HOW TO STAY FOCUSED & RELAXED WHEN LEADING MEETINGS

For some individuals leading presentations comes quite naturally, while others hesitate to express a word in public. With preparation, practice, and use of the strategies listed below your next meeting can be a success! Get ready to capture your audience, while keeping focused and relaxed!

TIPS TO CONSIDER WHEN DIRECTING MEETINGS:

1. Prepare ahead of time. Planning and preparation are key elements for success when conducting business meetings and presentations. Depending on the intent of the meeting you may want to research company information, gather statistical data, collaborate with other professionals, or prepare a PowerPoint presentation to name a few suggestions. Allowing ample time to gather needed information and resources can alleviate stress on the day of your meeting.

2. Explore your surroundings and greet people. Arriving a few minutes early provides an opportunity to explore your surroundings and meet other people. Use this time to introduce yourself in a causal manner and to become acquainted with your audience. It’s also a great opportunity to sit back and relax, while envisioning yourself presenting successfully.

3. Maintain eye contact and smile. Avoid reading directly from PowerPoint slides or notecards, rather concise reading material and explain in your own words. Also, glance at your audience and smile periodically.

4. Involve your audience. Encouraging input from your audience promotes feedback and attentiveness. This is a great way to determine if your audience is grasping your message, and a time to give attention to areas needing clarification.

5. Keep presentations on topic. Stay focused on the message you want your audience to take home at the end of the meeting. If unrelated questions come up, simply redirect your audience to the subject at hand.

6. Pause and breathe. If you begin to feel nervous take a deep breath, pause for a drink of water, and proceed with your meeting. Taking a moment to collect your thoughts can help decrease anxiety and maintain focus. 

JUMP FOR NEW & EXCITING CAREER OPPORTUNITIES!

Pressures in economic demands cause some individuals to place professional aspirations aside settling for first available job options. Income, passion, purpose, or all of the above are driving forces influencing career decisions. Whether you’re investigating employment opportunities or pursuing your “dream job”, it’s crucial to remain optimistic and not lose sight of your goals. It’s never too late to revamp or initiate a new vocation! With just a few strategies you can ignite professional ambitions.

1. Create a visual aid on how your professional life will look five years from today. Envisioning your future is a good starting point when mapping career paths. Provide as much detailed information as possible and get creative. This is your canvas to explore and create all sorts of professional possibilities.

2. Network with other people. Speak with professionals in your field for direction, career advice, and valuable resources. Human resource personnel can also provide assistance with resume creation and interviewing tips.

3. Take inventory of occupational goals. Career ambitions may change over time depending on life circumstances and personal interests. Make time to examine important factors influencing career choices as often as needed. This can help alleviate stress and narrow career options to those that best fit your lifestyle and financial needs.

4. Research your current salary. Familiarize yourself with standard pay rates for your work industry. The United States Department of Labor Statistics outlines average income per state for various occupations.

5. Investigate job opportunities. Before investing extensive time and energy in any given profession determine job availability. Can you afford being unemployed for some time before earning stable income? Are you pursuing a career that’s in high demand? Will it be easy to get a job in your field of study post graduation? These are some questions to consider when considering career options.

6. Remain optimistic. When career passions start to dwindle take inventory of your professional aspirations. Doing so helps keep dreams alive as you advance in your career or work towards your dream job.

7. Stay up-to-date on the latest technologies and breakthroughs in your field. Keeping informed is fundamental when seeking career advancements. 

TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE PUBLIC SPEAKING

Speaking to large crowds comes easily for some, yet for others just the thought cultivates fear and anxiety. According to Psychology Today three out of four people fear public speaking. This form of anxiety is known as glossophobia or speech anxiety. By incorporating a few strategies you can boost your confidence and become an expert in giving speeches!

TIPS TO BECOME AN EXPERT AT GIVING SPEECHES:

Research and Prepare Ahead of Time: Give yourself ample time to prepare before conducting your speech. Create an outline of data and requirements to be accomplished in a timely fashion. This provides a visual guide with steps to ensure needed information is gathered before the presentation.  Researching beforehand fosters knowledge and confidence on the topic of discussion.

Practice with People You Feel Comfortable Around: Depending on your preference your audience can be friends, family, colleagues, or other people you know. A good strategy is to begin with smaller audiences and gradually increase. A progressive adjustment to larger audiences exposes the individual to the cause of anxiety at a manageable level. This can be more accommodating than the sudden impact of presenting before a large audience.

Focus on Your Message: Concentrate on the message you’re seeking to convey, rather than on the audience. It can be nerve-racking to see numerous people starring at you. Instead focus on your thoughts and the points to be address in an orderly fashion. For instance, plan ahead what you intend to say in the beginning, middle, and end of your speech. This gives room for creativity in between, but also structure in the event your mind wonders. Flashcards, PowerPoint slides with bullet points, or simple mental notes can serve as reminders to keep focused. This may also decrease anxiety being a tool of reference when feeling under pressure.

Stop, Breathe, and Then Continue:  If nervousness sets in stop speaking, take a few deep breathes, and then resume. Taking a few moments to collect your thoughts and balance intense emotions can prove beneficial.

Allow Room for Error: Becoming an expert at giving speeches takes practice and dedication. It may take a few experiences before you feel overly confident. Give yourself permission to make mistakes and be patient as this is a learning process. Remember practice makes perfect, and that requires time and experiences.