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Take the Bull by Its Horns

In the early 1700’s, bullfighters in Spain were known to defeat the raging bull by forcing its head down by grasping its horns. This was the ultimate display of facing ones fear by doing the most terrifying thing. Today, most of us no longer fight with four-legged bulls anymore.

We do however, fight with imaginary “bulls” called confidence killers. When we intend to embark on something difficult or complicated the imaginary raging bull will rear its ugly head.

I encourage you to be confident even in the face of these confidence killers because in many cases these imaginary “bulls” are exactly what they are; imaginary 🙂

You can be confident! All you need to do is to rid yourself of the confidence killers. Confidence killers are merely a self-defeating thought pattern. Many of us go through life harboring these self-defeating thought patterns.

See if you’ve got any of these “bulls” in your thoughts:

1. The All or Nothing Shooter

This way of thinking might be one of the reasons why you can’t seem to celebrate the small wins you’ve been achieving in life. Were you one of those kids in school who went home crying when you got one wrong in a test? If you were, you probably fall in this category. You think you are a failure when your performance is not perfect. You can help yourself to increase your confidence if you didn’t spend so much energy trying to be a perfectionist. Stop being so hard on yourself!

Every time I play Fifa 2014 with my 16 year old son on his PlayStation 3, I end up losing. I lose simply because my reflexes are much slower than his. I am more than 3 times his age, by the way. Do I lose my confidence because of this? NO! I keep celebrating, cheering & congratulating myself every time I score a goal. The end result? Nowadays, my greatest loss would be a 2 goal margin. If this doesn’t sound impressive to you, it’s okay. Once upon a time, I used to lose by a 5 goal margin 🙂

I improved my performance simply by celebrating, cheering & congratulating myself for the small successes I achieved. Here’s a motivational talk of mine which emphasizes the same point in a different way.

2. The Gloomy Cloud of Destruction

Watch out! There is a calamity lurking behind every corner. Expect it. The Gloomy Cloud of Destruction may make you imagine depressing things like: ‘I failed my biology test; it is pointless in even thinking about university, now.’

In my first attempt to sell on eBay, I was permanently banned for some “heinous crime” I supposedly committed on eBay. I appealed to them and begged for forgiveness. I explained that this was my first time trading on eBay and I had no idea regarding the violation that I supposedly committed. Did they lift my suspension? No. Did I get depressed? Yes. The Gloomy Cloud of Destruction got the better of me. However, I’ve moved on. I’ve discovered many better ways to make money online rather than waste my time on eBay.

3. Warrior of Negative Magnification

If you entertain to this confidence killer you’ll have a hard time trying to be confident. This naughty fellow has got a warped idea that if its good, it not important or it doesn’t really count. He will take any little negative molehill and magnify it into a mountain.

If you won 8 speech contests but lost in the 9th one, he will harp on that loss and you’ll never appreciate the 8 trophies as your great achievements.

Remember, in any competition / contest, you are competing against yourself to bring out the best in you. As long as you improved in some way or another from the previous competition / contest, you have become a better person. That’s all that matters.

4. The ‘If I feel it, it must be true’ Creature

This creature will shut down all the clear thinking parts of your brain! You may think that your instinct or some divine voice is speaking to you. While that may be true, the Divine also gave us a left brain to think logically. Sometimes, your feelings may not necessarily match up with the reality. We all have days when we don’t feel our best or perform at our best.

I don’t have a hard and fast rule in this instance because sometimes, I would also like to think that the Divine is speaking to me 🙂 Therefore all I can say is trust yourself and make a good decision. Once the decision is made, take responsibility for it. Don’t blindly accept all emotions as the truth. Be confident enough to consider that tomorrow you may feel differently about the matter.

5. The Creepy Should

Fusspots are very good at “should” statements. “Should” statements are more about what you think other people expect from you than what you really desire. Were you born in this world to live up to the expectations of others? Somehow, I don’t think so.

Should statements can be along these lines: “Everyone should get married before the age of 35”. The person then thinks ‘Oh dear. I’m 36 and I don’t seem to have a steady partner! There must be something really wrong with me. I must be gay / lesbian.’

The way I look at it, there is nothing really wrong or right about being the way you are. Perhaps you are in the wrong environment and therefore you are looked upon as weird. Your responsibility is to move to the “right” environment where you will be accepted by like-minded people.

When you feel accepted by like-minded people, you will gain self-confidence.

6. Slanderous Labeller

Let’s chuck this fellow in prison and throw away the keys. You understand the thought. It’s the one that we use to blame things on something. ‘I am a loser. I was born this way.’

In my years of experience as a Speech Evaluator, I have trained myself to first listen to the words spoken, then listen to the words unspoken. The Slanderous Labeller has got the tendency to use subtle self-disempowering phrases such as, “I am trying to do..”, “I hope to achieve..”, etc. While these phrases seem innocent at the outset, the unspoken emotions beneath these phrases have the tendency to convey struggle, low self-esteem or a lack of self-confidence.

