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Public speaking is that age-old challenge that can send shivers down even the most seasoned professional’s spine. The anxiety associated with it is not a rarity – it’s a universal experience. Whether you’re addressing a packed auditorium or leading a virtual company-wide meeting, the fear of public speaking can be overwhelming, especially for introverts. But fear not, as we present five tips that can help you navigate this daunting journey and turn your anxiety into an asset.
1. Embrace Your Authenticity
When the spotlight is on, it’s natural to feel the pressure to present a perfect, polished version of yourself. But remember, authenticity is a magnet that draws people in. Your vulnerabilities and genuine experiences can resonate deeply with your audience. Don’t shy away from sharing a personal anecdote that ties into your message – it makes you more relatable and trustworthy. Speaking your words in your own tone and pace will make your audience naturally tune into your words and listen to the actual words you speak.
2. Prepare and Practice
The age-old adage “practice makes perfect” holds true here. The more you know your material, the more confidence you’ll feel. Structure your content, organize your thoughts, and rehearse your presentation multiple times. Brevity can certainly be your best friend. Being prepared not only boosts your confidence but also helps you anticipate potential challenges and how to address them. Professional actors are taught to make the words second nature so they can concentrate on everything else. You don’t have to memorize your lines, but be confident in the content your speaking.
For virtual meetings, one trick I constantly use is to copy your notes/speech into your notepad app on your desktop. Then shrink your notepad window to a size about 2-3 inches wide and position directly under your camera light on your computer. This will help you look directly at the camera while you’re presenting your information. The notepad will serve as a mini-teleprompter and you can keep your finger on the down arrow and advance your copy/notes as you speak.
3. Start Small
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your public speaking prowess won’t be either. If addressing a large audience feels overwhelming, start with smaller settings. Contribute to team meetings, lead discussions, and engage in presentations within your comfort zone. Gradually stepping out of that zone will help build your confidence and familiarity with larger audiences. Confidence comes from acceptance. Your thoughts and contributions being considered in these small settings will help you lead larger presentations.
4. Harness the Power of Visualization
Visualization is a powerful mental tool. Close your eyes and visualize yourself standing confidently in front of your audience. Imagine the positive reactions and the sense of accomplishment that will follow. As you mentally prepare yourself for success, you’ll find your brain rewiring to reduce anxiety. Remember, it’s just a presentation or speech. Most people will forget it and move on right after you are done speaking. What’s even better, is the second it is over…you will feel a wash of relief roll over you. Either way–you have to get through it. So visualize your success, and the end point.
5. Embrace the Pause / Drive the Bus
Silence isn’t your enemy; it’s a friend waiting to assist. Use pauses strategically during your speech. They give you time to gather your thoughts, emphasize key points, and give your audience a moment to reflect. A well-timed pause can amplify your message and make it resonate long after you’ve finished speaking.
Another professional tip is to “know where you’re driving the bus”. Think about when you drive a car. You don’t think about turning left, or heading east towards your home or work. Your brain just knows where the end destination is. The same goes for public speaking. Know what your ending point is for each point or topic of your speech, and your brain will help drive you to this point effortlessly.
Remember, even the most charismatic speakers were once where you are now. Overcoming the fear of public speaking is a journey, not a destination. With consistent practice, a positive mindset, and these five guiding principles, you can transform your anxiety into confidence and your hesitation into eloquence.
So, whether it’s a virtual boardroom presentation or a town hall meeting, step onto the stage with courage. Embrace the chance to share your insights, connect with your colleagues, and let your voice echo through the digital corridors. Your growth as a speaker isn’t just a professional triumph; it’s a life-changing accomplishment that will enrich every facet of your journey.
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Employee Appreciation Day was the brainchild of Bob Nelson, one of Recognition Professionals International’s founding board members. Nelson collaborated with his publishing company, Workman Publishing, to make the holiday appear prominently on workplace calendars starting in 1995. This occasion gives employers and HR Managers a great opportunity to salute and recognize valuable contributions to the team.
Whenever the conversation comes up about Employee Appreciation Day, which is the first Friday of March, someone always says, “Everyday should be Employee Appreciation Day!” It’s a great sentiment, but that’s not an appreciation day, that’s a culture change in your workplace.
With the need to attract and retain talent to meet growing demand, a personal attachment to your employees is critical to culture change. If you’re planning to create a special moment for your employees this year, take this time to condition yourself and your business that you don’t need just one day to do it. Appreciating your employees every day year round is the first step to creating a workplace culture that people want to be a part of.
Some simple ideas that can go along way:
Saying Thank You
The first step in moving beyond just one appreciation day for your staff includes the need to embed recognition into your company culture. Adding recognition for your employee efforts takes the least amount of effort and goes a very long way. Tell someone different everyday how you appreciate their efforts for the company. Not everyone likes to be appreciated the same way. Be sure to ask the person how they like to be recognized. If you want to reward your employees with something other than recognition, we had some non monetary ideas last year during the holidays that employees love.
Make Fridays Special
Friday. It’s the best day of the workweek. Tap into the energy and positivity of your workforce by enhancing their already well-earned mood.
