Get motivated to take enthusiastic action that will help you turn that dream into reality. One step at a time and you will surely achieve anything.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Life-long Learning is NOW

Hi Friends

Each day for 7 days I are looking at a new habit and would encourage you to follow each for a next month so that they become regular habits from then onwards. In 7 weeks we will have 7 new daily habits that may completely change our lives in a positive way, making us better at work, socially and at home. Each habit is simple and within the limits of everybody.

Today’s habit is learn something new every day. It might be something small or a new course that will be life changing. It’s up to you.

Life is a learning experience. We used to talk about a job for life but that is changed and re-training is a theme today. Many people are changing their job every few years because they are on short term contracts, short term projects, they are made redundant or are looking for promotion. And for these people it’s usually essential to be on a learning roller-coaster. But that roller-coaster isn’t a steady ride and that’s what I want to tell you about here. Another group of people need to undertake annual training to keep their professional status.
And that’s what you should be doing to keep your place in life.

In fact we talk about learning for life. Do you feel you know everything you need to know? Everything to get along? That you don’t need to bother with any more learning?

Maybe there’s a physical skill you want to learn like photography or painting, gardening or driving. Perhaps you feel inadequate in a life skill like being able to talk in public, feel confident, be able to manage others, or be a better team member.

So why not sit down and list out 5 things you’d like to learn about and why. Now put them into an order and think about the subject at the top of the list. Now what can you do to learn about this?

Maybe you should get a book from the library or buy a book. They say that only 2 books in every 100 that is bought are actually read. Some of the rest are started but some aren’t even opened. That is very sad. They also say that if you spend just one hour a day reading about anything, then you will become an expert in 12 weeks. By expert we mean that you know much more than the average person. 

You might learn by looking up the information on the internet and either finding articles or videos. This is a common way to learn and there are free and paid curses that will help too. A course is so much better than random videos or articles because they are structures and complete.

You might join a local night school or day classes. If you are particularly enthusiastic you might even sign up on an Open University home study degree course. Wouldn’t it be exciting to tell your family and friends that you’ve just been awarded a degree.

Learning something new will keep your mind active, make you a more interesting person for others, and widen your knowledge. It might give you skills that will have other advantages. If you learn skills like decorating, car mechanics, gardening or plumbing then you could save yourself money at home, or even turn it into a send income or teach others. Just remember we can all learn, all the time and we will benefit. If you learn one small thing every day you can only benefit.

Remember if you are unwilling to learn, no one can help you, but if you are determined to learn, no one can stop you. Make today the first day of a new learning plan.

And make this your new habit that you will use every day from now.
Good luck with your new habit. Please try and learn something every day.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Public Speaking - Is this your Fear?

Hi Friends

Speaking in public takes many forms. You could be on a TV or radio chatshow, running a webinar online or seminar offline, it might be a speech at a wedding, work event like a presentation or when a colleague retires, it could be just in a
group at the pub where you want to make an announcement. making videos for an online course is another situation which isn't actually speaking in public but does feel like that when you start.  We have probably all had to make a public speech at sometime or another, usually with some time to prepare but occasionally on the spur of the moment. 

Public speaking is an art that you have to learn. An art that is vital in some jobs. An essential as an entrepreneur.  Public speaking can take you to the heights you need to be successful.  But you need to work on this skill. And you must bear in mind that your first time will be a real learning experience, and you will think you were terrible. BUT . . if you ask anyone you trust that was in the audience then you might be pleasantly surprised. They won't have picked up on your nervousness. They won’t have noticed the mistakes or that big chunk you missed out completely because they didn’t know. But listen to what they say and if you think they have valid criticism then try to correct what you did. 

And you’ll learn yourself from the speech. Maybe you couldn’t read what you wrote. Perhaps you didn’t talk up or show enough emotion. So you weren’t prepared for the questions at the end. So let’s look at some good practices.

When I first started running an online TV channel I commissioned an experienced presenter to run a couple of interviews for me. I met her at the railway station and we went for a coffee to talk about the day’s schedule. Then we went to the first interview that we did in a quiet hotel lounge. She sat down with the interviewee who was a local song-writer singer and just spoke with him for a few minutes to put him at ease.

