Nick Marr

Author Archives: Nick Marr

Nick Marr is an author, speaker, digital marketing executive and coach with a passion for inspirational leadership. He started his coaching career as a police officer helping to deliver a change to senior officer leadership styles. He also represented minority police officers in various roles throughout his 20 year career. His move into business saw him as founder of one of the first online estate agencies in the UK. He has worked as Chief Marketing Officer and Vice President of Sales for Digital Marketing organisations. He once created a social media viral that went global just by using his head... His innovation in business led to him being featured in the Financial Times and appearances on BBC TV.

Google Rankbrain an SEO Factor for 2019?

Since 2015 when Google’s announcement that its search was now subject to a machine learning algorithm called RankBrain the SEO industry has tried to work out ways of taking advantage of this AI.

Recent comments have now made search engine optimisation professionals doubt how it’s being used.

Whats Rankbrain?

RankBrain is described as a machine learning-based search engine algorithm, It helps Google to process search results and provide more relevant search results for users. Google commented that RankBrain was the third most important factor in the ranking algorithm along with links and content. With this sort of news, it make sense that everyone in the sector found ways to combat or take advantage of the new algorithm

Moz.com says Pre-RankBrain, it might have been appropriate to assess website page optimization by evaluating all traditional signals (link diversity, content depth, keyword matching, etc.). Post-RankBrain, SEOs need to determine the type of content that best serves users’ needs. For something like a sudden hurricane, you’re going to count on freshness much more than the links a piece might have accrued. For something like the history of Indigenous American music, you’ll be relying on content depth, and possibly related topics your domain covers, signaling authority. Know that the machine learning algorithms that drive RankBrain are matching signals to query intent, and that SEOs must do this, too. 

Moz.com

In short, RankBrain tweaks the algorithm on its own.

backlinko

Depending on the keyword, RankBrain will increase or decrease the importance of backlinks, content freshness, content length, domain authority etc.

Then, it looks at how Google searchers interact with the new search results. If users like the new algorithm better, it stays. If not, RankBrain rolls back the old algorithm.

Here’s the craziest part:

Google asked a group of Google Engineers to identify the best page for a given search. They also asked RankBrain.

And RankBrain outperformed brainy Google engineers by 10%!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vaz6nnAfjsQ&t=1sRankbrain thought to be important part of Googles ranking algorithm

Latest on Google Rankbrain

RankBrain. Lots of people keep saying that part of the RB system includes UX signals, including Dwell Time, Bounce Rate, Click Through Rate etc.

As I understood it, RB was about trying to fathom what results to serve for unrecognized searches.

Can you please confirm/deny whether RB uses UX signals of any kind?”

SearchEngineJournal

In response, Illyes explained that RankBrain uses search data to predict what a person might click on when searching for something that hasn’t been entered into Google before.

“RankBrain is a PR-sexy machine learning ranking component that uses historical search data to predict what would a user most likely click on for a previously unseen query.”

He goes on to state that RankBrain frequently solves problems that Google used to run into with traditional algorithms.

Rankbrain SEO Factor

Is RankBrain is juhelper/predictor/ predictor has the SEO sector overcomplicated the original announcements or is this just one guy at Google giving an oversimplified explanation of Rankbrain.

FREE DOWNLOAD – RankBrain 33 Page Ebook Guide

The 6 Top Tips for Hiring People


Having the right people working in your company can make or break your business.  Managing your stress during employee recruitment is important and you need to remember that you are not going to be able to please everyone in your company. 

As it is important for job seekers to keep up to date with industry news, it is also important that employers know what is going on in their industry and how this can affect their employment process. Take a look at Redline to stay informed.

However, this does not mean you should take a disorganized approach to recruitment and there are certain rules that you need to follow to ensure that you hire the right person.

Look for Commitment to Their Career

You will want to hire a candidate who is committed to their career instead of one that is not.  Candidates that switch careers often or jump from one job to the next in order to get a higher salary should be avoided.  If the candidate is not loyal to any company they could cause problems for your business in the long run.

