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How to Conquer Stage Fright and Focus on the Positive

How you can become an effective, persuasive communicator and speaker.




In their book,As We Speak: How to Make Your Point and Have It Stick, authors Peter Meyers and Shann Nix detail strategies and methods to help businesspeople become effective, persuasive communicators and speechmakers. This edited excerpt focuses on ways to overcome the common fear of public speaking and deliver your message clearly and confidently.

What determines how you feel are the things on which you choose to focus. Most of the time we don’t bother to choose. We just let the mind’s eye wander around. In this default setting, the brain will choose its focus primarily based on fear. Why? We are built to look for danger. Your brain is designed to keep you alive. For tens of thousands of years, the human brain has done a great job by looking for trouble.

We focus the mind’s eye through the questions we ask. When you ask a question, the brain immediately sets out to answer it. But when facing an audience, most people ask questions that cause them to focus on their fear, rather than their objective.

Ask yourself this

Think about a typical question you might ask yourself: “Will they ask me hard questions?” The brain, primed to lean toward the negative, searches for an answer. Brain says, “Yes!” You start to get nervous. You’re panicky, starting to sweat. “Am I prepared enough?” Brain searching. . . answer is “no!”

Questions like “What’s missing?” and “Will I know the answers?” may seem like intelligent questions to ask yourself. But they’re actually sabotage questions. The answers can only produce a negative state.

So what’s the answer? Ask a different question. The way you control the focus of the brain is by changing the internal questions that you ask. Ask a question with a presupposition, an implicit assumption about the world, as revealed in a statement whose truth is taken for granted.

For example, the question “What’s great about this opportunity?” contains the presupposition that there is, in fact, something great in the opportunity that you haven’t noticed yet. What you want are questions with this kind of powerful presupposition. This will drive the brain to produce a better answer and produce a feeling of exhilaration rather than terror.

Asking the right questions before you go on is a very powerful way to manage your state. You are programming your brain purposefully, so that it will come up with answers that pull you forward, rather than hold you back.

The architecture of a good question is very specific. It contains a presupposition that forces you to think of new possibilities – in other words, don’t ask, “Will I succeed?” but, “How will I succeed?”

Persistence pays

Be persistent with your brain. Once you get an answer, ask again. One to four weeks before the event is when explore everything that could go wrong in your talk. Ten minutes before you go out, you can’t be asking yourself, “Will it hurt if I fall?” You must turn your attention to your state, and ask yourself performance-enhancing questions only.

You may have felt fear when facing an audience in the past. Chances are that it was your beliefs, and not the audience itself, that tied your stomach in knots. Your beliefs about yourself as a speaker will determine how you show up. Human beings don’t just assemble facts.

We constantly interpret the facts to tell a story and make sense of what’s happening around us. That’s how we learn. Beliefs create the meaning you bring to the things that happen. You wear your beliefs like glasses; you view everything through them. And here’s the thing about beliefs: They are always true for you. Whether or not anyone else would agree is irrelevant.

For example, if you believe that you couldn’t hold an audience’s attention because you are too new, too old, too young, a woman, a man, an introvert, etc., then that will be true for you.

If you perceive that you are in danger of being judged, attacked, or ridiculed, that perception is all that counts. The receptors in your brain respond the same way, whether or not the attack is real. If you’re walking into a room full of Ph.D.s and your fundamental belief is that you’re not really smart enough to speak on this subject, then you will unconsciously look for all the ways to confirm that belief.

On the other hand, if you believe that you have a unique perspective on this situation, and this is an opportunity for you to provide insight, then everything from the way you enter the room, to the way you connect with the group, to the sound of your voice will be very different.

If you stand up in front of an audience and have a bad experience, you will tell yourself a story about it. The danger is the belief that comes out of that story. Is there any chance that you created a belief at that moment that has kept you from returning to the spotlight? Something like, “I’ve never been good at this, and I never will be?”

You can’t always control events in the world around you. But you can control your belief. And controlling the belief will change your physical state.


How to Guides

How The First 20 Minutes Of Your Day Can Set You Up for Success

Engage a positive routine right after waking, and you’ll tap into the power of your subconscious brain.




