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8 Reasons Why Taking A Vacation Makes You Better At Work

8 Reasons Why Taking A Vacation Makes You Better At Work

Workaholics please take note – a vacation is a must. So forget your guilty feelings. Trash your stoical attitude of boasting about not having had a break since the year dot. Times have changed!

We still have a long way to go but more and more employers and business owners are now realizing that taking a break may actually be more productive in the long run. However, one survey shows that half of the respondents were thinking of skipping the vacation or even taking work with them on holiday.

Another study shows that 82 percent of small business owners who took a vacation were performing better at work when they got back. An added bonus is that about a third of men who actually take this sensible step are less likely to die of heart disease. We need to face up to the truth:

  • Burnout will damage your reputation and your business.
  • You have a duty to be on top of the job.
  • Take an example from sports stars who regularly take breaks.
  • Fatigue will make relationships with stakeholders problematic.

So, here are eight reasons why taking a vacation makes you better at work. You can thank me afterwards.

1. Your office is not the place for inspiration

The work environment is hardly the place to generate new ideas, approaches and problem-solving techniques. You cannot be creative or get inspiration when you are under enormous pressure. A change of scene on a vacation can work wonders. You cannot switch off completely, but when you relax, creativity may blossom. Your mind will start asking questions you never thought of up until now. You’ll have a clearer mind because you are no longer tired.

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“Vacations help us change the view, which can spark an idea or kick start creative thinking.” – Rieva Lesonsky, CEO GrowBiz Media.

2. Leave your comfort zone

Taking a vacation is a challenge because you will be moving outside your normal sphere or comfort zone. You will have to get the office organized and work sorted while you are away. It is a wonderful opportunity to delegate and it is beneficial to actually see how the office performs without you. You will have to set up emergency contact procedures just in case, but ideally there should be no other contact with the office.

“Without vacations, we all become droids on network steroids, perhaps the president included.” – Lexy Funk, CEO Brooklyn Industries.

3. Your health benefits enormously

Look at all the extra bonuses you get. You feel better, sleep well and your mood is lifted. Your stress and anxiety are lower. Heart function and blood pressure begin to come back to normal levels.

“Vacations are extremely important. I come back energized and refueled and some of my best innovation either happens on vacation or immediately following because I have left my stress at the office.” – Julie Jumonville, CEO of UpSpring Baby

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4. Give your brain a break

Did you know that the USA is one of the countries where there are fewer days paid vacation, averaging only about 10 days a year? In the EU, the figure is almost double that because 20 days of paid holidays per year are the norm.

Most office workers are suffering from a sort of brain flooding where data in the form of emails, phone messages and other documentation starts pouring across the desks. Their brains are like sponges – they can only take so much.  But on vacation, new ideas and exotic vistas can strengthen the neural connections and stimulate mental activity.

Now, if you are worried that taking a vacation could help your competitors get ahead, think again. Research shows that the benefits of emotional stability and the mental relaxation process after a vacation will put you at the top of your game.

Your brain will be buzzing and you will be on a motivational high when you get back. Now that should worry your competitors a lot more.

5. A change is needed

Sheryl Crow sang, “A change would do you good.” If more people decided to change and take a vacation, then that would benefit the travel industry in the US by $67 billion! Now apart from helping the travel agents out, what benefits are there for you in deciding to make a change?

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Experiment with when you can take a vacation. Opt for the 100-hour one where you can add two or three days at either side of the weekend.

Change your idea that you can switch off at any time. One neurologist says that our brains make it progressively more difficult to switch off if we never take a break. You definitely need a change.

6. Do some networking

While on vacation, you will probably meet lots of new people and you will engage with some of them. They may well be in the same business so it really is worth your while maintaining contact through your LinkedIn profile and message center.

The opportunities are endless. You can discover new leads, explore potential new markets, plan revenue generating ventures, and new partnerships. It will happen naturally and the follow up should be friendly and without pressure.

7. Look at these extra bonuses

If you are a business owner, you will discover that the office can be run without you. You can see straightaway whether the delegating has worked and whether the projects are still on target. You will never discover how teams really work unless you take a vacation.

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If you are an employee or in team leader role, the same principle applies. Yes, the office can do without you but in your case, you have shown that your organizing skills are excellent and that you have successfully planned ahead. The projects will all meet their deadlines and the team is working well together. Now that should impress your boss!

8. Keep yourself and your workers happy

The famous accounting firm Ernst &Young did an interesting survey. They found that those who took more vacation time were getting consistently better grades on their performance assessment at the end of the year. Overall, they improved by eight percent. The holidaymakers had greater job satisfaction and were more likely to stay with the company.

So, forget the old work ethic that longer hours mean dedication and higher productivity. Take a vacation instead.

Featured photo credit: woman feet in hammock on the beach via shutterstock.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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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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