More on Personal Growth
2 months ago
7 ways to improve public speaking
How to overcome public speaking fear and give a killer presentation
"Public speaking is people's biggest fear, according to studies. Death's second. The average person is better off in the casket than delivering the eulogy." — American comedian, actor, writer, and producer Jerry Seinfeld
People fear public speaking, according to research. Public speaking can be intimidating.
Most professions require public speaking, whether to 5, 50, 500, or 5,000 people. Your career will require many presentations. In a small meeting, company update, or industry conference.
You can improve your public speaking skills. You can reduce your anxiety, improve your performance, and feel more comfortable speaking in public.
“If I returned to college, I'd focus on writing and public speaking. Effective communication is everything.” — 38th president Gerald R. Ford
You can deliver a great presentation despite your fear of public speaking. There are ways to stay calm while speaking and become a more effective public speaker.
Seven tips to improve your public speaking today. Let's help you overcome your fear (no pun intended).
Know your audience.
"You're not being judged; the audience is." — Entrepreneur, author, and speaker Seth Godin
Understand your audience before speaking publicly. Before preparing a presentation, know your audience. Learn what they care about and find useful.
Your presentation may depend on where you're speaking. A classroom is different from a company meeting.
Determine your audience before developing your main messages. Learn everything about them. Knowing your audience helps you choose the right words, information (thought leadership vs. technical), and motivational message.
2. Be Observant
Observe others' speeches to improve your own. Watching free TED Talks on education, business, science, technology, and creativity can teach you a lot about public speaking.
What worked and what didn't?
What would you change?
How interesting or dull was the topic?
Note their techniques to learn more. Studying the best public speakers will amaze you.
Learn how their stage presence helped them communicate and captivated their audience. Please note their pauses, humor, and pacing.
"A speaker should prepare based on what he wants to learn, not say." — Author, speaker, and pastor Tod Stocker
Practice makes perfect when it comes to public speaking. By repeating your presentation, you can find your comfort zone.
When you've practiced your presentation many times, you'll feel natural and confident giving it. Preparation helps overcome fear and anxiety. Review notes and important messages.
When you know the material well, you can explain it better. Your presentation preparation starts before you go on stage.
Keep a notebook or journal of ideas, quotes, and examples. More content means better audience-targeting.
Videotape your speeches. Check yourself. Body language, hands, pacing, and vocabulary should be reviewed.
Best public speakers evaluate their performance to improve.
Write down what you did best, what you could improve and what you should stop doing after watching a recording of yourself. Seeing yourself can be unsettling. This is how you improve.
5. Remove text from slides
"Humans can't read and comprehend screen text while listening to a speaker. Therefore, lots of text and long, complete sentences are bad, bad, bad.” —Communications expert Garr Reynolds
Presentation slides shouldn't have too much text. 100-slide presentations bore the audience. Your slides should preview what you'll say to the audience.
Use slides to emphasize your main point visually.
If you add text, use at least 40-point font. Your slides shouldn't require squinting to read. You want people to watch you, not your slides.
6. Body language
"Body language is powerful." We had body language before speech, and 80% of a conversation is read through the body, not the words." — Dancer, writer, and broadcaster Deborah Bull
Nonverbal communication dominates. Our bodies speak louder than words. Don't fidget, rock, lean, or pace.
Relax your body to communicate clearly and without distraction through nonverbal cues. Public speaking anxiety can cause tense body language.
Maintain posture and eye contact. Don’t put your hand in your pockets, cross your arms, or stare at your notes. Make purposeful hand gestures that match what you're saying.
7. Beginning/ending Strong
Beginning and end are memorable. Your presentation must start strong and end strongly. To engage your audience, don't sound robotic.
Begin with a story, stat, or quote. Conclude with a summary of key points. Focus on how you will start and end your speech.
You should memorize your presentation's opening and closing. Memorize something naturally. Excellent presentations start and end strong because people won't remember the middle.
Bringing It All Together
Seven simple yet powerful ways to improve public speaking. Know your audience, study others, prepare and rehearse, record yourself, remove as much text as possible from slides, and start and end strong.
Follow these tips to improve your speaking and audience communication. Prepare, practice, and learn from great speakers to reduce your fear of public speaking.
"Speaking to one person or a thousand is public speaking." — Vocal coach Roger Love
8 days ago
By Engaging in these 5 Duplicitous Daily Activities, You Rapidly Kill Your Brain Cells
No, it’s not smartphones, overeating, or sugar.
