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Steps

1. 1
Note that body language is extremely important. Do not look at your feet when you walk. Do not bite your nails (it is an animal instinct of nervousness). Do not walk with your hands in your pockets. Examine your current habits: do any of them make you seem smaller, weaker or less physically capable? If so, change them to something that will make you appear larger and more confident. Ads by Google Canada Immigration Visa Assessment on more than 60 programs Lawyer David Cohen will guide you. www.canadavisa.com/assessment/

2. 2
Keep in mind that self esteem is even more important but harder to attain. You are a very important person. You matter! You matter to your parents, teachers and relatives. Selfconfidence may be the only thing that separates you from the most popular kid in school.

3. 3
Do not attempt to throw back comebacks unless you are incredibly adept. Bullies practice their comebacks on other kids all day everyday. You probably don't and you will merely say something that they will use against you.

4. 4
When ridiculed, say nothing, and stare them viciously in the eye like a hungry animal. This may be difficult at first but you won't be giving them the reaction they want. They want you to give in and try to fight them so they can beat you. If you don't fight, they can't win.

5. 5
You should always tell a parent, teacher or principal if you are bullied. Remember, it is NOT YOUR FAULT. Your school has a legal right to provide you with a safe and fair education. If you are being bullied, your legal rights are being violated. Do not keep quiet.

6. 6
Keep an eye out in the halls. These are great bully hideouts because they can strike while you are in a group so they won't be seen. Move among the other kids with head held high, scanning for threats. It may sound a bit paranoid but it comes in very handy.

7. 7
You do not deserve to be bullied. Nothing you have done and nothing that you are caused you to be bullied. Bullies are people who have low self-esteem and a great need for power - a bad combination. Thousands of kids who are perfectly nice get bullied every single day. But you have to take action against it. Don't start a fight, but don't let bullying continue.

8. 8
Wait until they have thrown the first punch or have hurt or have attempted to hurt you physically. You can then claim it was in self defense and that you just didn't want to get hurt anymore. Never say "He started it!" use the words "self defense" or say "I feared for my safety".

9. 9
Kicking a bully in the back of the knees while he is walking away will bring him to your level as he falls to his knees. If he is wearing a backpack, pull on that hard from behind and he will fall on his back. Kick him in between the legs. Do not try to fight with your fists. You will almost certainly lose.

10.

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If they make fun of something you do or something you wear, do not change your habits. This will only show them they have power over you.

11.

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The first time someone you don't know offends you, insults you or hits you this is your chance to stop them before it gets bad. If you stand up for yourself straight away, it sends a message that they should leave you alone. If you let them get away with it by looking away or ignoring it, it may continue and others may join in. Look a bully straight in the eye. Give him a death stare. Bullies often back down with this. Watch your body language. Don't look at the floor.

Don't slouch and wish you could disappear, even though you feel that way. Stand strong and tall and face your bully. Bullies usually pick victims who won't stand up to them.

12.

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Most importantly, remember that IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. Tell your school counselor, parents, teacher, and continue to tell them if it does not stop. Schools are breaking the law if they allow bullying to continue within their walls. They MUST provide you with a safe education.

Monroe's Motivated Sequence


Perfecting the call to act

Be inspiring! iStockphoto

Is persuasion a gift? Are some people born with the ability to speak well and 'sell' their ideas successfully? It sure seems that way when you're wowed by a motivational speaker, or galvanized into action by a thoughtprovoking presentation. In your role, do you ever need to motivate, inspire, or persuade others? Whether you're a senior executive giving a presentation to the Board, a manager giving a morale-boosting speech to your team, or a production manager giving a presentation on safety standards, at some point, you'll probably have to move people to action. While there are certainly those who seem to inspire and deliver memorable speeches effortlessly, the rest of us can learn how to give effective presentations too. Key factors include putting together a strong message and delivering it in the right sequence.

Monroe's Motivated Sequence: The Five Steps


Alan H. Monroe, a Purdue University professor, used the psychology of persuasion to develop an outline for making speeches that will deliver results. It's now known as Monroe's Motivated Sequence. This is a well-used and time-proven method to organize presentations for maximum impact. You can use it for a variety of situations to create and arrange the components of any message. The steps are explained below.

Step One: Get Attention


Get the attention of your audience. Use storytelling, humor, a shocking statistic, or a rhetorical question anything that will get the audience to sit up and take notice.

This step doesn't replace your introduction it's part of your introduction. In your opening, you should also establish your credibility (see The Rhetorical Triangle for tips), state your purpose, and let the audience know what to expect. Delivering Great Presentations provides a strong foundation for building the steps in Monroe's Motivated Sequence.

Let's use the example of a half-day seminar on safety in the workplace. Your attention step might be as follows. Attention Shocking statistic Workplace safety is being ignored! Despite detailed safety standards and regulations, surveys show that 7 out of 10 workers regularly ignore safe practices because of ease, comfort, and efficiency. Some of these people get hurt as a result. I wonder how comfortable they are in their hospital beds... or coffins?

Step Two: Establish the Need


Convince your audience there's a problem. This set of statements must help the audience realize that what's happening right now isn't good enough and it needs to change. Use statistics to back up your statements.

Talk about the consequences of maintaining the status quo and not making changes. Show your audience how the problem directly affects them.

Remember, you're not at the "I have a solution" stage. Here, you want to make the audience uncomfortable and restless, and ready to do the "something" that you recommend. Need Examples and illustrations Apathy/lack of interest is the problem Safety harnesses sit on the floor when the worker is 25 feet above ground. Ventilation masks are used more to hold

spare change than to keep people safe from dangerous fumes. Consequences Ignoring safety rules caused 162 worker deaths in our province/state last year. I'm here to make sure that you aren't part of next year's statistic.

Step Three: Satisfy the Need


Introduce your solution. How will you solve the problem that your audience is ready to address? This is the main part of your presentation. It will vary significantly, depending on your purpose. Discuss the facts.

Elaborate and give details to make sure the audience understands your position and solution. Clearly state what you want the audience to do or believe. Summarize your information from time to time as you speak. Use examples, testimonials, and statistics to prove the effectiveness of your solution. Prepare counterarguments to anticipated objections. Everyone needs to be responsible and accountable for everyone else's safety. Habits form over time. They are passed on from worker to worker until the culture accepts looser safety standards. Introduce more statistics on workplace accidents relevant to your organization. When workers are responsible and accountable for one another, safety compliance increases. Present one or more case studies. Safer workplaces are more productive, even in the short term so workers aren't more efficient when they don't take the time to follow safety rules.

Satisfaction Background Facts Position statement Examples Counterarguments

Step Four: Visualize the Future


Describe what the situation will look like if the audience does nothing. The more realistic and detailed the vision, the better it will create the desire to do what you recommend. Your goal is to motivate the audience to agree with you and adopt similar behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs. Help them see what the results could be if they act the way you want them to. Make sure your vision is believable and realistic. You can use three methods to help the audience share your vision: 1. Positive method Describe what the situation will look like if your ideas are adopted. Emphasize the positive aspects. 2. 3. Negative method Describe what the situation will look like if your ideas are rejected. Focus on the dangers and difficulties caused by not acting. Contrast method Develop the negative picture first, and then reveal what could happen if your ideas are accepted. Picture a safe and healthy workplace for everyone. Continue the status quo (keep doing the same thing), and someone will be seriously injured. Picture yourself at a colleague's funeral. You were right beside him when he decided not to wear his safety harness. How do you face his wife when you know you were right there and didn't say anything? Consider the opposite. Imagine seeing your co-worker receive an award for 25 years of service. Feel the pride

Visualization Contrast method Negative method

Positive method

when you teach safety standards to new workers. Share the joy of your team's rewards for an outstanding safety record.

Step Five: Action/Actualization


Your final job is to leave your audience with specific things they can do to solve the problem. You want them to take action now. Don't overwhelm them with too much information or too many expectations, and be sure to give them options to increase their sense of ownership of the solution. This can be as simple as inviting them to have some refreshments as you walk around and answer questions. For very complex problems, the action step might be getting together again to review plans. Action/Actualization Review your safety procedures immediately. I've arranged a factory tour after lunch. Everyone is invited to join us. Your insights will really help us identify areas that need immediate attention. If you're unable to attend this afternoon, I've left some pamphlets and business cards. Feel free to call me with questions, concerns, and ideas.

Key Points
For some of us, persuasive arguments and motivational speaking come naturally. The rest of us may try to avoid speeches and presentations, fearing that our message won't be well received. Using Monroe's Motivated Sequence, you can improve your persuasive skills and your confidence. Get the attention of your audience, create a convincing need, define your solution, describe a detailed picture of success (or failure), and ask the audience to do something right away: It's a straightforward formula for success that's been used time and again. Try it for your next presentation, and you'll no doubt be impressed with the results!

If you have just started in a new school, some people might not like you for whatever reason. Getting bullied is the worst experience, especially at a new school. It's strange how kids judge people before they even know them properly, so here's how to get bullies off your back in a new school. Ads by Google Pelaburan Bursa: Malaysia
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EditSteps

1. 1
Understand Bullying. Know the concept of bullying as a repeated act, that is intentionally trying to hurt the feelings of someone. Knowing about bullying will help you stop and prevent it. There are different types of bullying, emotional, physical, even cyber bullying. A lot of times people are bullied many different ways.

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2. 2
Determine if you've been bullied. Now that you know what bullying is, you might have an idea whether you've been bullied before or not. It might even help someone find out they're a bully when they had no idea. If you are currently being bullied, then in order to stop and prevent it, you must first stand up for yourself. Once you are not in pain, you can get other people out of their pain, from other people's actions.

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Be able to spot bullying. It isn't hard to find. Someone being bullied in a school is normally known by multiple students. Though, for teachers, it is usually difficult to spot. Sometimes you may be the only one seeing someone be bullied, which brings us to the next step.

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Report It. Notify a teacher, counselor, parent, or any trusted adult about the bullying. If you just sit back and watch it play out, you're classified as a "bystander" or "witness" and you are part of the problem. If you are being bullied, would you like people to watch and know about your suffering, but continue to let you suffer through the pain?

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Never start a physical fight with bullies. Because far too often the bully victim is seen as the one in the wrong.

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Stick up for yourself. If you are the victim, let the bully know that their behaviour is not okay. In some situations, this is best accomplished by pretending that the bullies are not getting to you, and in others it is most appropriate to confront the bullies and tell them to stop.

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Inform your friends on the wrongfulness of bullying. It isn't fun for anyone and it can really cause problems for the rest of your lives. Bullying has caused deaths, suicides, and injuries. There is nothing positive about bullying, it hurts everyone. This is such a common problem, and prevention, and stopping bullying is the cure.

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Talk with your counselor. If bullying is a problem that you don't feel comfortable tackling alone, talk to your school's counselor or a teacher you trust. The adult authority may help the situation.

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Set up posters around your school. The more people you inform about bullying, the more it will stop.

EditTips Put your hand on your hip, walk with confidence and show those bullies you aren't bothered. Most schools have a zero tolerance rule. If someone does fight you, you can report it to the school. Join in Bully Prevention groups or even Support Groups for kids and teens who have been bullied. There might even be a few online, if you don't wish to share personal experiences so openly. Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself, or someone else. At least you have the courage. Talk to teachers, and guidance counselors in your school to help spread the awareness of bullying. Be heard. Don't just stand there, do something. Never lower yourself to a bullies level. Remember its NOT YOUR FAULT if you are being bullied. Don't show signs that they are affecting you by looking insecure, even if you are because the bully will find this amusing and continue all the more. Have confidence. You will attract more friends and people will not pick on you as much if you look like you are confident. Don't attract attention to yourself. (e.g: clothes or hairstyles that might give the bully a reason to be cruel.) Try to avoid isolating yourself. Have friends with you.

EditWarnings

Don't get straight into trouble in a new school. Just concentrate on your work to start with then find an opportunity later (a few weeks/months). Report every crime when it is safe for you to do so, but understand that it is not easy to go through that process. Many police, parents, teachers, etc., believe that it is wrong to report crimes of children in a school setting, and you may have to listen to them. Be completely honest in reporting to adults. It is the best way to build trust with them. Understand self defense, but know its limits. It is protection from harm. Sometimes it is physical; sometimes it is running or evading a problem in other ways. Its purpose, when it is physical, is nothing more than to stop yourself from being physically hurt. Self-defense can sometimes incriminate you (make you seem like a criminal, which may require a judge to decide). You must decide whether or not to report the crime after you use self-defense. If you do report to an adult, be sure to report any self-defense that you used accurately, so that when they discover it later they will know that you are the law-abiding one rather than automatically thinking that you are a dishonest troublemaker.

Most children consider it a form of self-defense to keep the crime or other abuse a secret. In some situations, it can be and should be carefully considered. However, more often secrecy is exactly the kind the bully prefers that you use. Keep in mind that somebody purposely touching you without your permission (or the permission of an adult who has true authority over you) may be a crime, even if the perpetrator is a child, and should be reported to an adult you trust unless it is so small that you give your permission after the act. If your parent (or another adult) is the bully, it is more complicated to report it because they have a lot of power over you. If it could be illegal touching (such as physical beating or sexual touching) then report it to an adult who you trust. Report emergencies such as very recent crimes that involve an immediate threat to health, life, or property when there has not yet been any competent adult intervention by calling 9-1-1 as quickly as possible. Report crimes with no current threat or when you can reach them faster than police, to a teacher, principal, nurse, counselor, your parents, and let one of them help you report it to police. Assert yourself with adults (and bullies) who think that children should be ignored, but realize that all adults are not supportive of children reporting crimes. Reporting makes you heard, and creates a paper trail that give evidence that you are law abiding (and not a trouble maker). Will bullies not like this? Of course they will not like it. Do not give in to their psychological pressure. Reporting to authorities will eventually create a wall of support around you that is hard to beat.

Forehead Pimples - How to Get rid of Pimples on Forehead


Friday, September 18th, 2009
Pimples of the forehead can be quite ugly and painful. They occur primarily because the excess oil produced by the sebaceous glands beneath the epidermis, gets accumulated in the pores on the surface of the skin along with dead skin cells and particles of dirt. When these are exposed to the air, they solidify and turn swollen, causing pimples to appear. As a basic rule, keep the use of cosmetic products to a minimum and remove all traces of make-up from your face before you go to bed at the end of the day. This prevents the skin pores from getting clogged up and prevents acne. Remedies to Get rid of Pimples on Forehead There are several simple home remedies to solve this problem. One of the simplest remedies is to rub the area gently with a fresh slice of lemon for 5 minutes before going to bed at night. You may also mix lemon juice and rose water in equal portions and massage your forehead with this mixture. The next morning wash your face with water. This will reduce pimples on the forehead in a couple of weeks. You should also soak a handful of fenugreek seeds in a cup of water overnight, grind the seeds to paste the next morning and apply this paste on your forehead. After 15 minutes of application, wash it off with lukewarm water. One of the most popular natural ways of treating pimples is to mix some sandalwood powder with a little rose water and massage this paste on the affected area. This paste should be allowed to dry for 15 minutes before being washed off with cold water. For another remedy, rub the skin around the pimples with a few crushed cloves of garlic. The strong juices of garlic help destroy the

germs that might be responsible for causing local infections in the pimples and gets rid of the acne in a couple of days. You could also mix a teaspoon of cinnamon powder with two teaspoons of lemon juice and smear this paste over the pimples on your forehead. Wash your face 20 minutes after the application of this mixture. Another effective remedy for treating pimples is to grind some nutmeg with two tablespoons of raw milk, and apply this paste on the affected area. You should wait for at least an hour before washing your face with water. This gets rid of pimples very quickly without leaving behind dark marks.

Home Remedies for Pimples



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As far as skin conditions go, acne is by far the most common disaster to strike the face and body. When pores and oil glands get clogged, the result is a pimple. Depending on the cause of this highly unwanted blemish, there could be pimples popping up everywhere; no one is safe from their unsightly nature. In a lifetime, we will have all encountered an outbreak or two, and whats worse is pimples have a real knack for appearing during all the wrong times: prom; weddings; job interviews; school pictures; and first dates.

WHAT ARE PIMPLES? When hairs, sebum, and skin cells group together, they may form a plug, which serves as a breeding ground for bacteria. Soon, swelling sets in and as the plug starts to break down, the result is an unattractive pimple. There are no age limitations when it comes to pimples. While teenagers and young adults suffer a greater chance of reoccurrence, there are some individuals who never lose their susceptibility. Men and women in their 50s and 60s may still show signs of acne outbreaks [1].

While there are many different kinds of pimples, the most common types you may encounter, include:
a) Whiteheads: b) Blackheads:

Pimples that remain under the surface of the skin. Pimples that appear on the surface of the skin and have a black appearance. Sometimes, individuals have mistaken their formation as a direct result of dirty skin, but this is not the case.
c) Papules:

Small lumps that are tender to the touch, which are pink in color.
d) Pustules:

These distinct pimples are red at the bottom and contain a visible amount of pus on top.
e) Nodules:

These pimples are rather large and painful, found deep in the skin. They are also solid to the touch.
f) Cysts:

When these deeply seeded pimples appear, scarring may occur. This type of pimple is quite painful and filled with pus. SYMPTOMS OF PIMPLES The signs of acne are unmistakable and may appear on the face, neck, shoulders, back, orchest. Whiteheads and blackheads are the most common type of pimples you will encounter. Additional signs or symptoms associated with the pimple include:
a) Pain:

Blemishes on the face can be quite painful because of the pressure associated with clogged pores.
b) Pus:

Pus is a sign associated with an infected pimple. Pustules, nodules, and cysts most commonly bring about this symptom.
c) Scarring:

When pus-filled pimples appear on the body and face, there is a chance that scarring may occur. This outcome is often helped along when an individual doesnt properly care for their face. Picking at and squeezing infected pimples only increase the chances of suffering scars.
d) Extreme Redness:

Infected pimples, such as pustules, nodules, and cysts display rather red features. CAUSES OF PIMPLES Pimples form when skin pores become blocked. There are numerous factors associated with the cause of pimples that you may or may not have already heard of. Some of these causes can be managed through lifestyle changes and healthy hygiene habits, while others simply lead to an unfortunate luck of the draw. Below you will find a list of possible pimple causes:
a) Hormones:

As if being a teenager wasnt hard enough, the raging hormones in the body increase during this time in a young man or womans life. This increase is responsible for the higher incidence of clogged oil glands, which cause an outbreak of pimples. The final result: every teenagers nightmare acne.
b) Pregnancy:

The hormones of a woman run wild during pregnancy, prompting changes in the body that produce pimples.
c) Birth Control Pills:

When starting a new form of birth control pill or stopping their use altogether, some products have been known to cause pimples. If this is a concern for you, asking your gynecologist to help you select pills that do not have this side effect is recommended.
d) Menstruation Cycles:

Teenage girls and adult women are at risk for pimples as they approach the start of their next period. This is when hormone levels start to fluctuate and menstrual cramps set in.
e) Medication:

Some prescription drugs are known to cause blemishes on the face, neck, and back.
f) Cosmetics:

The type of makeup you put on your face can clog your pores, which could lead to an acne outbreak. When selecting cosmetics, you should seek out hypoallergenic items, as well as non-greasy or oily beauty products.
g) Heredity:

Family trees are pretty strong and if your parents had their fair share of pimples in the past, chances are you will too.