- Giving employees a few extra minutes of a break.
- Having donuts or other food catered for a shift once a quarter.
- Staff Football Pick Em Contests (seasonal)
- Other special employee perks (but not Hawaiian Shirt Day)
Take a few minutes a week to record a video from leadership. These messages are universally well-received and have high engagement rates. It is also a useful communication tool with a personal touch.
A 2021 study conducted by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute (MI) predicts that 2.1 million manufacturing positions will go unfulfilled by 2030. These empty positions could cost the U.S. a loss of about $1 trillion in GDP.
Source: LinkedIn Learning
Millennials will make up three-quarters of the workforce by 2025. Fifty-six percent of managers say they would take a career enhancement course if it were recommended by their employer. The problem is time. Employees want to learn, they just don’t have the time. The good news is over 90% of companies offer online learning. Millennials look at a job as an opportunity to grown and learn. Take hold of that passion and use it to fill the oncoming skills gap headed to manufacturing. Educate them on the job.
Employees bring their best each day when they can be their authentic selves while on the job. This means creating a culture of acceptance among your employees, and giving special attention to employees who step up to support efforts to include everyone. Eliminate harassment and bullying if it exists in your workplace. Inclusivity and diversity are among the most sought after qualities in a position amongst millennials and Gen-Z.
If this is the first time you’re hearing of Employee Appreciation Day, now is a good time to learn about how you can celebrate your employees and their contributions to your operation. If your culture needs improvement, take this special day to start a new habit of recognizing great work and celebrating those who give so much to your operation. Then, keep the effort going year round. And next year, the first Friday of March won’t take you by surprise.
Temporary associates sound off on their job placements and how they are treated differently.
The American Staffing Association says that there are more than 3 million temporary and contract workers working for staffing companies in America during an average week and 17 million during a typical year.
Both sides of the employer-employee relationship can feel trepidation about one another. Both sides go in hoping they are a good fit for one another. The early days of an associates assignment are crucial in reducing your turnover, and engaging them to strive to be hired-in for full time employment.
Pulling back the curtain here at WSI, some of the common complaints we receive from our associates is that they were treated poorly by supervisors, didn’t feel like they received adequate training, didn’t have a voice in the operations and issues that arose during their shift, or felt like they are treated differently because they are on a temporary assignment.
How does this negatively impact your business?
Many associate workers have long felt that they’re treated as second-class citizens in some workplaces. Your business has a responsibility to everyone who comes to work for you each day, whether they are full-time employees or temporary workers. Morale and employee relations problems can arise when you have temps working alongside permanent employees for months, doing the same work and putting in the same hours, but not receiving the same benefits afforded their permanent employee coworkers. Your regular employees might look down on those working as temporary associates as “outsiders,” or simply not talk to them or mix with them at lunch or office functions.
If an associate worker on assignment has negative feelings about their workplace early in their assignment, what are the chances they see the assignment through? How much desire will they have to become a full-time employee in your operation? What are the long-term effects to your culture and reputation when new employees have a negative experience working for you?
Get Into Their Heads-In a Good Way!
The psychological aspect of managing employees is habitually lost on large scale employers. Making an associate feel like part of the team improves their output. Acknowledgement of their issues, ideas, and concerns helps validate them as an employee and makes them feel pride in being a part of your operation.
Easy ways to do this include remembering their name right off the bat, asking top-level questions about the employee (where they grew up, family at home, etc) and what they like. How can you prepare them for a terrific first day? Who’s going to show them around and who are you asking to have lunch with them to make them feel welcome from the start? An associate who feels seen and that their new employer is making a small effort to treat them like the ‘family company’ everyone always boasts about in their job descriptions will make you stand out from this being ‘just another job.’
Keep Them Safe
Studies show that the frequency and severity rates of on-the-job injuries are significantly higher with temporary workers. Never assume an associate is fully prepared to work unsupervised until you have taken the time to see that they can safely perform their work tasks. It’s not just the dangers of the job. Many employees are going to be eager to prove themselves and could open themselves up to injury or harm moving too fast or without caution. With potential legal liability, it is best practice to ensure that all workers undergo a basic orientation safety training as well as issues such as discrimination and harassment.
Show Them the Way
Most of WSI’s clients love to hire hard-working, dependable associates as full-time employees usually well before the minimum hours-worked threshold is even met for the assignment. Supervisors and team leaders can be on the front lines not only to train workers on temporary assignment, but to also motivate and coach them to get to the finish line and become full-time employees.
If a temporary associate can see the way forward, feels that they’re already part of your team, and their concerns and ideas are validated by their supervisors, why would they not give your company their loyalty and best effort? Coach your staff to treat temp workers as equals, and you’ll likely see your requests for temporary assignment workers drop sharply over the long run because you’ve hired them all to your team.
Your business can create a simple act of kindness that benefits the community and helps your brand build goodwill. Corporate philanthropy is the act of a corporation or business promoting the welfare of others, generally through charitable donations of funds or time. Donating to nonprofits helps the charity of course, but the impacts of giving to charity and how it helps your community and your business are invaluable.
