Scared of Public Speaking? How to Kill Anxiety & Speak like a Pro

from-presentation-to-standing-ovation-ebook-coverSpeaking in front of audiences can be extremely nerve wracking. You may be in front of a screen or behind a podium with people in front of you, yet is can feel so lonely. Your palms may be sweating, thoughts in your head are racing and you feel like a nervous reck. Well, not to fear. I’ve interviewed Ron Tsang, author and public speaking expert to help you perform your best when it comes to public speaking.

Ron is an acclaimed keynote speaker himself, has a best-selling book on Amazon.ca called “From Presentation to Standing Ovation” and consults for corporate clients when it comes to effective communication. In our interview he shares how perfectionists should get over performing perfectly, his scariest public speaking moment and how to break the ice with smaller groups of people.

 

Katrina: You recommend a few different ways to beat anxiety before public speaking (i.e. playlists, physical movement, visualization) what’s your personal favorite and why?

Ron: Robin Williams used to do jumping jacks before going on stage at comedy clubs. If I feel the need to shake off my nerves and boost my energy before I speak, I love to do jumping jacks, too!

Research shows that one of the best ways to overcome your anxiety is to become excited! [1] And jumping jacks get your endorphins pumping without working up a sweat.

 

Katrina: You talk a lot about the importance of “investing” into yourself. Why should people  work on their public speaking skills?

Ron: When I was an MBA student, I met billionaire Warren Buffett in Omaha, Nebraska. When asked what his best investment was, he said that it was “investing in himself” — especially in developing his public speaking skills.

Warren Buffett studied at Wharton and Columbia, but he doesn’t hang up those degrees on his wall. Instead, he only displays his certificate from a public speaking course, and he says that it was the best education he ever received!

Many employers agree. In a recent survey, 88% of IT professionals said that they need to be effective business communicators in the future in order to be successful. [2] And according to a recent survey from Oxford Economics, the skills that employers will need the most in the next 5 to 10 years are strong interpersonal and communication skills. [3] 

 

Katrina: How important is it to buy into the idea of the message you’re speaking about?

Ron: It’s often said that “the first sale is always to yourself.” If you’re not convinced by an idea or message in your presentation, how can you expect to convince others?

Audiences subconsciously pay attention to the tone of your voice and to your body language, and they tend to notice if you don’t believe what you’re saying.

 

Katrina: You talk about being excellent rather than perfect, which I totally agree with. But it’s much easier said than done. Two questions here- Why do you preach that approach and how can Type A people get over perfection?

Ron: Perfectionists often suffer from paralysis by analysis. If you’re too afraid of making mistakes or of not “getting it right,” you may never take action! Stop waiting to give a perfect presentation! You have amazing career opportunities if you deliver excellent presentations to clients, management, and colleagues — even if they’re far from perfect.

If you’re a Type A type who’s having a hard time letting go of your perfectionism, focus on continuous improvement, instead. Learn to concentrate on “merely” making your next presentation better than your previous ones, instead of obsessing with perfection. Adopt the mindset of a student, get a coach — and focus on the journey, not the destination.

 

Katrina: What was the scariest speaking moment you’ve ever faced and why?

Ron: There were two speaking moments that turned me into a nervous wreck.

I was asked to be my university roommate’s best man and deliver a speech at the wedding reception near Toronto, Canada.

The bride is French-Canadian and the groom is Chinese, so it seemed appropriate for me to send inspirational wishes in English, Cantonese, and French. I can speak English. But my Cantonese is feeble and my French is even worse!

But I’ve never spoken in Cantonese, let alone in French, in front of 100 people before. And the speech in my head sounded so trite, especially after being deeply moved by a sincere and heartfelt speech from the maid of honor. I didn’t like what what I was going to say.

I turned to the wedding emcee for advice. He said: “Just keep it simple and speak from the heart.”

With minutes left to prepare, I rebooted my speech and started from scratch. I was terrified of embarrassing myself and being criticized by two different cultures. Had I bitten off more than I could chew?

But it was time. I walked onto the stage, picked up the microphone. I spoke briefly but passionately, and recited a few memorized lines in Cantonese and French.

Afterwards, attendees came up to me and said that it was one of the best wedding speeches they had ever heard!

Nailed it.

My second scariest speaking moment came shortly after, when I was asked to emcee my cousin’s wedding near Anaheim, California — in English, Cantonese, and Korean!

 

Katrina: You talk about making a good first impression or starting off with an interesting statement before going into a speech. How can you apply that strategy when it comes to group conversations with a “smaller” audience?

