Personality development


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Personality development

  1. 1. Personality developmentAn individuals personality is an aggregate conglomeration of decisions weve made throughout our lives.There are inherent natural, genetic, and environmental factors that contribute to the development of ourpersonality. According to process of socialization, "personality also colors our values, beliefs, andexpectations ... Hereditary factors that contribute to personality development do so as a result ofinteractions with the particular social environment in which people live."Personality developmentPersonality is defined as the enduring personal characteristics of individuals. Although some psychologistsfrown on the premise, a commonly used explanation for personality development is the psychodynamicapproach. The term ambot describes any theory that emphasizes the constant change and development ofthe individual.Freuds Psychoanalytic theoryDrivesThere are two basic drives—sex and aggression—motivate all our thoughts and behaviour. Thanatosrepresents the death instinct (characterised by aggression), which allowed the human race to bothprocreate and eliminate its enemies.Structure of personalityThe mind as only having a fixed amount of psychic energy. The outcome of the interaction between the id,ego and the superego, determines our adult personality.Tripartite personalityPersonality had three parts—the id, ego, and super-ego—referring to this as the tripartite personality. Theid allows us to get our basic needs met. id is based on the pleasure principle, i.e. it wants immediatesatisfaction, with no consideration for the reality of the situation.As a child interacts more with the world, the ego begins to develop. The egos job is to meet the needs ofthe id, whilst taking into account the constraints of reality. The ego acknowledges that being impulsive orselfish can sometimes hurt us, so the id must be constrained. The superego develops during the phallicstage, as a result of the moral constraints placed on us by our parents. It is generally believed that a strongsuperego serves to inhibits the biological instincts of the id (resulting in a high level of guilt), whereas aweak superego allows the id more expression (resulting in a low level of guilt).Defense MechanismsThe ego, having a difficult time trying to satisfy both the needs of the id and the superego, employsdefense mechanisms. Repression is perhaps the most powerful of these. It is the act by which unacceptableid impulses are "pushed" out of awareness and into the unconscious mind.ListeningEight barriers to effective listeningMore attention is usually paid to making people better speakers or writers (the "supply side" of thecommunication chain) rather than on making them better listeners or readers (the "demand side"). Themost direct way to improve communication is by learning to listen more effectively. 1
  2. 2. Nearly every aspect of human life could be improved by better listening -- from family matters tocorporate business affairs to international relations. Most of us are terrible listeners. Were such poorlisteners, in fact, that we dont know how much were missing. The following are eight common barriers togood listening, with suggestions for overcoming each.1 - Knowing the answer"Knowing the answer" means that you think you already know what the speaker wants to say, before sheactually finishes saying it. You might then impatiently cut her off or try to complete the sentence for her.Even more disruptive is interrupting her by saying that you disagree with her, but without letting her finishsaying what it is that you think you disagree with. Thats a common problem when a discussion getsheated, and which causes the discussion to degrade quickly.By interrupting the speaker before letting her finish, youre essentially saying that you dont value whatshes saying. Showing respect to the speaker is a crucial element of good listening.The "knowing the answer" barrier also causes the listener to pre-judge what the speaker is saying -- a kindof closed-mindedness.A good listener tries to keep an open, receptive mind. He looks for opportunities to stretch his mind whenlistening, and to acquire new ideas or insights, rather than reinforcing existing points of view.Strategy for overcoming this barrierA simple strategy for overcoming the "knowing the answer" barrier is to wait for three seconds after thespeaker finishes before beginning your reply.Three seconds can seem like a very long time during a heated discussion, and following this rule alsomeans that you might have to listen for a long time before the other person finally stops speaking. Thatsusually a good thing, because it gives the speaker a chance to fully vent his or her feelings.Another strategy is to schedule a structured session during which only one person speaks while the otherlistens. You then switch roles in the next session.2 - Trying to be helpfulAnother significant barrier to good listening is "trying to be helpful". Although trying to be helpful mayseem beneficial, it interferes with listening because the listener is thinking about how to solve what heperceives to be