Take Action on your Dreams

Let us then, be up and doing

With a heart for any fate;

Still achieving, still pursuing,

Learn to labor and to wait.

– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

action
Make your life what you want it to be

Dreams are not enough.  Dreaming will not get us anywhere if we don’t take action on our dreams.  Each and every day we need to do at least one thing that will move us forward.

I hear you saying, but “I don’t have the time to do anything” or “I’m so busy there aren’t enough hours in the day to do what I need to do.”  But there are some things that take only a few minutes that can help move you forward.

Did you know that wasting 15 minutes a day works out to 91 hours per year?  What could you do with those 91 hours?

          If we read an average of 12 pages a day (about 15 minutes) we could read 17-18 books per year.

          We can learn a new task, become an expert in our field of study, or upgrade our education.

          We could exercise and stay in shape while tuning up our heart.  15 minutes 3 times a week will maintain a healthy body.

          We could spend the time in personal meditation or spiritual contemplation to bring balance to our lives.

          We could devote 15 minutes of quality time to someone we care about.  We could choose a different person each day.  We could write a letter, send a card, make a phone call or a personal visit.  We could sit down with someone and ask them a question and really listen to their answer.

Your time should always be spent doing things that help you achieve your goals and bring fulfillment to your life. Plan your days and determine how you will use your time most productively to accomplish your goals.

The next time you have 10 to 15 minutes, is there a phone call you can make or a letter you can send?  Can you write one page of your novel or your blog?  Is there a mailing list you can sign up for that will provide you with information you need? Time to read five pages of a book on your subject matter? Can you sign up to volunteer for an organization in your dream field?  You will be amazed at what you can accomplish in 15 minutes.

Practice Makes Perfect
Manage your time to reach your goals.

Time is a unique resource.  Day to day, everyone has the same amount.  It cannot be accumulated.  You can’t turn it on or off.  It can’t be replaced.  It has to be spent at the rate of sixty seconds every minute, sixty minutes every hour.

Time management, like the management of other resources, benefits from analysis and planning.  It is a personal process and must fit your style and circumstances. 

It takes a strong commitment to change old habits; however you do have a choice.  You can learn how to better use your time to accomplish the things you want to do.

Drop me a line with your email address and I will send you some more Time Management Tips to help you reach your goals sooner.

To spending your time wisely

#publicspeaking
Fran Watson

P.S. Leave me a comment if you would like a copy of my Time Management Tips

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Seek First To Understand

For years one of my fellow Toastmasters, by the name of Fred Schuck has been insistent that we need to “seek first to understand” the people we meet and interact with. On September 11th, yesterday, my daily reading included this from Stephen R. Covey’s “Daily Reflections For Highly Effective People”.

“Seek first to understand involves a very deep shift in paradigm.  We typically seek first to be understood. Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply.” 

How many times do we run into trouble with others because we view them from our experiences, our understanding, instead of taking the time to know them and their views better.  Have you ever walked away from an argument or discussion saying, “That person just doesn’t understand”?  When you think back on that moment now, did you really take the time to listen to that person to find out more about them so that you could understand where they are coming from.  I know that I have been guilty of this.

Yesterday many of us reflected on events that happened 18 years ago which changed the world as we know it.  We asked questions that we could not answer.  We sought answers to things we did not understand.  At that time, and since then, we accused innocent people of things they didn’t do because they belonged to a particular race of people. 

It is time to stop.  It is time to seek to understand, to learn, to grow, to become more. It doesn’t mean that we will agree.  It doesn’t even mean that things will immediately change when we do this.  But it’s a start.  And it begins with you…and me.  In a song I heard recently the words go something like this –“if not us then who, if not me and you.  If not now, then when will it ever end”

Seek to understand others

To better understanding of those we live with and work with and meet today.

Fran Watson

#publicspeaking
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Know Your Audience

Have you been told this before? What does it mean? How are you supposed to get to know your audience when you are speaking at a new venue? An article in The American Society of Engineers says the following:

“To connect with your audience, you need to understand why your topic is important to them. What do they expect to learn from the presentation? Don’t assume the audience is like you. They may have cultural or geographic biases and the more you understand them, the better you can express yourself to them and avoid speaking gaffes. It is also important to know the level of knowledge they have about your topic, so you can present the information with the correct tone to keep people interested and engaged.

