Overcoming the Fear of Speaking

The gift that everyone craves is not money.

Not an iPhone.

Okay, maybe an iPhone but there is still something greater.

Perhaps you’ve heard about TED Talks.

The success of TED Talks, those 10-minute video presentations that have grown in popularity over the years is due to a special mission:  give your audience a gift.

The possibilities are endless.

When you speak to someone, think of giving them a gift – something they can take away that will make them feel enlightened, good about themselves or hopeful.

When you’re at Thanksgiving dinner, make the gift a public expression of gratitude to the person who prepared the feast.

With children, make the gift of you being in the now 100% focused on the relationship between the two of you.

For yourself, the gift of solitude to think, or a kind word for one of your many strengths.

But when people say that they don’t like speaking before groups or leading presentations at work, think of giving your audience a gift.

It makes some of your butterflies fly in formation.

The gift that keeps on giving is an attitude of offering to others something special from you.

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How to Empower Others

For all the talk about empowerment, we often miss the most obvious and best way.

Make people feel something.

We are living in a time numbed by our social media and digital devices where we are struggling to have feelings.

If you’re selling something, make the audience or buyer feel something positive after hearing your pitch. If you can’t identify in a few words what that positive feeling is, they sure can’t.

For families struggling to be closer, identify a feeling and focus on it. If that feeling is, say, safety together work every day to make free expression of thoughts and actions something that is safe to be discussed among family.

If teamwork is more of a name than a solution at work, empower others you work with to feel free to create, contribute and respond. Often the best teamwork comes at brainstorming sessions but once it breaks up, the benefits are lost.

We all have the capability to make others feel something and that is the secret to empowerment.

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The Cure for Can’t

Ban the word, leave the “t” off “can’t” to get to “can” and remove the self-destructive word “can’t” from your vocabulary as a first step.

All day today, catch yourself when “can’t” slips out.

Would you hire a person who uses the word “can’t”?

Would you choose to pursue a relationship with a person who says “can’t” instead of “can” and “will”?

Would you want your children and those you influence to hear you start with “can’t” before you even try?

Two very useful words that easily replace “can’t” is “I’ll try”.

Make “I’ll try” the new “can’t” and stop shooting yourself in the foot before you can prove just how effective your potential really is.

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Smartphone Self-Control

Smartphones and social media are making lonely people lonelier.

They are promoting a culture in which people are hooked on their digital devices for fear of missing out on something.

The phone is the new security blanket – college students of mine saying they feel empty without a phone in their hand.

These great tools are turning children into robots even before robots take over the earth – as some predict and making adults numb to living in the now which is where all life takes place.

Phones are tools, not substitutes for things that are missing in life.

Rule 1:  When in the presence of another human being, turn the phone off or don’t take it out until you are alone.  Even when you are alone, return to the real world and remain in it as long as possible interacting, thinking, appreciating.

Rule 2:  The phone and digital devices are not cheap babysitters.  Even Steve Jobs, arguably the one who started this revolution wouldn’t let his kids have unlimited access to their screens – and they were teens!

Rule 3:  When in the company of a smartphone abuser, remain silent until they either give you 100% of their attention in the now or put their phones away.

Rule 4:  The phone and digital devices are tools but they have become an addiction and should be treated the same way any other addiction is treated.  If you are losing moments in life, you may have to quit to recover.

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Confidence

Confidence is among the most fragile things we possess.

When things are going great, confidence comes easy.

When things are going poorly, it is almost impossible to muster.

Confidence is manufactured in the brain even before we need it.

The more we think positively about our abilities, the more our actual pathways in the brain physically change.

Confidence is perishable so use it daily or lose it when you need it most.

Confidence comes from how many times we actually believe in ourselves.

Confidence does not get bigger as challenges get bigger, even small things build big confidence.

When things get rough, waiting for them to get better is not as quick or effective as reviewing in your mind the specific ways you’ve believed in yourself.

If someone sees you’re lacking and tries to diminish your confidence further, cut off that communication immediately and return to seeing yourself in a positive way.

Confidence can even grow when things go sour if we see adversity as a step toward our next success.

Confidence is best controlled by us and not outsourced to others.

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