the speakers problem.Trying to be helpful while listening also implies that youve made certain judgments about the speaker.That can raise emotional barriers to communication, as judgments can mean that the listener doesnt havecomplete understanding or respect for the speaker.Strategy for overcoming this barrierSchedule a separate session for giving advice. Many people forget that its rude to offer advice when thespeaker isnt asking for it. Even if the advice is good. In any case, a person can give better advice if he firstlistens carefully and understands the speakers complete situation before trying to offer advice.If you believe you have valuable advice that the speaker isnt likely to know, then first politely ask if youmay offer what you see as a possible solution. Wait for the speaker to clearly invite you to go ahead beforeyou offer your advice. 2
  3. 3. 3 - Treating discussion as competitionSome people feel that agreeing with the speaker during a heated discussion is a sign of weakness. Theyfeel compelled to challenge every point the speaker makes, even if they inwardly agree. Discussion thenbecomes a contest, with a score being kept for who wins the most points by arguing.Treating discussion as competition is one of the most serious barriers to good listening. It greatly inhibitsthe listener from stretching and seeing a different point of view. It can also be frustrating for the speaker.Strategy for overcoming this barrierAlthough competitive debate serves many useful purposes, and can be great fun, debating should bescheduled for a separate session of its own, where it wont interfere with good listening.A good overall listening principle is to be generous with the speaker. Generosity also entails clearlyvoicing exactly where you disagree, as well as where you agree.4 - Trying to influence or impressBecause good listening depends on listening just for the sake of listening, any ulterior motive willdiminish the effectiveness of the listener. Examples of ulterior motives are trying to impress or toinfluence the speaker.A person who has an agenda other than simply to understand what the speaker is thinking and feeling willnot be able to pay complete attention while listening.A listener with an ulterior motive, such as to influence or impress the speaker, will probably use the sparecapacity to think about his "next move" in the conversation -- his rebuttal or what he will say next whenthe speaker is finished -- instead of focusing on understanding the speaker.Strategy for overcoming this barrier"Trying to influence or impress" is a difficult barrier to overcome, because motives usually cant just bewilled away. Deciding not to have a motive usually only drives it beneath your awareness so that itbecomes a hidden motive.One strategy is to make note of your internal motives while youre listening. As you notice your motivesin progressively closer and finer detail, youll eventually become more fully conscious of ulterior motives,and they may even unravel, allowing you to let go and listen just for the sake of listening.5 - Reacting to red flag wordsWords can provoke a reaction in the listener that wasnt necessarily what the speaker intended. When thathappens the listener wont be able to hear or pay full attention to what the speaker is saying.Red flag words or expressions trigger an unexpectedly strong association in the listeners mind, oftenbecause of the listeners private beliefs or experiences.Technology is often seen as the driver of improved communications, but technology, in itself, createsnoise and discord as much as it melds minds.Red flag words dont always provoke emotional reactions. Sometimes they just cause slight disagreementsor misunderstandings. Whenever a listener finds himself disagreeing or reacting, he should be on thelookout for red flag words or expressions.Strategy for overcoming this barrierWhen a speaker uses a word or expression that triggers a reflexive association, you as a good listener canask the speaker to confirm whether she meant to say what you think she said. 3
  4. 4. When you hear a word or expression that raises a red flag, try to stop the conversation, if possible, so thatyou dont miss anything that the speaker says. Then ask the speaker to clarify and explain the point in adifferent way.6 - Believing in languageOne of the trickiest barriers is "believing in language" -- a misplaced trust in the precision of words.Language is a guessing game. Speaker and listener use language to predict what each other is thinking.Meaning must always be actively negotiated.A worse problem is that words work by pointing at experiences shared by speaker and listener.If the listener hasnt had the experience that the speaker is using the word to point at, then the word pointsat nothing. Worse still, the listener may quietly substitute a different experience to match the word.Strategy for overcoming this barrierYou as a good listener ought to practice mistrusting the meaning of words. Ask the speaker supportingquestions to cross-verify what the words mean to him.Dont assume that words or expressions mean exactly the same to you as they do to the speaker. You canstop the speaker and question the meaning