Whether you are presenting to a small group of 20 or a large group of 200, there are many things you can to do in advance to ensure that your presentation achieves the desired response. The most important is to know and understand your audience as well as the venue logistics.”

Challenge Your Limits

There are several things you can do to prepare and research your audience before and at the beginning of the talk that will help you adjust your speech to better engage the audience. The first thing is to Research. Call the person who booked you and ask questions about the audience. What do they hope to gain, who are some of the main people you should get to know.

Then Greet them at the door – get there early and say hello to everyone who walks through the door. If you have a little bit of time, ask them some questions about why they came, what they hope to learn.

Read more here: https://www.asme.org/topics-resources/content/public-speaking-know-your-audience

You can also check out Toastmasters (as recommended in the article) by going to www.toastmasters.org and clicking on “find a club” to find a club near you. You can also find many good articles on public speaking at that link.

The more you know about your audience, the better you can tailor your speech to their wants and needs.

To your speaking success

Fran Watson

www.franwatson.ca
Know Your Audience

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Sandwich Month

I was reading a blog this morning this morning and found out that August is sandwich month. The first thought that came to mind was a toasted tomato sandwich with a tomato fresh from my garden (although I am still waiting for them to ripen).

What is your favourite “go to” sandwich that you order when you are out or that you make at home?

Favourite Sandwich?
Favourite Sandwich?

I am currently working on a Speaking Topics Planner/Journal that will come with a list of over 800 speech topics. Sandwiches would make a great topic. There are so many ways to spin this. You could talk about comfort foods, the most popular sandwiches, where the sandwich came from, exotic sandwiches and more.

If you are a marketer, you could spin this into a marketing segment by offering recipe books with sandwiches and other food items. (Excuse me for a moment while I go and check if I have such a thing to share with you.) Yes, I found a link for a health Mega Pack

There are a lot of choices at that site – so many health and food topics – great information for anyone who is a speaker or a marketer, or both. And it is PLR information, so that means you get to use it, tweak it and make it your own and keep all the profits. You would be selling your own product, not someone else’s product.

There are some other wonderful days in August that I may write about as well. Some I missed, but I may find something to share about them – Girlfriends Day, Watermelon Day, Friendship Day, Chocolate Chip Day, Work Like A Dog Day, Wiggle Your Toes Day and today (August 9th) is BOOK LOVERS DAY. Oh my goodness this day was made for me.

If I took pictures of my house, you would see books in EVERY room, including the bathroom! I have over 8 book cases full of books and 4 of those are in my living room. Plus the tops of two of those bookcases and a small table are piled with books.

Book Lovers Day
#1 Best Seller 2018 Read My Chapter

How about you? Are you a book lover? What are your favourite books?

Fran

P.S. My friend Connie Ragen Green is an amazing author and many of her books are available on Amazon for a very good deal. I have downloaded many of her Kindle books.

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Measuring Your Comfort Zone

Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone

Peter Drucker famously said “What gets measured, gets managed”. What if you could measure your comfort zone? Would this encourage more people to face their challenges and live more exciting lives?

“You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
― Roy T. Bennett

Marcus Taylor wrote:  “In 2012, after a conversation about comfort zones with Derek Sivers, I decided to build this tool as an experiment to see whether measuring comfort zones was possible, and whether it would be useful to people.”

“Real change is difficult at the beginning, but gorgeous at the end. Change begins the moment you get the courage and step outside your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
― Roy T. Bennett

“Since then, over 24,000 people have measured their comfort zone.The algorithm has also been approved as scientifically valid by registered psychologists at Deakin University.

This tool remains free for everyone. My only request is that you take action and do something outside of your comfort zone.”  – Marcus Taylor”

Measuring Comfort Zones

“We are so accustomed to the comforts of “I cannot”, “I do not want to” and “it is too difficult” that we forget to realize when we stop doing things for ourselves and expect others to dance around us, we are not achieving greatness. We have made ourselves weak.” 
― Pandora Poikilos, Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out

Dale Carnegie – a well-known speaker said:  “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie
And Brian Tracy, another well known speaker comments:  “Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.”– Brian Tracy

Connecting with Your Audience

The most important tool a public speaker can acquire is to learn how to make a connection with their audience. Once you can do this successfully people are going to enjoy your speeches and return for more.