Now that you know the main causes of pimples, you should also familiarize yourself with some of the factors that makes this condition worse. Wearing tight clothing or head gear, such as bike helmets and sweaty bandannas could apply too much pressure for your pores to handle. In times of high humidity and pollution levels, pores may also suffer when you spend too much time outdoors. HOME REMEDIES FOR PIMPLES
a) Vitamins:

Pimples have been known to positively react to the addition of niacin (100 mg; three times per day), and vitamin A to a diet. 400 mg of vitamin E taken once per day also works wonders. You may also take 50mg of therapeutic zinc in tablet or capsule form (three times per day).
b) Fenugreek:

A useful paste can be created from the leaves of this vegetable, which is then applied to the face before you retire each night. At the start of the morning, the paste should be washed off using warm water. Pimples, especially blackheads are treated with this home remedy.
c) Orange Peel:

When orange peels are pounded and combined with water, an effective home treatment for pimples is created. Apply to affected areas and watch the results.
d) Lemon: e) Garlic:

Apply lemon juice to pimples to reduce their size and intensity. If you rub raw garlic on problem areas several times a day, you can clear up skin. You may also eat three seeds of raw garlic once daily for a month to see results. The garlic seeds purify the blood, which aids in keeping pimples at bay.
f) Coriander and Mint Juice:

A helpful herbal remedy for pimples includes the mixing of one teaspoon of coriander juice, combined with a pinch of turmeric powder. Every night, after thoroughly washing the face, apply the juice for an effective home remedy. Mint juice may also replace the coriander for this home treatment for pimples.
g) Hot Epsom Salts Bath:

It is believed that a hot Epsom salts bath taken two times per week will ease all cases of acne [2].
h) Cucumber:

Try applying grated cucumber over the face, neck, and eyes for the treatment of pimples and blackheads. This process should only take 15-20 minutes of your time. PIMPLE PREVENTION When you are looking for skin care measures that could prevent pimples, you might want to:
a) Practice Clean Skin Habits:

Keeping the skin well cleansed will deter the formation of pimples. Using a mild cleanser at the start of your day, in the evening, and before bed is recommended. Avoid scrubbing your skin, which has the potential to make matters worse.
b) Keep Your Hands Off:

Touching your skin passes extra dirt, oil, bacteria, and grime that can trigger acne and other skin irritations. Also, if you see a pimple start to form, you should refrain from squeezing, pinching, or picking.
c) Shave With Caution:

The way you shave can also irritate the skin to provoke pimples to form. Depending on your skin sensitivity, you may have to find a balance between electric and safety razors.
d) Read All Skin Care Labels:

When purchasing skin care products, you should be on the lookout for words, such as oil-free, greaseless, hypoallergenic, and noncomedogenic

Pimples are generally an unsightly and embarrassing problem, but when they appear on the nose they are difficult to conceal and can cause social exclusion and lowered self-esteem. If treated properly, nose pimples will diminish and vanish within a few days' time, but they can be permanently disfiguring if improperly handled. Avoid Touching Pimples The urge to touch a pimple is natural and difficult to resist, but it can exacerbate the factors that cause the pimple. Squeezing a pimple to remove it can cause permanent scarring, so do not attempt to physically remove the pimple by squeezing or applying pressure. Touching can also spread the bacteria that cause pimples to the fingers, which can then spread the bacteria to other areas of the face as well as other surfaces.

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Wash Pimples Clean pimples at least twice a day with warm, soapy water or a mild skin cleanser and rinse it thoroughly. Regular washing will remove the dirt, oil and bacteria that cause and worsen conditions under which pimples appear, and cleansing also will keep the skin clean and healthy. Reduce Swelling If your nose pimples are swollen and irritated, topical anti-inflammation treatments such as those used to reduce redness from the eyes may provide temporary relief. An amount as small as a single drop should be sufficient to reduce the inflammation. Since some people may have an allergy to eye drops, they should ensure that they will not experience an allergic reaction before using them. If an allergic reaction occurs, the swelling may worsen and the discomfort may increase. Ice can be used to reduce swelling as well. Apply ice wrapped within a thin cloth directly to pimples for up to two minutes, several times per day, to reduce the swelling. Clear Away Oil With Lemon Juice A few drops of lemon juice can be dabbed onto the pimple with a cotton swab. The citric acid in the lemon juice will kill surface bacteria and remove oil from the surface of the skin, leaving it dry and resistant to returning bacteria. Leave the lemon juice on pimples for a few minutes, then wash them off with warm water or a mild skin cleanser.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/122922-tips-nose-pimples/#ixzz1s8nUvrcE

20 Tricks to Boost IQ and Build a Mental Exercise Routine


Why do people go to the gym? We didnt evolve with treadmills and barbells, so why should experts recommend exercising every day? The answer would probably be because our daily life doesnt challenge us enough physically. Id like to suggest that our daily life doesnt challenge us enough mentally. Through setting aside time to visit the mental gym and organizing my life to work various mental muscles Ive found it much easier to think logically, create new ideas and focus myself. Research indicates brainpower is more than just genes Science shows that intelligence is both environmental and genetic. Lab rats given more toys to interact ended up much smarter than rats left without any. Even more, studies are now showing that, contrary to an earlier belief, you can grow new neurons if given a stimulating environment. The benefits of mental fitness The benefits of physical fitness are obvious and visual. In my opinion, the benefits of mental fitness are even more important, although they might be more subtle. Heres just a few benefits Ive noticed from structuring my activities and hitting the mental gym:

Rapid learning. Its no secret I barely study for exams. My grade point average for my first year of University was a 4.2 out of a 4.5 (my lowest mark was one B+). And this is while taking courses with high failure rates such as Calculus, Asian History and Computer Science. Logical thinking. Ive been told one of the biggest assets to this blog is my ability to discuss problems with a clear line of logic and reasoning. I believe this is an ability Ive greatly improved over the last few years through mental training.

Creativity. This month I wrote about 25 articles for this blog, 15 articles as a freelancer and a handful of guest posts. The volume of posting ideas I get is large enough that I now need to put a more strenuous filter for quality. Memory. Ive gone from almost complete absent mindedness to above average memory. Learning memory tools such as linking and pegging have given me new methods to store information. Focus. When I started meditating to improve focus over a year ago, I found it hard to control a visual scene or keep out distracting thoughts. Ive since noticed huge improvements so that I can hold images, ideas or focal points even with a fair degree of distraction. Im still starting out, but the future looks promising.

Creating a mental fitness routine There are two major ways to construct a mental fitness routine:
1. Balancing projects/activities to ensure all mental muscles are being worked intensely. 2. Setting aside time to hit the mental gym with activities solely for the purpose of building brainpower.

I use a combination of the two. Unlike physical exercise which is hard to reach a high intensity in routine life, you can structure your day to ensure you are working mental muscles. You just need to ensure that you are working all mental muscles, not just one or two. If you go to the gym and just work biceps, youll have big arms but be completely weak everywhere else. Varied mental exercises will ensure you can handle all problems and ideas. Here are twenty ideas for starting a mental fitness routine. I dont suggest trying to implement them all. Instead either set aside fifteen minutes a day for one of these or integrate one of them into your routine.
1. Journaling Writing down your thoughts is a great tool for problem solving. Every journal session I have, I leave amazed with the answers to tough problems I can come up with. Journaling is your Universal Machine of the mental gym, providing good workouts for creativity, logic and focus. 2. Meditation Ive only recently started to find serious uses for meditation in my mental regimen. Before I saw meditation as a more spiritual than practical activity. Now Ive come up with several different meditations to work different mental muscles: 1. Visualization One Ive been working on I call: eating the white apple. Visualize a white apple and hold it in your mind. Then imagine yourself eating it a bite at a time. Experience all the sensations of touch, taste, sound, smell and sight. The hard part is keeping the mental image of your apple consistent with where and how you eat it. I can usually only go about 10 bites before the mental image degrades. 2. Focused Breathing Start by slowing your breathing to about 10-15 seconds per breath. Next focus on one specific part of your body on the inhale. Select a new focus on the exhale. You can then move this to noticing specific sounds or senses. A good exercise in focus. 3. Self-Dialog Meditation makes it easier to talk with yourself. You can invent characters that can dialog with you, helping explore ideas. I believe journaling is an easier form of introspection than meditation, but they both have their strengths. 3. Cycle Hobbies Take up new activities regularly. This will keep your learning curve steep so your mind is always engaged at a high intensity. Ive dabbled in painting, dancing, speaking, running, music, woodworking, programming, design and many others.

4. Peripheral Activities Dont just take new hobbies, take ones that are vastly different from each other. Being a mile wide doesnt just improve mental fitness, it gives you a broad base of metaphors for creativity. 5. Read One Book Per Week I strive to read one book each week. Sometimes this can be difficult with time constraints, but the benefits are impressive. If you want to save time on this one, learn speed reading. 6. Engaging Fiction Engage yourself in movies, books or television that makes you think. Television that makes you think might sound like an oxymoron, but the medium isnt all bad if you know where to look. Engaging doesnt just mean entertaining, but that it actively challenges your assumptions. 7. Puzzles I like to do crosswords and computer game puzzles. Solitary game playing can keep your mind sharp as long as the learning curve is steep and it doesnt become routine. 8. Competitive Games Games that require strategic thinking are excellent ways to boost your logic and empathizing skills. Chess may be an intellectual favorite, but newer games can hold more promise by being much more diverse, and having a deeper range of strategic options. 9. Explore Anothers Perspective Empathy is a mental, not just an emotional, ability. Exploring anothers perspective hones your ability to think through anothers eyes. Although empathy is often dismissed as being touchy-feely and not logical, the ability to think from anothers perspective is an advanced mental ability that doesnt develop until we are several years old. 10. Create Regularly I always like to have a project on the go. After finishing my latest ebook, Ive been itching for a new challenge. I think Ill be redesigning the entire website in the next month or two. 11. Thought Experiments Einstein was famous for thought experiments. This kind of reasoning ability is a mark of intelligence. Ask yourself, What if? 12. Break Routines Try consciously breaking one of your habits, just for a moment. Eat a different breakfast. Take a different route to work. Sleep in the opposite direction. 13. New Cultures Expose yourself to different worldviews. I found going to University and meeting people from vastly different cultures to have a big effect on my own ideas. 14. Learn Outside Your Interests Dont stick to what you like. As a geek who knows C++ and watches Star Trek, I wasnt sure whether Id like dancing. But I took a Latin dancing course and found it to be both fun and interesting. People told me I was an introvert who wouldnt make a good public speaker. I just finished my Competent Toastmaster and Competent Leader awards from the Toastmasters program. 15. Friendly Debate Discuss, dont argue. When you are in a debate you should try to persuade, but welcome opposing ideas not as attacks but opportunities. Debating forces you to examine your opinions. 16. Teach - When I used to teach First Aid as a lifeguard, I was often surprised at how much better I understood the material through teaching it. Writing articles for this blog organizes those ideas inside my head. 17. Practice New Skills Mastery may be useful, but I dont think it is as valuable to mental discipline as just getting the basics. Unless a skill is useful to you, Id suggest trying to learn different skills just to adequacy and then moving to something different. It can take six months to understand 80% of a subject and sixty years to understand 95%. 18. Force Constraints Try washing yourself with your eyes closed. Cooking without sauces. Reading upside down. Extra constraints make problems more challenging, ramping up the mental intensity required.

19. Interlink Holistic learning is about linking ideas together. Spend some time to explore a subject and ask yourself how the pieces fit into other information. This will organize your thinking and improve your understanding. 20. Increase Mental Intensity - Force yourself to use your brain more. All these ideas are just specific implementations to increase the mental intensity you face. Focus, strategy, logic and creativity are just a few of the mental muscles you should be exercising more regularly.

Scientific Speed Reading: How to Read 300% Faster in 20 Minutes391 Comments


Written by Tim FerrissTopics: Mental Performance
(Photo: Dustin Diaz)

How much more could you get done if you completed all of your required reading in 1/3 or 1/5 the time? Increasing reading speed is a process of controlling fine motor movementperiod. This post is a condensed overview of principles I taught to undergraduates at Princeton University in 1998 at a seminar called the PX Project. The below was written several years ago, so its worded like Ivy-Leaguer pompous-ass prose, but the results are substantial. In fact, while on an airplane in China two weeks ago, I helped Glenn McElhose increase his reading speed 34% in less than 5 minutes. I have never seen the method fail. Heres how it works

The PX Project
The PX Project, a single 3-hour cognitive experiment, produced an average increase in reading speed of 386%.

It was tested with speakers of five languages, and even dyslexics were conditioned to read technical material at more than 3,000 words-per-minute (wpm), or 10 pages per minute. One page every 6 seconds. By comparison, the average reading speed in the US is 200-300 wpm (1/2 to 1 page per minute), with the top 1% of the population reading over 400 wpm If you understand several basic principles of the human visual system, you can eliminate inefficiencies and increase speed while improving retention. To perform the exercises in this post and see the results, you will need: a book of 200+ pages that can lay flat when open, a pen, and a timer (a stop watch with alarm or kitchen timer is ideal). You should complete the 20 minutes of exercises in one session.
First, several definitions and distinctions specific to the reading process: A) Synopsis: You must minimize the number and duration of fixations per line to increase speed.

You do not read in a straight line, but rather in a sequence of saccadic movements (jumps). Each of these saccades ends with a fixation, or a temporary snapshot of the text within you focus area (approx. the size of a quarter at 8? from reading surface). Each fixation will last to seconds in the untrained subject. To demonstrate this, close one eye, place a fingertip on top of that eyelid, and then slowly scan a straight horizontal line with your other eye-you will feel distinct and separate movements and periods of fixation.
B) Synopsis: You must eliminate regression and back-skipping to increase speed.

The untrained subject engages in regression (conscious rereading) and back-skipping (subconscious rereading via misplacement of fixation) for up to 30% of total reading time.
C) Synopsis: You must use conditioning drills to increase horizontal peripheral vision span and the number of words registered per fixation.

Untrained subjects use central focus but not horizontal peripheral vision span during reading, foregoing up to 50% of their words per fixation (the number of words that can be perceived and read in each fixation).

The Protocol
You will 1) learn technique, 2) learn to apply techniques with speed through conditioning, then 3) learn to test yourself with reading for comprehension. These are separate, and your adaptation to the sequencing depends on keeping them separate. Do not worry about comprehension if you are learning to apply a motor skill with speed, for example. The adaptive sequence is: technique technique with speed comprehensive reading testing. As a general rule, you will need to practice technique at 3x the speed of your ultimate target reading speed. Thus, if you currently read at 300 wpm and your target reading speed is 900 wpm, you will need to practice technique at 1,800 words-perminute, or 6 pages per minute (10 seconds per page). We will cover two main techniques in this introduction: 1) Trackers and Pacers (to address A and B above) 2) Perceptual Expansion (to address C)

First Determining Baseline


To determine your current reading speed, take your practice book (which should lay flat when open on a table) and count the number of words in 5 lines. Divide this number of words by 5, and you have your average number of words-per-line. Example: 62 words/5 lines = 12.4, which you round to 12 wordsper-line Next, count the number of text lines on 5 pages and divide by 5 to arrive at the average number of lines per page. Multiply this by average number of words-per-line, and you have your average number of words per page. Example: 154 lines/5 pages = 30.8, rounded to 31 lines per page x 12 words-per-line = 372 words per page

Mark your first line and read with a timer for 1 minute exactly-do not read faster than normal, and read for comprehension. After exactly one minute, multiply the number of lines by your average words-per-line to determine your current words-per-minute (wpm) rate.

Second Trackers and Pacers


Regression, back-skipping, and the duration of fixations can be minimized by using a tracker and pacer. To illustrate the importance of a tracker-did you use a pen or finger when counting the number of words or lines in above baseline calculations? If you did, it was for the purpose of tracking-using a visual aid to guide fixation efficiency and accuracy. Nowhere is this more relevant than in conditioning reading speed by eliminating such inefficiencies. For the purposes of this article, we will use a pen. Holding the pen in your dominant hand, you will underline each line (with the cap on), keeping your eye fixation above the tip of the pen. This will not only serve as a tracker, but it will also serve as a pacer for maintaining consistent speed and decreasing fixation duration. You may hold it as you would when writing, but it is recommended that you hold it under your hand, flat against the page.
1) Technique (2 minutes):

Practice using the pen as a tracker and pacer. Underline each line, focusing above the tip of the pen. DO NOT CONCERN YOURSELF WITH COMPREHENSION. Keep each line to a maximum of 1 second, and increase the speed with each subsequent page. Read, but under no circumstances should you take longer than 1 second per line.
2) Speed (3 minutes):

Repeat the technique, keeping each line to no more than second (2 lines for a single one-one-thousand). Some will comprehend nothing, which is to be expected. Maintain speed and technique-you are conditioning your perceptual reflexes, and this is a speed exercise designed to facilitate adaptations in your

system. Do not decrease speed. second per line for 3 minutes; focus above the pen and concentrate on technique with speed. Focus on the exercise, and do not daydream.