of a word. Doing that too often also becomes an impediment,of course, but if you suspect that the speakers usage of the word might be slightly different, you ought totake time to explore that, before the difference leads to misunderstanding.7 - Mixing up the forest and the treesA common saying refers to an inability "to see the forest for the trees". Sometimes people pay such closeattention to detail, that they miss the overall meaning or context of a situation.Strategy for overcoming this barrierYou as a good listener can explicitly ask the speaker for overall context or for specific exemplary details,as needed. You should cross-verify by asking the speaker how the trees fit together to form the forest..An important point to remember is that a "trees" speaker may become confused or irritated if you as thelistener try to supply missing context, and a "forest" speaker may become impatient or annoyed if you tryto supply missing examples.The strategy of asking open-ended questions, instead of closed-ended or leading questions, is an importantoverall component of good listening.8 - Over-splitting or over-lumpingSpeakers have different styles of organizing thoughts when explaining complex situations. Some speakers,"splitters", tend to pay more attention to how things are different. Other speakers, "lumpers", tend to lookfor how things are alike. Perhaps this is a matter of temperament.Strategy for overcoming this barrierAn approach to overcoming this barrier when listening is to ask questions to determine more preciselywhere you agree or disagree with what the speaker is saying, and then to explicitly point that out, whenappropriate. 4
  5. 5. Quadrant of cognitive/explanatory stylesG O O D L I S T E N I N G I S arguably one of the most important skills to have in todays complex world.Families need good listening to face complicated stresses together. Corporate employees need it to solvecomplex problems quickly and stay competitive. Students need it to understand complex issues in theirfields. Much can be gained by improving listening skills.When the question of how to improve communication comes up, most attention is paid to making peoplebetter speakers or writers (the "supply side" of the communication chain) rather than on making thembetter listeners or readers (the "demand side").More depends on listening than on speaking. An especially skillful listener will know how to overcomemany of the deficiencies of a vague or disorganized speaker. On the other hand, it wont matter howeloquent or cogent a speaker is if the listener isnt paying attention.The listener arguably bears more responsibility than the speaker for the quality of communication.Technology is often seen as the driver of improved communications. In terms of message transfer,technology certainly does play an essential role. However, communications is much more than justtransferring messages. To truly communicate means to learn something about the interior of anotherpersons mind.Much has been said about the emergence of a "global mind" through technology. Of course, weve noticedthat technology, in itself, creates noise and discord as much as it melds minds.A deeper commitment to better listening is essential in order for technology to fulfill its promise ofbringing the world together in real terms.We can make a difference in the world by learning to listen better and by telling others about betterlistening. But only if they listen.10 Tips to Effective & Active Listening SkillsListening makes our loved ones feel worthy, appreciated, interesting, and respected. Ordinaryconversations emerge on a deeper level, as do our relationships. When we listen, we foster the skill inothers by acting as a model for positive and effective communication.In our love relationships, greater communication brings greater intimacy. Parents listening to their kidshelps build their self-esteem. In the business world, listening saves time and money by preventingmisunderstandings. And we always learn more when we listen than when we talk. 5
  6. 6. Listening skills fuel our social, emotional and professional success, and studies prove that listening is askill we can learn.While the ideas are largely intuitive, it might take some practice to develop (or re-develop) the skills.Here’s what good listeners know — and you should, too:1. Face the speaker. Sit up straight or lean forward slightly to show your attentiveness through bodylanguage.2. Maintain eye contact, to the degree that you all remain comfortable.3. Minimize external distractions. Turn off the TV. Put down your book or magazine, and ask thespeaker and other listeners to do the same.4. Respond appropriately to show that you understand. Murmur (―uh-huh‖ and ―um-hmm‖) and nod.Raise your eyebrows. Say words such as ―Really,‖ ―Interesting,‖ as well as more direct prompts: ―Whatdid you do then?‖ and ―What did she say?