Everyday practices affect brain health. Good brain practices increase memory and cognition.
Bad behaviors increase stress, which destroys brain cells.
Bad behaviors can reverse evolution and diminish the brain. So, avoid these practices for brain health.
1. The silent assassin
Introverts appreciated quarantine.
Before the pandemic, they needed excuses to remain home; thereafter, they had enough.
I am an introvert, and I didn’t hate quarantine. There are billions of people like me who avoid people.
Social relationships are important for brain health. Social anxiety harms your brain.
Antisocial behavior changes brains. It lowers IQ and increases drug abuse risk.
What you can do is as follows:
Make a daily commitment to engage in conversation with a stranger. Who knows, you might turn out to be your lone mate.
Get outside for at least 30 minutes each day.
Shop for food locally rather than online.
Make a call to a friend you haven't spoken to in a while.
2. Try not to rush things.
People love hustle culture. This economy requires a side gig to save money.
Long hours reduce brain health. A side gig is great until you burn out.
Work ages your wallet and intellect. Overworked brains age faster and lose cognitive function.
Working longer hours can help you make extra money, but it can harm your brain.
Side hustle but don't overwork.
What you can do is as follows:
Decide what hour you are not permitted to work after.
Three hours prior to night, turn off your laptop.
Put down your phone and work.
Assign due dates to each task.
3. Location is everything!
The environment may cause brain fog. High pollution can cause brain damage.
Air pollution raises Alzheimer's risk. Air pollution causes cognitive and behavioral abnormalities.
Polluted air can trigger early development of incurable brain illnesses, not simply lung harm.
Your city's air quality is uncontrollable. You may take steps to improve air quality.
In Delhi, schools and colleges are closed to protect pupils from polluted air. So I've adapted.
What you can do is as follows:
To keep your mind healthy and young, make an investment in a high-quality air purifier.
Enclose your windows during the day.
Use a N95 mask every day.
4. Don't skip this meal.
Fasting intermittently is trendy. Delaying breakfast to finish fasting is frequent.
Some skip breakfast and have a hefty lunch instead.
Skipping breakfast might affect memory and focus. Skipping breakfast causes low cognition, delayed responsiveness, and irritation.
Breakfast affects mood and productivity.
Intermittent fasting doesn't prevent healthy breakfasts.
What you can do is as follows:
Try to fast for 14 hours, then break it with a nutritious breakfast.
So that you can have breakfast in the morning, eat dinner early.
Make sure your breakfast is heavy in fiber and protein.
5. The quickest way to damage the health of your brain
Brain health requires water. 1% dehydration can reduce cognitive ability by 5%.
Cerebral fog and mental clarity might result from 2% brain dehydration. Dehydration shrinks brain cells.
Dehydration causes midday slumps and unproductivity. Water improves work performance.
Dehydration can harm your brain, so drink water throughout the day.
What you can do is as follows:
Always keep a water bottle at your desk.
Enjoy some tasty herbal teas.
With a big glass of water, begin your day.
Bring your own water bottle when you travel.
Bad habits can harm brain health. Low cognition reduces focus and productivity.
Unproductive work leads to procrastination, failure, and low self-esteem.
Avoid these harmful habits to optimize brain health and function.
2 months ago
The world's 36th richest man uses a 5-step system to get what he wants.
Ray Dalio's super-effective roadmap
Ray Dalio's $22 billion net worth ranks him 36th globally. From 1975 to 2011, he built the world's most successful hedge fund, never losing more than 4% from 1991 to 2020. (and only doing so during 3 calendar years).
Dalio describes a 5-step process in his best-selling book Principles. It's the playbook he's used to build his hedge fund, beat the markets, and face personal challenges.
This 5-step system is so valuable and well-explained that I didn't edit or change anything; I only added my own insights in the parts I found most relevant and/or relatable as a young entrepreneur. The system's overview:
Have clear goals
Identify and don’t tolerate problems
Diagnose problems to get at their root causes
Design plans that will get you around those problems
Do what is necessary to push through the plans to get results
If you follow these 5 steps in a virtuous loop, you'll almost always see results. Repeat the process for each goal you have.
1. Have clear goals
a) Prioritize: You can have almost anything, but not everything.