Ron: When making small talk or participating in a group conversation, you can transition into a new conversation thread the way you might start a speech, and then follow up with an anecdote, story or other supporting evidence.

For example, you can begin by asking a provocative question, such as: “Did you know that during the Cold War, the CIA tried to spy on the Russians using cats?” Then pause and elaborate.

Or you could reference a shared moment: “Remember that one time, at band camp?” Then describe what happened.

You could also revisit something that was mentioned earlier: “Stephen Colbert was right — Elon Musk IS a super-villain.” Then elaborate.

 

Katrina: What’s a quick and easy tip that someone who has to make a public speech tomorrow can use that will give them a huge leg up?

Ron: Do your due diligence before you speak and focus on the needs of your audience.

Why should they listen to you? What’s in it for them?

What does your audience want to hear? What don’t they want to hear? What are their expectations, and how can you meet or even exceed them?

 

Katrina: You talk about the importance of being likable and trustworthy when relaying your message? Why is this so important?

Ron: Most of us prefer to work with, and do business with, people whom we like and trust. But for many of us, when we speak our body language may inadvertently signal to others that we’re uninterested and untrustworthy.

Your audience won’t know what you think or how you feel, unless you say it or show them. And no matter how valuable your message is, your audience won’t believe you if your words don’t match the tone of your voice, the expression of your face, and what you do with your body. So if you really are likeable and trustworthy, make sure that your nonverbal communication sends the message that you want to convey!

 

Katrina: You talk about the power of the word “you.” Why is focusing on the audience and them rather than on yourself more important when it comes to public speaking?

Ron: Effective speakers understand that their presentations are not just about them — so don’t bore your audience by droning on and on about yourself. Make sure that your audience doesn’t feel left out!

You become more valuable as a speaker if you relate to your audience’s problems, goals, and dreams — and if you help them out. And you’ll be more engaging to your audience when you use more of the words “you” and “we,” instead of “I” and “me.”

Interested in learning more about improving your public speaking? Check out Ron’s book here!

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The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***

Book coverYou’re in for a treat today. I had the pleasure of interviewing Mark Manson, the author of the recently released book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.

I’ve been following Mark for a while his writings are insightful, wise and unique. I was stoked when he agreed to take the time to be interviewed. For those unfamiliar with his work, Mark is a crazy prolific writer and covers things like habit building, personal development and communication. We talked about his experience with social anxiety, productivity, dating, habits and of course….how to not give a fuck!

Question #1: Your article about not giving a fuck really resonated with me. For people who deal with social anxiety or hangups, what’s one tactic they can use to remind themselves to not give a fuck about how they’re perceived?

A big component of overcoming anxiety is finding something more important than oneself to give a fuck about.

Think about it this way, you may be nervous about entering a roomful of people and being social.

But imagine if your mom had cancer and her life depended on you talking to 10 people. You’d make it happen and the truth is, you would probably stop being nervous because suddenly these people’s perceptions of you and any tiny flaws you have would become so unimportant when compared to the massive importance of your mother’s life.

So essentially stuff like this comes down to priorities. And that’s really what The Subtle Art is all about: priorities and vales and what we choose to find important.

Question #2: You say that we should be vigilant about where and how our fucks are given to. What are a few principles to identify if something/someone is worth giving a fuck about?

I propose in the book that generally, giving a fuck about one’s own emotions and feeling good all the time is a road to self-sabotage and disappointment. The key is to find things that are outside of oneself and things that are more important than oneself to give a fuck about.

For instance, a lot of people (myself included) have often suffered from “writer’s block” where they freak out and obsess and agonize over every word and never publish anything. In my experience, this is because our fucks are misallocated. We’re too caught in being seen as smart or writing something amazing or beautiful or popular.

Writing

What has to matter more is the message of what’s being written. Put another way, the way I’ve found to defeat writer’s block is to ask myself, “What needs to be written so badly that my feelings and my embarrassment and whatever criticism comes towards me, none of it matters?” Once I find that topic, everything becomes much easier.

Question #3: It sounds like you got your start in the dating space, for those who feel nervous about socializing, what’s one simple strategy they can use that would improve their dating life?

I have a strategy called “Fuck Yes or No” that people tend to love. It’s the idea that if you’re not ever saying, “Fuck Yes!” about someone you’re with, then you shouldn’t be with them. The vast majority of relationship problems stem from people settling and falling into a grey area where they tolerate a relationship they’re not excited to be in.

Question #4: What’s the #1 small tweak you’ve made in your life that has resulted in massive success?