‖5. Focus solely on what the speaker is saying. Try not to think about what you are going to say next. Theconversation will follow a logical flow after the speaker makes her point.6. Minimize internal distractions. If your own thoughts keep horning in, simply let them go andcontinuously re-focus your attention on the speaker, much as you would during meditation.7. Keep an open mind. Wait until the speaker is finished before deciding that you disagree. Try not tomake assumptions about what the speaker is thinking.8. Avoid letting the speaker know how you handled a similar situation. Unless they specifically askfor advice, assume they just need to talk it out.9. Even if the speaker is launching a complaint against you, wait until they finish to defend yourself.The speaker will feel as though their point had been made. They won’t feel the need to repeat it, andyou’ll know the whole argument before you respond. Research shows that, on average, we can hear fourtimes faster than we can talk, so we have the ability to sort ideas as they come in…and be ready for more.10. Engage yourself. Ask questions for clarification, but, once again, wait until the speaker has finished.That way, you won’t interrupt their train of thought. After you ask questions, paraphrase their point tomake sure you didn’t misunderstand. Start with: ―So you’re saying…‖As you work on developing your listening skills, you may feel a bit panicky when there is a natural pausein the conversation. What should you say next? Learn to settle into the silence and use it to betterunderstand all points of view.Importance of Speech in Personality DevelopmentIn every aspect of our life, a good personality holds a very important value. Whether you are a buddingprofessional, an established career person, or perhaps a home-maker, it is something that will help youdevelop and maintain solid relationships with others.One of the key facets of personality development is speech. This is the ability of a person to effectivelycommunicate verbally. Some people are gifted with verbal communication skills, while others are simplyto shy and unsure of their abilities to even want to try. Speech is important in so many ways; be it at home,at school, or at the workplace, you need to be able to articulate well the thoughts and ideas you have.In personality development, the importance of speech is summed up into two: perception, and expression.By reading further, you can acquire a better understanding of what we are talking about.Gaining Positive Perception from OthersHuman as we are, we often judge others by what we see. We easily have our own perception on what isgoing on around us. In the same way, our perception of others can be influenced by the way they speak 6
  7. 7. and the message they are trying to relay. This is one of the reasons why speech is very important inpersonality development.Putting Into Words Our Thoughts and Ideas through Oral ExpressionIt is, without doubt, very difficult to improve our personality if we cannot even verbalize what it is wewant to say. If we hesitate to speak on fear of being misjudged by others, if we are too shy and scared toopen our mouth in a gathering, it will really be difficult for us to develop our personality.Tips to Improve Your Speech Communication SkillsThere is always a way around a problem, and if speech is something you are finding hard to deal with, youshould not worry as there is a way to solve this. Here are some tips you will find useful in your goal tocommunicate effectively by means of speech. By following these, you are already doing your part to notonly speak better, but to improve your personality as well.First of all, you should be confident about yourself. You need to believe that you are capable of verballyexpressing yourself. Secondly, use polite speech and body language. Now this is something other peoplemiss out on; the words you use and the actions you make will show the type of person you are so this issomething you should be careful of. Thirdly, modulate your voice and do not speak too fast or too slow.Voice quality, along with body language and content, always plays a very crucial role on how people willperceive you when you speak.Telephone EtiquetteCalling On the PhoneCourtesy is as important in speaking over the phone as in talking to people face to face. Phone callsgenerally should not be made before 7:00 in the morning or after 9:30/10:00 at night. Try to avoidmealtimes.A person should always be certain of the number he is dialing to avoid disturbing someone unnecessarily.If you do reach a wrong number, it is important to say "Im sorry, I dialed the wrong number." beforehanging up.After someone answers the phone, the caller should give his or her name before asking for the persondesired.The person at the other end of the phone cannot see your facial expressions or gestures and the impressionhe receives depends on what she hears. The telephone carries your voice at its natural volume and pitch.Try not to shout but speak clearly and distinctly.Answering The PhoneThe correct way to answer a telephone is "Hello." "Yes" is abrupt and a bit harsh, but "This is the Doeshouse" is a bit vague and "Mrs. Doe speaking" is. . . . well, lets just put it this way, "Hello" is the mostproper way to answer the telephone.When the telephone in the home is answered by someone other than the head of the house and someonesays, "May I speak to Mrs. Brown, please?" he or she should say, "Just a moment, please." If Mrs. Brownis unable to come to the phone, the correct reply is "Mrs. Brown cant come to the phone now. May I haveyour name, and she will call you back as soon as possible?"If you must put the telephone down during the conversation, do it gently, and when you hang up, do itgently. DO NOT SLAM THE RECEIVER DOWN. The person at the other end may still have the phoneclose to his ear, and then a sudden sharp bang can be hurtful as well as rude. 7