Third Perceptual Expansion


If you focus on the center of your computer screen (focus relating to the focal area of the fovea in within the eye), you can still perceive and register the sides of the screen. Training peripheral vision to register more effectively can increase reading speed over 300%. Untrained readers use up to of their peripheral field on margins by moving from 1st word to last, spending 25-50% of their time reading margins with no content. To illustrate, let us take the hypothetical one line: Once upon a time, students enjoyed reading four hours a day. If you were able to begin your reading at time and finish the line at four, you would eliminate 6 of 11 words, more than doubling your reading speed. This concept is easy to implement and combine with the tracking and pacing youve already practiced.
1) Technique (1 minute):

Use the pen to track and pace at a consistent speed of one line per second. Begin 1 word in from the first word of each line, and end 1 word in from the last word. DO NOT CONCERN YOURSELF WITH COMPREHENSION. Keep each line to a maximum of 1 second, and increase the speed with each subsequent page. Read, but under no circumstances should you take longer than 1 second per line.
2) Technique (1 minute):

Use the pen to track and pace at a consistent speed of one line per second. Begin 2 words in from the first word of each line, and end 2 words in from the last word.
3) Speed (3 minutes):

Begin at least 3 words in from the first word of each line, and end 3 words in from the last word. Repeat the technique, keeping

each line to no more than second (2 lines for a single oneone-thousand). Some will comprehend nothing, which is to be expected. Maintain speed and technique-you are conditioning your perceptual reflexes, and this is a speed exercise designed to facilitate adaptations in your system. Do not decrease speed. second per line for 3 minutes; focus above the pen and concentrate on technique with speed. Focus on the exercise, and do not daydream.

Fourth Calculate New WPM Reading Speed


Mark your first line and read with a timer for 1 minute exactlyRead at your fastest comprehension rate. Multiply the number of lines by your previously determined average words-per-line to get determine your new words-per-minute (wpm) rate. Congratulations on completing your cursory overview of some of the techniques that can be used to accelerate human cognition (defined as the processing and use of information). If used for study, it is recommended that you not read 3 assignments in the time it would take you to read one, but rather, read the same assignment 3 times for exposure and recall improvement, depending on relevancy to testing. Happy trails, page blazers.
Final recommendations:

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3 TIPS IN INCREASING COMMUNICATING SKILL

1. The first step is to have some face-to-face communication! Email/chat has overwhelmed our workplace communication methods. We couldnt work without the speed and immediacy that electronic communications provide. But the big but is that e-mail, by definition, is just words, making this form of communication much more easily misunderstood than face-to-face conversation. Over 90% of meaning comes from something other than the words themselves

55% comes from facial and body language and 38% comes from vocal inflection. So choose wisely. Meet face-to-face if there is conflict, if the issue is potentially sensitive, or if your real intent is to build relationships. 2. Then, use that 90% well! Be aware of both your body language and the body language of your conversation partner. Facial expressions are universal, but body language, eye contact and intonation can be interpreted very differently across cultures. Are you conveying interest, openness and attention? Your stance and the way you move can help convey a sense of connection. The non-verbal actions can fit the words and reinforce the spoken message, or completely negate it. Are you saying yes and shaking your head no? 3. Remember the goal is to express your ideas in a manner that will be understood. You intend one message. Is that the message received? Dont assume. We all have filters and biases that influence interpretation. Check out your own assumptions. And clarify the message being received. Take responsibility for the message that is actually received.

Journey System
Remembering long lists

Associate a list with landmarks on a journey you know well. iStockphoto/LuisPortugal

The journey method is a powerful, flexible and effective mnemonic based around the idea of remembering landmarks on a well-known journey. It combines the narrative flow of the Link Method and the structure and order of the Peg Systems into one very powerful system.

How to Use the Tool:


You use the Journey Method by associating information with landmarks on a journey that you know well. This could, for example, be your journey to work in the morning; the route you use to get to the front door when you get up; the route to visit your parents; or a tour around a holiday destination. Once you are familiar with the technique you may be able to create imaginary journeys that fix in your mind, and apply these. To use this technique most effectively, it is often best to prepare the journey beforehand. In this way the landmarks are clear in your mind before you try to commit information to them. One of the ways of doing this is to write down all the landmarks that you can recall in order on a piece of paper. This allows you to fix these landmarks as the significant ones to be used in your mnemonic, separating them from others that you may notice as you get to know the route even better. To remember a list of items, whether these are people, experiments, events or objects, all you need do is associate these things with the landmarks or stops on your journey. This is an extremely effective method of remembering long lists of information. With a sufficiently long journey you could, for example, remember elements on the periodic table, lists of Kings and Presidents, geographical information, or the order of cards in a shuffled pack. The system is extremely flexible: all you need do to remember many items is to remember a longer journey with more landmarks. To remember a short list, only use part of the route! One advantage of this technique is that you can use it to work both backwards and forwards, and start anywhere within the route to retrieve information. You can use the technique well with other mnemonics. This can be done either by building complex coding images at the stops on a journey, or by linking to other mnemonics at each stop. You could start other journeys at each landmark. Alternatively, you may use a peg system to organize lists of journeys, etc. See the introduction to this section for information on how to enhance the images used for this technique.

Example:
You may, as a simple example, want to remember something mundane like this shopping list: Coffee, salad, vegetables, bread, kitchen paper, fish, chicken breasts, pork chops, soup, fruit, bath tub cleaner. You could associate this list with a journey to a supermarket. Mnemonic images could be: 1. Front door: spilt coffee grains on the doormat 2. Rose bush in front garden: growing lettuce leaves and tomatoes around the roses 3. Car: with potatoes, onions and cauliflower on the driver's seat 4. End of the road: an arch of French bread over the road 5. Past garage: with its sign wrapped in kitchen roll 6. Under railway bridge: from which haddock and cod are dangling by their tails 7. Traffic lights: chickens squawking and flapping on top of lights 8. Past church: in front of which a pig is doing karate, breaking boards 9. Under office block: with a soup slick underneath: my car tires send up jets of tomato soup as I drive through it 10. Past car park: with apples and oranges tumbling from the top level 11. Supermarket car park: a filthy bath tub is parked in the space next to my car!

Key Points:
The journey method is a powerful, effective method of remembering lists of information, by imagining images and events at stops on a journey. As the journeys used are distinct in location and form, one list remembered using this technique is easy to distinguish from other lists. To use this technique you need to invest some time in preparing journeys clearly in your mind. This investment pays off many times over by the application of the technique.

Memory Improvement Techniques


Avoid frustrating memory loss. Retain and recall more information.
It's a classic situation - you meet someone new, and then moments later you've forgotten their name! Names, passwords, pin and telephone numbers... the list is endless - with so much to memorize is it really possible to improve how much you can remember? The good news is "yes"! Just like every muscle in your body, the adage "use it or lose it" applies, so the more you exercise your brain, the more you will remember.

Play this video for our quick guide to this page.

Mnemonics
Mnemonic is another word for memory tool. Mnemonics are techniques for remembering information that is otherwise quite difficult to recall: A very simple example is the 30 days hath September rhyme for remembering the number of days in each calendar month. The idea behind using mnemonics is to encode difficult-to-remember information in a way that is much easier to remember. Our brains evolved to code and interpret complex stimuli such as images, colors, structures, sounds, smells, tastes, touch, positions, emotions and language. We use these to make sophisticated models of the world we live in. Our memories store all of these very effectively. Unfortunately, a lot of the information we have to remember in modern life is presented differently as words printed on a page. While writing is a rich and sophisticated medium for conveying complex arguments, our brains do not easily encode written information, making it difficult to remember.

Using Your Whole Mind to Remember


The key idea is that by coding information using vivid mental images, you can reliably code both information and the structure of information. And because the images are vivid, they are easy to recall when you need them. The techniques explained later on in this section show you how to code information vividly, using stories, strong mental images, familiar journeys, and so on. You can do the following things to make your mnemonics more memorable: Use positive, pleasant images. Your brain often blocks out unpleasant ones.

Use vivid, colorful, sense-laden images these are easier to remember than drab ones. Use all your senses to code information or dress up an image. Remember that your mnemonic can contain sounds, smells, tastes, touch, movements and feelings as well as pictures. Give your image three dimensions, movement and space to make it more vivid. You can use movement either to maintain the flow of association, or to help you to remember actions. Exaggerate the size of important parts of the image. Use humor! Funny or peculiar things are easier to remember than normal ones. Similarly, rude rhymes are very difficult to forget! Symbols (red traffic lights, pointing fingers, road signs, etc.) can code quite complex messages quickly and effectively.

Designing Mnemonics: Imagination, Association and Location


The three fundamental principles underlying the use of mnemonics are imagination, association and location. Working together, you can use these principles to generate powerful mnemonic systems. Imagination: is what you use to create and strengthen the associations needed to create effective mnemonics. Your imagination is what you use to create mnemonics that are potent for you. The more strongly you imagine and visualize a situation, the more effectively it will stick in your mind for later recall. The imagery you use in your mnemonics can be as violent, vivid, or sensual as you like, as long as it helps you to remember. Association: this is the method by which you link a thing to be remembered to a way of remembering it. You can create associations by: Placing things on top of each other.

Crashing things together. Merging images together. Wrapping them around each other. Rotating them around each other or having them dancing together. Linking them using the same color, smell, shape, or feeling.

As an example, you might link the number 1 with a goldfish by visualizing a 1-shaped spear being used to spear it. Location: gives you two things: a coherent context into which you can place information so that it hangs together, and a way of separating one mnemonic from another. By setting one mnemonic in a particular town, I can separate it from a similar mnemonic set in a city. For example, by setting one in Wimbledon and another similar mnemonic with images of Manhattan, we can separate them with no danger of confusion. You can build the flavors and atmosphere of these places into your mnemonics to strengthen the feeling of location. For a detailed explanation of how to use imagination, association and location mnemonics, try these articles: The Link Method and Story Method Remembering a Simple List The Number/Rhyme Mnemonic Remembering Ordered Lists The Number/Shape Mnemonic Remembering Ordered Lists The Alphabet Technique Remembering Middle Length Lists The Journey System Remembering Long Lists The Roman Room System Remembering Grouped Information The Major System Remembering Very Long Numbers Using Concept Maps to Remember Structured Information How to... Remember People's Names Memory Games Have Fun While You Improve Your Memory

Memory Games
Have fun while you improve your memory

Card games can help exercise your memory. iStockphoto/musk

Have you ever looked up a phone number and repeated it over and over to yourself until you dialled it correctly? This draws on your working memory; however, just moments after dialling the telephone number, chances are you have forgotten it. This is because the telephone number was not "committed" to your long-term memory. And, while working memory is reliable for quick recall of bits of information (like phone numbers), it can hold only a few pieces of information and only for a very short time. To remember things for a longer amount of time, you must connect the new information with information you already have, "committing" it to your long-term memory, which stores more information and, for a longer period of time. There are, of course, many 'serious' techniques for improving your memory. (And you can find many in Mind Tools memory techniques section.) But you can also have a bit of fun "working out" with memory games. This article introduces several games to workout your memory, individually or in a team.

Story Telling
One way to remember the information you need to commit to long-term memory is to make up a story that "connects" the items or facts you need to remember, thus making them easier to recall. The idea here is that it's easier to remember more information when one fact or item connects to another. While making up the story, create a strong mental image of what's happening. This helps to "connect" the data to an image and better cement it in your long-term memory. For an example, read our article on story telling technique. It's fun to practice using this technique in a group. Practice by laying out 20 or more objects on the table and trying to remember them. Each member of the group takes his or her turn to add to the story by including another object. If the first three objects are an apple, a key and a mobile phone, here's how the story might start: Person 1: In the orchard, ripe apples were falling from the trees. Person 2:But the gate to the orchard was locked and John had brought the wrong key. Person 3: So he called Sue from his mobile phone to see if she could help. ... Once all the objects have been included in the story, remove them all from the room. See who can remember the most items. Now tell the story again as a group, taking it in turns. The group will probably be able to remember the whole story and so recall all the items.

Pexeso: Matching Pairs


Pexeso involves matching pairs of like cards or tiles from a large group, when one of each group is hidden. You play Pexeso with a set of cards or tiles that includes pairs of picture or numbers. You can play using half a pack of standard playing cards just remove 2 of the 4 suits, so you have just 2 aces, 2 kings, 2 queens and so on. Start by laying out 24 of the cards, making sure the 24 cards consists of 12 matched pairs. Once face down, move the cards around so that you do not know where any single card is located. Turn one card over at a time, take a look at the number or object, and then turn it face down again. Repeat this process until you turn over a card that matches a card you turned over earlier. Now find the card's 'mate' by remembering from earlier where it is located. As you find a matched pair, remove them from the group. The number of cards dwindles until all the pairs are matched. Time yourself and see how you improve (get faster) each time you play. As you get better, increase the number of cards you start with, moving from the original 24 to 30, then to 36, 42 and so on.

'Blind' Jigsaw Puzzles


Another fun and inexpensive way to give your concentration and memory a boost is the good old-fashioned jigsaw puzzle. Playing it 'blind' means without referring back to the picture on the box! First, look at a picture of the completed puzzle. Give yourself a few minutes to commit it to memory. Next, mix up the pieces to the jigsaw puzzle. Now, work to put it back together without looking at the picture of the completed puzzle again (until you are done).

Trivia Quizzes
A great way to improve how well you recall information is to play trivia quizzes. The trivia can be about anything movies, history, even about your specific business. Whilst you can easily purchase trivia quiz board games and books, you can also make up your own questions when you are playing in a group. Each person submits a list of questions (and answers!) and then to 'quiz master' takes questions from each person's list in turn. When you play with a new set of trivia questions, you rely on your recall of prior knowledge and experience to find the answers. If you play with the same questions in a few days or weeks later, you will also rely on memory of playing the game last time. Both new questions and re-runs are good for building you memory skills. You can learn 700 similar skills elsewhere on this site. Click here to see our full toolkit. If you like our approach, you can subscribe to our free newsletter, orbecome a member for just

Stress Diary
Identifying Causes of Short-Term Stress

Log your stress events. iStockphoto/danielle71

Whether stress is caused by rush-hour traffic, a heavy workload, difficult customers, or unpleasant news, many of us experience it in some form during the day. The problem is that if stress goes unchecked, it can affect our productivity and, worse still, our health. This is where keeping a Stress Diary can be useful. Stress Diaries are important for understanding the causes of short-term stress in your life. They also give you an important insight into how you react to stress, and they help you to identify the levels of pressure at which you prefer to operate. (After all, a little bit of pressure can be a good thing!) The idea behind Stress Diaries is that, on a regular basis, you record information about the stresses you're experiencing, so that you can analyze these stresses and then manage them. This is important because often these stresses flit in and out of our minds without getting the attention and focus that they deserve. As well as helping you capture and analyze the most common sources of stress in your life, Stress Diaries help you to understand: The causes of stress in more detail.

The levels of pressure at which you operate most effectively. How you may be able to improve the way you manage stress.

Using the Tool


To get started, download our free Stress Diary template and make regular entries in your Stress Diary (for example, every hour). If you have any difficulty remembering to do this, set an alarm to remind you to make your next diary entry. Also, make an entry in your diary after any stressful incidents. Every time you make an entry, record the following information: The date and time of the entry.

The most recent stressful event you experienced. How happy you feel now, using a subjective assessment on a scale of -10 (the most unhappy you've ever been) to +10 (the happiest you've been). As well as this, write down the mood you're feeling. How effectively you're working now (a subjective assessment, on a scale of 0 to 10). A 0 here would show complete ineffectiveness, while a 10 would show the greatest effectiveness you have ever achieved. The fundamental cause of the stress (being as honest and objective as possible).

You may also want to note: The symptoms you felt (for example, "butterflies in the stomach," anger, headache, raised pulse rate, sweaty palms, and so on.).

How well you handled the event: Did your reaction help solve the problem, or did it actually make things worse?

Analyzing the Diary


Once you've kept a Stress Diary for a number of days, you can analyze it and take action on it:

First, look at the different stresses you experienced during the time you kept your diary. Highlight the most frequent stresses, and also the ones that were most unpleasant. Working through the stresses you've highlighted, look at your assessments of their underlying causes, and your appraisal of how well you handled the stressful event. Do these highlight problems that need to be fixed? If so, list these areas. Next, look through your diary at the situations that cause you stress. List ways in which you can change these situations for the better. Finally, look at how you felt when you were under pressure, and explore how it affected your happiness and your effectiveness. Was there a middle level of pressure at which you were happiest and performed best?

Having analyzed your diary, you should fully understand what the most important and frequent sources of stress are in your life, and you should appreciate the levels of pressure at which you are happiest. You should also know the sort of situations that cause you stress, so that you can prepare for them and manage them well.

Note: You'll reap the real benefits of having a Stress Diary in the first few weeks that you use it. After this, you may find that you have better uses for your time. If, however, your lifestyle changes, or you begin to suffer from stress again, then it may be worth using the diary approach one more time. You'll probably find that the stresses you face have changed.

Next Steps
Your next step is to get your stress under control. Start by looking at the people and events that cause the most stress for you. If a person or group of people are causing your stress, our article, Dealing With Difficult People, should help. Does any or your stress come from disorganization or lack of knowledge oftime-management? If so, our quiz How Good Are Your Time Management Skills? will help you target key skills to build. Our article on Job Analysis will help you identify structural problems with stress that could be causing problems. Is burnout contributing to the stress you're experiencing? Our Burnout Self-Test can help you pinpoint problems here, and will help you deal with these.

Tip: Some stresses will be unavoidable, especially if you're in a job with lots of responsibility. Our article on Cognitive Restructuring can help you to reduce stress by changing the way that you think about things.

More Tips and Resources



Listen to our Expert Interview "Take the Stress Out of Your Life" with Dr. Jay Winner. He offers some great tips for eliminating stress and putting more relaxation into your day. Use imagery during your day to relax and reduce stress. Consider taking a vacation. Keep in mind that although the people or tasks causing your stress will still be waiting for you when you get back, a vacation can give you enough distance to relax, refresh, and come up with some effective solutions. Meditation can be very effective for dealing with stress, even if you can only meditate for five minutes at a time. Our article, Meditation for Stress Management, shows you how to start using this technique. Are you getting enough sleep? Most people need 7-8 hours of sleep to stay healthy and productive. A lack of sleep can definitely contribute to your stress level. Do you find it difficult to "switch off" at end of the day? Learn how to relax after a hard day. Our Bite-Sized Training session on Stress Busters can help you deal with stress by showing you how to relax in situations where you have no control.

Note: Stress can cause severe health problems and, in extreme cases, can cause death. While these stress management techniques have been shown to have a positive effect on reducing stress, they are for guidance only. Seek the advice of a qualified health professional if you have any concerns over stress-related illnesses, or if stress is causing significant or persistent unhappiness.

Key Points
Stress Diaries help you to get a good understanding of the routine, short-term stresses that you experience in your life. Using them, you can identify the most important, and most frequent, stresses that you experience, so that you can concentrate your efforts on these. They also help you to identify areas where you need to improve your stress management skills, and let you to understand the levels of stress at which you are happiest, and most effective. To keep a Stress Diary, download our worksheet and make a regular diary entry, for example, every hour. Also make entries after stressful events. Analyze the diary to identify the most frequent and most serious stresses that you experience. Use it also to identify areas where you can improve your management of stress.