Something I call “The Do Something Principle.”

The idea is that action isn’t the result of motivation but rather motivation is the result of action.

If I’m having trouble being motivated to do something or finding something I’m passionate or excited about, or just plain procrastinating, I fall back on simply doing something — anything, really — and I find that the necessary inspiration will then flow from that first action.

Question #5: A recurrinFearg theme in your writing is to just “be” (i.e. stop trying to be rich, happy, perfect, etc). For people who want to be better at social skills but convince themselves they have to be “someone they’re not,” what would you advise them?

The biggest thing that helped my social anxiety was when I realized that pretty much everyone is self-conscious and anxious in the exact same situations that I was. I think people with social anxiety tend to create a fantasy in their head where everyone around them is this confident bad ass person and they’re not — when, in fact, the truth is that everyone feels the same nerves and awkwardness around people they don’t know — it’s just most people don’t judge themselves for it. That’s the real culprit: the judging.

Question #6: What is the #1 habit we should ALL be doing everyday?

Questioning our own beliefs.

Constantly ask yourself, “What if I was wrong about this?” and play with the answer.

What would it mean to be wrong? What would it mean if the opposite were true? Just ask yourself and see where it leads, you’ll often surprise yourself.

Question #7: Tell us more about how your book went from blog post to book…

I actually started the book before I wrote the article, but the article was such a huge hit that I adapted its themes and tone into the book. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck (the book) is, like I said, essentially about values and how we all choose to find certain things important, and how that affects everything else in our life. The book is about learning how to make that choice, of deciding what really matters in life and what doesn’t, and improving yourself based not on feeling good all the time, but rather adopting problems and struggles in your life that you’re glad and proud to have.

If you enjoyed this interview, then you’d probably love Mark’s new book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***. You can buy it here.

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23 Life Changing Lessons I Learned From the Tim Ferriss Podcast

This used to be my morning commute: I’d sit in bumper to bumper traffic in San Francisco trying to get to work. Out of boredom, I’d turn on the radio….static, commercials and that one Justin Bieber song I’ve heard a million times.

Ugh!

How have my morning commutes changed?

One word. Podcasts!

There’s only so much Justin one person can take (I know some of you strongly disagree), but I digress. The point is that I’ve substituted the radio with podcasts and it has been game changing.

The best podcast I’ve come across is the Tim Ferriss Show. He interviews top performers in various fields from athletes, celebrities to CEO’s. You can guarantee that if someone was on Tim’s podcast, they’ve accomplished pretty epic stuff.

Today I want to share 23 life lessons I’ve learned from listening to Tim’s podcast and how you can live these lessons NOW.

Before we get started, a quick primer. Each lesson includes:

  • “Who” – who Tim interviewed with a link if you want to learn more about them
  • “Why it matters” – more context around the lesson and why it’s important
  • “How to do it” – an actionable strategy you can use to start living this lesson, today
  • “Where” – a link to the podcast episode and Tim’s show notes

Lesson #1:  Being “busy” is cowardly.

[Tweet “Life changing lesson #1: Being “busy” is cowardly. –@TimKreider “]

 

Who: Tim Kreider, author of Lazy: A Manifesto

Why it matters: Everybody does this and I’ve never realized how ridiculous it is. When people ask how you are, do you always answer with

“Good…just busy”?

What a cowardly thing to say!

Kreider describes how “busy ness” is simply a boast disguised as a complaint, a way to make ourselves feel important because we’re addicted to being busy all the time.

Tim reminds us that idleness is important and good for the brain, it’s not something we should feel guilty about.

How to do it: Make a point of having idle time throughout your day. You can start off small. It may be a 10-minute afternoon stroll without your phone or perhaps it’s making sure you stop working by 6pm so you can have the evening to let your mind wander or hang out with your family without distractions. Take time for a respite.

BTW Your brain needs breaks. Studies show that your brain is still active at rest (in the default mode network) and that downtime is necessary to explore ourselves, our values and morals.

Where: Lazy: A Manifesto

 

Lesson #2: When making a decision, ask yourself is it a “fu** yes or a fu** no?”

[Tweet “Life changing lesson #2: When making a decision, ask yourself is it a “fu** yes or a fu** no?” -@sivers”]

Who: Derek Sivers

Why it matters: Making decisions is hard. But the most efficient and effective way to make them is to have clearly defined rules. And this is one of the best rules I’ve ever come across. 

Look, life is too short to not be 110% excited to do something.