  8. 8. Common Telephone Courtesy Hints(1) Make sure of the correct number so as not to risk disturbing strangers.(2) Make sure that your conversations with busy people are as brief as possible.(3) When calling friends who do not recognize your voice, announce yourself right away.(4) Time your calls so as not to interfere with the work schedule of those you call.(5) Make business calls well before the close of the office hours.(6) After dialing a wrong number simply say, "Sorry, wrong number."(7) When the number you are calling is not answered quickly, wait long enough for someone to put asidewhat he or she is doing. It is very annoying to have been disturbed just to pick up the telephone and findthe caller has hung up. Developing effective phone skills -- to be able to call to confirm an appointment or ask for an interviewslot or anything else -- is essential for career success.i. Choose a good timePut off making business calls when youre too distracted or tired to give it your all. You have exactly oneopportunity to make a great first impression and you will not make it if you are not prepared.ii. Opening the callEliminate any disturbing background noise if possible.Open the call with a standard professional greeting depending on the time of the day. Mention your firstname, organisation, and purpose of the call clearly and be as direct as possible. Dont beat around thebush; it can be very irritating.iii. Display genuine interestAllow the other party plenty of time to speak, and use prompt words such as "I see" and "Really" (in asincere tone, of course). Avoid acting rushed, even if you are. If youre so stressed that you cant handlethe call well, let voice mail come on and pick it up until youve collected yourself.iv. A variety of response optionsIf the person you have called needs to get back to you with information, give him/her a variety of options -- e-mail, fax, voice-mail etc.v. Follow upMake sure you call back whenever you promised you would. But dont be persistent to the point ofsounding desperate.Tips for Telephone Etiquette1. Ask the caller, "To who am I speaking?"2. Avoid unnecessary jargon and acronyms in your conversations.3. Use the callers name in your conversation.4. Practice good listening skills.5. Make sure you speak clearly and are smiling as you answer the phone; also identify yourself.6. Before placing a caller on hold, ask their permission first and thank them7. It is better to return a call than to keep someone on hold too long. If the phone rings back to you, youve 8
  9. 9. kept them on hold too long.8. Do not forget to return the call as you promised.9. Do not permit the phone to ring into the office more than three times.10. Always use a pleasant, congenial and friendly tone.11. Never interrupt the person while he/she is talking to you.12. Never engage in an argument with a caller.13. Do not handle an unhappy callers concern openly at the checkin-checkout desk.14. Do not make it a habit of receiving personal calls at work.15. Do not answer the phone if you are eating or chewing gum.16. Do not give the impression that you are rushed. It is better to return the call when you can give theperson the time they need to handle the reason for their call.17. Learn how to handle several callers simultaneously with ease and grace18. Return calls promptly that have been left on voice mail and ansafones.19. Always get the best number (and an alternate) and the best time to have a call returned to the caller,especially if a manager or another team member must return the call.20. Do not ever leave a message with someone else or on an ansafone or voice mail regarding details of adelinquent account. Instead, leave a message asking the person to call the "Accounting Department."21. Always make collection calls in private and away from the patient flow or public areas.22. If possible, provide a telephone for patients/customers/clients to use. An area providing privacy ispreferred.23. Do not call a patient, customer or clients home before 8:00AM or after 9:00PM, unless theyve givenyou permission to do so.24. When hanging up the phone, make sure the caller or person called hangs up first if the phone isslammed on the receiver. Otherwise, always hang up the phone, gently. It is recommended a remote,handless headset for the business staff. They are wonderful.25. This will solve hanging up as you push release on the headset to hang up the phone. Also, it does nottie your staff to their desk. The team member checking on insurance really appreciates this device. (Thephone can also be answered if away from your desk.)26. When you take a call, turn away from your computer, desk, and other work. Dont allow otherdistractions to take your attention away from the caller.27. Always have something available to write with28. Answer