Sadly, contributions by U.S. companies fell 6.1% in 2020 to $16.66 Billion (a decline of 7.3% when adjusted for inflation) during the pandemic, while individual donations increased. This is largely blamed on the economics of the pandemic in 2020, as personal savings rates skyrocketed, while corporate profits were down 5.1% in 2020.
On average, corporations donate less than 1% of their profits to charity. American Express and The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently conducted a study that found small companies donate an average of 6% of their profits each year. American households donated 2-3% of their income to charities over the same period. Many would like to see corporations increase their donations to match what the typical American gives each year.
WHY DOES MY BUSINESS NEED TO STEP UP?
A study from the Chronicle of Philanthropy says declining levels of trust among Americans for most institutions and each other may also contribute to the move away from charitable giving. Most of the distrust lies along the same division lines in American society today. That mistrust is especially pronounced among Gen-Z and millennials, which could cause another layer of challenges for charitable organizations. An example of this would be Saint Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, which raised $2 billion in 2020, making it the third most contributed charity in the United States. Yet, only half of what St. Jude raised over the last five years went to research or patient care. Thirty percent went to cover fundraising costs. Allocations like these cast doubt in donors’ minds about the true impact of their gift.
How much money Americans make also plays into the reduction in charitable donations. Four out of five households with an income of $200,000 or more contributed to a nonprofit. On the opposite end of the spectrum, less than three in five households with an income of $50,000 made a charitable donation in 2020.
In addition to helping fill in the gaps for your local nonprofits, there are other benefits for your business including building goodwill in your local community, improving the morale and company culture of your organization, promoting charities that match your values as a company, and building up your network.
WHERE DO I START WITH CHARITABLE GIVING?
Volunteer: Instead of a monetary donation, companies can donate their time to a great cause. Volunteer as a company at a soup kitchen, charity run or homeless shelter. With volunteer support initiatives, companies partner their employees with nonprofits to provide specialized support only that company can provide.
Sponsor a sports team: Youth organizations are always looking for businesses to sponsor their teams. Donate funds towards field upkeep and uniforms. Companies that sponsor teams can have their names displayed on uniforms or field signs.
Launch a charity drive: Start a collection for a particular cause. Your company can collect non-perishable food items for distribution at food banks. Toy drives are popular around the holidays.
Technical Assistance: Do you operate with professionals who could donate their skills and time to help non profit organizations get a leg up on technology, web and IT services, or graphic design. You can’t claim this as a deduction, but it’s an invaluable donation to many groups.
Donate online: Set up automatic donations through virtual giving platforms. Donors that set up some sort of recurring monthly donation give 42% more than one-time givers, claims Nonprofit Source. You could even leave out a collection jar at your place of business and cash in the collected amount to send through an online portal.
Create A Giving Culture: Collective participation in philanthropy engages employees with each other. Companies with engaged employees who enjoy their jobs outperform companies with disengaged workers by up to 202%! You can match employee contributions to their favorite charities. Employee grant stipends are also a way to not only encourage giving, but to create an added benefit to employees and their well being. An example is The Coca-Cola Company, which offers a $20,000 employee matching opportunity, and Walmart, who provides $250 to employees for 25 volunteer hours.
WHAT CAN I DEDUCT?
Studies show that donating to nonprofit organizations just to get a tax break are few and far between. Business deductions for charitable contributions may be limited, and the deductions may only be deductible for the individual owners rather than the business itself. Every business type, with the exception of traditional C corporations, pays taxes as a “pass-through” entity. This means the business’s taxes are passed along to the company’s individual owners.
The IRS website reads, “In general, contributions to charitable organizations may be deducted up to 50% of adjusted gross income computed without regard to net operating loss carrybacks.” New laws now permit C corporations to apply an increased corporate limit of 25% of taxable income for charitable cash contributions made to eligible charities during calendar year 2021. The increased limit is not automatic. C corporations must choose the increased corporate limit on a contribution-by-contribution basis.
It’s important to start by verifying whether you can claim a deduction for a donation to a charity. In order to claim as a deduction, only donations to 501(c)(3) organizations qualify, and a donation to an individual person or any other 501(c) designated non-profit is typically not tax-deductible.
If donating to a new charity this year, be sure to ask to see the business’s letter from the IRS that designates them as a tax-exempt organization. You can also search using the IRS Exempt Organizations Select Check online tool to verify whether the charity is or is not eligible for a deduction.
Don’t make it so that you’re donating to receive a benefit of any type (e.g.. donations to a raffle don’t qualify because you could win a prize in return). As mentioned above, you can’t create a donation based on time and services provided and your meal and entertainment expenses don’t qualify.
You can only deduct mileage if you were not traveling to the destination for any other reason. You cannot deduct your time or the time of your employees who are volunteering for a charitable organization. Gifts and/or donations to political parties, organizations, candidates, or particular individuals, are not recognized as tax-deductible by the IRS.
Do not take this as professional tax advice. It’s not a bad idea to speak with financial experts for advice on how to donate to charity in a way that makes sense for your business.