How to do it: Whether it’s deciding to grab drinks with someone or choosing a new job, ask yourself how enthusiastic you are about it. “Is it a fu** yes or no?!” There’s your answer.

Where: Derek Sivers on Developing Confidence, Finding Happiness, and Saying “No” to Millions

 

Lesson #3: Value “working hard” over being “smart.”

[Tweet “Life changing lesson #3: Value “working hard” over being “smart.” –@LuisvonAhn“]

Who: Luis von Ahn

Why it matters: In this episode, Luis talks about how his Mother used to compliment him as a child by saying “you worked hard.” Contrast that with some parents who praise their child for succeeding by simply being “smart” or “gifted.” That helped solidify his work ethic and allowed him to have a “growth mindset.”

Tim mentions the “growth mindset” pioneered by psychology professor Carol Dweck, it’s the fact that believing that your intelligence is flexible (rather than fixed or inherent), leads to better performance.

Dweck conducted a 1975 study of “helpless” elementary school kids. The takeaway was that experimenters trained the students to blame errors on insufficient effort, rather than on their personalities (i.e. they weren’t smart enough).

The kids who underwent the training ended up performing better in school compared to the control group, who declined academically.

How to do it: Rather than praising coworkers or your kids for being inherently “smart,” praise their process, hard work and critical thinking that got them to success. This will help them develop the “growth mindset.” By the way, our brains truly are flexible. When we learn skills and experience new things, our brains change.

Where: Luis von Ahn on Learning Languages, Building Companies, and Changing the World

 

Lesson #4: It’s okay to be grim.

[Tweet “Life changing lesson #4: It’s okay to be grim. –@alaindebotton“]

Who: Alain de Botton

Why it matters: What!? Isn’t that going against all of the self-help books ever written? Possibly, but the point that Alain was making is that the darker things in life make the small things in life brighter. Without that contrast, you may not be able to appreciate simple things like clean water or a great conversation with a friend.

I loved this statement because it flies in the face of “be happy/optimistic all the time.”

You can’t control everything that’s dark in life, but by acknowledging it you can be appreciative for what you do have.

How to do it:  By being realistic about the state of the world, you can increase your levels of gratitude for the small things in life that we constantly take for granted.

At the least, I’d encourage you to think in “neutral terms.” Rather than trying to judge the world as fair or unfair, realize that it just “is.” This will help you shed the judgements you may have about problems you’re facing and open up your mind to new ways of thinking.

Where: How Philosophy Can Change Your Life, Alain de Botton

 

Lesson #5: Stop making judgements.

[Tweet “Life changing lesson #5: Stop making judgements. -@naval”]

Who: Naval Ravikant

Why it matters: This was one of my favorite episodes with so many nuggets of wisdom, but this one really stuck out to me. Although this seems super simple, it’s incredibly hard.

As humans, we end up making judgements all the time…it’s ingrained in our evolution as a species. Our ancestors had to make snap judgements about if someone was a friend or foe, it meant life or death. Because of that, we’ve been accustomed to constantly making judgements.

Think about it, we’re constantly judging ourselves, our friends…heck even strangers walking down the street! A lot of our self-talk is centered around judgements.

How to do it: In order to stop constantly making judgements, Naval recommends trying not to judge anyone for 24 hours. It’s freaking hard, but it will make you realize how frequently you make judgements about other people and yourself. Kicking this habit will help you feel more focused and present. 

Where: Naval Ravikant on Happiness Hacks and the 5 Chimps Theory

 

Lesson #6: Change your state when doing deep work.

[Tweet “Life changing lesson #6: Change your state when doing deep work. –@EricRWeinstein“]

Use a mantra or a “cue” of something totally out of whack to change your brain to get into the act of creation.

Who: Eric Weinstein

Why it matters: I work one and a half jobs. I work FT for a demanding startup, but I also blog part-time. It takes a lot of discipline, but to make it easier, I’ve developed a cue to kick me into “blogging mode.” After a long day at work, my cue is to go to a nearby Starbucks by my office, grab a latte, turn Spotify on to my favorite song and begin working. (I’m working on the mantra part 🙂

Once I hear that song playing, I get into a different mode. I’m feeling the rhythm of the music and somehow my brain shifts into “writing mode.”

In Eric’s case, he has a 7-second private mantra that he says out loud to get him into this “state.”

How to do it: Use a mantra or a “cue” to shift your brain into a state of creativity or flow. It could be your favorite song, a personal mantra that’s meaningful to you, or images you look at.