To determine commitment, you need to look at the duration of the candidate’s last jobs.  If they are constantly changing jobs, it is a sign that they may not be the right one for your business.

Test Learning and Analytical Skills

You should try using different methodologies when it comes to testing learning and analytical skills.  This testing can be tricky, but it will ensure that you are evaluating the candidates on more than just their resume.  After all, it is possible that they have padded the resume to make them look better.

While you might be drawn to the candidate who is confident, you need to ensure that they have the right skills and education to back up their confidence.  Being confident is important, but you want to hire someone who can actually do the job you have to fill.

Check for Compatibility

When hiring someone, you need to check that they will be able to fit into your company culture.  To determine this, you should look at the social skills the candidate has in terms of getting along with others both colleagues and management.  During the interview, you should ask them about how they manage current clients in order to judge their compatibility with your company.

In order to work with you, the candidate will need to show willingness.  If the candidate does not get along with the previous boss or clients, you need to find out more.  This could be a red flag and a sign that they are not the candidate that you should be hiring.

Always Improve Your Hiring Process

Your hiring process is something that you need to focus on before you start looking at candidates whether you are recruiting for a big organization or looking for people for your start-up.  When assessing your hiring process, you need to consider if it has the following:

•                Instead of asking bullet point questions, you need to focus on getting to know the candidate along with their capabilities, skills, attitude, skills and overall potential within your company.

•                When advertising the job, you need to ensure that all of the responsibilities, experience, required education, knowledge and skills have been clearly listed.  Doing this will help you to evaluate the candidates and get more applications from people who truly fulfil all of your requirements. 

•                Involve other people in the evaluation process as this will provide you with more opinions on the candidate and ensure that the candidate will be able to work with their supervisor or colleagues. 

Don’t Forget About Interns

There are some people who disagree that interns are the best way to hire the right employee for your business, but this is something that you should consider.  When you hire an intern, you will learn their strengths as well as their weaknesses along with getting some practical evidence of their work and attitude.  This is all you need to ensure that you are hiring the right person for the company. 

When you pick an intern, you are already doing all of the hard work of narrowing the field.  This provides you with a potential pool of candidates who can fill the permanent positions that you have available.  An added bonus is that they already know how the company works.

Get Social with the Candidates

Personal questions can make an interview uncomfortable and may not get you anywhere.  You should instead analyze the candidate’s presence on social media.  This is a good strategy, particularly if you are hiring in a tech business.

Important Questions to Ask Before You Take on Interim Roles

For certain people, working on the contracts that are short-term might feel risky and is often associated with instability. Yet for others, it offers a lot more flexibility along with an increase in intellectual stimulation.

Read this EMR blog about Interim recruitment and see if it may suit you.


Here is my list that contains 5 key questions which I encourage individuals to answer before deciding to become interim managers:

1. Are you looking for a way to avoid office politics while focusing on delivery?

In most cases, an interim manager is hired by an organization in order to either deliver a specified project or to handle an individual business scenario. This means you have clear objectives and a deadline which requires a lot of focus and just about no time to become involved in trivia office politics.

For certain people, working in this type of environment can feel alienating. Yet the nature of these short-term contracts will mean that you are not actually embedded in any given organization. Some people thrive on these scenarios as they can focus more of their attention on the job at hand along with an inbuilt method of addressing problems or setbacks from a neutral position.

2. Do you have good communication skills?

This type of work will make you the outsider that comes into an organization to tell permanent staff what changes are required or how they should be doing things. This often means you need to handle situations with a level of finesse. Good communication skills are vital, and these skills have to be adapted to match the current culture that you find yourself working in.

You need to possess abilities to provide instructions in such a way that it encourages people and makes them feel enthusiastic about hopping on board. You also need outstanding management skills which means you are able to quickly engage with a team. You also need to be a great influencer as you will be required to shape certain processes while getting everyone on board with you quickly.