Root Cause Analysis


Tracing a problem to its origins

A powerful five-step problem-solving process. iStockphoto

In medicine, it's easy to understand the difference between treating symptoms and curing a medical condition. Sure, when you're in pain because you've broken your wrist, you WANT to have your symptoms treated now! However, taking painkillers won't heal your wrist, and true healing is needed before the symptoms can disappear for good. But when you have a problem at work, how do you approach it? Do you jump in and start treating the symptoms? Or do you stop to consider whether there's actually a deeper problem that needs your attention? If you only fix the symptoms what you see on the surface the problem will almost certainly happen again... which will lead you to fix it, again, and again, and again. If, instead, you look deeper to figure out why the problem is occurring, you can fix the underlying systems and processes that cause the problem. Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is a popular and often-used technique that helps people answer the question of why the problem occurred in the first place. Root Cause Analysis seeks to identify the origin of a problem. It uses a specific set of steps, with associated tools, to find the primary cause of the problem, so that you can:
1. Determine what happened. 2. Determine why it happened. 3. Figure out what to do to reduce the likelihood that it will happen again.

RCA assumes that systems and events are interrelated. An action in one area triggers an action in another, and another, and so on. By tracing back these actions, you can discover where the problem started and how it grew into the symptom you're now facing. You'll usually find three basic types of causes:
1. Physical causes Tangible, material items failed in some way (for example, a car's brakes stopped working). 2. Human causes People did something wrong, or did not doing something that was needed. Human causes typically lead to physical causes (for example, no one filled the brake fluid, which led to the brakes failing). 3. Organizational causes A system, process, or policy that people use to make decisions or do their work is faulty (for example, no one person was responsible for vehicle maintenance, and everyone assumed someone else had filled the brake fluid).

Root Cause Analysis looks at all three types of causes. It involves investigating the patterns of negative effects, finding hidden flaws in the system, and discovering specific actions that contributed to the problem. This often means that RCA reveals more than one root cause. You can apply Root Cause Analysis to almost any situation. Determining how far to go in your investigation requires good judgment and common sense. Theoretically, you could continue to trace root causes back to the Stone Age, but the effort would serve no useful

purpose. Be careful to understand when you've found a significant cause that can, in fact, be changed.

The Root Cause Analysis Process


Root Cause Analysis has five identifiable steps. Step One: Define the Problem

What do you see happening? What are the specific symptoms? What proof do you have that the problem exists? How long has the problem existed? What is the impact of the problem?

Step Two: Collect Data

You need to analyze a situation fully before you can move on to look at factors that contributed to the problem. To maximize the effectiveness of your Root Cause Analysis, get together everyone experts and front line staff who understands the situation. People who are most familiar with the problem can help lead you to a better understanding of the issues. A helpful tool at this stage is CATWOE. With this process, you look at the same situation from different perspectives: the Customers, the people (Actors) who implement the solutions, the Transformation process that's affected, the World view, the process Owner, and Environmental constraints. Step Three: Identify Possible Causal Factors

What sequence of events leads to the problem? What conditions allow the problem to occur? What other problems surround the occurrence of the central problem?

During this stage, identify as many causal factors as possible. Too often, people identify one or two factors and then stop, but that's not sufficient. With RCA, you don't want to simply treat the most obvious causes you want to dig deeper. Use these tools to help identify causal factors:

Appreciation Use the facts and ask "So what?" to determine all the possible consequences of a fact. 5 Whys Ask "Why?" until you get to the root of the problem. Drill Down Break down a problem into small, detailed parts to better understand the big picture. Cause and Effect Diagrams Create a chart of all of the possible causal factors, to see where the trouble may have begun. Why does the causal factor exist? What is the real reason the problem occurred?

Step Four: Identify the Root Cause(s)


Use the same tools you used to identify the causal factors (in Step Three) to look at the roots of each factor. These tools are designed to encourage you to dig deeper at each level of cause and effect. Step Five: Recommend and Implement Solutions

What can you do to prevent the problem from happening again? How will the solution be implemented? Who will be responsible for it? What are the risks of implementing the solution?

Analyze your cause-and-effect process, and identify the changes needed for various systems. It's also important that you plan ahead to predict the effects of your solution. This way, you can spot potential failures before they happen. One way of doing this is to use Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA). This tool builds on the idea of risk analysis to identify points where a solution could fail. FMEA is also a great system to implement across your organization; the more systems and processes that use FMEA at the start, the less likely you are to have problems that need Root Cause Analysis in the future. Impact Analysis is another useful tool here. This helps you explore possible positive and negative consequences of a change on different parts of a system or organization. Another great strategy to adopt is Kaizen, or continuous improvement. This is the idea that continual small changes create better systems overall. Kaizen also emphasizes that the people closest to a process should identify places for improvement. Again, with kaizen alive and well in your company, the root causes of problems can be identified and resolved quickly and effectively.

Key Points
Root Cause Analysis is a useful process for understanding and solving a problem. Figure out what negative events are occurring. Then, look at the complex systems around those problems, and identify key points of failure. Finally, determine solutions to address those key points, or root causes. You can use many tools to support your Root Cause Analysis process. Cause and Effect Diagrams and 5 Whys are integral to the process itself, whileFMEA and Kaizen help minimize the need for Root Cause Analysis in the future. As an analytical tool, Root Cause Analysis is an essential way to perform a comprehensive, system-wide review of significant problems as well as the events and factors leading to them. Click on the button below to download a template that will help you log problems, likely root causes and potential solutions. Thanks to Mind Tools Club member weeze for providing the basis for this.

Improve Your Concentration


Achieving Focus Amid Distractions

You and your task: nothing else. iStockphoto/jhorrocks

How many times have you sat at your desk and tried to focus on a task, only to find that your mind is wandering? Despite your best intentions, you just can't concentrate. We've all been in this familiar, frustrating situation, and it's something that can really undermine your performance. In this article, we'll review strategies to improve your concentration and reduce your daily distractions.

Environment
Your personal work environment plays a large role in your ability to concentrate. The more comfortable and welcoming your environment is, the easier it will likely be for you to stay there and focus. Here are some ideas for improving your physical environment: Make sure that you're comfortable Start by ensuring that your chair and desk are at the right height for you to work comfortably. If your chair is too high or your desk is too low, you'll be uncomfortable, and you'll be tempted to use this as an excuse to get up and walk away. Put up pictures Viewing a natural scene or watching wildlife can help improve concentration. If you're able to put up pictures in your office or work area, then choose landscapes or natural images that you enjoy. This can help your focus, especially if you can see the pictures from your desk. Shut out distractions as much as possible Listening to music can help, especially if it's instrumental music. Some people even use noise machines in their offices these produce a steady "white noise," like ocean waves or falling rain. This steady background noise can drown out other noise, helping you focus better and ignore distractions.

Nutrition
Follow some simple nutritional tips: Drink water Many of us don't think about drinking water while we're at work, yet dehydration can make us feel tired, irritable, slow, or even sick. When our brains don't have enough fluid, they can't operate at peak performance. Staying hydrated is an easy way to help improve your concentration during the day. Eat breakfast Start your day with a healthy breakfast. It's much harder to concentrate when you're hungry, so eat a well-rounded meal before you go to work. You can also help your concentration throughout the day by keeping healthy snacks at your desk. Almonds, whole-grain crackers, fresh fruit, and vegetables are good choices. Get up and move around Do you walk around during the day? If you're like many people, you probably don't move around enough. Research has shown that regular walking can help increase your focus during the day.

Mindset
Constant distractions, and the low productivity that's associated with these distractions, have become so commonplace in today's offices that doctors have even given it a name: Attention Deficit Trait, or ADT. And, they say that entire organizations can suffer from it. Follow some of these guidelines to help focus your mind: Set aside time to deal with worries Many of us have trouble concentrating during the day because we're constantly worrying about other things. It could be an approaching deadline for a project you haven't started, a new colleague who's causing problems, or just the amount of work on your desk. If you find yourself distracted by worries, then note these down so that you don't need to hold them in your mind. Then schedule time to deal with these issues. Focus on one task at a time It can be much harder to focus if you take minibreaks (1530 seconds) to answer emails, send text messages, or take quick phone calls. Some researchers believe that it can take up to 15 minutes for us to regain complete focus after a distraction. Close your email box and chat program Let your voice mail do its job. If your office allows it, close your office door or put up a "Do Not Disturb" sign to let colleagues know you need to focus. (If you're a manager and you want to operate an open door policy, then consider working from home or from elsewhere.) Switch between high- and low-attention tasks This can give your brain a rest after heavy concentration. For instance, if you spend two hours working on your department's budget, you'll probably feel tired afterward. You can recharge your energy by working on a low-attention task, like filing, for 15 minutes before going back to your budget. Prioritize Having too much to do can be distracting, and this sometimes causes procrastination. Or, you may quickly jump from task to task, creating the illusion of work but in reality, you're not accomplishing very much. If you're not sure which tasks to start or which are most important, take 10 or 15 minutes toprioritize your To-Do List. Our article Overcoming Procrastination can also help. Limiting distractions allows you to get into the flow of your work so you get more done. If you'd like to learn about improving your focus, read our articles In Flow andManaging Interruptions.

More Tips for Improving Your Concentration

Take short breaks We can be masters at focusing, but eventually we're going to need a break. Our minds can struggle to focus intensely on tasks for eight hours a day. This is where it can be better to divide your work into

one-hour segments, with a 510 minute break between tasks. This short break will allow your mind to rest before focusing again. Do your hardest tasks when you're most alert This will help you maximize your concentration. Do you want to learn how to schedule your tasks around your energy levels? Read our article "Is This a Morning Task?" Use a phone headset If you have a headset for your phone, consider using it for a few hours each day. If your colleagues think you're on the phone, they're less likely to interrupt you. Promise yourself a reward For instance, make a rule that if you focus intensively for 45 minutes on one task, you can take a break to get a cup of coffee when you're done. Little "self-rewards" can often be great motivators. Schedule email downloads It can be tremendously distracting to have emails pinging into your inbox every few minutes you're tempted to stop what you're doing, and answer them right away. If you can, schedule your email to download only a few times each day, and deal with all of your emails in one go.

Key Points
Sitting down to focus on one task can be difficult, especially when you're constantly interrupted. To help increase your focus, start with a good breakfast, and drink plenty of water throughout the day. Don't multitask, close your door, and listen to music if it helps you concentrate. Although it may sound somewhat counter-intuitive, taking short, regular breaks throughout the day can also help you focus.

Instructions
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The best technique to make yourself stay awake while reading is to train your brain. You need to let your brain know that you aren't reading so that you can fall asleep; you are reading because you want to know what the book says. Each time you go to sleep with a book in your hands, your brain registers that and thinks that's the way it's supposed to be. You need to make it think otherwise.

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Start by not ever letting yourself fall asleep while reading. If you start to feel yourself drifting off, stop reading immediately and wake yourself up. Do a few jumping jacks, drink some coffee, and take a cold shower. Doing these things will tell your brain that reading shouldn't make it sleepy, it should energize it. Eventually, your brain will learn its new clues and stop triggering the getting-ready-to-sleep mechanism each time a book is in your hands.

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The next way to keep yourself awake is to sit up straight. It is very difficult to stay awake if you are lounging in your bed-your brain thinks a bed is for sleeping in. It is also very difficult to stay awake when lying on the sofa-that's supposed to be for relaxing. Find a stiff chair with a straight back and sit in that or even stand. I know a few people who can do it, but falling asleep while standing takes quite a bit of work. You don't have to read this way always, but doing it for a while will teach your brain that staying awake while reading is what it's supposed to do.

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It is important as well to read books that are interesting to you and capture your attention. It is difficult for your brain to shut down for sleep if it is consumed with what you are reading. At least until you get over the habit of falling asleep while reading, read books that really interest you and that you get into. Pay close attention to each word and don't allow your eyes to skim the page. Think about what you are reading. Consider it. Do you think you know what is going to happen next? Be an active reader. Reading is an activity and many people forget that. While doing an activity you need to be doing something. Even if you are just sitting with a book in your hands, your brain should be doing mental gymnastics.

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Reading at the proper time of day is important as well. If you read a few pages of a book and then go to sleep, you teach your brain to get ready for sleep whenever you read. Figure out what time you are the most awake and read then. For some people they are the most awake right after they wake up in the morning. Others are most awake in the evenings. If you are sleepy already every afternoon around three, you don't want to try and read then or you will be likely to fall asleep. Take a run first thing in the morning, grab a cup of coffee, and sit down and read a little of your book. You may find you have no urge to fall asleep because your body is wide awake.

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If this stuff still leaves you feeling sleepy a few pages into your book, you may want to read aloud. Yes, it sounds silly, but reading aloud triggers a different section of your brain. If you are an audible learner, this may even help you learn better. Read the book aloud to yourself in a mirror and it will be impossible for you to fall asleep.

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Finally, you don't have to go through these extreme measures forever. Read a book or two while following at least a few of these tips and your brain will learn reading is not sleeping time. After that, you can sit on the couch and read or not have to drink a cup of coffee mid-book. It probably still isn't a good idea to lie in bed and read before bed because you may have a relapse. It would be like you were telling your brain to do two different things at once, to sleep in your bed and to be awake and read. This would end

up making you have to start over again and it's simpler to just avoid the situation entirely.
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Are you still awake?
Read more: How to Stop Falling Asleep While Reading | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_4690480_stop-falling-asleep-reading.html#ixzz1s9H0ZvSL

10 Habits of High Effective Students

Some people believe that really successful students are just born that way. True, some students are able to breeze thro However, the vast majority of successful students achieve their success by developing and applying effective study hab habits employed by highly successful students. So if you want to become a succesful student, don't get discouraged, do of the study habits below and you're see your grades go up, your knowledge increase and your ability to learn and assi 1. Don't try cram all your studying into one session.

Successful students typically space their work out over shorter periods of time and rarely try to cram all of their studying want to become a successful student then you need to learn to be consistent in your studies and to have regular, yet sh 2. Plan when you're going to study.

Successful students schedule specific times throughout the week when they are going to complete their studying -- and Students who study sporadically and whimsically typically do not perform as well as students who have a set study sch 3. Study at the same time.

Not only is it important that you plan when you're going to study but that you also create a consistent, daily study routin each day and each week you're studying will become a regular part of your life. You'll be mentally and emotionally more each study session will become more productive. 4. Each study time should have a specific goal.

Simplying studying without direction is not effective. You need to know exactly what you need to accomplish during eac studying set a study session goal that supports your overall academic goal (i.e. memorize 30 vocabulary words in order upcoming Spanish test.) 5. Never procrasitinate your planned study session.

Its very easy, and common, to put off your study session because of lack of interest in the subject, because you have o or just because the assignment is hard. Successful students DO NOT procrastinate studying. If you procrastinate your s become much less effective and you may get everything accomplished that you need to. Procrastination also leads to r cause of errors. 6. Start with the most difficult subject first.

As your most diffult assignment or subject will require the most effort and mental energy you should start with it first. On work it will be much easy to complete the rest of your work. Believe it or not, starting with the most difficult work will gre study sessions and your academic performance. 7. Alway review your notes before starting an assigment.

Obviously, before you can review your notes you must first have notes. Always make sure to take good notes in class. and before you start a particular assignment review your notes thoroughly to make sure you know how to complete the 8. Make sure you're not disturbed whiles you're studying

When you're disturbed while you're studying you (1) loose your train of thought and (2) you get distracted -- both of whi Before you start studying find a place where you won't be disturbed. 9. Use study groups effectively

Ever heard the phrase "two heads are better than one"? Well this can be especially true when it comes to studying. Wo help from other students when you're struggling to understand a concept, (2) complete assignments more quickly, and the other student and yourselve to internalize the subject matter. However, study groups can become very ineffective if members come unprepared. Effective students use study groups effectively. 10. Review your notes, schoolwork and other class materials over the weekend. Successful students review what they've learned during the week over the weekend. This way they're well prepared to beginning of each week that build upon previous coursework and knowledge acquired the previous week.

We're confident that if you'll develop the habits outlined above that you'll see a major improvement in your academic su

6 Powerful Ways to Stop Being Tired


by BRAD I SAAC on AUGUST 16, 2007

One of the more common complaints I hear from people is how tired they feel all the time. I too experience times where I am tired and fight sleepiness. Being tired obviously decreases motivation and causes you to feel like you arent at 100%. Being tired might even cost you money!

Thats why in order to beat tiredness its a good idea to have a plan. Heres my 6 point plan to beat daytime tiredness: 1. High aerobic exercise *- Im not talking about a leisurely walk after dinner, I am saying some high intensity stuff. If you find yourself wanting to doze during the day, then you need to increase your aerobic exercise. It increases your blood flow, decreases standing heart rate. Youll be relaxed more during the day, sleep better at night and feel more energy. John Wesley at Pickthebrain.com says he gets his exercise in the morningand it works for him all day. Personally, I find that either morning or evening works for me. Just depends on the season. So Id recommend, in the beginning at least, to be flexible and find the right time for you. 2. Cut the sugar Are you drinking sugar in your coffee or morning beverage? It could be making you tired. When I switched from sugar to honey, I noticed a difference in my energy level that week. Plus, an old farmers tip says eating honey from your local bees helps to do away with sinus allergies. Worth a try anyway. Also avoid sugar snacks during the day. Many office workers bring in treats to share with everyone like doughnuts, cakes, ice cream. Just say no. Avoid these sugar traps that zap your energy. 3. Eat a good breakfast by good I dont mean Fruit Loops or a Danish. Grab some protein, eggs, low fat toast, granola, yogurt. Skipping breakfast sets you up for a mid morning crash. Plus, youll be starved and eat more for lunch (see point #4)

4. Eat a light lunch This advice comes from Benjamin Franklin. He noticed that his co-workers would gorge themselves at lunch and then have an afternoon of sleepiness. He chose instead to slowly and methodically eat a hunk of bread as he read a book. 5. Take time during lunch for you which is the second part of Ben Franklins advice. While he slowly ate his bread hed take Ben time by reading a book. By taking a full break from the reality of work in this way, you can come back from a mini-vacation refreshed and ready to take on the afternoon. 6. Cat-nap If you have a flexible schedule you can nap when you get tired. The key with this is not to nap too long. A 1 to 2 hour nap will make you more tired. A 15 minute nap or caffeine nap will wake you up and prepare you for the rest of the day. Sometimes you can squeeze in a 15 minute cat nap during lunch. Other times you might have to wait until after work. Either way, a nap can refresh and rejuvenate you.

