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15 Ways To Stay Positive At Work

15 Ways To Stay Positive At Work

It’s easy to get bogged down with the daily grind of work, but it’s important to stay positive when you’re on the clock. Even if your boss isn’t the type to pat you on the back, there are ways to keep from being bummed out every morning when your alarm goes off. These fifteen easy tips will help you stay positive at work.

1. Keep learning.

Just because you’re not in school anymore and you have a job, you don’t have to stop learning. On-the-job education is the best way to build up your resume. Learn as much as you can from every work experience you have, from presenting during a meeting to giving a tour of your workplace to outsiders. If you don’t have a chance to learn from new things, ask your coworkers or bosses if you can accompany them when they do their duties, and learn about what they do.

2. Teach others what you know.

You want to accompany others when they do their jobs, so offer that opportunity to your coworkers. Instead of helping them out only when they ask, offer to teach them what you know so they won’t have to call you all of the time. It might feel good to be needed (talk about job security!), but when you have your own list of tasks to do, being called to help someone else can be inconvenient. You know what they say: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him how to fish and you have fed him for a lifetime.”

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3. Give yourself a break.

You’re on the clock for eight hours a day, and you’re expected to work that entire time, but you can’t really do that. Trying to work nonstop means you’re wearing yourself out, and each subsequent task you do will get a little sloppier as you lose focus and motivation. Take a short break every hour or two. Step away from your desk and stretch, get some fresh air. You might spend five to fifteen minutes not working, but you’ll feel so refreshed by the time you come back to your office that you’ll be ready to get to work immediately.

4. Leave work at work.

It’s important to have time to yourself, your family, and your hobbies. If you work for eight hours, clock out, and then come home to do more work, you’re not going to be excited to go back to work the next day. Make a rule where you have to leave your work at the office. If you don’t complete a task while you’re clocked in, make it a priority for the next morning, but leave it at work. It’s hard not to even think about work while you’re at home because it’s such a large portion of your life, but give it a try. The more you put it out of your mind, the more rejuvenated you’ll feel each morning when it’s time to go back to the office.

5. Build relationships with coworkers.

Your work environment will be more comfortable and fun if you’re friendly with your coworkers. You don’t have to know every detail of their personal lives, or even the names of their children, but having a good back and forth with coworkers, bosses, and associates will make your workplace more inviting. Having a friendly community at work will also make you feel more supported in your work duties, which can help cut stress levels.

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6. Participate in after-work activities.

When the clock strikes five, you’re more than ready to go home, but don’t let this attitude take over and leave you out of work events. If some of the crew are going out for dinner or drinks, tag along every once in awhile. This helps build a community in the workplace, and you’ll feel more connected to your coworkers. After all, you might still be with work people, but you won’t be at work, so you’ll still feel like you’re having time outside of the office for yourself.

7. Make your workplace nice.

Whether you have an office, a cubicle, a classroom, or a desk in the middle of a crowded room, make your workplace nice! Check with your boss to see what kind of decorations are allowed, and then bring in some posters that motivate you, or family pictures that make you smile. Even something as small as bringing in your own coffee mug instead of using a Styrofoam cup can make your desk seem more homey. Sitting in an environment that looks nice and makes you feel good will do wonders for your motivation.

8. Volunteer to spearhead a project.

Instead of waiting to be assigned a project and getting stuck with something you might not like, why not volunteer to take on a project? This way you’ll have more control over your tasks and you’ll look great to your bosses. They’ll be thrilled that you’ve willingly taken on more work, and will be more likely to consider you for the best of future projects and maybe even promotions.

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9. Concentrate on one thing at a time.

You have a lot of things on your To Do list, but concentrating on one thing at a time will help you be more motivated and focused. If you stay on task until it’s finished, you won’t lose time by multitasking or changing course from one topic to another. By concentrating on one thing at a time, you also are more likely to complete more tasks fully, instead of doing bits and pieces of a bunch of different projects but not finishing any.

10. Set attainable goals.

Instead of setting your sights on the moon, set attainable work goals. It’s good to have dreams, but if you dream too big and don’t make it, you might be discouraged when it comes to accomplishing other goals. If you set attainable goals and meet them, you’ll be more inspired to set more goals you can reach.

11. Use your imagination.

Don’t restrict yourself to straightforward business practices – use your imagination! Take a creative approach to your projects and presentations, and brainstorm any task you’re given to see how you can blow your bosses out of the water.

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12. Don’t beat yourself up over mistakes.

If you make a mistake, whether it’s a verbal slip-up in a meeting or a typo in an email, let it go. You can’t beat yourself up over something like that, because everyone makes mistakes. Don’t forget what you’ve done wrong, but learn from it and move on. Take comfort in the fact that people won’t remember it for long, and use it to push yourself to do better next time, so instead of remembering your blunder, they’ll remember your success!

13. Reward yourself for your accomplishments.

Every time you finish a task, pat yourself on the back. When you finish a major project, treat yourself to dinner out or a new movie. It’s just as important to reward yourself for your accomplishments as it is to not beat yourself up over mistakes. Marking something off your To Do list feels good enough as it is, but if you reward yourself, even with something small, you’ll be proud of yourself and want to accomplish more.

14. Surround yourself with positive people.

Stay away from coworkers who bring their negative energy into your life and your workspace. It might be difficult to avoid people if you work in close quarters with them, but you can at least make all of your interactions with them positive by keeping upbeat. Your positive attitude might help them change their tune!

15. Smile more.

Smile when you greet your coworkers and clients. Smile when you walk down the hall. Smile even when you don’t want to smile, and see how much it improves your days! Smiling even if you don’t feel happy will make you feel better, and seeing a smile on your face will make others feel better, too!

Featured photo credit: Micah Elizabeth Scott via flickr.com

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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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