3. Do you enjoy variety?

The people that match up well to interim-management positions often find the permanent roles boring and stifling. This is because even senior levels often lack change. The advantages associated with interim management positions is that the role along with the challenges will change regularly. Many of these contracts will run from as little as 3 months all the way up to 18 months, which offers you many opportunities to find new companies, meet up with new people while tackling exciting and new problems.

There are people who thrive on this type of change, while others may feel like it is too risky. Of course, the lack of consistent and regular income can put many individuals off this route. Yet, with so many of the public sector organizations that have increased their reliance on the expert skills of the interim managers, there is now more demand, which means risks which were once common with contracting (being without work for months) is now reduced.

4. Do you crave more autonomy?

To put it into perspective you are actually your “own” boss in the role of interim manager. You get to choose which projects you would like to become involved in along with the freedom to move directly into another project or to take some time off in between. This can be especially useful when you have lifestyle commitments or family.

However, while you are offered with the benefit of choosing and picking, you will need to have the right skills at selling and marketing yourself, and you need to know how to network. If you are lacking in any of these skills finding work may become difficult.

5. Are you a professional expert in a given field, and are your skill sets in demand?

Organizations sometimes do not have staff members that are permanent with a specific skill-set in order to handle specialized projects. One of these examples is that we place many interims that specialize in social care within the local government.

Another popular emerging area is a demand for development and regeneration skills, along with experience in infrastructure delivery. This has to do with the government who prioritizes economic growth and house building. When these vital portions within the public sectors are experiencing a crisis, or if a new priority arises, hiring an outsider that has experience in dealing with similar issues, drastically lowers the risks along with maximizing chances of success. When implications become great, you really need the skills of an expert.

Why The Price Of Social Media Cannot Be Our Health and Children’s Safety

I love social media it’s helped me create a business and like others keeps me in touch with friend and is a form of entertainment. I even created a viral social media just by using my head. I write about the dangers of social media that now need to be stopped!

The tide is turning and governments and users alike are turning against these platforms who need to respond fast.

Children Being Groomed Right Now!

A recent study showed that more childrenare being groomed on Instagram than on other social media platforms,

Police in England and Wales haverecorded more than 5,000 cases of online grooming since having sexualcommunications with a child became a crime in April 2017, child protectioncharity the NSPCC found.

Instagram users are being targeted

Instagram was used in a third of caseswhere a method was disclosed, while Facebook was used in 23% of cases andSnapchat in 14%. The number of cases on Instagram that police dealt with roseby 200% in the space of a year.

Girls aged 12 to 15 were most likely tobe targeted by groomers, and victims included children as young as five yearsold, according to the group, which based its figures on freedom of informationrequests to 39 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales.

A fifth of the victims were 11 years old oryounger

Fake News Causing Health Risks

NHS head Simon Stevens said parents are denying children life-saving jabs because of lies posted on YouTube and Instagram.

NHS England say that fake information isresponsible for people not taking up vital prevention vaccines.  YouTube as well as Facebook-owned Instagramand WhatsApp as among the platforms on which anti-vaxxers are spreading what hesaid was “fake news” about vaccines. NHS England said that England

Stevens said discussions within thehealth body has focused on how to stem the spread of anti-vaccination ideas onInstagram and YouTube, and referred to a parent at his daughter’s primaryschool who had used WhatsApp to express concern about children’s immune systemsbeing “loaded up” with vaccines.

Online ID Verification For Us All?

Biometric identification could help social media?

I can’t see a problem where stricter meaningful ID verification is introduced by the social media platforms

nick marr

The Banks and the finance sector have mastered online ID why cant the social media platforms? The threat is so constant and potent to our children, our privacy and even our health, knowing who you are dealing with online has got to be a priority

Meaningful ID Verification

The Bank Societe Generale is giving its customers the chance to open an account online using biometric facial identification and a dynamic selfie. The bank is deploying this technology to simplify the banking process and reinforce personal data protection and confidentiality. Its this sort of level of identification I suggest that would start to take effect against the negative aspects of social media. I am a realist and know that no security measures are 100% but I believe this sort of action will help towards reducing:

  • Grooming of our children
  • Fake news
  • Online bullying
  • The wrong content being shown to children
  • Cybercrime
  • Troll activity
  • Fake social media accounts

New Laws Coming to the UK?