17 Ways to Wake Up Feeling Fresh in the Morning


Okay so we know that waking up and doing things in the morning is the best way to achieve our goals in life. We can exercise, study, work, meditate, etc. much better than other times in the day. However, most of us feel pretty crap in the morning.

So what can we do about it? How can we wake up ready for work?

Ways to wake up feeling fresh in the morning


Here are some things you can do in the short term and the long term so that you will wake up fresh and energetic in the morning. Ive divided them up into three sections; (1) the night before and (2) during the night and (3) the morning.

The Night Before


1. Avoid coffee, red wine and chocolate the night before To wake up fresh you need to get a good sleep and one of the best ways to ruin a good sleep is to upset your gut. You really need to keep it happy during the night. Coffee, red wine and chocolate have been scientifically shown to disturb your sleep more than any other food. They upset your intestines in such a way that you will wake up constantly or have a very light sleep that doesnt re charge you at all. Try not to have these things after lunch time. 2. Go to bed happy with your partner One of the best ways to get a terrible sleep is to go to bed before you solve a problem with your partner. In my relationship I never let the sun set on an argument, even if I have to compromise a little bit on my own ego. Before you go to bed make sure your partner is happy (as much as you can) and make sure that you are happy with them. It is also one of the best things you can do for your relationship, let alone your sleep. 3. Meditate, pray and calm down before going to bed Every night before I go to bed I do about 30 minutes to an hour of meditation. This is amazing as it allows you to throw out all the days worries and forget about the worries of tomorrow. The future cannot be changed while you are asleep and the past is gone so there is no point losing sleep over it! Let it go. Meditate or pray or do whatever you do. Simply sitting there and watching your breath is a great way to prepare yourself for a nice deep sleep. Check outthis post if you want to learn to do a quick little stress relieving meditation. 4. Dont eat dinner right before bed A lot of people run home after work, cook up some dinner and then eat it and go to bed. This is a bad idea. The process of digestion takes a while and you do not want to be laying down right after you ate a big meal. Try and leave a few hours in between your bedtime and your dinner and see how you feel the next day. 5. Organize your room according to Feng Shui principles I know a lot of you probably think that Feng Shui is a load of bull but just give me a second to convince you that it actually has some western logic behind it. For those of you who dont know Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese art of setting up your home in a way that balances the energies and vibes by putting furniture in certain hot spots. The bedroom is particularly important and I have found that since I arranged my room according to Feng Shui principles I have had a much more rested sleep. In particular the placement of your bed is important. Feng Shui tells us that you should sleep where you can see the door but not be

in he direct path of the door opening. This helps us sleep with a sense of security. I can see the practical reason for this. You can get some more bedroom Feng Shui tips here. 6. Go to the toilet Even if you do not need to go to the toilet before bed you should still have a go and squeeze out whatever you can. The reason for this is that the kidneys will continue to work during the night and by the morning your bladder will be nice and full. If your bladder fills up early you might feel the need to go during the night and this cuts out valuable time from your sleep. You might think that sleeping is about the total time spent asleep but this is incorrect. It is important to stay asleep without breaking it because it takes some hours to get into the zone where you are truly at rest. A toilet break interrupts this zone.

During the Night


7. Not too hot, not too cold Another sleep related tip: your sleep is greatly affected by the how hot or cold you are during the night. It is important to get a good balance as this keep your energies calm and stops them from spiking. Try and find a balance between clothes and bed covers. For example, I like to sleep without any clothes but with a heavy blanket. This keeps my temperature pretty consistent. 8. Keep the window open One of the best things you can do for your health in general and your sleep in specific is to keep your window slightly open during the night. This has two benefits.
photo credit: volvidejapon

Firstly, the gap in the window will allow poisonous carbon dioxide to float away. The reason the human body breathes out is because carbon dioxide is poisonous. And during the night you take a heck of a lot of breaths and your room fills up with this gas. Let it out the window. The second reason is that you need to allow new oxygen to float in. This might also help you regulate the temperature of the room. 9. Keep your sleep consistent People think that you MUST have eight hours sleep to get enough. Not true. It is more important to go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time everyday. Not everyone needs eight hours. In fact, if I get eight hours sleep I usually feel tired and groggy for the entire day. Six to seven hours is about right for me. Start by setting your bedtime at the same time each night. Forget what is on the television and just go to bed at say 11pm each night. After a while start setting your alarm for the same time each day; even on weekends. If you dont start waking up fresher and happier each morning I will write you a personal apology. 10. Cut out noise, its actually killing you! I recently read in New Scientist Magazine that your life is actually being shortened by noise during

the night. Yep, thats right that screaming police car or roaring traffic is actually killing you! The magazine said that the noise has an effect on your heart and waking up many times during the night puts your body under a lot of stress. Try and keep your room quiet by wearing some earplugs. You can get earplugs that only cancel out certain sounds so that you can still hear your alarm or a baby monitor on your bedside table.

The Morning
11. Drink a glass of water A cool glass of water on an empty stomach actually has a lot of health benefits as well as serving to wake you up. The water will kick start your metabolism and as such you will wake up faster and feel more alert. 12. Exercise When you are groggy in the morning and nice run in the fresh air can wake you up fast. However, the interesting thing is that when you exercise in the morning you will actually have more energy the NEXT day. The more you exercise the more energy you will have as you become fitter and healthier. If you need some tips to get up and exercise early check out this post on early morning exercise
hacks.

13. Dont drink coffee everyday Science is now showing that our body becomes accustomed to the caffeine in our coffee and we have less of a reaction to it. This means that your daily cup of coffee is waking you up less and less every day that you drink it. A better idea is to save the morning coffee for when you are really tired and need a little bit of help. Perhaps if you had to stay out late or get up extra early and you have disturbed your regular sleeping habit. This is the time to have a cup of coffee. 14. Breathe deeply The first thing you should do in the morning is take some deep breaths into your stomach and concentrate on waking up. Imagine breathing in a bright white light that makes your body feel happy and light. 15. Have something to be excited about If you get up and go to a job you hate to work with a boss that drives you crazy you are not going to really enjoy waking up. However, if you have something you enjoy to go to you will be more likely to wake up happy knowing you have a bit of joy coming your way. If you cant leave your terrible boss then you should make time in the morning to do some sport or activity that makes you happy. Start your day with something happy and fun as opposed to starting it with work. 16. Get up straight away When I was in the Himalayas a buddhist master told me that one of the best things you can do to wake up early and feel alert and fresh is to get up straight away. As soon as your alarm goes off you should get up without snoozing it over and over again. He said to me half jokingly: You have to get up before your self cherishing does.

17. Be grateful for not dying The Buddha said that every time you go to bed you should consider that you wont wake up. That way, when you wake up you will be especially grateful for the day you have ahead of you. Instead of seeing the day as a burden that you have to get through you will see it as an opportunity to do something meaningful and beneficial. Why? Because you could die tonight. When applied correctly this realization will bring you tremendous energy.

Conclusion on waking up freshly


Each of these tips works. I have tried it on myself and my friends. And the great thing is that the more of these tips you apply the fresher you will feel when you wake up. Try them yourself.

The purpose of communication is to get your message across to others clearly and unambiguously. Doing this involves effort from both the sender of the message and the receiver. And it's a process that can be fraught with error, with messages often misinterpreted by the recipient. When this isn't detected, it can cause tremendous confusion, wasted effort and missed opportunity. In fact, communication is only successful when both the sender and the receiver understand the same information as a result of the communication. By successfully getting your message across, you convey your thoughts and ideas effectively. When not successful, the thoughts and ideas that you convey do not necessarily reflect your own, causing a communications breakdown and creating roadblocks that stand in the way of your goals both personally and professionally. In a recent survey of recruiters from companies with more than 50,000 employees, communication skills were cited as the single more important decisive factor in choosing managers. The survey, conducted by the University of Pittsburgh's Katz Business School, points out that communication skills, including written and oral presentations, as well as an ability to work with others, are the main factor contributing to job success. In spite of the increasing importance placed on communication skills, many individuals continue to struggle with this, unable to communicate their thoughts and ideas effectively whether in verbal or written format. This inability makes it nearly impossible for them to compete effectively in the workplace, and stands in the way of career progression. Getting your message across is paramount to progressing. To do this, you must understand what your message is, what audience you are sending it to, and how it will be perceived. You must also weigh-in the circumstances surrounding your communications, such as situational and cultural context.

Communications Skills The Importance of Removing Barriers:


Communication barriers can pop-up at every stage of the communication process (which consists of sender, message, channel, receiver, feedback andcontext see the diagram below) and have the potential to create misunderstanding and confusion.

To be an effective communicator and to get your point across without misunderstanding and confusion, your goal should be to lessen the frequency of these barriers at each stage of this process with clear, concise, accurate, well-planned communications. You can find out which barriers your communications tend to get stuck at by taking our How Good Are Your Communication Skills? self-test. But in summary, here's some more information about each stage of the communication process:

Source...
As the source of the message, you need to be clear about why you're communicating, and what you want to communicate. You also need to be confident that the information you're communicating is useful and accurate.

Message...
The message is the information that you want to communicate.

Encoding...
This is the process of transferring the information you want to communicate into a form that can be sent and correctly decoded at the other end. Your success in encoding depends partly on your ability to convey information clearly and simply, but also on your ability to anticipate and eliminate sources of confusion (for example, cultural issues, mistaken assumptions, and missing information.) A key part of this is knowing your audience: Failure to understand who you are communicating with will result in delivering messages that are misunderstood.

Channel...
Messages are conveyed through channels, with verbal including face-to-face meetings, telephone and videoconferencing; and written including letters, emails, memos, and reports. Different channels have different strengths and weaknesses. For example, it's not particularly effective to give a long list of directions verbally, while you'll quickly cause problems if you criticize someone strongly by email.

Decoding...
Just as successful encoding is a skill, so is successful decoding (involving, for example, taking the time to read a message carefully, or listen actively to it.) Just as confusion can arise from errors in encoding, it can also arise from decoding errors. This is particularly the case if the decoder doesn't have enough knowledge to understand the message.

Receiver...
Your message is delivered to individual members of your audience. No doubt, you have in mind the actions or reactions you hope your message will get from this audience. Keep in mind, though, that each of these individuals enters into the communication process with ideas and feelings that will undoubtedly influence their understanding of your message, and their response. To be a successful communicator, you should consider these before delivering your message, and act appropriately.

Feedback...
Your audience will provide you with feedback, verbal and nonverbal reactions to your communicated message. Pay close attention to this feedback, as it is the only thing that allows you to be confident that your audience has understood your message. If you find that there has been a misunderstanding, at least you have the opportunity to send the message a second time.

Context...
The situation in which your message is delivered is the context. This may include the surrounding environment or broader culture (corporate culture, international cultures, and so on).

Removing Barriers at All These Stages


To deliver your messages effectively, you must commit to breaking down the barriers that exist in each of these stages of the communication process. Let's begin with the message itself. If your message is too lengthy, disorganized, or contains errors, you can expect the message to be misunderstood and misinterpreted. Use of poor verbal and body language can also confuse the message. Barriers in context tend to stem from senders offering too much information too fast. When in doubt here, less is oftentimes more. It is best to be mindful of the demands on other people's time, especially in today's ultra-busy society. Once you understand this, you need to work to understand your audience's culture, making sure you can converse and deliver your message to people of different backgrounds and cultures within your own organization, in this country and even abroad.

Communications Planning
Getting the right messages across in the right way

Use the right communication medium for your audience. iStockphoto/Antonprado

Have you ever received a memo and felt the sender really wasn't thinking about what you needed to know or hear? Maybe you have attended corporate presentations that have simply left you cold? Or perhaps you've even delivered communications yourself and realized, in retrospect, that you really hadn't got the measure of your audience and their needs. This is at best frustrating. At worst it is such a huge "turn off" that it can have a negative effect, or even produce an effect that is the exact opposite of the one you had intended. Whether you need to communicate general day-to-day information or "big news" about major changes in your organization, the best communications start with some good planning. The first step is to put yourself in the shoes of your audience. What do they need to know, and want to hear? What's their preferred way of receiving information? What will stop them listening to what you have to say? And how will you know that they have got the message? So there's quite a bit more to good communications than preparing a good memo or presentation! This tool will help you through the preparation steps and so help you create an audience-focused communication plan that's sure to get your message heard.

Market Your Message! Good corporate communications is very much like good marketing. You have a message (product) that you need to sell to your audience (customers). If they are going to buy it, you must package the message so that they can understand it and pay attention to it. You must make sure the value and benefit outweigh any downsides (the price you are asking them to pay). And you must reach the audience through the right communication channels. Then, following the communications (promotion), you must be able to measure the effectiveness and how well the message is bought.

How to Use the Tool


Use the following steps to create a good communication plan for your company or project. Record your plan on a communications planning worksheet, such as the free Mind Tools one you can download here.

Understand Your Objectives


Step 1. Be clear about your overall communication objectives. What do you want to achieve, when and why? Record your overall objectives in your plan. Figure 1: Communications Planning Template Communications Plan For Overall Communication Objective:

Audience

Communication Objectives

Message

Channel

Timing

Understand Your Audiences


Step 2. Now identify and list your different audiences. This can initially seem quite difficult: For all but the simplest communications plan, it's good to use Stakeholder Analysis to help you do this. Stakeholder Analysis helps you identify who to communicate with and why.

Example: Audience Groups Think of "audiences" as groups that you need to communicate with. Any one person may be a member of several audiences. As an example, consider a project communications plan that has four audiences: All people working in New Jersey Office.

All people working in Sydney Office. Customer Services Teams. HR Managers.

Joe is an HR manager working in Sydney and is therefore a member of 2 audiences, as is Sue who is a customer services team manager in New Jersey. Whereas Lee, an IT consultant in New Jersey, is a member of just one audience: "All people working in New Jersey Office".

Step 3. Now drill down into your communication objectives and clarify specific objectives for each audience. A good way to do this is to think about the audience's needs what do they need and want to know from you? List all the objectives (there may be several) for each audience in your plan.

Plan Communications Messages and Channels


Once you have clarified your objectives and got a full understanding of the different audiences you need to communicate with, it's time to plan the communications that means working out the messages needed to meet your objectives and when and how these will be delivered. Step 4. Before starting on the detail of your plan, first jot down all the possible communications channels you could use. Think broadly and creatively! You probably already use lots of great ways to communicate in your company, and some new ones may help get your message across. Here is a list to get you started: Email

Newsletter Teleconference Notice boards CEO briefing Posters Lunchtime meeting Intranet article Launch event Team meeting Podcast on intranet

Tip: Remember to Use Existing Channels Big corporate news often gets announced at big corporate events. But don't forget to use existing channels too, such as staff newsletters, the intranet and team meetings. Using existing channels with the right message at the right time is an effective and familiar way to reach your audience.

Step 5. To plan out the message for each audience, start by thinking about the broadest audience groups first. In our example, the broadest audience might be "All people working in New Jersey Office" and "All people working in Sydney Office".

As you consider each audience in turn, ask the following questions: What does the audience need and want to know?

When do we need to communicate? What is the regular or preferred channel for reaching this audience? For this specific audience and message, what is the most effective way to get your message across?

Several messages over time may be required to meet the objectives of each audience. Make sure the messages you plan "add up" to meet the audience's objectives.

Tip: Earlier in this article we compared Communications Planning with marketing. One saying in marketing is that "prospects need to see your message seven times before they buy." While this may be over-precise, you may need to give your message many times over before it sinks in. On the other hand, as you plan for each audience, remember also that members of one audience may also be part of another audience, and so may receive several messages. Try to plan your communications so that individuals receive the right information and are not inundated, or worse, confused by the different messages they receive.

Monitor Effectiveness
Step 6. It's good to get feedback on the communications you have planned and implemented. Ask people from different audiences how you are doing. Check they understand the messages you need them to hear. By getting timely feedback, you can tune any future communications that you have planned to better meet people's needs or fill any gaps so far.

Example:
Rather than provide a fully worked example here (which would take up too much space!) here's an example for you to work on to get a better understanding of how to write communications plans. Let's consider planning the communications for the implementation of new security passes in your office. The overall objective is to "Ensure a smooth transition from the current security pass system to the new one". Who are the audiences and what do they need? First consider the universal audience "All Office-Based Staff". Everyone will need to know that the change is scheduled, what to expect and when. If people at each site need to receive different instructions about how to get a new pass and so on, each site needs to be listed as a separate audience ("Staff at site A" etc.) And what about the people who manage security? They are a further audience group as they have specific needs including more detailed information (possibly training) on how to manage the new system. Now consider the specific messages for each audience. As well as receiving all-staff announcements about the new system, "Staff at site A" must know when and where at Site A to get their new pass photos taken. This information must be communicated several days ahead of time. The day before the change over, people may need to be reminded to have their new passes at the ready, perhaps by leafleting everyone's desk throughout the office.

Active Listening
Hear what people are really saying

Learn how to listen actively, with James Manktelow & Amy Carlson.

Listening is one of the most important skills you can have. How well you listen has a major impact on your job effectiveness, and on the quality of your relationships with others. We listen to obtain information. We listen to understand. We listen for enjoyment. We listen to learn. Given all this listening we do, you would think we'd be good at it! In fact most of us are not. Depending on the study being quoted, we remember between 25% and 50% of what we hear. That means that when you talk to your boss, colleagues, customers or spouse for 10 minutes, they pay attention to less than half of the conversation. This is dismal! Turn it around and it reveals that when you are receiving directions or being presented with information, you aren't hearing the whole message either. You hope the important parts are captured in your 25-50%, but what if they're not? Clearly, listening is a skill that we can all benefit from improving. By becoming a better listener, you will improve your productivity, as well as your ability to influence, persuade and negotiate. What's more, you'll avoid conflict and misunderstandings. All of these are necessary for workplace success!

Good communication skills require a high level of self-awareness. By understanding your personal style of communicating, you will go a long way towards creating good and lasting impressions with others.

The way to become a better listener is to practice "active listening". This is where you make a conscious effort to hear not only the words that another person is saying but, more importantly, try to understand the complete message being sent. In order to do this you must pay attention to the other person very carefully. You cannot allow yourself to become distracted by whatever else may be going on around you, or by forming counter arguments that you'll make when the other person stops speaking. Nor can you allow yourself to get bored, and lose focus on what the other person is saying. All of these contribute to a lack of listening and understanding.

Tip: If you're finding it particularly difficult to concentrate on what someone is saying, try repeating their words mentally as they say them this will reinforce their message and help you stay focused.