Then she started. It was a positive interview about his career and forthcoming show. As she asked questions it became apparent that she had found out so much about the guy. And she was able to lead him through a really informative 20 minutes.

The same thing happened with the second interview which was with the local Top Cop. She knew about his career and a family outline, so she was able to talk about him as a family man, making it more intimate.

Research is so important and so easy today. Google anyone
who is anyone, and lots of people who aren’t!  Companies, places corporations are all here. And you will come up with enough background to strengthen your speech. You won’t need to use everything but it is useful to know and substantiates your speech. If you have a question and answer session after it will give you rock steady answers. So research.

Tell Them
Remember the old adage. Tell them what you are going to tell them! Tell them! Tell them what you’ve told them!
So at the beginning introduce yourself and tell them what you are going to cover. This sets the tone and is like the forward and table of contents.

Then tell them by giving your speech.

Then conclude by giving a brief overview of what you have covered. This sequence will help them understand, know where you are throughout the talk, and keep you on topic.

I cannot tell you how important this is. You aren’t rehearsing to be word perfect because you will sound wrong. You are rehearsing to feel comfortable, to get the order and words right and to look good. You’ll probably use notes with bullet points to keep you on track. Look at great speakers and see how passionate they are, how the words can spill out or be controlled. It’s because they have rehearsed. Can you imagine an actor learning the script but not attending rehearsals. Or worse thinking they can carry the script during the performance.

Suit the length to the subject content
A speech doesn’t have to be short to be interesting. On YouTube most people get distracted after a couple of minutes because there are distractions, just keep surfing!! But being in an audience listening to an interesting speech is different. There are no distractions.

Don’t overstay your welcome. Make sure the content is relevant and not to fill a time slot. It’s like writing a sales letter. A very long sales letter will be more successful than a short one if every word is important. A long speech will hold the audience if every phrase means something to them.

Voice Inflections and Body Language
Write your speech out and speak it. You will find that some doesn’t sound right, it doesn’t have rhythm. Writing and speaking are different, use different phrases and language. Speaking is generally less formal.
Try to alter the pace and volume of your words. You can slow down and almost whisper or shout to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Often when you do lower your voice the audience leans forward and breath quieter. This can have a real impact. Don’t hurry your words. The listeners often don’t know you so they aren’t used to your voice, and when
people are taking in information they need more time.
Likewise do pause. You will be amazed the effect you have on people when you pause for a few seconds. As an aside try this is conversation, particularly when you ask a question. Wait for the answer and don’t rush in. It always works that you get more than you expected. So pause. It gives the audience time to think, makes them expectant and keeps them interested.

Use Eye Contact
You have your notes but just try not to look at them continuously. Look at the audience. I’d suggest that you don’t let your eyes wonder across the whole audience. 

Concentrate on one or two people, then when you move to the next topic or thought, then concentrate on someone else in another part of the audience. And smile.

You may have a white-board or screen presentation, don’t turn your back. You may have to sometimes but avoid where you can. IF you have a presentation use bullet points, don’t have every word on screen and just read. Likewise keep is simple, no fancy PowerPoint animations because it will distract. If you need this then your speech lacks interest.
Be Humorous
A joke right at the beginning is a great ice-breaker and will build up empathy. Not political, religious or sexual. A joke against yourself is a winner.

You can add in a couple more jokes along the way to keep everyone focussed but don’t spoil your speech by making it a funny throughout, unless it’s intentional and each joke works with your audience.

Being too intense throughout is as bad as too many jokes. Keep the tone light and in tune. Don’t talk down because you are the expert. Remember the definition of an expert. The “Ex” is a deadbeat has been. Whilst the “Spert” is a drip under pressure. Think about that.

Your Learning Experience
Mistakes are good. If nobody else realises you’ve gone wrong, as is normally the case, then you can be pleased. Just learn from your flaws and try to correct them. The only one who doesn’t make mistakes is up there somewhere looking down.
More importantly is list out all the things you did right and build on that. And every time you manage to put a mistake right then add this to your list. Of course it’s important to correct these problems. But the right things will give you a firm base to work from. Like a building, firm foundations keep the house standing, even when there are floods or hurricanes. So work on these points and follow them each time.