Where: Eric Weinstein on Challenging Reality, Working with Peter Thiel & Destroying Education to Save It

 

Lesson #7: When you’re scared, ask “what’s on the other side of fear?”

[Tweet “Life changing lesson #7: When you’re scared, ask “what’s on the other side of fear?” –@iamjamiefoxx“]

Who: Jamie Foxx

Why it matters: This question is a great way to transform a challenge into an opportunity. By digging into what is it that you’re really scared of, you usually end up with answers that can be overcome.

It’s a great “go to” question when you feel yourself becoming fearful or apprehensive. When you’re about to take a leap, ask yourself “what’s on the other side of fear?”

Remember, when you define a situation as a “threat” rather than a “challenge” your anxiety increases and you lose your personal power. (Source)

Tony Robbins also teaches that the questions that we ask ourselves form the foundation of our mindset on life. This is a powerful question to have in your arsenal.

How to do it: The next time you want to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and are feeling hesitant, ask yourself “what’s on the other side of fear?” You’ll likely realize its something that can easily be defeated.

Where: Jamie Foxx on Workout Routines, Success Habits, and Untold Hollywood Stories

 

Lesson #8: Take initiative first and good things will follow.

[Tweet “Life changing lesson #8: Take initiative first & good things will follow. –@jimkchin“]

Who: Jimmy Chin

Why it matters: If you think about some of the most “successful” moments you’ve had in your life, it was likely preceded by some sort of action you took to move towards a goal.

Perhaps you asked someone to coffee and ended working for or with that person a few months later. Perhaps you made the first move to get in touch with someone you liked romantically that led to a relationship.

The point Jimmy was trying to make is that the first step is the most important step because it builds positive momentum.

The truth is, if you don’t take that first step there’s nothing positive to be had.

How to do it: When working towards your goals, make sure you take action first. In the podcast Jimmy talks about how he drove across the country to visit the office of a photographer he greatly admired. He ended up waiting in the lobby day after day with an assistant who kept on making excuses for her boss.

Finally, he was graciously invited to his role model’s office and ended up meeting with him for hours!  This man became a mentor of his and inspired him to go on his first rock climbing/photography session in a prized and remote location.

Where: The Athlete (And Artist) Who Cheats Death, Jimmy Chin

 

Lesson #9: Befriend yourself.

[Tweet “Life changing lesson #9: Befriend yourself. -@TaraBrach”]

Who: Tara Brach

Why it matters: Do you constantly talk down to yourself? Call yourself dumb for making a minor mistake? I think we’re all guilty of this to some degree. The sad thing is, we rarely show ourselves compassion.

If you overheard a friend telling herself how dumb she was because of a tiny mistake, wouldn’t you tell her to show herself some compassion?

You probably would… So why do we treat ourselves this way!?

In this episode, Tara shares how her spiritual awakening was rooted in realizing the importance of self-compassion. It’s important to show yourself some love.

How to do it: The next time you catch yourself getting into “negative self-talk” mode, develop a mantra or a cue to snap out of it. It could be something like, “I’m a work in progress” rather than saying something like “I’m so stupid.” You can steal a line from the “growth mindset” idea we talked about and say something like “I’m still growing and improving.” Be good to yourself. There’s only one you.

Where: Tara Brach on Meditation and Overcoming FOMO

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The Science Behind Donald Trump’s Body Language (& 8 tips you can steal from him to up your charisma, likeability and confidence)

Regardless of how you feel about Trump and his funny looking hair, one thing I have to admit is that he has body language down.

The man knows what he’s doing. He knows how to make opponents look silly, how to communicate with the audience (even when he’s not speaking) and how to influence the audience’s emotions with one simple look.

Today I want to share 8 body language strategies Donald Trump uses and how you can use them to get people to like you, up your charisma and improve your confidence.

Donald Trump Body Language Cue #1: Using Obvious Facial Expressions

It won’t take more than a quick YouTube search to reveal that Donald over exaggerates his facial expressions to illustrate his emotions. Check out this picture of Donald Trump’s facial expression as his opponent, Jeb Bush, is speaking.

Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 8.18.16 PM

Talk about actions speaking louder than words!

Although Jeb is speaking, you can’t help but focus your attention on the dumbfounded look on Donald Trump’s face. And when you see Trump make that face, the same feelings of confusion are triggered thanks to mirror neurons!

Mirror neurons are a relatively new discovery in neuroscience, but they’re super helpful when it comes to affecting how others feel when they are around you. They’re essentially a way to make someone else feel certain emotions by simply looking at you. For example, if you look over at me and I’m smiling, you will feel happiness and other emotions associated with smiling.