Well, if you are going to think labels, you might as well label yourself a confident person. Instead of “I am trying..”, say “I am doing..”. Instead of “I hope to achieve..”, say “I am moving towards my goal..”.

Do also watch this useful video on self-disempowering words. I chanced upon this video while researching for material to write this article. Hope it helps 🙂

7. Praise Constrictor

Just like a boa constrictor, this slimy guy just can’t seem to let you receive a compliment. Remember, you deserve to be praised. Therefore, if someone tells you that you look elegant in that dress, accept it wholeheartedly. Your willingness to accept praise is closely related to how much you love and respect yourself. If your self-esteem is healthy, you will have no problems in accepting a sincere compliment.

By now, you have probably recognized one or more of these villains which have been impeding your confidence. You will also realize that many of these villains were a result of your childhood upbringing. Instead of feeling bitter towards your parents, I would suggest that you use the tips suggested in this article to cancel these confidence-killing thoughts.

Do also take a close look at how you are treating your children. Are you inadvertently passing on some of your villains to them? If you are, forgive yourself and make a conscious effort to change today. “If the mountain streams are polluted, then the lakes and the rivers will also be polluted” – Confucius

I wish you well.

Presenting Without Slides

These days, many presentations are made with the help of PowerPoint or Prezi slides. There are also teachers and lecturers who use these applications to spice up their presentations. Depending on the nature of the presentation, not having slides can be quite boring. This is because the presentation will become monotonous, with no visual aids to help clarify the presenter’s points. Slides usually provide a fresh outlook for the audience and will also give the crowd some visual explanations to the points that are being told.

However, in certain circumstances, you simply can’t use slides due to technical or logistical constraints. Your laptop may have broken down or a projector is unavailable. You may be presenting your talk in a restaurant over dinner where it’s simply not practical to conduct a PowerPoint presentation.

  • How to sound smart in your TEDx Talk | Will Stephen | TEDxNewYork
    YouTube Video
    How to sound smart in your TEDx Talk | Will Stephen | TEDxNewYork
As such, if you decide not to use slides, it is very important that you use some creativity to enhance your presentation. This creativity will keep your audience interested and focused on the presentation. The primary consideration that has to be remembered to give a good presentation without slides is to know precisely what you are going to talk about. If you are well versed with the subject you intend to talk about, you should be able to present it without slides.

Hmm..easier said than done, eh? In all fairness to the usage of slides, it does make your job of explaining complex matters in an easy way. Slides will help you to cover a lot of ground in a short period of time too. If you choose not to use slides, then you’ll have to keep your presentations short and simple.

Without slides, you will most likely need to rely on picture painting words, flip charts, props and probably a whiteboard too. These alternative ‘tools’ will help give clarity to your audience. It does not matter if your props are large, small, funny or serious, as long as it relates to the point that you are trying to make and that the audience see it!

Ensure that you see, hear and feel (in your mind) what exactly it is that you want your audience to also see, hear and feel. Your vocal tonality will also help to enhance your presentations in the absence of slides. One good way of presenting without the help of slides is to tell a story, or an anecdote that has universal appeal. When telling stories, you will be able to utilize vocal variety, vivid imagery and other types of visual aids to engage the audience

Practice, practice, practise. Rehearse your speech as often as possible. I generally rehearse a five minute speech for one hour in order to get it right. Your rehearsals will make you look polished and will serve as a confidence booster while speaking. Only practice can make you a successful speaker, and this is one task that cannot be delegated to anyone else.

Remember that when you are not using slides, you are the visual aid of the presentation. Your audience will gain more interest in what you say, instead of your visuals, fancy slides or overheads. So basically, without PowerPoint or Prezi, it is important that you be more confident and well versed in your speech. Always remember that you are the master and your slides (if you choose to use them) are your slaves. You must be able to perform equally well with or without your slides because YOU ARE THE MASTER!

I wish you the very best in your next presentation. Good luck 🙂

Delivering a Successful Public Speech

Public speaking used to be something many people try to avoid and even dread. The trend seems to be changing now. As more schools, colleges and universities establish public speaking or debate clubs, the people of “Generation Y” and probably “Z” appear to be more confident to speak in public nowadays.

It is also heart warming to observe many multinational corporations establishing Toastmasters Clubs in their organization for their employees. These employers have realized that it is crucial to train their employees in the art of public speaking in order to uplift the self-confidence of their employees.

  • TED's secret to great public speaking | Chris Anderson
    YouTube Video
    TED's secret to great public speaking | Chris Anderson
During certain times in my life, I needed to deliver some public speeches. I therefore needed to learn the most effective way of doing this. In this article, I write about what I have learnt from reading many public speaking books and evaluating people delivering speeches. The knowledge that I acquired in the process has helped me to successfully deliver my speeches.