Margot James MP, the U.K.’s Minister for Digital said that “online safety is a top priority for the Government and we want to make the U.K. the safest place in the world to be online

Companies such as Facebook, Instagramand Snapchat will be expected to ensure that only children aged 13 and over areon their platforms and that the content is appropriate for their age.

Those that breach the “age appropriate”code face fines of up to 4 per cent of global turnover by Elizabeth Denham, theInformation Commissioner, who will police the new regime.

She said: “Our code will clearly outlinewhat is required of developers at the design stage so that children areprotected in the first place. Safeguards must be built in, not bolted on.

“We will not hesitate to use ourconsiderable powers to enforce the law.”

Much as a parent who buys their child a cuddly toy should have the confidence there are no sharp edges or loose fixings so they should have the confidence that online games, websites and new technologies will be safe, she said.

Social Media Companies Change or Die

It’s time for social media leaders to make the change after all you have your own kids, health and privacy at stake

DOWNLOAD NICK’s GUIDE ‘SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION THE IMPORTANT BASICS’

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Toxic Leadership Uncovered

I speak about bad managers and toxic leaders that can serve to demotivate and create tension for employees. Most bosses will have you believe that employees leave in search of more money or simply that they are not loyal. The facts speak for themselves bad bosses, managers and line managers are the number one reason for employee dissatisfaction.

Leadership that fails individuals is costing organisations money in recruitment, training and productivity. Whats more it’s making people lives a misery by being unhappy at work

Signs of a bad bully boss
  1. A recent study by CareerBuilder.com shows that a whopping 58 percent of managers said they didn’t receive any management training. Digest that for a second. Most managers in the workforce were promoted because they were good at what they did, and not necessarily good at making the people around them better. This statistic obviously unveils a harsh reality. We have a bunch of leaders who aren’t trained on how to lead.
  2. Leigh Branham, author of The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leaverevealed that 89 percent of bosses believe employees quit because they want more money. As much as any boss would love this statistic to be true (because it basically pardons any manager from wrong-doing) it’s simply not true. Only 12 percent of employees actually leave an organization for more money.

The key to effective delegation

To become an effective and successful leader, one must know the importance of delegation and focus on other areas that make a great difference for the success of the project. A delegation of tasks also helps to manage people effectively in a team. Delegation tasks not only frees a person to focus on their imperative assignments but also helps in the growth and development of other people in the team. When done correctly, it motivates the person to whom the tasks are delegated, which, as a result, contributes to their professional development.

Delegation involves:

  • Clear allocation of assignments and responsibilities.
  • Placing well-defined objectives and measures.
  • Supervising the process, progress, and outcomes.

Here are some of the points that one should keep the following in mind to delegate efficiently.

Prepare

The key to effective delegation is preparing groundwork, which requires careful planning and development of tasks that are being delegated. Designing a clear map of the required tasks will save time and provide clear objectives to the person who will perform those tasks. The purpose here is to be specific and identify responsibilities that need to be assigned, which requires clear communication of the tasks.

Pareto’s Principle 

The Pareto Principle, named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, or The 80/20 Rule, 

Effective managers do not delegate the 20 percent of tasks that affects 80 percent of results, but exactly the opposite. Delegating unimportant tasks such as administrative work that are neither sensitive nor high-risk can be a better option than handing over key tasks. Moreover, these tasks should be delegated based on one’s potential to ensure maximum productivity and effective results.

Challenge and motivate

When deciding whom to delegate certain tasks to, smart managers take many factors into consideration such as individual’s skill sets, nature of the assignment, opportunities for growth, among others. This requires having a good understanding of aptitudes and competencies of the team members.