One of the best ways to create a connection with your audience is to speak from your heart. Don’t just try to memorize your speech, talk with feelings and allow your emotions to rise to the surface. When people see you are passionate or upset by something they almost always immediately connect with you. They have probably experienced something similar that brings their own feelings to the surface.

Another way to set the tone of your speech is to pay attention to your opening. Very often you can capture your audience’s attention by giving them a startling fact or announcement.

Using stories is another compelling way to interact with your audience. If you use this angle you want to use a story that is true to you, and one that identifies with the topic you are talking about. If you are talking about your own journey on how you got to where you are today, you will have lots of stories to share.

One other great tactic is actually making use of a tool and that is by using images or graphics. This could be in the form of a slide show, drawings on a white board or having a pin board full of photographs. This works really well if you allow your audience to come up on stage and view them before your speech. Plus it allows you to mingle and to introduce yourself at the same time.

Take all the above items into consideration and see if you can use one or more of them in your next speech. Whatever you do stay true to yourself, don’t make up stories. If you don’t have one to share, you could always use snippets from a friend’s story.

The most powerful tool you have to connect with your audience is simply to use your voice and your body language. When you speak, speak with authority and confidence. Walk the stage and make eye contact with your audience and don’t forget the power of visual aids.

Remember that once you have learned the skill of connecting with your audience, you engagements will likely increase. You will become a more requested speaker than you thought possible.

To your success in stretching beyond your comfort zone.
Fran Watson
www.franwatson.ca
P.S.  How did you score?
P.P.S.  Check out this killer video  
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Self Care

Today I found an amazing site with all kinds of tips on self-care.

Develop good self-care habits
Develop Self-Care Habits

If you are like me, you often put others ahead of yourself and then wonder why you are so exhausted. It’s important to take time out to refresh and recover. This may mean just pouring yourself a cup of tea or coffee and sitting outside for half an hour, or maybe taking half an hour to read a book or some uplifting quotes.

It may mean talking to a good friend about what is going on in your lives over a glass of wine or a coffee or some lemonade. The drink part really doesn’t matter, it’s the conversation that makes the difference. Self-care is about giving ourselves relief when we feel overwhelmed.

It is important to recognize your stress indicators, such as mood swings, shortening temper, or feeling drained, overwhelmed, or angry. Use these “warning signs” to let you know you need “me time” and some self-care. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with too much social interaction, go home. Don’t be afraid to cancel plans or say “no.”

Giving your emotions free reign—or at least acknowledging your emotional state and moving on—is an important part of self-care. Before you can get better, you must acknowledge what is and was, and make those changes

It may be helpful to have a journal in which you can remind yourself of the good stuff in life by writing a list of things you’re grateful to have. Then post it somewhere you can see it often to help refocus your emotions when you feel down.

Emotional Self-Care Ideas
Self Care Ideas

These tips are just a starting point. You can find many more here. I encourage you to check this site out and find some tips that you can put to use.

To improving your personal self-care.

Fran Watson

P.S. Try some adult coloring as a form of anxiety and/or stress release. This can also serve to help you focus, be more mindful and perhaps spark some creativity.

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Wordless Communication aka Body Language

There is a language that we all speak, but few are conscious of: the language of our bodies.

When we are talking to others – either face-to-face, or from the front of the room, our posture, gestures, eye movements and general demeanor communicate far more than our words.

If you are unconsciously giving out the wrong signals, the meaning behind your intended message will be weakened or lost.

Body language is a vast, fascinating subject, but from a business point of view, there are several pointers that can help to strengthen your message. The aim is to match your audience’s unconscious template of what makes a person trustworthy and believable.

1. Personal Space

Everybody has a personal space threshold. Generally, Americans and Northern Europeans prefer to stand about a meter (3 feet) apart. People from Southern European and Asian countries are comfortable a little closer. Folks who live in rural areas like a little more space. Social situations allow closer proximities than non-social.

Be aware if the person you are talking to is backing up, and try not to intrude on their territory.

2. Eye Movements

Many people are nervous about making eye contact – it is vital to overcome that fear if you want to be respected and believed. An evasive or indirect gaze sends out a strong signal of untrustworthiness.