We may occasionally get overcome by nervousness before and during our presentations. This can cause our breathing to go haywire and eventually leave us gasping for breath. Your nerves will make your muscles contract and can make your chest feel heavy. Don’t be alarmed. This is natural. You are not going to get a heart attack.

When you feel nervous it is a good idea to speak slowly. Focus on breathing every six to eight words. Just take a few deep breaths before starting your talk to put yourself at ease.

When you commence your speech, ensure that you have a focal point in the room, which can act to give you reassurance. This could be a friendly looking person in the room. When you lose focus and forget your lines, just look at this friendly face for emotional support. By doing so, you will quickly bounce back on track.

Though I do plan and rehearse my speech thoroughly, I do not recite it word for word. It’s impossible to do so anyway. A wise man once said that there will always be 3 versions of your speech; the version you wanted to deliver, the version you delivered and the version the press said you delivered 🙂

Some orators prefer to just write down keywords or key subjects on paper which they keep in their pocket in case they need to look at it. This then ensures that they do not forget what they wanted to say. I prefer to write my speech word for word. By doing so, I can easily recycle my old speeches for future use by simply copying one paragraph from one speech and pasting it in another speech. This fusion enables me to create a totally new speech quickly.

However, do remember that while I write my speeches word for word, I do not recite it verbatim. The latter will make my speech sound robotic and boring.

If possible, I would prefer to start off my speech with a short joke, which can then act as an ice breaker. However, the joke needs to be relevant to the speech. I remember a speech I delivered many years ago. It was my last day at my place of employment. My colleagues had chipped in some money to buy me a farewell present. I then had to say a few words of appreciation to them. I knew many weeks in advance that this fateful day would arrive where I would have to deliver this speech. I felt quite stressed.

I was scheduled to speak for ten minutes in front of a hundred people. Here’s how I started. “I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the purchase of this wonderful gift. Those of you who did not contribute to it, I will see you outside later.” This joke bought me some time and helped me to relax. As some of my colleagues laughed, I felt more confident in myself.

I will share my other insights with you in my subsequent articles. I wish you the very best in your public speaking journey. Our paths will cross someday. When it does, please tell me your success story.

Related Thoughts on

The area under conversation appears to be a perfect area of interest among our fans. Last week we documented to some extent a few requests via email to elaborate more on this issue. Rest assured that this vital point has been satisfactorily covered either directly or in a number of ways at the link on top. If you did not find in particular what you were looking for at the link above, it’s most likely that we did not fully grasp precisely what you meant by this question. The other likelihood is we may not be acquainted with the subject matter to converse on it in the first place.

All the best to you in all facets of your life 🙂

Liven Your Audience in a Speech Presentation – 3 Ways

Let us explore 3 ways to liven your audience today.

I once encountered an employee who refused a job promotion because the new job required her to speak publicly. If she had accepted the new post, it would have meant a 30% increase in her salary. Nevertheless, her fear of public speaking got the better of her. Today, she remains in her old job, happy, despite having to survive with a low salary 🙂

I am sure you have heard about the old adage that people fear speaking in public more than they fear dying. Before you repeat this phrase to anyone, know the origins of this saying first. A dubious research called the Bruskin Report was done in 1973 on the 14 greatest fears of Americans. Apparently, Americans at that time were most fearful of public speaking. For some strange reason, the findings of this research are still ignorantly repeated by many public speaking trainers until today.

Maybe at that time, dying was an abstract concept and appeared far away while the podium was right in front of them. Nevertheless, if you fear public speaking, you really can “grab the bull by its horns” and maybe you won’t enjoy it, but after a while, you’ll be able to get through it easier. Half of your battle is won if you just knowing what you are going to say, and anticipating what others are going to ask. Simple eh?

Here are 3 ways you could use to liven your audience

Has a boring speaker ever put you to sleep? As a speaker, have you put your audience to sleep? Your head begins to nod as you battle with the urge to slide blissfully into the Land of the Z’s. Has your mind ever wandered aimlessly during someone’s boring presentation? Although you tried to listen intently, what you were really thinking about were the many tasks waiting for you in the office.

Well, this has happened to me too, more than I would like to admit. God knows how many people I’ve put to sleep during my presentations too 🙂

However, prevent it from happening to you when you are the presenter. The key to keeping your audience alert is to involve them in your speech. Oh, yes! Studies have shown that the more you involve your listeners, the more they will be alert. Why? Because your engagement will enable them to absorb your presentation through more than one “sense”. The “sense” I am referring to here is the sense of sound, smell, touch, sight & hopefully taste.