To enhance your listening skills, you need to let the other person know that you are listening to what he or she is saying. To understand the importance of this, ask yourself if you've ever been engaged in a conversation when you wondered if the other person was listening to what you were saying. You wonder if your message is getting across, or if it's even worthwhile continuing to speak. It feels like talking to a brick wall and it's something you want to avoid. Acknowledgement can be something as simple as a nod of the head or a simple "uh huh." You aren't necessarily agreeing with the person, you are simply indicating that you are listening. Using body language and other signs to acknowledge you are listening also reminds you to pay attention and not let your mind wander. You should also try to respond to the speaker in a way that will both encourage him or her to continue speaking, so that you can get the information if you need. While nodding and "uh huhing" says you're interested, an occasional question or comment to recap what has been said communicates that you understand the message as well.

Becoming an Active Listener


There are five key elements of active listening. They all help you ensure that you hear the other person, and that the other person knows you are hearing what they say. 1. Pay attention. Give the speaker your undivided attention, and acknowledge the message. Recognize that non-verbal communication also "speaks" loudly.

Look at the speaker directly. Put aside distracting thoughts. Don't mentally prepare a rebuttal! Avoid being distracted by environmental factors. "Listen" to the speaker's body language. Refrain from side conversations when listening in a group setting.

2.

Show that you are listening. Use your own body language and gestures to convey your attention.

Nod occasionally. Smile and use other facial expressions. Note your posture and make sure it is open and inviting. Encourage the speaker to continue with small verbal comments like yes, and uh huh.

3.

Provide feedback. Our personal filters, assumptions, judgments, and beliefs can distort what we hear. As a listener, your role is to understand what is being said. This may require you to reflect what is being said and ask questions.

Reflect what has been said by paraphrasing. "What I'm hearing is." and "Sounds like you are saying." are great ways to reflect back. Ask questions to clarify certain points. "What do you mean when you say." "Is this what you mean?" Summarize the speaker's comments periodically.

Tip: If you find yourself responding emotionally to what someone said, say so, and ask for more information: "I may not be understanding you correctly, and I find myself taking what you said personally. What I thought you just said is XXX; is that what you meant?".

4.

Defer judgment. Interrupting is a waste of time. It frustrates the speaker and limits full understanding of the message.

Allow the speaker to finish. Don't interrupt with counter arguments.

5.

Respond Appropriately. Active listening is a model for respect and understanding. You are gaining information and perspective. You add nothing by attacking the speaker or otherwise putting him or her down. Be candid, open, and honest in your response.

Assert your opinions respectfully. Treat the other person as he or she would want to be treated.

Key Points
It takes a lot of concentration and determination to be an active listener. Old habits are hard to break, and if your listening habits are as bad as many people's are, then there's a lot of habit-breaking to do! Be deliberate with your listening and remind yourself frequently that your goal is to truly hear what the other person is saying. Set aside all other thoughts and behaviors and concentrate on the message. Ask questions, reflect, and paraphrase to ensure you understand the message. If you don't, then you'll find that what someone says to you and what you hear can be amazingly different! Start using active listening today to become a better communicator, improve your workplace productivity, and develop better relationships.

Body Language
Understanding Non-Verbal Communication

Learn to read people's body language. iStockphoto

Have you ever been in the situation when you really didn't believe what someone was saying? Did you have a sense that something didn't ring true or a gut feeling that all was not right? Perhaps they were saying "Yes" yet their heads were shaking "No"? The difference between the words people speak and our understanding of what they are saying comes from nonverbal communication, otherwise known as "body language." By developing your awareness of the signs and signals of body language, you can more easily understand other people, and more effectively communicate with them. There are sometimes subtle and sometimes not so subtle movements, gestures, facial expressions and even shifts in our whole bodies that indicate something is going on. The way we talk, walk, sit and stand all say something about us, and whatever is happening on the inside can be reflected on the outside. By becoming more aware of this body language and understanding what it might mean, you can learn to read people more easily. This puts you in a better position to communicate effectively with them. What's more, by increasing your understanding of others, you can also become more aware of the messages that you convey to them. There are times when we send mixed messages we say one thing yet our body language reveals something different. This non-verbal language will affect how we act and react to others, and how they react to us. This article will explain many of the ways in which we communicate non-verbally, so that you can use these signs and signals to communicate more effectively.

First Impressions and Confidence


Recall a time when you met someone new at work. Or think about the last time you watched a speaker deliver a presentation. What were your first impressions? Did you sense confidence or a lack of confidence in them? Did you want to associate with them or not? Were you convinced by them? Did they stride into the room, engage you and maintain eye contact or were they tentative, shuffling towards you with eyes averted, before sliding into a chair? What about their handshake firm and strong or weak and limp? Moving along in the conversation, did they maintain solid eye contact or were they frequently looking away? Did their face appear relaxed or was it tight and tense? What about their hand and arm movements? Were their gestures wide, flowing and open or were they tight, jerky and closed? As you observe others, you can identify some common signs and signals that give away whether they are feeling confident or not. Typical things to look for in confident people include: Posture standing tall with shoulders back. Eye contact solid with a "smiling" face. Gestures with hands and arms purposeful and deliberate. Speech slow and clear. Tone of voice moderate to low. As well as deciphering other people's the body language, you can use this knowledge to convey feelings that you're not actually experiencing. For example, if you are about to enter into a situation where you are not as confident as you'd like to be, such as giving a big presentation or attending an important meeting, you can adopt these "confidence" signs and signals to project confidence. Let's now look at another scenario.

Difficult Meetings and Defensiveness


Think of a time when you were in a difficult meeting perhaps a performance appraisal or one where you are negotiating deadlines, responsibilities or a contract. In an ideal world, both you and the other person would be open and receptive to hearing what each other has to say, in order to conclude the meeting successfully. However, often, the other person is defensive and doesn't really listen. If this happens during an appraisal meeting, and it's important for you to convey to your colleague that he or she needs to change certain behaviors, you really want them open and receptive to you so they take on board what you are saying. So how can you tell whether your message is falling on "deaf ears"? Some of the common signs that the person you are speaking with may be feeling defensive include: Hand/arm gestures are small and close to his or her body.

Facial expressions are minimal. Body is physically turned away from you. Arms are crossed in front of body. Eyes maintain little contact, or are downcast.

By picking up these signs, you can change what you say or how you say it to help the other person become more at ease, and more receptive to what you are saying.

Equally, if you are feeling somewhat defensive going into a negotiating situation, you can monitor your own body language to ensure that the messages you are conveying are ones that say that you are open and receptive to what is being discussed.

Working with Groups and Disengagement


Have you ever delivered a presentation, and had a sense that people weren't really buying into what you had to say? What about working with a group to facilitate a consensus on responsibilities and deadlines? Was everyone on board with the ideas, or did some appear disengaged? Ideally, when you stand up to deliver a presentation or work with group, you want 100 percent engagement with all concerned. This often doesn't happen on its own, though. But you can actively engage the audience when you need to if you're alert to some of the typical signs and signals of people not being engaged. Some of these signs and signals include: Heads are down.

Eyes are glazed, or gazing at something else. Hands may be picking at cloths, or fiddling with pens. People may be writing or doodling. (Note, however, that some researchers suggest that this can help people concentrate more effectively.) They may be sitting slumped in their chairs.

When you pick up that someone appears not to be engaged in what is going on, you can do something to reengage him or her and bring their focus back to what you are saying, such as asking them a direct question. And while this is going on, make sure that your own body language is saying what you want it to.

Lying
Of all the non-verbal body language that we may observe, being able to tell whether a person is lying or not will stand you in good stead. Some of the typical signs and signals that a person is lying include: Eyes maintain little or no eye contact, or there may be rapid eye movements, with pupils constricted.

Hand or fingers are in front of his or her mouth when speaking. His or her body is physically turned away from you, or there are unusual/un-natural body gestures. His or her breathing rate increases. Complexion changes such as in color; red in face or neck area. Perspiration increases. Voice changes such as change in pitch, stammering, throat clearing.

As with all non-verbal language, it's important to remember here that everyone's personal body language is slightly different. If you notice some of the typical non-verbal signs of lying, you shouldn't necessarily jump to conclusions, as many of these signals can be confused with the appearance of nervousness. What you should do, however, is use these signals as a prompt to probe further, ask more questions and explore the area in more detail to determine whether they are being truthful or not. Further clarification is always worthwhile when checking out your understanding of someone's body language, and this is particularly true during job interviews and in negotiating situations.

Interviews and Negotiations, and Reflection


What do you do when you are asked a really good question? Do you ponder for a few moments before answering? You might simply blurt something out without taking time to think about the answer, or you could take a moment to reflect before answering. By taking some time to reflect on your response, you are indicating to the questioner that they've asked you a good question and it is important enough for you to take some time to consider your answer. Be that in an interview situation or when negotiating something with someone, showing that you are indeed thinking over your answer is a positive thing. Some typical signs and signals that a person is reflecting on their answer include: Eyes look away and return to engage contact only when answering.

Finger stroking on chin. Hand to cheek. Head tilted with eyes looking up.

So, whether you are on the receiving end of someone pondering, or you are doing the pondering, there are certain gestures that give it away.

One Size Does NOT Fit All


We mentioned earlier that each person is unique, and that their signs and signals might have a different underlying cause from the ones you suspect. This is often the case when people have different past experiences, and particularly where cultural differences are large. This is why it's important to check that your interpretation of someone else's body language is correct. You might do this through the use of further questions, or simply by getting to know the person better. To help practice and further develop your skill in picking up body language, engage in people-watching. Observe people be that on a bus/train or on television without the sound and just notice how they act and react to each other. When you watch others, try to guess what they are saying or get a sense of what is going on between them. Even if you do not get the chance to check whether you are correct in your assessment, you will be developing your observational skills. This in turn can help you to pick up signals when you are interacting with others.

Tip: As well as learning to read body language, people often consciously use it to project messages and reinforce what they're saying we can all call to mind the body language used by a "slippery" used-car salesman. Whether or not this is acceptable depends on the situation. It's fine to put on a "brave face" when you're about to meet someone or do a presentation. However, it's not acceptable if you're trying to persuade someone to do something that's against their interests what's more, the gestures you can't control may give you away, leading to a serious loss of trust and credibility.

Key Points
Body language impacts a great deal of how we communicate, and can reflect quite accurately what's going on inside us. Body language includes body movements and gestures (legs, arms, hands, head and torso), posture, muscle tension, eye contact, skin coloring (flushed red), even people's breathing rate and perspiration. Additionally, the tone of voice, the rate of speech and the pitch of the voice all add to the words that are being used. It is important to recognize that body language may vary between individuals, and between different cultures and nationalities. It is therefore essential to verify and confirm the signals that you are reading, by questioning the individual and getting to know the person.

Thinking On Your Feet


Staying cool under pressure

iStockphoto/monkeybusinessimages

"So, Susan, your report indicates you support forging ahead with the expansion but have you considered the impact this will have on our customers? Surely you remember the fiasco in Dallas last year when they tried the same type of project?" Yikes! If you're Susan, you're likely feeling under pressure! You have to answer the question and allay the CEO's concerns about the disruption to customers. What do you do? What do you say? How do you say it? What if you can't think of anything to say?

This is not an uncommon situation. Whether you are put on the spot while attending a meeting, presenting a proposal, selling an idea, or answering questions after a presentation, articulating your thoughts in unanticipated situations is a skill. Thinking on your feet is highly coveted skill and when you master it, your clever and astute responses will instill immediate confidence in what you are saying. When you can translate your thoughts and ideas into coherent speech quickly, you ensure your ideas are heard. You also come across as being confident, persuasive, and trustworthy. Confidence is key when learning to think on your feet. When you present information, give an opinion or provide suggestions, make sure you know what you are talking about and that you are well informed. This doesn't mean you have to know everything about everything, but if you are reasonably confident in your knowledge of the subject, that confidence will help you to remain calm and collected even if you are put unexpectedly in the hot seat.

Learning How To Think on Your Feet


The secret of thinking on your feet is to be prepared: learn some skills and tactics, and do some preparation for situations that might put you under pressure. Then when you do find yourself faced with unexpected questions and debate, you'll be ready to draw on these tactics and preparation, and so stay poised while you compose your thoughts and prepare your response. Here are some tips and tactics:

1. Relax
This is often the opposite of how you are feeling when you're under pressure, but in order for your voice to remain calm and for your brain to "think", you have to be as relaxed as possible. Take deep breaths.

Take a second and give yourself a positive and affirming message. Clench invisible muscles (thighs, biceps, feet) for a few seconds and release.

2. Listen
It comes as no surprise that listening is critical to thinking on your feet. Why do you need to listen? To make sure you fully understand the question or request before you reply. If you answer too soon, you risk going into a line of thinking that is unnecessary or inappropriate. To help you with your listening remember to: Look directly at the questioner.

Observe body language as well as what is being spoken. Try to interpret what is being suggested by the question or request. Is this an attack, a legitimate request for more information, or a test? Why is this person asking this and what is the intention?

Tip: Remember that the person is asking a question because he or she is interested. Some interest is positive they simply want to know more and some is negative they want to see you squirm. Either way they are interested in what you have to say. It's your privilege and pleasure not to disappoint them!

3. Have the Question Repeated


If you're feeling particularly under pressure, ask for the question to be repeated. This gives you a bit more time to think about your response. At first glance people think this will only make them look unsure. It doesn't. It makes you look concerned that you give an appropriate response. It also gives the questioner an opportunity to rephrase and ask a question that is more on point. Remember, the questioner may well have just "thought on his or her feet" to ask the question, so when you give them a second chance, the question may well be better articulated and clearer to all. By asking to have the question repeated you also get another opportunity to assess the intentions of the questioner. If it is more specific or better worded, chances are the person really wants to learn more. If the repeated question is more aggressive than the first one, then you know the person is more interested in making you uncomfortable than anything else. When that's the case, the next tip comes in very handy.

4. Use Stall Tactics


Sometimes you need more time to get your thoughts straight and calm yourself down enough to make a clear reply. The last thing you want to do is blurt out the first thing that comes to your mind. Often this is a defensive comment that only makes you look insecure and anxious rather than confident and composed. Repeat the question yourself. This gives you time to think and you clarify exactly what is being asked. It also allows you to rephrase if necessary and put a positive spin on the request. "How have I considered the impact on customers in order to make sure they have a continued positive experience during the expansion?" Narrow the focus. Here, you ask a question of your own to not only clarify, but to bring the question down to a manageable scope. "You're interested in hearing how I've considered customer impacts. What impacts are you most interested in: product availability or in-store service?" Ask for clarification. Again, this will force the questioner to be more specific and hopefully get more to a specific point. "When you say you want to know how I've analyzed customer impacts, do you mean you want a detailed analysis or a list of the tools and methods I used?"

Ask for a definition. Jargon and specific terminology may present a problem for you. Ask to have words and ideas clarified to ensure you are talking about the same thing.

5. Use Silence to your Advantage


We are conditioned to believe that silence is uncomfortable. However, if you use it sparingly, it communicates that you are in control of your thoughts and confident in your ability to answer expertly. When you rush to answer you also typically rush your words. Pausing to collect your thoughts tells your brain to slow everything down.

6. Stick to One Point and One Supporting Piece of Information


There's a high risk that, under pressure, you'll answer a question with either too much or too little information. If you give too short an answer, you risk letting the conversation slip into interrogation mode. (You'll get another question, and the questioner will be firmly in control of how the dialogue unfolds). When your reply is too long, you risk losing people's interest, coming across as boring, or giving away things that are better left unsaid. Remember, you aren't being asked to give a speech on the subject. The questioner wants to know something. Respect that and give them an answer, with just enough supporting information. This technique gives you focus. Rather than trying to tie together all the ideas that are running through your head, when you pick one main point and one supporting fact, you allow yourself to answer accurately and assuredly.

Tip: If you don't know the answer, say so. There is no point trying to make something up. You will end up looking foolish and this will lower your confidence when you need to think on your feet in the future. There is (usually) nothing wrong with not knowing something. Simply make sure you follow up as soon as possible afterwards with a researched answer.

7. Prepare Some "What Ifs"


With a bit of forethought, it's often possible to predict the types of questions you might be asked, so you can prepare and rehearse some answers to questions that might come your way. Let's say you are presenting the monthly sales figures to your management team. The chances are your report will cover most of the obvious questions that the management team might have, but what other questions might you predict? What's different about this month? What new questions might be asked? How would you respond? What additional information might you need to have to hand to support more detailed questions? In particular, spend some time brainstorming the most difficult questions that people might ask, and preparing and rehearsing good answers to them.

8. Practice Clear Delivery


How you say something is almost as important as what you say. If you mumble or use "umm" or "ah" between every second word, confidence in what you are saying plummets. Whenever you are speaking with people, make a point to practice these key oration skills: Speak in a strong voice. (Don't confuse strong with loud!)

Use pauses strategically to emphasize a point or slow yourself down. Vary your tone and pay attention to how your message will be perceived given the intonation you use. Use eye contact appropriately. Pay attention to your grammar. Use the level of formality that is appropriate to the situation.

9. Summarize and Stop


Wrap up your response with a quick summary statement. After that, resist adding more information. There may well be silence after your summary. Don't make the common mistake of filling the silence with more information! This is the time when other people are adsorbing the information you have given. If you persist with more information, you may end up causing confusion and undoing the great work you've already done in delivering your response. Use words to indicate you are summarizing (i.e. "in conclusion," "finally") or briefly restate the question and your answer. So what did I do to analyze customer impacts? I reviewed the Dallas case files in detail, and prepared a "What if" analysis for our own situation."

Key Points:
No one enjoys being putting on the spot or answering questions that you aren't fully expecting. The uncertainty can be stressful. That stress doesn't need to be unmanageable and you can think on your feet if you remember the strategies we just discussed. Essentially, thinking on your feet means staying in control of the situation. Ask questions, buy time for yourself,

and remember to stick to one point and make that one point count. When you are able to zoom in on the key areas of concern, you'll answer like an expert and you impress your audience, and yourself, with your confidence and poise.

Thinking On Your Feet


Staying cool under pressure

iStockphoto/monkeybusinessimages

"So, Susan, your report indicates you support forging ahead with the expansion but have you considered the impact this will have on our customers? Surely you remember the fiasco in Dallas last year when they tried the same type of project?" Yikes! If you're Susan, you're likely feeling under pressure! You have to answer the question and allay the CEO's concerns about the disruption to customers. What do you do? What do you say? How do you say it? What if you can't think of anything to say?