I started and never launched dozens of projects for 10 years because I was scattered. I opened a t-shirt store, traded algorithms, sold art on Instagram, painted skateboards, and tinkered with electronics. I decided to try blogging for 6 months to see where it took me. Still going after 3 years.
b) Don’t confuse goals with desires.
A goal inspires you to act. Unreasonable desires prevent you from achieving your goals.
c) Reconcile your goals and desires to decide what you want.
d) Don't confuse success with its trappings.
e) Never dismiss a goal as unattainable.
Always one path is best. Your perception of what's possible depends on what you know now. I never thought I'd make money writing online so quickly, and now I see a whole new horizon of business opportunities I didn't know about before.
f) Expectations create abilities.
Don't limit your abilities. More you strive, the more you'll achieve.
g) Flexibility and self-accountability can almost guarantee success.
Flexible people accept what reality or others teach them. Self-accountability is the ability to recognize your mistakes and be more creative, flexible, and determined.
h) Handling setbacks well is as important as moving forward.
Learn when to minimize losses and when to let go and move on.
2. Don't ignore problems
a) See painful problems as improvement opportunities.
Every problem, painful situation, and challenge is an opportunity. Read The Art of Happiness for more.
b) Don't avoid problems because of harsh realities.
Recognizing your weaknesses isn't the same as giving in. It's the first step in overcoming them.
c) Specify your issues.
There is no "one-size-fits-all" solution.
d) Don’t mistake a cause of a problem with the real problem.
"I can't sleep" is a cause, not a problem. "I'm underperforming" could be a problem.
e) Separate big from small problems.
You have limited time and energy, so focus on the biggest problems.
f) Don't ignore a problem.
Identifying a problem and tolerating it is like not identifying it.
3. Identify problems' root causes
a) Decide "what to do" after assessing "what is."
"A good diagnosis takes 15 to 60 minutes, depending on its accuracy and complexity. [...] Like principles, root causes recur in different situations.
b) Separate proximate and root causes.
"You can only solve problems by removing their root causes, and to do that, you must distinguish symptoms from disease."
c) Knowing someone's (or your own) personality can help you predict their behavior.
4. Design plans that will get you around the problems
a) Retrace your steps.
Analyze your past to determine your future.
b) Consider your problem a machine's output.
Consider how to improve your machine. It's a game then.
c) There are many ways to reach your goals.
Find a solution.
d) Visualize who will do what in your plan like a movie script.
Consider your movie's actors and script's turning points, then act accordingly. The game continues.
e) Document your plan so others can judge your progress.
Accountability boosts success.
f) Know that a good plan doesn't take much time.
The execution is usually the hardest part, but most people either don't have a plan or keep changing it. Don't drive while building the car. Build it first, because it'll be bumpy.
5. Do what is necessary to push through the plans to get results
a) Great planners without execution fail.
Life is won with more than just planning. Similarly, practice without talent beats talent without practice.
b) Work ethic is undervalued.
Hyper-productivity is praised in corporate America, even if it leads nowhere. To get things done, use checklists, fewer emails, and more desk time.
c) Set clear metrics to ensure plan adherence.
I've written about the OKR strategy for organizations with multiple people here. If you're on your own, I recommend the Wheel of Life approach. Both systems start with goals and tasks to achieve them. Then start executing on a realistic timeline.
If you find solutions, weaknesses don't matter.
Everyone's weak. You, me, Gates, Dalio, even Musk. Nobody will be great at all 5 steps of the system because no one can think in all the ways required. Some are good at analyzing and diagnosing but bad at executing. Some are good planners but poor communicators. Others lack self-discipline.
Stay humble and ask for help when needed. Nobody has ever succeeded 100% on their own, without anyone else's help. That's the paradox of individual success: teamwork is the only way to get there.
Most people won't have the skills to execute even the best plan. You can get missing skills in two ways:
Others' (requires humility) light
On knowing what to do with your life
“Some people have good mental maps and know what to do on their own. Maybe they learned them or were blessed with common sense. They have more answers than others. Others are more humble and open-minded. […] Open-mindedness and mental maps are most powerful.” — Ray Dalio
I've always known what I wanted to do, so I'm lucky. I'm almost 30 and have always had trouble executing. Good thing I never stopped experimenting, but I never committed to anything long-term. I jumped between projects. I decided 3 years ago to stick to one project for at least 6 months and haven't looked back.