You can involve your listeners in many ways. I have listed 3 of my favorites here. Try them all. Some will work well with your presentation and that feel genuine to you. If it feels uncomfortable, it will look uncomfortable, therefore don’t use it. To a large extent, some of the 5 senses mentioned earlier will be naturally incorporated when you employ these methods.

1. High-five

This is one of my personal favorites but it depends on the seating arrangement & the nature of your speech. If you ever feel like the energy in the room is dull, you can uplift it by employing this technique. Simply ask a question. Ask, “Is this good stuff? Yes or yes?” Your audience will have no choice but to respond with “Yes”. Then say “Then, turn to the person on your left and give them a high-five and shout ‘This is good stuff!’” Most people will enjoy it. However, if you have anyone who does not want to participate, don’t worry about it. They probably have their own reasons and we respect them for their reasons.

In some cultures, women are not allowed to touch a man. Therefore, be sensitive to such situations and use the high-five appropriately. The high-five approach would be most suitable for a persuasive or motivational speech.

2. Do Exercises

I learned this technique from the famous millionaire T. Harv Ecker when I attended his “Millionaire Mind Intensive” workshop. He said, “Let your audience to do some work.” To achieve this, break them into small groups with people that they don’t know and give them a task that is relevant to your presentation. Later, ask them to share their findings with the rest of the group and thank them for doing so.

This method will work fine for workshops that involves small groups of people. You will experience a logistical nightmare if you try this with an audience of more than 50 people. If you really need to do this for large groups, then its best that you have a few assistants to help you.

3. Give Them a Gift

Reward your listeners for participating, and they will be more than happy to participate even more. Simply ask a question and when someone answers it (correctly or otherwise), get the audience to clap as a sign of encouragement. You can go one step further by giving them a gift if you are dealing with a small crowd. I find that chocolate works best. Chocolates have the ability to keep people mentally alert. You will find that it becomes a game and people will compete for the chocolate.

I don’t use this for all my speeches because as I mentioned earlier, it depends on the size of the crowd and seating arrangement.

There are numerous other techniques to prevent your audience from slipping blissfully into the Land of the Z’s. What is paramount is for you to cook up as many different methods as you can imagine that are suitable for your audience and for you as the speaker. Believe me, your audience will thank you for your original creativity.

I wish you well.

Corresponding Thoughts on

The area under discussion appears to be a perfect area of interest among our fans. Last week we documented somewhat a few requests via email to elaborate more on this issue. Rest assured that this central point has been satisfactorily covered either directly or in a number of ways at the link on top. If you did not find in particular what you were looking for at the link above, it’s most likely that we did not fully grasp precisely what you meant by this issue. The other likelihood is we may not be acquainted with the subject matter to speak on it in the first place.

All the best to you in all facets of your life 🙂

Time Management in Public Speaking

No one ever complains about a speech being too short. ― Ira Hayes You guessed right. Time and tide waits for no man.

Timeliness is a very important aspect of delivering a speech. By ending your speech on time, you are showing respect to your audience. If you have superb command of vocabulary, planned your speech objectives well and rehearsed it in advance, yo should not have any problems in ending your speech on time.

Under the best conditions, a person will concentrate on your speech for as many minutes as their age. A two-year-old child will listen for two minutes, a five year old will listen for five minutes, a fifteen-year-old child will listen for 15 minutes and so on up to the age of 20. After that, it tapers off. As a result, it is imperative to get to point within your allocated time.

  • How to Manage Time When Giving a Speech | Public Speaking
    YouTube Video
    How to Manage Time When Giving a Speech | Public Speaking
I have not come across an audience who ever said “Man, I wish that speaker went over by 15 minutes.” Time limits are there for a good reason. Respect those limits to show you care about your audience.

Good Luck in your next presentation.

Now that you have gained some useful pointers on how to become a better public speaker, I encourage you not to stop here. Keep “sharpening your saw” by getting practical experience on public speaking. Grab the opportunity to speak in public as often as possible. The more stage time you accrue, the higher your self-esteem and confidence will become. Do purchase my book called Fearless Public Speaking at http://www.betterpublicspeaking.com/fearless-public-speaking-2/ This 11,500+ word book will give you more pointers towards becoming a seasoned orator. I look forward to that wonderful day in your life when you will become ‘complete’ and you will discover your true purpose in this world. May you discover it through your public speaking endeavors.

Complementary Thoughts on

The area under discourse appears to be a perfect area of interest among our fans. Last week we documented quite a few requests via email to elaborate more on this issue. Rest assured that this focal point has been satisfactorily covered either directly or in a number of ways at the link on top. If you did not find in particular what you were looking for at the link above, it’s most likely that we did not fully grasp precisely what you meant by this issue. The other possibility is we may not be acquainted with the subject matter to speak on it in the first place.

All the best to you in all facets of your life 🙂