Oh. And practise a few situations you may run into. The more you practice in front of a mirror, or friends if anyone is willing, then the better you will become. 

Good luck with any public speaking

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Start a new habit today - Happiness, Motivated, Accept, Confident

Do you want to be a better person? I guess we would all answer "YES" but what do I have to do? And will I want to do that? And that is the problem for most of us. We set ourselves targets but don't reach them because we give up or don't even start. Look at New Year Resolutions. Lots of us make these at the beginning of the year - go on a diet, do more exercise, take the dog our for longer walks, learn a language, save some money, give up or cut down on alcohol or sugar. We start in earnest but by the end of week one we are already slipping. Week two starts and you are tired after work: can you not go to the gym just today! Ok. It'll be fine. The following week the same happens and in week four you are down to going twice a week. After that you just give up. There are too many other priorities. You have to plan your habit and follow through. The saying is plan your work and work your plan.
The beginning of the year is probably the worse time to start anything. The Spring is the best. Holidays are only a few months or even weeks away, the weather is better for outdoor activities, we want to throw off the winter blues. So Spring is good. And guess what! Its Spring now. So lets put a spring in our step - and in our minds and start.

Max Depree once said that we cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are. If your goal is to become a better person by being a better leader, businessperson,  entrepreneur parent, mentor, friend or teacher, then the first step is to learn to do better. And doing better is something we all can aspire to, wherever we are, whatever we're already doing.
That aspiration--to constantly improve, to always be changing and growing, to keep doing better--is what keeps us moving forward. However successful we already may be, it's how we prepare the way for tomorrow's success. The alternative is a sad one: to look back one day and wish you had done better.
The time to start is today. So I'm suggesting that you start some new habits over the coming weeks. Someone suggested starting a new habit every day for a week but I gave that a go and was finding it difficult by day two!!  A journey starts with a single step. The long haul isn't a sprint then being exhausted and dragging yourself for the rest of the way, or giving up. So I'd suggest starting a new habit weekly.

That might still be a struggle but it does mean 7 new habits in 49 days. And they say do something regularly every day for a month and it will become a habit so after just 4 new habits, the first one will become natural to you. I'm calling this the 49 Steps, a challenge I hope you'll take up with me. Write a comment below and join me on the Facebook page, click here  where you can also comment or write posts. My first video goes up today and here is the text.

Today’s habit is to select your thoughts and changing the way to speak to be optimistic, positive, accepting and happy.

The first thing to do is to start the day listening to something happy. For most people the first thing they see or hear is the TV or radio. And the news pops up with negative bad stuff. National disasters, deaths, loss of jobs, misery. Even when you are listening to a music show the news creeps in. If your first contacts with the outside world are negative then your whole day with start that way.

So I’d suggest selecting your own choice of music and listen to this, either through your home equipment or your mp3 which is probably your smartphone today.

Good music in the mornings has a good beat because this will raise your soul and heart-beat. It will also get you moving faster and feeling positive. Feeling positive will make you be happier in your skin and accept more who and what you are. Feeling positive will make you optimistic. And when you talk to others you will speak to them in a positive optimist way.

If you are a perfectionist you need to think about living for the moment. Think. Is it better to do something that is your best effort but possibly flawed, than strive for perfection, because with some things you will never reach perfection.  And learn from each experience so the next is better and improved. Think! I don’t make mistakes, I have learning experiences that will enhance my appreciation of life, make my next shot better and leave me feeling I have done my best at that moment.

If you just do your best in that moment you can come away feeling that you accept yourself and all your strengths and weaknesses. And you will feel good about yourself.

As you meet others show this new positive side by smiling, greeting them where appropriate and talking in positive way. If the weather is bad say “looks like its going to clear soon” rather than isn’t it awful today.

And listen to yourself. You can think about what you are going to say before your open your mouth. Check and be careful. A recent survey actually showed that we have a better feeling towards others if they talk positively.

And when you speak positively you’ll stand up straighter than  when you are talking negatively.  And first impressions count so give a good first impression.

And make this your new habit that you will use every day from now. Good luck. Please leave a comment.