Clear Explanation

Managers should provide a clear explanation of tasks and responsibility including the expected outcome to ascertain that the person to whom the work is delegated is able to understand the work and is able to complete it in an effective manner.

Take a personal interest in the progress of the delegated task

Managers should provide guidance for the resources that may be required to complete the task. Requesting regular update of tasks and willing to provide assistance, if required, is valuable. However, this should be done without being intrusive, which will give the impression of untrustworthiness to the team member. This can be done by keeping an environment of open communication.

Evaluate and reward

Evaluation of results is more crucial than methods. If the assignments were achieved competently by the team, they should be informed of their success. In case of insufficient performance, the manager should analyse and provide effective feedback.

With practice, the delegation process becomes faster and seamless. As mentioned previously, not only does it help in reducing managers from getting exhausted from work, but it also helps the team to grow together. Moreover, it provides the manager with an opportunity to identify the strengths of their team members.

It also boosts team morale and enthusiasm, enabling them to dive in the challenging projects together. The saying “if you want the job done right, you should do it yourself” is no more applicable in today’s highly competitive and task-oriented era. A better approach is to “delegate effectively if you want a job well done.”

Developing Mental Strength

We all have ups and downs in life and experience some really tough times. How we handle these times is a sure sign of mental strength. Avoiding emotional times and difficult situations will not serve as well and will make you vulnerable to when the tough times come.

I remember as a young police officer dealing with death, violence and witnessing incidents that simply stay with you. I developed my own mental strength on the go. It helped me years later experiencing family bereavements and stresses in the workplace. I explore how to develop mental strength

What is mental strength?

Mental strength means that you regulate your emotions, manage your thoughts, and behave in a positive manner, despite your circumstances.

Picture a mentally strong person. Whether you imagine a real person or just think about the characteristics of a strong person, you are most likely thinking about qualities like resilience and perseverance.

This is exactly what mental strength is all about – the ability to remain calm and composed under pressure.

When a disaster strikes, mental strength helps you look beyond the disappointment and tears, quickly helping you to move forward.

Mental strength means you aren’t stifled still in the face of adversity.

You can think of mental strength as your companion. That one friend who sticks by you in good and bad times telling you to keep moving and pushing forward. It’s the inner voice of respect, trust and confidence.

Stop Negative Thoughts

Although most of us don’t spend time thinking about our thoughts, increasing your awareness of your thinking habits proves useful in building resilience. Exaggerated, negative thoughts, such as, “I can’t ever do anything right,” hold you back from reaching your full potential. Catch your negative thoughts before they spiral out of control and influence your behavior.

Identify and replace overly negative thoughts with thoughts that are more productive. Productive thoughts don’t need to be extremely positive, but should be realistic. A more balanced thought may be, “I have some weaknesses, but I also have plenty of strengths.” Changing your thoughts requires constant monitoring, but the process can be instrumental in helping you become your best self.

Increase Emotional Intelligence

Allowing your emotions to control your life will deplete your mental strength. While there’s nothing wrong with being in a bad mood sometimes, staying stuck in a negative rut can be a slippery slope:

A lot of problems stem from our desire to avoid discomfort. For example, people who fear failure often avoid new challenges in an effort to keep anxiety at bay. Avoiding emotional discomfort, however, is usually a short-term solution that leads to long-term problems.

Develop an awareness of how your emotions impact your life. Decide that you’re going to be in control of your emotions so they don’t control you. Face uncomfortable feelings head-on and take charge of your life. The more you practice tolerating discomfort, the more confidence you’ll gain in your ability to accept new challenges.

Don’t be a Martar

We tend to think that mentally strong people “power through it all” by avoiding rest and working 24/7.

Over the long-term, the exact opposite holds true.

“Resilience is how you recharge, not how you endure.”

Shawn Achor

Staying up late and avoiding relaxation has an incredibly negative effect on your brain power. You’re at increased risk for succumbing to impulsive desires, inattentiveness and questionable decision-making, amongst other effects.