This is not an uncommon situation. Whether you are put on the spot while attending a meeting, presenting a proposal, selling an idea, or answering questions after a presentation, articulating your thoughts in unanticipated situations is a skill. Thinking on your feet is highly coveted skill and when you master it, your clever and astute responses will instill immediate confidence in what you are saying. When you can translate your thoughts and ideas into coherent speech quickly, you ensure your ideas are heard. You also come across as being confident, persuasive, and trustworthy. Confidence is key when learning to think on your feet. When you present information, give an opinion or provide suggestions, make sure you know what you are talking about and that you are well informed. This doesn't mean you have to know everything about everything, but if you are reasonably confident in your knowledge of the subject, that confidence will help you to remain calm and collected even if you are put unexpectedly in the hot seat.

Learning How To Think on Your Feet


The secret of thinking on your feet is to be prepared: learn some skills and tactics, and do some preparation for situations that might put you under pressure. Then when you do find yourself faced with unexpected questions and debate, you'll be ready to draw on these tactics and preparation, and so stay poised while you compose your thoughts and prepare your response. Here are some tips and tactics:

1. Relax
This is often the opposite of how you are feeling when you're under pressure, but in order for your voice to remain calm and for your brain to "think", you have to be as relaxed as possible. Take deep breaths.

Take a second and give yourself a positive and affirming message. Clench invisible muscles (thighs, biceps, feet) for a few seconds and release.

2. Listen
It comes as no surprise that listening is critical to thinking on your feet. Why do you need to listen? To make sure you fully understand the question or request before you reply. If you answer too soon, you risk going into a line of thinking that is unnecessary or inappropriate. To help you with your listening remember to: Look directly at the questioner.

Observe body language as well as what is being spoken. Try to interpret what is being suggested by the question or request. Is this an attack, a legitimate request for more information, or a test? Why is this person asking this and what is the intention?

Tip: Remember that the person is asking a question because he or she is interested. Some interest is positive they simply want to know more and some is negative they want to see you squirm. Either way they are interested in what you have to say. It's your privilege and pleasure not to disappoint them!

3. Have the Question Repeated


If you're feeling particularly under pressure, ask for the question to be repeated. This gives you a bit more time to think about your response. At first glance people think this will only make them look unsure. It doesn't. It makes you look concerned that you give an appropriate response. It also gives the questioner an opportunity to rephrase and ask a question that is more on point. Remember, the questioner may well have just "thought on his or her feet" to ask the question, so when you give them a second chance, the question may well be better articulated and clearer to all. By asking to have the question repeated you also get another opportunity to assess the intentions of the questioner. If it is more specific or better worded, chances are the person really wants to learn more. If the repeated question is more aggressive than the first one, then you know the person is more interested in making you uncomfortable than anything else. When that's the case, the next tip comes in very handy.

4. Use Stall Tactics


Sometimes you need more time to get your thoughts straight and calm yourself down enough to make a clear reply. The last thing you want to do is blurt out the first thing that comes to your mind. Often this is a defensive comment that only makes you look insecure and anxious rather than confident and composed. Repeat the question yourself. This gives you time to think and you clarify exactly what is being asked. It also allows you to rephrase if necessary and put a positive spin on the request. "How have I considered the impact on customers in order to make sure they have a continued positive experience during the expansion?" Narrow the focus. Here, you ask a question of your own to not only clarify, but to bring the question down to a manageable scope. "You're interested in hearing how I've considered customer impacts. What impacts are you most interested in: product availability or in-store service?" Ask for clarification. Again, this will force the questioner to be more specific and hopefully get more to a specific point. "When you say you want to know how I've analyzed customer impacts, do you mean you want a detailed analysis or a list of the tools and methods I used?"

Ask for a definition. Jargon and specific terminology may present a problem for you. Ask to have words and ideas clarified to ensure you are talking about the same thing.

5. Use Silence to your Advantage


We are conditioned to believe that silence is uncomfortable. However, if you use it sparingly, it communicates that you are in control of your thoughts and confident in your ability to answer expertly. When you rush to answer you also typically rush your words. Pausing to collect your thoughts tells your brain to slow everything down.

6. Stick to One Point and One Supporting Piece of Information


There's a high risk that, under pressure, you'll answer a question with either too much or too little information. If you give too short an answer, you risk letting the conversation slip into interrogation mode. (You'll get another question, and the questioner will be firmly in control of how the dialogue unfolds). When your reply is too long, you risk losing people's interest, coming across as boring, or giving away things that are better left unsaid. Remember, you aren't being asked to give a speech on the subject. The questioner wants to know something. Respect that and give them an answer, with just enough supporting information. This technique gives you focus. Rather than trying to tie together all the ideas that are running through your head, when you pick one main point and one supporting fact, you allow yourself to answer accurately and assuredly.

Tip: If you don't know the answer, say so. There is no point trying to make something up. You will end up looking foolish and this will lower your confidence when you need to think on your feet in the future. There is (usually) nothing wrong with not knowing something. Simply make sure you follow up as soon as possible afterwards with a researched answer.

7. Prepare Some "What Ifs"


With a bit of forethought, it's often possible to predict the types of questions you might be asked, so you can prepare and rehearse some answers to questions that might come your way. Let's say you are presenting the monthly sales figures to your management team. The chances are your report will cover most of the obvious questions that the management team might have, but what other questions might you predict? What's different about this month? What new questions might be asked? How would you respond? What additional information might you need to have to hand to support more detailed questions? In particular, spend some time brainstorming the most difficult questions that people might ask, and preparing and rehearsing good answers to them.

8. Practice Clear Delivery


How you say something is almost as important as what you say. If you mumble or use "umm" or "ah" between every second word, confidence in what you are saying plummets. Whenever you are speaking with people, make a point to practice these key oration skills: Speak in a strong voice. (Don't confuse strong with loud!)

Use pauses strategically to emphasize a point or slow yourself down. Vary your tone and pay attention to how your message will be perceived given the intonation you use. Use eye contact appropriately. Pay attention to your grammar. Use the level of formality that is appropriate to the situation.

9. Summarize and Stop


Wrap up your response with a quick summary statement. After that, resist adding more information. There may well be silence after your summary. Don't make the common mistake of filling the silence with more information! This is the time when other people are adsorbing the information you have given. If you persist with more information, you may end up causing confusion and undoing the great work you've already done in delivering your response. Use words to indicate you are summarizing (i.e. "in conclusion," "finally") or briefly restate the question and your answer. So what did I do to analyze customer impacts? I reviewed the Dallas case files in detail, and prepared a "What if" analysis for our own situation."

Key Points:
No one enjoys being putting on the spot or answering questions that you aren't fully expecting. The uncertainty can be stressful. That stress doesn't need to be unmanageable and you can think on your feet if you remember the strategies we just discussed. Essentially, thinking on your feet means staying in control of the situation. Ask questions, buy time for yourself,

and remember to stick to one point and make that one point count. When you are able to zoom in on the key areas of concern, you'll answer like an expert and you impress your audience, and yourself, with your confidence and poise.

The Presentation Planning Checklist

Proper planning and preparation prevents poor performance. iStockphoto/porcorex

You're just about to deliver a really important presentation. Quite understandably, you're nervous about how it's going to go. The problem is that you're not sure that you've thought of everything... What if you get up there, and realize that you've forgotten something really important? To put together and deliver a great presentation, you need to pay attention to many small details. It's all-too-easy to overlook something important, especially if you're nervous about the outcome. That's why it's useful to have a checklist of things to remember. The checklist below will remind you of all the details that you need to attend to before, during, and after, your presentation.

Note: This checklist is adapted in part from "Business Communications: A Cultural and Strategic Approach," by Michael J. Rouse and Sandra Rouse.

Preparation

How much does your audience know about the presentation's subject? (Make sure that your presentation matches their knowledge level don't make it too complicated or too simple for their needs.) Where and how will you present (indoors, outdoors, standing, sitting)? Will this affect how you need to prepare? Are you knowledgeable enough about the topic that you're covering in your presentation? If not, how will you build this knowledge? Do you need to visit the presentation room beforehand to get a feel for it? Does the presentation room have everything that you need? (For example, electrical supply, Internet access, projector screen, and so on.) Do you want to inspire your audience to act? If so, how are you going to do this?

Tip: Before you start preparing your presentation, you might find it useful to read ourCommunications Planning article. This helps you plan how to get your message across in the right way. You might also find our article on business storytelling helpful.

Content

Does your introduction grab your audience's attention? And does it need to explain your objectives? Do you follow this by clearly defining the points of the presentation? Are the main points in a logical sequence? Do these points flow well? Do the main points need support from visual aids or props? Does your presentation's conclusion summarize the presentation clearly and concisely? Is the conclusion strong? Have you tied the conclusion to the introduction? Is your presentation too complex? (It's easy to go overboard, especially when you want to impress remember, keep it simple and focused.) Does your presentation contain any jargon? (Jargon can be confusing for many people, so make sure that you eliminate jargon from your presentation.)

Tip: As you're putting together your presentation, make sure that you use solid, accurate sources for any statistics that you'll be using.

Visual Aids

Are the visual aids easy to read/view and easy to understand? Are they tied into the points that you're trying to communicate? Can they be easily seen from all areas of the room? If you're using slides, do they all look consistent? Do all the slides use the same fonts? Are they easy to read? Have you included too much wording? (Remember, slides are meant to support points or concepts, not replace them. So, no sentences or paragraphs!) If you're representing an organization, do your visual aids and slides match your organization's branding? Do you have backup copies of key aids, just in case something goes wrong with your master copies? And have you prepared contingency plans in case your visual aids fail? For example, do you have spare data projector bulbs, just in case your existing bulbs blow? Do you have all parts of your visual aids for example, have you remembered to pack power supplies as well as the equipment itself? And, if you're presenting in another country, do you have appropriate adapters?

Practicing

Have you practiced your presentation standing (or sitting, if applicable), paying close attention to your body language and posture? Have you rehearsed often enough to be able to speak smoothly and fluently? Have you practiced your presentation in front of others? Your practice audience can give you valuable feedback about your presentation.

Tip: You might find it helpful to divide your presentation up into sections and practice each individually. This will make it easier to memorize key points.

On the Day

Do you have your slides, notes, and other visual aids in the right order? Are you dressed and groomed appropriately? (Make sure that this is in keeping with your audience's expectations.) Have you left enough time for travel and setting up? Have you checked your visual aids to ensure that they're working, and that you know how to use them? Do you know how to deal with nervousness? (Presentation nerves are very common, so learn how to manage presentation nerves to use that energy to your advantage.) During your presentation, are you making and maintaining eye contact with members of your audience?

Afterward
Have you made sure that your audience understands everything that you've covered? (Invite them to ask questions if you're unsure.) Do you need to follow up with any of your audience? Have you asked for feedback from your audience? Is there anything that you could learn, to improve your next presentation?

Better Public Speaking & Presentation


Ensure Your Words Are Always Understood

iStockphoto/Viorika

There are many things you can do to ensure that your verbal messages are understood time and time again. Although somewhat obvious and deceptively simple, these include: Keep the message clear.

Be prepared. Keep the message simple. Be vivid when delivering the message. Be natural. Keep the message concise.

Preparation is underrated. In fact, it is one of the most important factors in determining your communication successes. When possible, set meeting times and speaking and presentation times well in advance, thus allowing yourself the time you need to prepare your communications, mindful of the entire communication process (source, encoding, channel, decoding, receiver, feedback and context). By paying close attention to each of

these stages and preparing accordingly, you ensure your communications will be more effective and better understood. Of course, not all communications can be scheduled. In this case, preparation may mean having a good, thorough understanding of the office goings-on, enabling you to communicate with the knowledge you need to be effective, both through verbal and written communications.

Being prepared: Guidelines for Thinking Ahead:


Ask yourself: Who? What? How? When? Where? Why? Who are you speaking to? What are their interests, presuppositions and values? What do they share in common with others; how are they unique? What do you wish to communicate? One way of answering this question is to ask yourself about the 'success criteria'. How do you know if and when you have successfully communicated what you have in mind? How can you best convey your message? Language is important here, as are the nonverbal cues discussed earlier. Choose your words and your nonverbal cues with your audience in mind. Plan a beginning, middle and end. If time and place allow, consider and prepare audio-visual aids. When? Timing is important here. Develop a sense of timing, so that your contributions are seen and heard as relevant to the issue or matter at hand. There is a time to speak and a time to be silent. 'It's better to be silent than sing a bad tune.' Where? What is the physical context of the communication in mind? You may have time to visit the room, for example, and rearrange the furniture. Check for availability and visibility if you are using audio or visual aids. Why? In order to convert hearers into listeners, you need to know why they should listen to you and tell them if necessary. What disposes them to listen? That implies that you know yourself why you are seeking to communicate the value or worth or interest of what you are going to say. Be concise. Be brief. Use short words and sentences. Where appropriate, support these with short, easy-tounderstand examples, which help demonstrate your message.

Managing Presentation Nerves


Coping with the fear within

iStockphoto/MarkBernard

Your stomach is queasy, your palms are sweaty, and your mind has gone blank about your opening lines. What will you be like when you've been introduced and the room goes quiet? Are you doomed to presentation panic or paralysis, or can you overcome that debilitating nervousness and deliver a speech that wows the audience? (Or at least leaves them feeling satisfied)? If you are like most people, then public speaking or presenting is one of your major fears. Yet these skills are often called upon. It might not be to an audience of hundreds, but giving presentations to staff or even team members is a common enough occurrence. You owe it to yourself to develop some strategies and techniques to manage your nerves so you can concentrate on delivering an effective and engaging presentation. Notice I didn't say to get rid of your nervousness. This is because presenting is not a natural activity; even the most practiced presenters get a bit nervous. The point is this: your nervous energy can be used to your advantage. When you are in a heightened state from the adrenaline that is being pumped into your body, you can use that energy to communicate enthusiastically, convincingly, and passionately. The key is to decrease your level of nervousness so you can use your energy on these positive activities, not on trying to control your nerves. So, to harness your nervousness and bring it under control, there are six key tips to remember. These tips are all designed to help you focus on your audience and their needs rather than on yourself and how you are feeling. They all stem from one truism: The more uncertain you are, the more nervous you will be. The more you can control the uncertainty, the less nervousness you will experience and the more residual energy you will have to devote to the presentation itself.

Six Steps to Conquering Your Presentation Nerves


Step 1. Know Your Audience
Consult your audience before your presentation. The more confident you are that you are presenting them with useful and interesting material for them, the less nervous you will be overall. You really don't want your presentation to be a surprise. If it is, you lose complete control over the audience's reaction and that is a large factor in nervousness. So:

Define who your target audience is. Ask people who are representative of the audience what they expect from the presentation. Run your agenda by a few people to see if they think something is missing or is overkill. Consider contacting participants by email beforehand and asking them a few questions about what they expect. Greet audience members at the door and do a quick survey of why they are there and what they expect.

Step 2. Know Your Material


Nothing is worse for nerves than trying to give a presentation on a topic you are not well prepared for. This doesn't mean you have to be an expert beforehand, but you'd better know it backwards on presentation day. And making sure you've understood your audience and their needs properly will help you ensure that your material is on target to meet their needs. Another important point to remember is that you can't possibly cover everything you know in your presentation. That would probably be long and boring. So select the most pertinent points from your subject base and then supplement with other material if time allows.

Tip: To make your material interesting and memorable, include occasional questions to the audience to encourage audience participation. This enhances the learning experience and gives you a break from presenting. It also allows you deliver your information in a more conversational manner which is often more believable.

Step 3. Structure Your Presentation


A common technique for trying to calm nervousness is memorizing what you intend to say. But all this does is make your delivery sound like it is coming from a robot. If you miss a word or draw a blank, your whole presentation is thrown off and then your nervousness compounds itself with every remaining second. It is far better to structure your presentation so that you give yourself clues to what is coming next. Have a set of key phrases listed on a cue card.

Refer to these phrases to trigger your mind as to what is coming up next. If you're using slides, use these key phrases in your transitions.

This approach helps you control your own uncertainty about whether you will remember what you want to say and the order you want to say it.

Tip: A simple, widely used, and highly effective structure is to tell the audience what you're going to say, then say it, and then recap what you've said.

Step 4. Practice, Practice, Practice


Although you should avoid memorizing your presentation, you do want to be very comfortable with your delivery. Familiarity brings confidence, and practice helps you to deliver the words naturally. This means they will be coming more from your heart and mind, rather than from a piece of paper. Learn the organization and order of your presentation.

If you do feel the need to memorize, limit it to your opening. This will help you get off to a smooth start. Try videotaping yourself. You will see what you look like to others and then you can make a plan to change the things that need changing. Use audiotape to listen to how you speak, your tone and your speed, and adjust appropriately. Prepare for large speaking events by practicing with a smaller audience first; for example, by inviting colleagues to listen to a dry run during their lunch hour.

Step 5. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare


Once you know what you are going to say, you need to prepare yourself for the actual delivery. Decide what you are going to wear make it comfortable and appropriate.

Arrive early and get your equipment set up. Anticipate problems and have backups and contingencies in place in case something doesn't work, you forget something, etc. If possible, give everything one last run through in the real environment.

Prepare responses to anticipated questions. Try to think like that one person in the front row who always tries to trip the presenter up.

Step 6. Calm Yourself from the Inside


Nervousness causes physiological reactions which are mostly attributed to the increase of adrenaline in your system. You can counteract these effects with a few simple techniques: Practice deep breathing adrenalin causes you to breath shallowly. By breathing deeply your brain will get the oxygen it needs and the slower pace will trick your body into believing you are calmer. It also helps with voice quivers, which can occur when your breathing is irregular. Drink water - adrenalin can cause a dry mouth, which in turn leads to getting tongue-tied. Have a glass of water handy. Take sips occasionally, especially when you want to emphasize a point. Smile this is a natural relaxant that sends positive chemicals through your body. Use visualization techniques imagine that you are delivering your presentation to an audience that is interested, enthused, smiling, and reacting positively. Cement this positive image in your mind and recall it right before you are ready to go on. Press and massage your forehead to bring to energize the front of the brain and speech center. Just before you start talking, pause, make eye contact, and smile. This last moment of peace is very relaxing and gives you time to adjust to being the centre of attention. Speak more slowly than you would in a conversation, and leave longer pauses between sentences. This slower pace will calm you down, and it will also make you easier to hear, especially at the back of a large room. Move around during your presentation. This will expend some of your nervous energy. STAY or Stop Thinking About Yourself. Remember that the audience is there there to get some information and it is your job to put it across to them.