This was originally discovered in an Italian lab when they noticed motor parts of a monkey’s brain being activated by simply watching a human move around (while the monkey was standing still). The neuroscientists learned that your brain perceives observing someone else doing something as actually doing it yourself!

Your facial expressions also affect your inner-psychology.

In a famous study by Martin and Stepper, subjects were asked to keep a pencil in their mouths (to simulate a smile) while reading comic books. The control group was given the same comics without any instruction at all. Those who had mimicked a smile were more likely to find the comic books humorous than the control group. This experiment showed the influence that facial expressions have on your inner-psychology.

When Donald is using facial expressions to express himself, he’s killing three birds with one stone.

First, he’s able to show other people how he feels (without speaking), which is extremely powerful when it’s not his turn to speak during debates. Secondly, when the audience focuses on his reaction, Donald influences the emotions they’re feeling thanks to mirror neurons.

Finally, his facial expressions are influencing his inner emotions making him feel more confident when he laughs at his opponents or happier when he smiles.

So how can you use these principles to have engaging conversations?

Tip #1: Mirror facial expressions to increase charisma

You can mirror facial expressions to show the other person that you’re listening and empathizing. These non-verbal forms of communication can increase your charisma and presence significantly.

In a study by Chartrand and Bargh, researchers interviewed subjects one-on-one while mimicking their body language and posture as they spoke. The group that was mimicked rated their interviewers as more likeable and rated having “smoother” conversations with them compared to the group that was not mimicked.

Use this to your advantage!

Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 8.28.39 PM

For example, if someone is telling a sad story they’re likely frowning or furrowing their eyebrows in a sad state of emotions. You can mimic those facial expressions to show your concern for what they’re saying. You can also furrow your eyebrows while locking eyes with them to show that you’re feeling the same emotions they’re feeling. It works like a charm and it will get people to like you.

 

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4 Action Steps to Build Unshakeable Confidence

Confidence. What a weird thing.

It seems simple, but it’s not. For some people it’s one of those things that ebbs and flows, you feel super confident one day and not confident the next.

For others, it’s a struggle to even feel an ounce of confidence…ever.

But here’s one thing we can all likely agree on– we all want to be more confident than we are today.

Confidence seems like one of those things people just “magically” have, but it’s not that simple. Confidence takes time, practice and a strong belief in yourself.

I’ve heard many of ya’ll talk about how confidence is something you struggle with. If you’re one of them, I think the post I’m sharing with you today will be helpful, it’s called: 4 Action Steps to Build Unshakeable Confidence.

In it I cover:

  • 4 actionable strategies you can use to start improving your confidence
  • How to start stepping out of your comfort zone–without all the anxiety & emotional baggage
  • Why defining your life values will make you more decisive & confident (& how to do it)
  • The scientifically proven #1 mindset that will help you improve your performance
  • The right way to view “time” & how to get over regretting the past & worrying about the future

It’s a guest post I wrote and there’s also a great video from my friend Antonio who shares some of his own personal struggles with confidence and how he overcame them.

What was your favorite action item? Let me know in the comments below!
 

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The #1 Mistake You’re Making When it Comes to your Career

Over the course of life, the average American works for over 10 years.

Crazy right?

That’s based on a 40-hour work week, but nowadays with smartphones and technology we’re probably clocking closer to 50 or 60 hours per week which would make that number even bigger!

For many of us, work is an important part of our lives. It defines us in a weird way.

When people ask “what do you do” or “tell me about yourself” one of the first things we do is tell them what we do professionally.

As 2016 approaches, I want to help you take your career to the next level.

I want to share an article (and video based on the article, below) of a recent guest post I published. In it I talk about:

  • The #1 biggest mistake you’re making when it comes to advancing your career
  • 5 actionable ways to fix this problem ASAP
  • What Steve Jobs did that played a vital part of his success, that you can also do
  • A video of my friend Antonio where he shares his lessons learned from the military, life and career to become a successful online entrepreneur

 

 

What’s one tip you’re going to use? Share in the comments below!

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How to make someone you’re talking to feel as good as they do while having sex

It's simple, ask them about themselves.

People LOVE talking about themselves.

Brain imaging from a 2012 Harvard study showed that the pleasure centers of people's brains were activated during "self-disclosure" aka talking about their experiences. These are the same pleasure centers that are activated during sex or other "rewards" such as sugar or drugs.

Those who were allowed to share thoughts, versus those who were told to think to themselves, showed even greater reward activity in their brain.