To gain mental strength, know when to put down your phone or turn off your laptop, and prioritize the much-needed recuperation of your body and mind.

You have to learn to work with your thoughts, manage your emotions, and behave productively despite the circumstances. Over time with regular practice, attention, and focus, your brain will actually physically rewire itself, through a process called neuroplasticity, so that stronger and healthier becomes the default. Increasing your mental strength is the key to reaching your greatest potential in life.

 “Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher,” said Oprah Winfrey.

Striving to expand your network with inspirational people is a great stepping stone for improving your mental strength.

The Way Forward

You have to learn to work with your thoughts, manage your emotions, and behave productively despite the circumstances. Over time with regular practice, attention, and focus, your brain will actually physically rewire itself, through a process called neuroplasticity, so that stronger and healthier becomes the default. Increasing your mental strength is the key to reaching your greatest potential in life.

The difference between coaching and mentoring

Often mentoring and coaching are used interchangeably. While they may use similar skillsets to allow clients to reach their full potential, they are not quite the same.

Mentoring traditionally enables an individual to follow in the path of a more experienced colleague who passes on knowledge and helps to open doors to better opportunities. International Mentoring Group suggests mentoring as, “A process of direct transfer of experience and knowledge from one person to another.” Today, the word ‘mentor’ is often thrown around carelessly for anyone who provides a positive, influential guide to another person.

Coaching, on the other hand, does not require a coach to have direct experience of their client’s formal occupational role unless their coaching is specific and skills focused. The Cambridge dictionary defines “coaching” as a “job or activity of providing training for people or helping to prepare them for something”. But this isn’t a complete definition, because coaching is neither training nor preparation, but a framework to achieving goals.

Coaching and online coaching has progressed from having a stigma attached to it to affording status: coaching has become an indication that one’s company considers one worth an investment. Moreover, we think this is because something else has happened in many business cultures – people are more willing to admit to themselves and to others that they need the help of professionals to understand themselves and to grow and develop in their working environment. Senior executives now often acknowledge that they have had coaching and that it has informed them as leaders and influenced their value systems, the way they deal with other people or their approach to their work. This is increasingly seen as something to be proud of, as demonstrating emotional intelligence and insight.

Some of the important differences between coaching and mentoring are as follows:

Aim:

The aim of coaching is to develop potential with a focus on developing and enhancing performance, aimed at specific immediate work-related issues and career transitions. In mentoring, the focus is on the growth of the mentee professionally providing guidance for career development and managing transitions from a broader perspective.

Duration:

The duration of coaching is usually shorter than mentoring. Coaching can be terminated after a few sessions when a specific goal or skill targeted is achieved. Mentoring conversely requires more commitment from both parties and may continue for years.

Drivers:

The driving force behind mentoring is an effort to positively influence the personal and professional growth of the mentee. However, coaching demands defined focus to be present and the aim here is to acquire new skills as efficiently as possible.

Initiative:

Coaching will challenge and encourage rather than direct advice or teach like mentoring, but the individual being coached or mentored will find their answers for themselves. Hence, coaching does not require design, however, mentoring requires strategic models for specific components to be effective.

Focus:

The focus in coaching is task oriented i.e. to focus on certain skills development or address concrete issues. The focus of mentoring is relationship oriented and long term personal goals and growth. It provides a safe environment where the mentee shares the issues that affect their professional and personal success.

Evaluation:

It can be challenging to provide specific key performance indicators for mentoring as it focuses on broader issues. However, coaching has specific goals, therefore, it is easier to measure by tracking the accomplishment of those goals.

The difference here is largely based around goal-setting and focus which is the age-old battle between performance and capability building. The Brefi Group, a UK-based change-management organization, suggests the key difference between mentoring and coaching in this thought-provoking sentence: “A coach has some great questions for your answers; a mentor has some great answers for your questions.”Depending on individuals particular needs and their circumstances, they will guide the process accordingly.