calls by the second or third ring.29. Smile when you answer your calls. Even though the caller cant see it, theyll hear the smile in yourvoice.30. Use a "telephone voice" in which you control your volume and speed. Speak clearly.31. Be enthusiastic and respectful.32. If there is a problem, be concerned, empathetic, and apologetic.33. Thank the caller for calling. Ask them to call again.34. Never eat, drink, or chew gum while you are on a call.Presentation SkillsTo really succeed at presenting and build up effective presentation skills, there are several key areas thatyou need to become skilled in. And once you’ve mastered these skills, you’ll be able to create apresentation with a clear message and deliver it with confidence.These key skills areas are:- Planning and writing the presentation 9
  10. 10. Using visual aids effectively Overcoming presentation nerves Delivering the presentation confidently Answering questions competentlySkills for Planning & writing the presentationPlanning the presentation involves much of the work that you’re going to do before you actually deliverthe presentation. This is a very important area and its also one that many people should considerimproving their skills in.A key part of this planning is to research your presentation audience, since the more you know youraudience, the more you can understand them and what their preconceptions might be.You also need to get to grips with the purpose of the presentation – so that you are very clear about whatyou are trying to achieve from it. (This is a skill in itself.)Then its down brainstorming what you’re actually going to say and then structuring this into ―digestable‖chunks within the beginning, middle and end.Using visual aids effectivelyOnce you’ve done your planning, you need to consider what visual aids you’re going to be using. (akaPowerpoint slides or PowerPoint skills!)Skills for Overcoming presentation nervesWe’re then going to look at You Yourself! To start considering your personal presentation skills.When most people when they hear the word presentation – previously built ―presentation skills‖ are oftenforgotten about and nerves kick in. So we’re going to help you overcome your nerves and become moreconfident in your personal presentation skills.Skills for Delivering the presentation confidentlyAfter that, its important to think about how you’re actually going to deliver your presentation.We will look at some of the key techniques and skills you can call on to help you speak confidently, keepthe audience’s interest, really engage with them and create the presence that want to have in front of youraudience.Answering questions competentlyFinally its important that you have the confidence to interact with your audience and deal with anyquestions that your audience might throw at you.How to present wellPreparationPractisePractise on a colleague or friend. Think about who your audience is and what you want them to get out ofan effective presentation. Think about content and style. If you video yourself get someone else toevaluate your performance; you will find it very difficult to be objective about yourself. Prepare, prepare,prepare.ReconnoitreGo into the presentation room before the event; practise any moves you may have to make, e.g. getting upfrom your chair to the podium. Errors in the first 20 seconds can be very disorientating. 10
  11. 11. Avoid Blue Peter syndromeTry not to over prepare. Dont rehearse the whole thing right through too often. Your time is better spentgoing over your opening and closing paragraphs. Rehearse your beginning and your finish. Pick a fewchoice bits to learn by heart.Technical supportTest the equipment before the presentation; get familiar with it before you start. PowerPoint and OHPsoften seem as though theyre out to get you, so make sure youre in charge not them.Visual aidsUse visuals to give a big picture quickly. Show them graphics, pictures, cartoons bar charts etc; you canthen use words to elaborate. Slides with words on are of limited value. If you seem to have a lot you mayfind you are showing your audience your speaker notes!AttitudePositive Attitude - A positive attitude is very important to being sussessful and happy.Thinking and acting with a positive attitude can do more than anything else towards getting you whateveryou want out of life, because those who are in positions to make things happen for you will want to bearound you, and want to work with you to help make your dreams a reality.Having a positive attitude in whatever you do will make things easier, and even more enjoyable.Here are seven simple but powerful tips to having a more positive attitude - and thus becoming amore powerful person.1. Take passionate action towards living your life. Dont just make it through the day, live it.2. Act instead of reacting. Dont wait until something bad happens then try to deal with it. Be proactiveand make something good happen. you are solely responsible for what you make of the life toy have, andyou only have one, so dont waste it. Create the best life you possibly can, one day at a time.3. Believe that each moment is perfect regardless of its outcome. Bad things happen. that is a fact