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Learn to Say No To These 5 Things To Be A Lot Closer To Success

Learn to Say No To These 5 Things To Be A Lot Closer To Success

Are you over-extending yourself to get ahead, and find that it’s actually holding you back?

Many people all over the world are making this very mistake. Right now. They’re saying “yes” to responsibilities they simply cannot take on. Why? Because they’ve mistakenly been told that this is how people succeed. By saying “yes” to absolutely everything asked of them at work, in hopes they’ll get recognition in the form of a promotion or raise.

But this won’t work, and it’ll never work. It can’t work, because the person unwilling to say “no” never has enough time to put excellence into all they do. They do it to a standard of “enough” and move on to the next task, hoping that they’ll manage to get all done in time. They won’t stand out against the work of the person willing to say “no,” because these people have the time to excel at what they’ve said yes to.

You’re probably thinking something along the lines of, “but I can’t say ‘no’ to everything, then I’ll never get noticed. I’ll probably get called lazy, and be in an even worse position!” and you’re right. You can’t say “no” to everything. You will get called lazy. You will not get much in the way of beneficial recognition. So what can you say no to?

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That’s why you’re reading this, you’re going to learn 5 things to say no to — to help you get closer to the success you’ve been dreaming of.

1. Say No to Taking on Other People’s Responsibility

You’re not there to do someone else’s workload. You’ve got your own. Even if you had the time to take on their work, and then made it an incredible piece — they’ll end up taking the responsibility for it. You’ll never get credited for it, so there’s simply no reason to do so.

On the flip side, if you were to do a poor job of it (because you’ve overextended yourself) — guess who would get blamed for it? You. The minute the boss calls on the other party to explain the mess, you’ll get thrown under the bus. Because it was you who done the work. You agreed to do it. That’s how it goes.

Of course, there are exceptions. If you have the time and it’s an emergency, help your friend out. Connections are a vital part of success, and burning every bridge on the way up is not beneficial to your career or your life. This should be a last resort though. It’s likely that they could just explain to the upper management in most cases.

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2. Say No to Burning Out

You’re of no use to anyone when you’ve worked so hard that you’re burnt. Your productivity falls through the floor, your work quality is nowhere near your usual excellence, you’re cranky, your relationships with co-workers and your family suffers — it’s just detriment after detriment. There’s no benefit to working that much. Not for anyone.

So how do you usually end up getting burnt out? By saying yes to extra work that you simply do not have time for. Your break time shouldn’t be seen as expendable time, that you can sacrifice whenever you think you can take on that extra project. Breaks are a necessity. They keep you focused, energised and ready for work.

Figure out how much you can say yes to on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Figure out how much time you’ll set aside for breaks. Say no without hesitation to any work that may interfere with you getting that allotted break time. Break time is arguably more crucial than the time you’re doing work because it’s what allows you to keep working.

3. Say No to Sacrificing Family Time (at Least Most of the Time)

Those who are successful have a found a way to balance home life and work life. They don’t sacrifice one for the other. This is vital to do because success is only possible if what you’re doing is sustainable. Sacrificing family time is not sustainable if you want to maintain a family, obviously.

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Every successful person has a support net of friends and family underneath them. It’s how they push through the hardest of times. It’s how they relax. It’s how they have a purpose beyond their work life. It also serves as a great reminder as to why you’re trying to succeed in the first place, to provide for those who supported you through it.

Never give up that net. Never burn those bridges because of work. Never burn those bridges because of ‘success.’ You’re already far more successful than you realise if you have these kinds of people around you, appreciate every moment you can get with them.

4. Say No to Unclear Expectations

There is nothing worse than committing to something without clarifying exactly when it is your duties will be fulfilled. It’s unnecessary headache, stress and honestly — it’s just downright unprofessional. Not knowing where you stand going into a project isn’t setting the right tone for your success.

When faced with taking on work that isn’t clarified, actively seek out to clarify exactly what it is, when it needs to be done by, and what it is you’re expected to do. If you can’t get honest and direct answers to these, then say no. If you feel it’s out of your skill-set, and you have no time to learn the needed skills, once clarified — say no.

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Success is not just about ensuring the work is done to a great standard, or to the right deadline. It’s also about how you present yourself. If you present yourself as the person that will actively take on projects without clarity on what it is that needs to be done, you won’t be taken seriously. You’ll just become another workhorse.

5. Say No to Becoming Someone You’re Not

If your work success is pushing you to be someone you’re not comfortable becoming — it’s not for you. Success is not worth sacrificing yourself for. There are many paths to success, but there is only one of you. You are unique. You deserve to live to your highest potential, not the highest potential of someone else’s expectations.

Sacrificing who you are to reach success is not a successful act. You’re sacrificing the unique value you bring to a situation, that’ll truly make you unique, in order to fit someone else’s expectations of what you should do for them. In fact, this is the very thing that holds many people back from success.

Do not be afraid to stand up for yourself. Do not be afraid to be the person you want to be. Only you can truly define your success for you, and no one is going to turn around and say they’re happy and successful if they had to sacrifice themselves to get there.

So there you have it, 5 things to say no to if you want to be successful. What about you, do you have anything to add to this list?

Drop them in the comments below, and don’t forget to share this article to all who’d benefit from it!

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Jake Mcspirit

Jake is a passionate writer who share a wide range of life tips on Lifehack.

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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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