and follow in the footsteps of great orators.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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