Maybe you're good at staying focused and executing, but you don't know what to do. Maybe you have none of these because you haven't found your purpose. Always try new projects and talk to as many people as possible. It will give you inspiration and ideas and set you up for success.
There is almost always a way to achieve a crazy goal or idea.
Enjoy the journey, whichever path you take.
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4 months ago
When My Remote Leadership Skills Took Off
4 Ways To Manage Remote Teams & Employees
The wheels hit the ground as I landed in Rochester.
Our six-person satellite office was now part of my team.
Their manager only reported to me the day before, but I had my ticket booked ahead of time.
I had managed remote employees before but this was different. Engineers dialed into headquarters for every meeting.
So when I learned about the org chart change, I knew a strong first impression would set the tone for everything else.
I was either their boss, or their boss's boss, and I needed them to know I was committed.
Managing a fleet of satellite freelancers or multiple offices requires treating others as more than just a face behind a screen.
You must comprehend each remote team member's perspective and daily interactions.
The good news is that you can start using these techniques right now to better understand and elevate virtual team members.
1. Make Visits To Other Offices
If budgeted, visit and work from offices where teams and employees report to you. Only by living alongside them can one truly comprehend their problems with communication and other aspects of modern life.
2. Have Others Come to You
• Having remote, distributed, or satellite employees and teams visit headquarters every quarter or semi-quarterly allows the main office culture to rub off on them.
When remote team members visit, more people get to meet them, which builds empathy.
If you can't afford to fly everyone, at least bring remote managers or leaders. Hopefully they can resurrect some culture.
3. Weekly Work From Home
No home office policy?
WFH is a team-building, problem-solving, and office-viewing opportunity.
For dial-in meetings, I started working from home on occasion.
It also taught me which teams “forget” or “skip” calls.
As a remote team member, you experience all the issues first hand.
This isn't as accurate for understanding teams in other offices, but it can be done at any time.
4. Increase Contact Even If It’s Just To Chat
Don't underestimate office banter.
Sometimes it's about bonding and trust, other times it's about business.
If you get all this information in real-time, please forward it.
Even if nothing critical is happening, call remote team members to check in and chat.
I guarantee that building relationships and rapport will increase both their job satisfaction and yours.
2 months ago
A simple go-to-market formula
“Poor distribution, not poor goods, is the main reason for failure” — Peter Thiel.
Here's an easy way to conceptualize "go-to-market" for your distribution plan.
One equation captures the concept:
Distribution = Ecosystem Participants + Incentives
Draw your customers' ecosystem. Set aside your goods and consider your consumer's environment. Who do they deal with daily?
First, list each participant. You want an exhaustive list, but here are some broad categories.
In-person media services
Financial education and banking
Draw influence arrows. Who's affected? I'm not just talking about Instagram selfie-posters. Who has access to your consumer and could promote your product if motivated?
The thicker the arrow, the stronger the relationship. Include more "influencers" if needed. Customer ecosystems are complex.
3. Incentivize ecosystem players. “Show me the incentive and I will show you the result.“, says Warren Buffet's business partner Charlie Munger.
Strong distribution strategies encourage others to promote your product to your target market by incentivizing the most prominent players. Incentives can be financial or non-financial.
Usually, there's money. If you pay Facebook, they'll run your ad. Salespeople close deals for commission. Giving customers bonus credits will encourage referrals.
Most businesses underuse non-financial incentives.
Motivate key influencers without spending money to expand quickly and cheaply. What can you give a client-connector for free?
Here are some ideas:
Are there any other features or services available?
Titles or status? Tinder paid college "ambassadors" for parties to promote its dating service.
Can I get early/free access? Facebook gave a select group of developers "exclusive" early access to their AR platform.
Are you a good host? Pharell performed at YPlan's New York launch party.
Distribution? Apple's iPod earphones are white so others can see them.
Have an interesting story? PR rewards journalists by giving them a compelling story to boost page views.
More time spent on distribution means more room in your product design and business plan. Once you've identified the key players in your customer's ecosystem, talk to them.
Money isn't your only resource. Creative non-monetary incentives may be more effective and scalable. Give people something useful and easy to deliver.
