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Finally, How to Manage Stress at the Office

Finally, How to Manage Stress at the Office

Recently, while having dinner with one of my good friends, we got on the topic of work and how completely stressed out she is at the moment. I left the corporate world a while ago, but the stress I felt then is still very vivid and I could instantly relate to what she was saying. She was tired of leaving the office feeling frazzled, stressed, frustrated and in need of release almost every day. How often do you feel anxious, irritable, or depressed about work? The amount of individuals who feel this way regularly is actually alarming to me.

Think about your work environment, how is it? Do you have really loud noise constantly and poor communication? Do you feel pressure to work at optimum levels all the time? Do you have too much work and have too little time? These are the most common sources of stress in the office. Do you know how to manage it? I know when I was at school, I didn’t take the subject How to Manage Stress Effectively 101­: we are not taught skills to manage our worries, but it is a part of everyday life now.

It is normal to experience a certain level of stress in the office, but when it starts to undermine your productivity and results, you are juggling between success and failure in both that area and your health. Managing stress is not about ignoring it or shutting yourself away so you don’t have to think about it. Look out for the common signs of stress, I remember when I started my business and I thought I was managing my burdens really well, until I developed bruxism, I didn’t even know it existed!

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There are many strategies for dealing with stress –  Here are two of my effective strategies for managing stress

1. You must be bigger than the situatio.n and change your perspective.

I want you to think about the last time that you were stressed—what was your immediate response to the stressful situation? Think about it; did your response help the situation or did you make it worse?  In other words, you are a big contributor to the situation and the outcome, so you might actually be guilty for worsening the situation, harsh? Perhaps, but true.

You need to be bigger than your problem, not scared, fearful and stressed—problems are just things to handle, not the end of the world. Next, put the situation into perspective; I’m sure you have heard that it’s not what happens that matters most, but how you deal with what happens, and the same goes for stress. How you deal with pressure is important, as stress is often simply a question of perspective.

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The way you think leads to your feelings, and that dictates your actions. If you are feeling stressed, change your thoughts and your feelings will follow. It is important to manage your emotions because when you are overwhelmed, you can’t think straight anyway, which leads to rushed decisions and mistakes. Remember, what you focus on expands.

2. Get organized, because chaos contributes to your stress.

The second biggest contributor to stress is lack of time, or feeling that way. There are many factors that influence how much time you feel you have in a day. We all have 24 hours, but some of us feel like we have only half of that, while others accomplish everything they set out to effortlessly. If you only implement the ideas listed below, I know it will be enough for you to start to noticeably feel less stressed and overwhelmed on a daily basis and experience more enjoyment at work.

If you are not planning your days, prioritizing what you need to do and breaking your tasks into small steps, you are setting yourself up for stress. The first problem is that most individuals don’t actually have a system that is effective for them, and even fewer individuals stick to the system. If you are not planning your time, you are planning to be stressed.

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Remember, when you plan your schedule, include time for unforeseen crises every day, otherwise you will find it stressful that you are unable to follow your schedule. Delegate whenever you can—even the most menial tasks—so that you are able to focus on getting the more serious responsibilities dealt with. Identify your time thieves: what are you doing that is sucking up your time and leaving you stressed? I know over 100 time thieves, and most individuals deal with around 80 of them.

Time-management and stress are directly related. How many people do you know arrive late at work completely stressed and already exhausted every day? I am sure if that person simply woke up 15 minutes earlier, their morning would sing a completely different tune. It is very simple: if you are not managing your time, you are not managing your life as effectively as you could.

Continuous stress does not need to be a common story in your life—or does it? You choose!
If you want to master anything in life, whether is it your time management, stress, relationships, success, whatever it is, you first need to master your mindset behind it; that is your secret weapon.

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Stop looking around you for easy ways to eliminate stress and start looking within yourself. How confidently and honestly can you say that you manage your stress effectively at the office?

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Kirstin O´Donovan

Certified Life and Productivity Coach, Founder and CEO of TopResultsCoaching

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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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