When speaking to a room full of people, it is essential that you allow yourself to make – and maintain for a few seconds – eye contact with everyone in the room, over and over.

3. Appearance

Experts say that the first five seconds of a meeting are more important than the next hour. Check all the obvious things like hair, teeth, fingernails, shoes, breath, immediately before the meeting. But also make sure you are putting on your best front, well in advance.

Even if the dress code is casual, there is a world of difference between dirty jeans and a crumpled T-shirt, and freshly laundered casual trousers and a polo shirt. Remember – dress to respect yourself and you automatically respect your audience.

4. Hands

Your hands are like semaphore flags. They send a message whatever position they are in.

Take a look at prominent politicians – they almost all use their hands to reinforce their words sending visual signals directly to the right-brain of the listener to augment the words which normally address the left-brain.

You have to think of your hands and arms as every bit as important as the charts and slides you are presenting.

There are five places your hands can comfortably be:

– 1. In your pockets. Don’t do it! It might feel natural, but the signal this gives is anything but. You will look uncomfortable, casual and unsure of yourself.

– 2. Clasped behind your back. This looks aloof and superior, and should be avoided.

– 3. Relaxed, by your side. This feels very unnatural to most people, but actually looks good to the audience. It makes you seem to lack tension.

– 4. On your hips. This is a very positive position. It sends out a message that you are comfortable and self- assured. Don’t overdo it. This stance is best used at moments when you stop speaking and are allowing the audience a moment to absorb your message.

– 5. Gesticulating. Learn the messages that your hands convey and use them to emphasize your points: an open hand denotes honesty; a closed fist, aggression or evasion; a pointing finger, hostility. Also be aware of cultural differences. The American thumb and forefinger gesture meaning ‘okay’ may be insulting in Denmark.

5. Read the Room

You are not the only one who is communicating non-verbally. Learn to recognize the unconscious signals that your audience is feeding back to you.
* A tilted head and direct eye contact indicates attentive approval.
* Raised eyebrows and forward-leaning posture denotes attentive alertness.
* Indirect gaze, accompanied by pen or finger biting show uncertainty.
* Folded arms can indicate hostility.
* A hand to the chin show that you are being summed up.

Finally, learn constantly. Whenever you watch a presenter, try to work out why they are good or bad. Every time you make a presentation, try to detach yourself and see how you can be even better next time.

Adapted from Martin Avis – “Do You Shout Even When You Are Silent”

Be aware of what you “say” even when you aren’t speaking!

Fran Watson

P.S. How can everything go well and then INSTANTLY turn without you ever having said a negative word…or no words at all??!!

The unseen body language signal

Read more about body language and how things can go wrong if you are not aware of what you are doing…Click here

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You Too Can Be A Public Speaker

Have you ever watched a speaker and said, “Wow, I wish I could speak like that”? or “That person was just so wonderful. I could never do that.” Well, I’ve got some good news for you. You too can be a public speaker. Public speaking is a learned skill, so anyone can do it. You just need to follow some simple steps and practice, practice, practice. If you know how to talk, you can become a public speaker.

Becoming really good at public speaking requires some risk, but you have been taking risks all your life. When you were a toddler, you risked falling down when you took your first steps. You risk scraping your knees or falling when you start roller blading. You risk falling off when you start bike riding. You risk being rejected when you ask someone out on a date, and you risk getting into an accident every time you drive your car.

If you gave up after your first fall, you’d still be crawling. If you were afraid to fall off your bike, you’d still be riding with training wheels. If you were afraid of getting into an accident, you’d never get behind the wheel of a car. And guess what, you’re still here – you’ve survived all of that. You’re a risk taker!! The greatest fear is that of public speaking and here you are – wanting to learn how to do it.

Do you enjoy watching figure skating? Now, you wouldn’t expect to be a world class figure skater the minute you put on a pair of skates, would you? No, you’d expect to have to practice for years before becoming that good. Nor would you expect to make the NHL without years and years of winter and summer hockey.

How about watching racing? Would you expect to be another Mario Andretti the minute you get behind the wheel? Now, I will admit that there seem to be a few drivers out there who think they are Mario, but most people would expect to have to practice for years before reaching his status.