In fact people love talking about themselves so much that subjects in the study were even willing to give up money to do so!

What does this mean for you?

Well if you find it difficult to keep a convo flowing, the short answer is that you can simply ask people questions to keep it going. The other benefit that you get out of it is that people will love talking to you.

Remember people won't always remember what was said in a conversation, but they will definitely remember how they felt when they were conversing with you.

Brain scans showing the pleasure center of the brain activated during self-disclosure

​Source: http://www.pnas.org/content/109/21/8038.full

How do you Ask the Right Questions?

When asking people questions, ask open-ended questions rather than "yes or no" questions. A great hack is to "observe" something and then ask about it. 

For example:

Q: I see you chose the red wine tonight. Why do you prefer red over white?

Rather than....

Q: Do you like to eat cheese with your wine? (Yes or no question)

A: Yes (duh!!)

OR

Q: That's a really nice jacket, what's the story behind it?

A: Oh I actually got it while I was backpacking in Europe, I bought it from this tiny store...

Rather than...

Q: That's a nice jacket. Does it keep you warm?

A: Thanks, yes it does.

**Cue awkward silence**

So the next time you're at a social event, make some friends by asking open-ended questions. You can couple it with the "Yes and Technique" that you learned yesterday to strike the right balance of talking and listening during conversations.

Tired of the same generic advice you get on social skills?

So am I. I'm scared of hearing "fake it til you make it" or "just go for it." What the heck does that even mean!?

That's why I built a comprehensive, 8-week course of crushing your social hangups and becoming socially confident. You will learn how to have natural conversations, how to kill negative self-talk and how to turn acquaintances into deep friendships.

Former "Quiet Guy" to Knowing Everyone in the Room!

"I used to struggle with having conversations...they just didn't feel right and I never felt confident. I used to simply avoid them which was really frustrating. Now that I've completed the course I speak up at work, feel confident about social situations and talk more-- I'm no longer the "quiet guy!" The other day at a social event my friend said 'it looked like I knew everyone there!' I didn't. No one would EVER day something like that to me before. Katrina helped me connects with people, deepen relationships and feel more confident."

Kah G. 
Software Engineer | Perth, Australia

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How to Have Unforgettable Conversations

Do you ever get into a brief conversation where you finally figure out what you're going to say next but then....you never end up saying anything? You end up simply listening, nodding your head and agreeing with the other person who's leading the conversation.

It can be annoying.

Maybe the thing you have to say is something about yourself, but you hesitate because you don't know how to share it and don't wanna come across as arrogant or self-absorbed.

Today I want to share a technique that you can use to build rapport with others by opening up about yourself in a genuine way.​

The "Yes and Technique"

A natural and easy way to sprinkle in things about yourself is by using the “Yes and Technique" when someone asks you a question.

  • The "yes" part simply answers the question. In some cases it may be "no" (depending on the question)
  • The "and" part goes into a bit of depth and turns your answer into more of a story

Here are two examples:


Katrina: Do you enjoy red wine?

You: Yes I am [Yes]. And [and...] I actually just went to Napa Valley this summer because I love wine and the winemaking process so much. It was beautiful there, rolling hills, huge estates we had a blast. Are you a red wine fan?

Katrina: Yes, I absolutely love red wine [Yes]. In fact, [and…] most of my Fridays at work are spent dreaming about the bottle I'm going to open that night (Ok, I’d never say that. But it’s true!)

See how both examples turned a “yes or no” question into something way more fascinating by adding a few details?


Using this strategy will make you more memorable.


Why?


Because people don't remember if you happened to stumble through a few words or stuttered a bit...what they remember are stories.

By adding a short story you become way more memorable. So use this strategy during your next conversation to build rapport and charisma (or if you're sick of listening to someone talk the whole time).

Stay tuned, in the next post I'll share a conversation strategy to make talking to you feel as good as having sex....seriously. Oh and it will also keep the convo flowing 🙂

For now, go take action and apply this strategy. When you're done, share your results in the comments below!

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How to get your inner-voice to SHUT UP!

Do you constantly hear that voice in your head that second guesses everything you say and do?

 

It may sound like this:
  • Ugh, did I really just say that?
  • I forget everything that person just said, now what do I say?
  • Why is she looking at me like I’m an alien?

That voice tells you you’re not good enough, it makes you feel like absolutely everyone is judging you (even though they’re not), and it tells you this is just the way you are… Yes, that’s the negative self-talk I’m talking about.

Contrary to what that voice is telling you, it doesn’t have to be “the way you are.”