Key Differences

1) In mentoring, the mentor is guiding the mentee through the field they need information in, and the relationship is mentee driven.
2) Mentoring can be used by all levels in an organization; it’s a very broad audience to target a wide group.
3) Mentees often select their own mentor and do so by choosing a mentor with a background that they feel appropriately suites their needs.
4) Mentoring is not a full-time job for most mentors. (However, we recommend creating a role profile and baseline mentoring training to help mentors understand their roles and what is expected of them.)
5) Mentors usually belong to the same organization as the mentee.
6) The costs of mentoring programs are usually lower than coaching programs since the mentor volunteers to support the mentee.

Executive Coaching & Mentoring

There is a great deal of overlap between business and executive coaching or mentoring. The key differences between business and executive coaching and mentoring are that Executive coaches and mentors typically…

  • Have a track record in professional and executive roles
  • Work exclusively with the ‘high-flyers’ or with those who have potential to be a high flyer
  • Work at board or CEO level within high profile or ‘blue-chip’ organisations
  • Offer total confidentiality
  • Work with potential ‘captains of industry’ and high profile business leaders

Nine ways to calm nerves before a presentation

Public speaking is described as one of the most common phobias around. According to a study, 75% of Americans suffer from anxiety in relation to public speaking, which means that three out of four people would refrain from speaking in public. As a matter of fact, even seasoned veterans may experience speech nervousness. Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Prince Harry, Jennifer Aniston, and Adele are few of the examples of celebrities who feel anxious when facing a crowd. Here are some of the tops to overcome this phobia:

Practice

Rehearsing is the biggest key to become a confident speaker. Having an audience of trusted reviewers to give feedback is the most effective way to enhance your presentation skills and feel more confident in front of the crowd. You may also recording yourself and play back the file to identify and weaknesses in your speech.

Drink some water

High anxiety levels can cause dry mouth, which can make it extremely difficult to communicate effectively. Keeping a water bottle along with you when presenting can help you stay hydrated.

Positive visualization

Imagine yourself going on a stage and successfully sharing your message across the audience and receiving a good response from them.. Studies have proved that exercising positive visualization can be highly effective to calm our nerves and boost your confidence.

You may well think of some positive outcomes that can happen but if you are worrying you are almost certainly thinking of a whole range of things that can go wrong. Creating these thoughts in your imagination is like experiencing them in reality and you unconsciously create the exact reaction that you would have if these things really did occur.

Focusing on the best outcome that can happen, or on a range of possible positive outcomes can reduce your anxiety. Try asking yourself the simple question ‘What would I like to happen?’  Just ask yourself that question and imagine what it would be like if that were to happen. Maybe you could create a picture in your mind, or you can imagine what things you would say to yourself and how you would feel. You could also try writing down a description of that outcome. One advantage of doing this is that you can read it back to yourself from time to time if you get anxious again in the future.

Deep breaths

Adrenaline causes breathing to become shallow. Holding the breath in anticipation of what will follow only leads to increase in stress levels. Breathing exercises are a proven method to relax as they provide oxygen to the brain, which allows the body to remain calm and composed.

Some of us will recognise that awful moment when you are standing in front of a group of people and your mind just goes blank. The chances are, if you took a moment to notice, you are probably holding your breath. In fact if you hold your breath right now and try and think, you may find not much comes in! By starving our brain of oxygen, we are effectively preventing ourselves from thinking. If you think of the concept that a new thought = a new breath, thoughts will flood in and the deeper the breath the clearer the message to our subconscious that we are relaxed and confident.

Watch for the adrenaline to show up and don’t let it surprise you. Determine how adrenaline manifests for you—butterflies, palpitations or racing thoughts—and begin to expect these symptoms as a natural prelude to speaking. As soon as the symptoms show up, say to yourself, “Oh, good. My MOJO is here!” It’s true!  When you harness adrenaline, you command the room. Why would you want to resist this power? The challenge is not overcoming nervousness, it is turning fear into energy before you begin over-thinking the process.