When you think of walking 25 miles, it seems like a long distance, but it is actually only putting one foot in front of the other a number of times and you know how to do that. It just takes practice to go the distance. It’s the same thing with public speaking. It just takes putting one word after another.

The key to getting up in front of an audience is believing that you have something to share with them that may make a difference in their lives – by entertaining them, warning them, encouraging them, or giving them direction or information.

The great thing is – you do have something to say that people would be interested in hearing. You have come through life in a special way. You may have encountered difficult circumstances and survived. Your experience could help someone else in the same situation.

If you remember jokes or enjoy telling stories to your friends, practice a little more and soon you can be telling your jokes and stories to larger audiences. If you are really good at something, consider sharing the steps of how you got there.

If you join a Toastmasters club and follow the steps outlined in the Toastmasters’ manuals, and with the encouragement of fellow Toastmasters, you can learn how to craft a speech and how to deliver it. You can learn how to use props, how to modulate your voice, and how to use words that your audience will understand.

At Toastmasters you will often hear the words “stage time” used. That is the only way to get better. In order to be good at anything, you have to practice. Winston Churchill overcame a speech impediment to become a master orator. He had to practice for hours to deliver a speech.

You can get very discouraged if you expect to be as good as Zig Ziglar right away. But if you listen to his story, you will find that it took a very long time before he was able to do what he does so well.

The thing to remember is that the only person you need to compare yourself to is you. You are working for your personal best, so when you are preparing your speech and practicing, all you need to ask yourself is – is your second speech better in some way than your first? Did you learn something new as you prepared for your speech?

Did you learn something from the evaluative comments of others after you gave your speech? Then, that’s all you need to do. You can use what you’ve learned to make the next speech your best to date and then use the same process for each speech you give. Just take one step at a time.

Remember, public speaking is a skill, so anyone can learn to do it. You just need to be taught how and then practice, practice, practice. Then one day someone may watch you and say, “Wow, I wish I could speak like that.”

To your good health!!

Fran Watson, Consultant
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Giveaway

Here is an opportunity for you to try out a variety of products at no cost. Seems like there must be some kind of catch doesn’t it, but in truth, there isn’t. Well, maybe that’s not quite true. The thing is there are SO MANY wonderful products the catch is it is difficult to choose what will be of most benefit to you.

Take your time and peruse them, but not too much time, you only have until the weekend. I have included some of my tips on public speaking in this bundle and some of my friends have provided some wonderful training and more. Here is my affiliate link for you to get this bundle. http://laptoplifestyleyouniversity.com/amember/aff/go/fran_watso?i=5

Angela has truly done something special here. She’s brought together a members-only offer where members of her YOUniversity have contributed true paid products (not freebies) at one low price. There are over 40 contributors, $2000 worth of products and so much value. You can grab this for absolutely no cost decide what you’d love best.

Angela also suggests you DO NOT by any means try to use ALL these products. There’s far too much included for that. What you want to do is pick and choose the things that will help you move your business forward NOW. Don’t worry about the rest. Offers will come again, don’t worry about FOMO, you’ll invest in your business at the right time and you just have to trust in what will be will be.  

I hope you find something you really love. I know I have.

Fran Watson

#publicspeaking

P.S. Remember you can get my products for free here also.

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It’s Over, Now What?

Thank you for following along with me for the “30 Days to a More Optimistic You” Positivity Challenge! With any luck, you’ve learned a few things about yourself that you didn’t know before.

Hopefully, you’ve gained some insights into your relationships, and rejoiced for all that’s good and right and beautiful. Hopefully, you’re learning to not sweat the small stuff and or be consumed with the “shoulds” that take you out of the present moment.

Hopefully, you’ve reconnected with your inner child who will help you live simply and joyfully. Hopefully, you’re discovering how to make room in your life for the people, places and things that matter most.

As Frank Sinatra once sang, “The best is yet to come, and won’t it be fine.”

The Best Is Yet To Come

Now that you’re all full up on appreciation, thankfulness and positive thoughts, let’s see what plans you can put in motion for the rest of this dwindling year.

If you’re grateful for this 30-day challenge, then please feel free to express your delight or… tell me what you’d improve about it if you could. I value honesty and would love to hear from you!

Stay tuned… who knows what will be happening next.

Fran Watson

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