The reality is that the things we tell ourselves dictates our moods, our outcomes and ultimately…our life.

Today I want to share three ways you can beat negative self-talk so you can start living your best life.

1. Transfer the guilt

Do you ever do something silly or make a mistake and say “Jeez, I’m so stupid”?

You may think this is something really minor, but it’s not. You are creating a generic label for yourself based off of one tiny mistake or comment. Sometimes it’s not even a “mistake” that triggers this, it’s a reaction from someone else or something in your external environment that you’re not consciously aware of.

You are the story you tell yourself.

Next time you make a mistake, try changing your narrative from negative to empowering. So rather than telling yourself you’re dumb, change the narrative to something like “Oops that thing I did was silly, next time I’ll think through it.”

You’ve done two things here:

  • First you are removing your SELF from the equation. You did something that was a silly mistake rather than equating the mistake to mean you’re dumb
  • The second thing you are doing is deciding how you will take action if that happens again. You have gone from making yourself a victim of “dumbness” to empowering yourself

2. Use mental habits to gain control

Do you close the bathroom door even when you’re home alone? How much mental power does it take for you to brush your teeth as soon as you get up? Not much right? That’s the power of habit.

In the book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, he discusses the habit loop which consists of the cue, routine, and reward.

Start identifying the cues that make you think negatively about yourself. Is it when you make a minor mistake? Is it when you first sit down behind your desk at work when you don’t want to be there?

Identify these cues and note them down. The next time you’re “cued” become aware of it and actively change the routine of negative self-talk.

Once you identify that cue, you can change the routine. Rather than allowing your negative self-talk to kick in commit to a “plan B.” It may be that you leave the office for a 5 minute walk or pick up the phone and call a loved one. Remember, changing habits is all about trial and error.
Neuroscience has shown that you can program the brain to make automatic habits. Habits take anywhere from 2- 4 weeks to solidify so start taking action today.

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The Secret to Charisma

Let me tell you a story about "Charismatic Casondra."

Strangers, my family members, and mutual friends tell my BFF Casondra everything.

Here’s how a typical conversation between me and Casondra goes:

Casondra: “Hey did you know Jackie is going through a nasty divorce?” or “Did you know your brother is dating a new girl?"

Me: “Umm. No I had no clue. That person hasn’t told me a word about any of that! Are you for real?!"

I won’t bore you with the rest of the gossipy details, but suffice to say that people weirdly and inherently just trust Casondra and she gets to know people on a very deep level. Even strangers!

The point is Casondra is charismatic. You know those people who are so damn charismatic that it almost bothers you to see them socialize? People love them, confide in them, and they always seem to get ahead in life.

While they're getting ahead, you're sitting there thinking "how the hell did they pull that off when they're not as smart/nice/good as I am?"

Well you don't have to wonder anymore. The deal is charisma is a skill that can be learned, adjusted and practiced. Scientific research has proven this time and time again.

So much so, that in a controlled lab experiment researchers can increase or decrease people’s charisma ratings based on telling them to do certain things. Crazy right!?

Here's the #1 way to instantly become more charismatic: be present.

See when you talk to Casondra, you feel like you’re the only person in the room. She listens attentively, she’d never look away, she’ll ask about you to make you feel important and you’ll feel like you’re sharing the same exact moment in time.

You may feel this way when you’re talking to a charismatic person perhaps a friend, your boss/CEO, or a time you’ve met a famous person. You may describe these people as having a "presence."

You can start cultivating this skill too.

Here’s how to get started:

Next time you have a conversation, rather than letting your mind run around about how the other person is judging you or what you’re going to make for dinner, focus on the conversation at hand.

Observe your own mind the next time you’re in a conversation and figure out if your mind was wandering or if you were listening attentively.

Catch yourself.

If your mind was wandering, draw your mind back to the conversation at hand. Focus on the words the other person is saying, listen to your breathing, take in the moment and hold the mental chatter.

Do this during your next conversation, regardless of who it is with. Take a mental pause and check-in to make sure you’re “in the moment.”

You may be thinking okay, this is some new age non-sense.

It's not. See, being present is an internal tool that directly affects your external body language and behavior. Your external behavior is how people perceive whether or not you're charismatic. That's why this skill is important.

So give it a shot and share your results in the comments below.

I know this isn't easy. That's why in the next post we will cover ways to shut your “mental chatter" up and transform negative self-talk. It will make being present much easier. For now, get started on observing your mind. Next, we’ll work on changing it.

Do you have someone in your life who is super charismatic? What's the #1 thing you notice about how they act? Comment below!

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