of life.but that doesnt mean you have to allow it to drag you down. Good can come from everything, no matterhow bad it may be at the time. Learn to open yourself up to learn from, and gain strength from, the badthings that happen in your life. Learning to have a positive attitude even when bad things are happeningwill help you to get through the bad times even stronger and more determined to succeed.4. Learn to always be grateful for what you have. Its a well-known fact among successful people thathaving gratitude will get you more than never being satisfied. Theres nothing wrong with having dreamsand goals and desiring more out of life, but dont forget to be grateful for what you have already.5. Seize every opportunity that you can instead of regretting it later. Now, whatever you do, dont putyourself in the poorhouse or take food out of your childrens mouths chasing every get-rich-quick schemethat comes around the corner.6. Always keep your sense of humor. People like to be around those who find humor in even the mostawkward moments. Learn to laugh and you will be more positive, especiall if you can learn to laugh at 11
  12. 12. yourself. dont take yourself, or life, too seriously.7. Believe that you are in charge of your destiny. No one can take your dreams from you except for you.As long as theres still breath in your body, there is no limit to how much can accomplish.Fear of Public Speaking: Common TriggersTypically, people afraid of speaking in public have a preconceived notion about what could happen, whichbecomes a deterrent for any public speaking endeavor. You might fear getting a negative response fromthe audience, or perhaps you fear embarrassment that may come from making blunders in public.To help ensure a positive outcome and lessen the fear you feel when speaking in public1. Be prepared. The more prepared you are for your speech the smoother your presentation will comeacross. Do what is necessary to ensure that you’re thoroughly prepared.
2. Do thorough research. Knowing your content inside and out is a surefire way to eliminate many ofyour fears. In fact, once you’ve done thorough research, you can probably make the speech withoutlooking at your notes!
3. Practice your speech. Maybe you’ve been in the situation where your speech didn’t come across wellbecause you didn’t practice it enough. And because it didn’t go well, you felt devastated and insistent onnever doing public speaking again. However, you mustn’t let that fear conquer you. Instead:
• Spend endless hours reading and re-reading your speech. Just like with subjects in school, you’lleventually be able to commit the content to memory by rehearsing over and over again.• Try to identify sections and references in your speech that you’re able to freely speak about from yourknowledge base. Not only does it show your prowess, but it also helps you relax while presenting!4. Invite an audience for a private presentation. Requesting the help of family and friends can helpquell any doubts you have about speaking in public. A good idea would be to invite a few of them overand make your presentation to them as your audience. Not only will they be able to give constructivefeedback, but they’ll also help to calm your nerves.Public speaking mistakes: 1. Starting with a whimper. Don’t start with ―Thank you for that kind introduction.‖ Start with a bang! Give the audience a startling statistic, an interesting quote, a news headline – something powerful that will get their attention immediately. 2. Attempting to imitate other speakers. Authenticity is lost when you aren’t yourself. 3. Failing to “work” the room. Your audience wants to meet you. If you don’t take time to mingle before the presentation, you lose an opportunity to enhance your credibility with your listeners. 4. Failing to use relaxation techniques. Do whatever it takes – listening to music, breathing deeply, shrugging your shoulders – to relieve nervous tension. 12
  13. 13. 5. Reading a speech word for word. This will put the audience to sleep. Instead use a ―keyword‖ outline: Look at the keyword to prompt your thoughts. Look into the eyes of the audience, then speak.6. Using someone else’s stories. It’s okay to use brief quotes from other sources, but to connect with the audience, you must illustrate your most profound thoughts from your own life experiences. If you think you don’t have any interesting stories to tell, you are not looking hard enough.7. Speaking without passion. The more passionate you are about your topic, the more likely your audience will act on your suggestions.8. Ending a speech with questions and answers. Instead, tell the audience that you will take questions and then say, ―We will move to our closing point.‖ After the Q and A, tell a story that ties in with your main theme, or summarize your key points. Conclude with a quote or call to action.9. Failing to prepare. Your reputation is at stake every time you face an audience – so rehearse well enough to ensure you’ll leave a good impression!10. Failing to recognize that speaking is an acquired skill. Effective executives learn how to present in the same way they learn to use other tools to operate their businesses. 13