Practice body language

Standing straight and holding a strong physical pose makes one feel more confident and creates a sense of self-assurance. Practicing confident body language is an effective way to calm nerves and reduce the levels of anxiety. When your body exhibits confidence in its posture, the mind follows the suit. Also, make sure to maintain a smile during a presentation as it exhibits confidence and enthusiasm.

Exercise

According to researchers, exercise can ease nervousness and anxiety by releasing endorphins, the feel-good chemicals in the brain. Exercise also increases body temperature, which causes an all-over calming effect. It helps you to reduce anxiety levels and makes you feel more confident.

Arrive early

Arriving early will give you enough time to settle down before the talk as well as adjust to the environment. Spending a certain time in the actual presentation room and practicing there will also increase your comfort level.

Know your topic

Knowing and understanding your topic minimises fear. Your audience is there to listen to the message you want to impart. Having a good command on the subject that you are about to speak will enable you to communicate more effectively, allowing you to remain calm during the presentation.

Practice the pause

Anxiety causes people to talk at a much faster rate than they actually do. A good practice is to rehearse pauses in your speech, perhaps to emphasise key messages. Training your mind automatically reminds you to slow down during the presentation and allows the audience time to process the material effectively.

You cannot conquer fear without accepting your fear. Anxiety only intensifies when one keeps wondering if others can notice their apprehension. With these tips, transform your nervous energy into positive enthusiasm.

Identifying Passive Aggressive Behaviours

Passive Aggressive Behaviours

It is easy for most people to retaliate indirectly than expressing their disagreements head-on as the latter can lead to confrontation. Expressing aggression or negative feelings is indirectly termed as passive-aggressive behaviour. A great deal of passive aggression arises from a failure to communicate, miscommunication, or an assumption that the other party is clairvoyant to being aware of the negative emotions felt by the other.

Passive aggressiveness can come in varying degrees which makes it extremely difficult to identify.  However, in a lot of cases, it’s said to be a disconnection between promises made and an individual’s actions. Such actions might not be viewed as a form of angry retribution, but rather disguised as feigned politeness or friendly agreements (which contain ulterior motives and mask deception and manipulation with well-meaning words). According to Dr Wetzler, author of ‘Living with Passive Aggressive Man”, passive-aggressive behaviour “really is a sugar-coated hostility”.  Below are some of the most common examples (but by no means all indicators) of passive-aggressive behaviours.

Silent Treatment

The most common form of passive aggressiveness is the silent treatment. This conveys a person’s anger or resentment in the form of refusing to answer the question, ignoring the other person, or refusing to acknowledge their presence. This avoids conflict by negating any verbal signs, yet makes the other person uncomfortable and may end up provoking them instead.

Masked verbal hostility with humour

Passive aggressive people use sarcasm and hostility laden humour to convey their anger, contempt, or disapproval of others. They may say something offensive and add the disclaimer ‘just kidding’ in the end to protect themselves.  They use humour and repetitive teasing to piecemeal erode one’s authority and credibility.

Subtle insults

A passive aggressive person could choose indirect methods for offending person. One such example is the use of compliments, coupled with underhanded insults or demeaning words. For example, ‘nice haircut’ is a good compliment. However, hearing ‘nice haircut, it makes you look much younger’ signifies a passive-aggressive behaviour.

Leaving things undone

Some people may remark that they might have that one colleague who accepted to perform certain tasks but didn’t finish them on time, indicating that they would not be complete by the required time. This means that they had to draft in other colleagues to get the work done in order to reach the final deadline. If such practices are frequent and not due to unforeseen or external factors, it may be a deliberate attempt to create disharmony and could be passive aggression in career, signalling resentment towards their field or job.

Complaining

Being sullen and complaining continuously to all around them could be a sign of passive aggressiveness. Individuals may go around complaining to all, except the person they deem responsible in order to avoid any type of direct conflict. When directly confronted, they may play innocent or feign ignorance of the charges that they’ve aired.

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