8 months ago
10 Predictions for Web3 and the Cryptoeconomy for 2022
By Surojit Chatterjee, Chief Product Officer
2021 proved to be a breakout year for crypto with BTC price gaining almost 70% yoy, Defi hitting $150B in value locked, and NFTs emerging as a new category. Here’s my view through the crystal ball into 2022 and what it holds for our industry:
1. Eth scalability will improve, but newer L1 chains will see substantial growth — As we welcome the next hundred million users to crypto and Web3, scalability challenges for Eth are likely to grow. I am optimistic about improvements in Eth scalability with the emergence of Eth2 and many L2 rollups. Traction of Solana, Avalanche and other L1 chains shows that we’ll live in a multi-chain world in the future. We’re also going to see newer L1 chains emerge that focus on specific use cases such as gaming or social media.
2. There will be significant usability improvements in L1-L2 bridges — As more L1 networks gain traction and L2s become bigger, our industry will desperately seek improvements in speed and usability of cross-L1 and L1-L2 bridges. We’re likely to see interesting developments in usability of bridges in the coming year.
3. Zero knowledge proof technology will get increased traction — 2021 saw protocols like ZkSync and Starknet beginning to get traction. As L1 chains get clogged with increased usage, ZK-rollup technology will attract both investor and user attention. We’ll see new privacy-centric use cases emerge, including privacy-safe applications, and gaming models that have privacy built into the core. This may also bring in more regulator attention to crypto as KYC/AML could be a real challenge in privacy centric networks.
4. Regulated Defi and emergence of on-chain KYC attestation — Many Defi protocols will embrace regulation and will create separate KYC user pools. Decentralized identity and on-chain KYC attestation services will play key roles in connecting users’ real identity with Defi wallet endpoints. We’ll see more acceptance of ENS type addresses, and new systems from cross chain name resolution will emerge.
5. Institutions will play a much bigger role in Defi participation — Institutions are increasingly interested in participating in Defi. For starters, institutions are attracted to higher than average interest-based returns compared to traditional financial products. Also, cost reduction in providing financial services using Defi opens up interesting opportunities for institutions. However, they are still hesitant to participate in Defi. Institutions want to confirm that they are only transacting with known counterparties that have completed a KYC process. Growth of regulated Defi and on-chain KYC attestation will help institutions gain confidence in Defi.
6. Defi insurance will emerge — As Defi proliferates, it also becomes the target of security hacks. According to London-based firm Elliptic, total value lost by Defi exploits in 2021 totaled over $10B. To protect users from hacks, viable insurance protocols guaranteeing users’ funds against security breaches will emerge in 2022.
7. NFT Based Communities will give material competition to Web 2.0 social networks — NFTs will continue to expand in how they are perceived. We’ll see creator tokens or fan tokens take more of a first class seat. NFTs will become the next evolution of users’ digital identity and passport to the metaverse. Users will come together in small and diverse communities based on types of NFTs they own. User created metaverses will be the future of social networks and will start threatening the advertising driven centralized versions of social networks of today.
8. Brands will start actively participating in the metaverse and NFTs — Many brands are realizing that NFTs are great vehicles for brand marketing and establishing brand loyalty. Coca-Cola, Campbell’s, Dolce & Gabbana and Charmin released NFT collectibles in 2021. Adidas recently launched a new metaverse project with Bored Ape Yacht Club. We’re likely to see more interesting brand marketing initiatives using NFTs. NFTs and the metaverse will become the new Instagram for brands. And just like on Instagram, many brands may start as NFT native. We’ll also see many more celebrities jumping in the bandwagon and using NFTs to enhance their personal brand.
9. Web2 companies will wake up and will try to get into Web3 — We’re already seeing this with Facebook trying to recast itself as a Web3 company. We’re likely to see other big Web2 companies dipping their toes into Web3 and metaverse in 2022. However, many of them are likely to create centralized and closed network versions of the metaverse.
10. Time for DAO 2.0 — We’ll see DAOs become more mature and mainstream. More people will join DAOs, prompting a change in definition of employment — never receiving a formal offer letter, accepting tokens instead of or along with fixed salaries, and working in multiple DAO projects at the same time. DAOs will also confront new challenges in terms of figuring out how to do M&A, run payroll and benefits, and coordinate activities in larger and larger organizations. We’ll see a plethora of tools emerge to help DAOs execute with efficiency. Many DAOs will also figure out how to interact with traditional Web2 companies. We’re likely to see regulators taking more interest in DAOs and make an attempt to educate themselves on how DAOs work.
Thanks to our customers and the ecosystem for an incredible 2021. Looking forward to another year of building the foundations for Web3. Wagmi.