You all know about that morning-routine thing: Everyone raves that waking up early and sticking to your routine will help you get more done. But whether you get out of bed at 5 a.m. or 3 p.m., it’s the first 20 minutes of your day that can set you up for success.

The brain produces electrical patterns, often referred to as waves. Scientists have found a correlation between the frequency of brain waves and the body’s state. When you first awake, your brain operates at around 10.5 waves per second. The range from eight to 13 Hz, or cycles per second, is the alpha stage. It’s been called the gateway to the subconscious mind.

Have you ever gone into a semi-daydreaming state while commuting? A few minutes pass, but you don’t remember what happened. It’s likely your brain entered the alpha state.

Without getting too deep into the science of brain activity, it’s safe to say your subconscious mind is most active right when you wake up. You can train your brain to use this subconscious activity to think positively and accomplish more throughout your day.

Related: 5 Habits You Should Steal From Other Entrepreneurs’ Morning Routines

This quick checklist outlines six simple things you can do to make the most of these first 20 minutes.

1Don’t click the snooze button

Don’t ever click your alarm’s snooze button. This tells your brain it’s OK to procrastinate by putting your day on hold.

2Do make your bed


Your room will look cleaner and feel more organised – both of which train your mind to want to get things done, right away. It’s a small win, but you can build on it as your day continues.

3Visualise your life

This is probably the best thing you can do in the alpha state. Visualise your life. What will it be in five years, when you’ve achieved your goal of building your business? How about your relationships? Concentrate on how they’ll look in the future and what you need to make them real.

Tap into your subconscious mind to request what you want and then make your brain drive your actions.

Related: 5 Ways to Tweak Your Morning Routine for a Better Day

4Watch a motivational video

When you’re up, not even a tough day can get you down. If you’re truly motivated, you know you’ll reach your milestones – no matter what.

Big achievements are never easy. During the past year, I’ve found inspiration in quick-hit videos that help me refocus when I start to burn out between work and my studies. After you complete your visualisation exercise, watch a video that reinforces the connection between intention and action steps.

5Repeat your affirmations

Simple affirmations such as “I will make this day the best day in my life” can have a huge impact on your life. It worked for Steve Jobs. First, compile a list of affirmations that fit your beliefs and core values. Repeat them aloud every morning.

6Keep a journal

During the past year, I intentionally developed several habits to become more mindful. Keeping a journal ranks near the top of the list in terms of impact on my life.

You can use a journal to write down some of your affirmations, spread positive thinking and plan your day through these “morning pages.” Clear your mind of any thoughts that may interrupt your focus.

This article was originally posted here on

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How to Guides

10 Tips to Turn Your Brain Into an Idea Factory

Our creativity may vary in style, but never in quality.

Andrew Medal




I like to believe that we are all born creative. Our creativity may vary in style, but never in quality. And while you might have lost touch with your idea-generating department, you can always reach it again.

Here are 10 tips on how to start producing ideas on a daily basis.

1Start an idea notebook

Always carry a notebook and write down everything. An idea is like bait, once you get a glimpse of one, you use it to catch bigger and better ideas. Write down everything that you think might be a starting point.

2Hold intense brainstorming sessions

Here is when you go fishing. Let your mind wonder and go from one idea to the other. Brainstorming sessions will get your mind into creative mode.

Related: 8 Creativity Lessons from a Pixar Animator

3Write 10 new ideas every night

Think of this as a plan for tomorrow. Write down ideas before you go to sleep and wake up the next day with the basis for your work. It will give you direction and can prevent a creative block. I do this every night. It’s easy to come up with the first six, and the last four take a little extra brain power. Try it.

4Draw ideas

Let your hand scribble on the paper and your mind will wonder. Try expressing your ideas into drawings and sketches. And remember, you don’t have to be an actual artist to get the most of the benefits picture has to offer. It’s fun. I like to draw out websites I build.

5Seek experiences


Lead an experience-driven life. Experiencing new things will widen your perspective and will give you a bigger “inspiration pool.” People with full lives are better at being open, creative and producing new ideas.

Related: Strategic Creativity Drives Growth

6Turn off your electronics

Get away from the computer. Even when brainstorming or taking notes, use good old pen and paper. Turn off your electronics and remove your mind from distractions. You will find that not only you are more awake, but you will be better at directing your attention and maximising the production of new ideas.

7Drink coffee

Coffee wakes up the brain and sparks creativity. Think of it as fuel for your idea generator. Combine it with any of the previous tips, and you’ll feel limitless. I only drink caffeine a couple times per month, so when I drink it, it has a profound effect on me to the point I feel like I can walk through walls and see into the future.

8Surround yourself with creatives

Hang out with creative people, those who can inspire you and give you feedback. Network and bounce off ideas with each other. Get inspiration from people in your social group, and then expand your social group. And if the idea calls for it, by all means, collaborate.

Related: 10 Myths About Creativity You Need to Stop Believing Now

9Finish things

Get in the mode of finishing things. Once you start thinking of an idea, think it through and don’t abandon it. Feeling accomplished will provide a dopamine boost, and help establish a craving that in turn develops a habit. Yay, habit loop!

10Don’t put yourself down

Never think that you are not creative enough or don’t have what it takes. Creative is a mood, not a brain type. Give yourself a break if things don’t come as naturally in the beginning and take it light. Rather than forcing it, create a habit of producing ideas and realise that habits take time.

Whether you need it for your job or want to lead a more creative life, transforming your brain into an idea-generating factory can be life-changing on all levels.

Word of caution: create ideas at your own risk, the effects could be a more focused, enriched, creative way of living. You may find more time and joy in the things you already do, and discover newfound opportunities and experiences. Not everyone will be ready for the profound effects. So “idea” wisely.

This article was originally posted here on

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How to Guides

1 In 4 South Africans Are Unemployed. Here’s How We Reduce Those Numbers

This CV Maker by Retroviral and Wonderland Collective for their client, Clere for Men, just made your life easier.

Mike Sharman




I receive unsolicited mails – weekly – from graduates, matriculants, and experienced industry individuals, vying for a potential role at Retroviral; anything.

The mails are terrible. I’ve seen more attractive, Comic Sans, conference, communication spam. The urge to delete is strong.

Considering the education syllabus has undergone some cosmetic surgery since I was at high school, I’m not sure if L.O (our version of ‘Guidance’) ever tackles the subject of self-promotion, individual PR, or even just plain old how to make friends and influence people.

The ‘intro mail’ – with attached CV – is your opportunity to get your foot in the door. If you screw this up, there is no next part. There is no interview. Do not pass go. Do not collect UIF.

Related: The Key To Hiring The Best Employees

We used the amount of awful CVs we are exposed to, as an insight for our client – Clere for Men. We then worked with Wonderland Collective to create a CV builder for the Clere for Men brand so that we could develop an actual solution for its customers.

We all know men are simple creatures. We are always on the look out for a better job and we are genetically programmed to find a girlfriend / partner. There are a series of steps required to attract said partner and this is where Clere for Men becomes the catalyst for change:

If you start off smelling good, it’s a shorter leap to then feel good, and once you feel good, you’re on your way to looking good (with a few pointers on the style front required). These are the key factors for enhancing your confidence.

Everything in life is about confidence. This brings us full circle to actually stepping foot into the interview situation to land the job you are after. Your paperwork has to be in order, your CV needs to look slick, but the piece of paper isn’t going to win you the job. You – the person – are! has been designed to give you grooming advice, style guidance, while the CV Maker is the third side of the triangle to give you a one up on your future and help you realise your personal vision.

Related: Dr John Demartini On Hiring The Right People

If we could enable 1 million people to become employed or aid them starting businesses and they hire 4 people as a result, that’s 5 million new jobs that have been created – or 10% of our population.

Play with the site, share with your mates who are in desperate need of a man-makeover, and let us know if there are any additions you would like to see. New content will be developed over the next few weeks as well as some video tutorials.

Are you interested? Click the image below and explore the platform.


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