Many of these tips were suggested by members of the Mind Tools Club who discussed presentation nerves in the Career Cafe forum. So thanks again to Aussieghump, Misliona, Ladyb, Midgie, Lulu, Geoff Harrop and Rachel!

To take this to the next level, click here to listen to our "Performing Under Pressure" expert interview with Dr Don Greene. This gives you many more tips and techniques for managing performance stress.

Key Points
When it comes to presenting, nerves are inevitable. Letting them get the better of you is not. You need to develop a strategy for taking the focus off your nervousness and putting that energy to positive use. By controlling as much of the uncertainly as you can, you increase your confidence in your ability to deliver an excellent presentation. This confidence then counteracts your nerves and you create a positive cycle for yourself. Nerves are not your enemy and you don't have to fear public speaking. For your next presentation, be knowledgeable, be well practiced and prepared, try out some physical relaxation techniques. Amaze yourself and impress your audience with your calm and cool delivery of a great presentation.

Speed Reading
Learning to Read More Efficiently

Find out how to speed read, with James Manktelow & Amy Carlson.

Think about how much reading you do every day. Perhaps you read the newspaper to catch up with what's going on in the world. You browse countless emails from colleagues. And you then read the books, reports, proposals, periodicals, and letters that make up an average day. When you look at it, reading could be the work-related skill that you use most often! It's also a skill that most of us take for granted by the time we reach the age of 12. After all, it seems that if we can read and comprehend textbooks, then, surely, we must be good readers? Maybe not. And, given the time that reading consumes in our daily lives, it may be a skill that we can, and should, improve. But what does becoming a better reader involve? It means getting faster and more efficient at reading, while still understanding what you're reading. In this article, we'll look at how you can do this, and how you can unlearn poor reading habits.

How We Read
Although you spend a good part of your day reading, have you ever thought about how you read? How do your eyes make sense of the shapes of the letters, and then put those letters together to form a sentence that you can understand? When you actually think about it, reading is quite a complex skill. Previously, scientists believed that when you read, both of your eyes focused on a particular letter in a word. Recent research shows this isn't the case. Scientists now believe that each of your eyes lock onto a different letter at the same time, usually two characters apart. Your brain then fuses these images together to form a word. This happens almost instantaneously, as we zip through pages and pages of text!

Advantages of Speed Reading


Many people read at an average rate of 250 words per minute. This means that an average page in a book or document would take you 1-2 minutes to read. However, imagine if you could double your rate to 500 words per minute. You could zip through all of this content in half the time. You could then spend the time saved on other tasks, or take a few extra minutes to relax and destress. Another important advantage of speed reading is that you can better comprehend the overall structure of an argument. This leads to a "bigger picture" understanding, which can greatly benefit your work and career.

Note: Speed reading is a useful and valuable skill. However, there might be times when using this technique isn't appropriate. For instance, it's often best to read important or challenging documents slowly, so that you can fully understand each detail.

Breaking Poor Reading Habits


If you're like most people, then you probably have one or more reading habits that slow you down. Becoming a better reader means overcoming these bad habits, so that you can clear the way for new, effective ways of reading. Below, we cover some of the most common bad reading habits, and discuss what you can do to overcome them.

Sub-Vocalization
Sub-vocalization is the habit of pronouncing each word in your head as you read it. Most people do this to some extent or another. When you sub-vocalize, you "hear" the word being spoken in your mind. This takes much more time than is necessary, because you can understand a word more quickly than you can say it. To turn off the voice in your head, you have to first acknowledge that it's there (how did you read the first part of this article?), and then you have to practice "not speaking." When you sit down to read, tell yourself that you will not sub-vocalize. You need to practice this until this bad habit is erased. Reading blocks of words also helps, as it's harder to vocalize a block of words. (See below for more on this.) Eliminating sub-vocalization alone can increase your reading speed by an astounding amount. Otherwise, you're limited to reading at the same pace as talking, which is about 250-350 words per minute. The only way to break through this barrier is to stop saying the words in your head as you read.

Reading Word-by-Word
Not only is it slow to read word-by-word, but when you concentrate on separate words, you often miss the overall concept of what's being said. People who read each word as a distinct unit can understand less than those who read faster by "chunking" words together in blocks. (Think about how your eyes are moving as you read this article. Are you actually reading each word, or are you reading blocks of two, or three, or five words?) Practice expanding the number of words that you read at a time. You may also find that you can increase the number of words you read in a single fixation by holding the text a little further from your eyes. The more words you can read in each block, the faster you'll read!

Inefficient Eye Motion


Slow readers tend to focus on each word, and work their way across each line. The eye can actually span about 1.5 inches at a time, which, for an average page, encompasses four or five words. Related to this is the fact that most readers don't use their peripheral vision to see words at the ends of each line. To overcome this, "soften" your gaze when you read by relaxing your face and expanding your gaze, you'll begin to see blocks of words instead of seeing each word as distinct unit. As you get good at this, your eyes will skip faster and faster across the page. When you get close to the end of the line, let your peripheral vision take over to see the last set of words. This way you can quickly scan across and down to the next line.

Regression
Regression is the unnecessary re-reading of material. Sometimes people get into the habit of skipping back to words they have just read, while, other times, they may jump back a few sentences, just to make sure that they read something right. When you regress like this, you lose the flow and structure of the text, and your overall understanding of the subject can decrease. Be very conscious of regression, and don't allow yourself to re-read material unless you absolutely have to. To reduce the number of times your eyes skip back, run a pointer along the line as you read. This could be a finger, or a pen or pencil. Your eyes will follow the tip of your pointer, helping you avoid skipping back. The speed at which you read using this method will largely depend on the speed at which you move the pointer.

Poor Concentration
If you've tried to read while the TV is on, you'll know how hard it is to concentrate on one word, let alone on many sentences strung together. Reading has to be done in an environment where external distractions are kept to a minimum. To improve your concentration as you read, stop multitasking while reading, and remove any distractions. This is particularly important, because when you use the techniques of chunking blocks of words together and ceasing to sub-vocalize, you may find that you read several pages before you realize you haven't understood something properly. Pay attention to "internal distractions" as well. If you're rehashing a heated discussion, or if you're wondering what to make for dinner, this will also limit your ability to process information. Sub-vocalization actually forces your brain to attend to what you're reading, and that's why people often say that they can read and watch TV at the same time. To become an efficient reader, you need to avoid this.

Approaching Reading Linearly


We're taught to read across and down, taking in every word, sentence, paragraph and page in sequence. When you do this, though, you pay the same attention to supplementary material as you do to core information. (Often, much more information is presented than you actually need to know.) Overcome this by scanning the page for headings, and by looking for bullet points and things in bold. There is no rule saying that you have to read a document in the order that the author intended, so scan it quickly, and decide what is necessary and what isn't. Skim over the fluff, and only pay attention to the key material. As you read, look for the little extras that authors add to make their writing interesting and engaging. If you get the point, there's no need to read the example or anecdote. Similarly, decide what you need to re-read as well.

It's far better to read one critical paragraph twice than it is to read another eight paragraphs elaborating on that same concept.

Keys to Speed Reading Success


Knowing the "how" of speed reading is only the first step. You have to practice it to get good at it. Here are some tips that will help you break poor reading habits and master the speed reading skills discussed above. Practice, practice, practice you have to use your skills on a regular basis. It took you several years to learn to read, and it will take time to improve your reading skills.

Choose easy material to start with when you begin speed reading, don't use a challenging textbook. Read something like a novel or travel-writing, which you can understand and enjoy with a quick once-over. Speed read appropriately not everything you read lends itself to speed reading. Legal documents, the draft annual report, or even the letter you receive from a loved one in the mail - these are better read in their entirety, sub-vocalizations and all. If you need to understand the message completely, memorize the information, discuss it in detail, analyze it thoroughly, or simply enjoy the prose the way the author intended, then speed reading is the wrong approach. (Here, it helps to choose an appropriate reading strategy before you start.) Use a pointer or other device to help push your reading speed when you quickly draw a card down the page, or run your finger back and forth, you force your eyes and brain to keep pace. Take a step back and use the material's structure this includes skimming information to get a feel for the organization and layout of the text, looking for bolded words and headings, and looking for the ways in which the author transitions from one topic to the next. When you start speed reading, it's wise to benchmark your current reading speed. This way you can tell whether your practice is paying off, and you can impress your friends and family when you tell them that you can now read faster. There are many speed reading assessments online. One such assessment can be found at ReadingSoft.com.

Tip: There are many other strategies that you can use to improve your reading, as well as your comprehension. See our articles on SQ3R and Review Techniques to learn how to improve your reading retention; that is, how long you remember the information you're reading. Also, having the right information is just as important as knowing how to read it. Learn how to gather information more effectively in our article, Information Gathering. As well as this, you may want to work through our Read Smarter! Bite-Sized Training session.

Key Points
Speed reading is a skill that can be learned. It mostly involves breaking poor habits that you may have developed since you learned to read. Simply becoming a faster reader isn't the point, either you want to become a more efficient reader. There are some great techniques that you can use when practicing speed reading, including reading blocks of words, and breaking the habit of sub-vocalization. Whichever techniques you apply, you must always be aware of the purpose of your reading and decide whether speed reading is the most appropriate approach. When applied correctly and practiced diligently, speed reading can significantly improve your overall effectiveness, as it frees up precious time and allows you to work more efficiently in other areas

Reading Strategies
Reading Efficiently by Reading Intelligently

Get the most from your reading. iStockphoto/mammamaart

Whether they're project documents, trade journals, blogs, business books or ebooks, most of us read regularly as part of our jobs, and to develop our skills and knowledge. But do you ever read what should be a useful document, yet fail to gain any helpful information from it? Or, do you have to re-read something several times to get a full understanding of the content? In this article, we're looking at strategies that will help you read more effectively. These approaches will help you get the maximum benefit from your reading, with the minimum effort.

Think About What You Want to Know


Before you start reading anything, ask yourself why you're reading it. Are you reading with a purpose, or just for pleasure? What do you want to know after you've read it? Once you know your purpose, you can examine the resource to see whether it's going to help you. For example, with a book, an easy way of doing this is to look at the introduction and the chapter headings. The introduction should let you know who the book is intended for, and what it covers. Chapter headings will give you an overall view of the structure of the subject. Ask yourself whether the resource meets your needs, and try to work out if it will give you the right amount of knowledge. If you think that the resource isn't ideal, don't waste time reading it. Remember that this also applies to content that you subscribe to, such as journals or magazines, and web-based RSS and social media news feeds - don't be afraid to prune these resources if you are not getting value from some publishers.

Know How Deeply to Study the Material


Where you only need the shallowest knowledge of a subject, you can skim material. Here you read only chapter headings, introductions, and summaries. If you need a moderate level of information on a subject, then you can scan the text. This is when you read the chapter introductions and summaries in detail. You can then speed read the contents of the chapters, picking out and understanding key words and concepts. (When looking at material in this way, it's often worth paying attention to diagrams and graphs.) Only when you need full knowledge of a subject is it worth studying the text in detail. Here it's best to skim the material first to get an overview of the subject. This gives you an understanding of its structure, into which you can then fit the detail gained from a full reading of the material. (SQ3R is a good technique for getting a deep understanding of a text.)

Read Actively
When you're reading a document or book in detail, it helps if you practice "active reading" by highlighting and underlining key information, and taking notes (member-only article) as you progress. (Mind Maps are great for this). This emphasizes information in your mind, and helps you to review important points later. Doing this also helps you keep your mind focused on the material, and stops you thinking about other things.

Tip: If you're worried about damaging a book by marking it up, ask yourself how much your investment of time is worth. If the book is inexpensive, or if the benefit that you get from the book substantially exceeds its value, then don't worry too much about marking it. (Of course, only do this if it belongs to you!)

Know How to Study Different Types of Material


Different types of documents hold information in different places and in different ways, and they have different depths and breadths of coverage. By understanding the layout of the material you're reading, you can extract the information you want efficiently.

Magazines and Newspapers


These tend to give a fragmented coverage of an area. They will typically only concentrate on the most interesting and glamorous parts of a topic - this helps them boost circulation! As such, they will often ignore less interesting information that may be essential to a full understanding of a subject, and they may include low value content to "pad out" advertising. The most effective way of getting information from magazines is to scan the contents tables or indexes and turn directly to interesting articles. If you find an article useful, then cut it out and file it in a folder specifically covering that sort of information. In this way you will build up sets of related articles that may begin to explain the subject. Newspapers tend to be arranged in sections. If you read a paper often, you can quickly learn which sections are useful, and which ones you can skip altogether.

Tip: You can apply the same strategies to reading online versions of newspapers and magazines. However, you need to make sure that you don't get distracted by links to other, non-relevant material..

Reading Individual Articles


There are three main types of article in magazines and newspapers: News Articles - these are designed to explain the key points first, and then flesh these out with detail. So, the most important information is presented first, with information being less and less useful as the article progresses. Opinion Articles - these present a point of view. Here the most important information is contained in the introduction and the summary, with the middle of the article containing supporting arguments. Feature Articles - these are written to provide entertainment or background on a subject. Typically the most important information is in the body of the text. If you know what you want from an article, and recognize its type, you can get information from it quickly and efficiently.

Tip 1: Nowadays, you probably read many articles online. You can easily save links to these in a bookmark folder to reference later. Make sure that you title folders so that you can easily find the link again. For instance, you could have separate folders for project research, marketing, client prospects, trade information, and professional growth. Or, it might be helpful to title folders using the website or publication name. Tip 2: Remember that there are many online articles and electronic documents that weren't originally designed to be read on a screen. (This will also include documents that are emailed to you.) If you find it hard to read these on screen, print them out. This is especially important for long or detailed documents.

Make Your Own Table of Contents


When you're reading a document or book, it's easy to accept the writer's structure of thought. This means that you may not notice when important information has been left out, or that an irrelevant detail has been included. An effective way to combat this is to make up your own table of contents before you start reading. Ask yourself what sections or topics you are expecting to see in this document, and what questions you want to have answered by the end of the text. Although doing this before you start reading the document may sound like a strange strategy, it's useful, because it helps you spot holes in the author's argument. Writing out your own table of contents also helps you address your own questions, and think about what you're expecting to learn from the text.

Use Glossaries with Technical Documents


If you're reading large amounts of difficult technical material, it may be useful to use or compile a glossary. Keep this beside you as you read. It's also useful to note down the key concepts in your own words, and refer to these when necessary.

Further Reading Tips



The time when you read a document plays a role in how easy the reading will be, and how much information you'll retain. If you need to read a text that is tedious, or requires a great deal of concentration, it's best to tackle it when you have the most energy in the day. Our article, Is This a Morning Task?, (member-only article), helps you work out when this is, so that you can schedule your reading time accordingly. Where you read is also important. Reading at night, in bed, doesn't work for many people because it makes them sleepy (which means that you may not remember the information). Everyone is different, however, so read in a place that's comfortable, free of distractions, and that has good light - this is important even if you're reading from a screen. It can be helpful to review the information when you've finished reading. When you're done, write a paragraph that explains, in your own words, what you just learned. Often, putting pen to paper can help strengthen your recall of new information, so that you retain it more effectively.

Key Points
If you want to read more effectively, identify what you want to learn from each resource you read, and know how deeply you want to study the material. And, consider "active reading" by making notes and marking-up the material as you go along. It's also useful to know how to study different types of material. Making your own table of contents before you read material, and using glossaries for technical resources, are other useful reading strategies. Remember that it takes practice to develop your reading skills - the more you use these strategies, the more effective you'll become.

It is said that when King Ptolemy asked for an easier way to learn mathematics, Euclid (the inventor of geometry as we know it) replied, "There is no royal road to geometry." For many people, math is not one of their strong skills. If you struggle with it, read on to learn how you can improve your understanding and excel in the subject. Ads by Google Brain Exercises Improve Memory and Attention with Brain Games by Scientists www.lumosity.com

EditSteps

1. 1
Enroll in a math class. Ads by Google Surf Facebook On Mobile Update Your Facebook Status On Your Mobile. Check Out Hotlink Now! www.Hotlink.com.my/Internet

2. 2
Pay attention in class. You're not going to get any better at math if you don't listen or if you don't know what's going on. Listen and pay attention to what the teacher is saying.

3. 3
Make sure that you know what the words mean. For each math word, such as "variable"..

1. 2. 3. 4.

Memorize the definition from the book Make sure you know the meaning of each word in the definition Be able to give examples Be able to give counter-examples, that is, things that almost fit the definition but are not quite correct

4. 4
Pay particular attention to the rules, properties, formulas, equations, and methods, if you are to that point in math. Those are the tools of math, and will make math and computation

much easier for you. Learn to rely on them like a good carpenter would his saw, tape measure, hammer, etc.

5. 5
Participate. Even if you don't know the answer to a question, you can surely make an educated guess. So what if you're wrong? At least you tried. And hey, you just may be right! If you're not, that's how you'll learn.

6. 6
Ask questions. Even Einstein asked questions, so why shouldn't you? If you don't understand something, ask the teacher. You're not going to suddenly understand it by staring at the problem. If you don't want to ask a teacher, ask a nearby student, or friend.

7. 7
Seek math help. If you still need help, ask the teacher if there is somewhere you can go for assistance. Find out if there is a study hall or tutoring program, or ask if a teacher could give you extra help before or after class.

8. 8
Memorize your multiplication tables. This is crucial for mastering arithmetic.

9. 9
Write out your work. For example, when working out equations, divide your solution into steps, writing down what you did you get to the next step.

o o

Writing out your work helps you to keep track of the work as you do it, and it may help you get partial credit if you make a mistake somewhere. Writing your steps out will show you where you went wrong.

10.

10

Attempt ALL the work that is given to you. After attempting a few examples, you will get the hang of it!

11.

11

Review your graded homework assignments when they are returned to you. Try to figure out where you went wrong. Ask your teacher to help you review any problems you still don't understand. Ads by Google Build your EA capability Expert Enterprise Architecture Consulting, Training & Resourcing www.EnterpriseArchitects.com

Maths Resources from $4 Buy mathematics teaching resources, age 5-18. Download Now. Teachable.net Final Call: Get a job @ CPA Australia Career Expo KL Convention Centre 21 April www.cpaaustralia.com.au/Career-Expo

EditTips

Make sure you do your homework. You could even write out your own problems to practice. Try to understand what you are doing. Don't just "plug and chug". For example, if you are learning to add larger numbers, think about why you are carrying the excess over to the next place, and if you still don't understand, ask. As you move beyond arithmetic in your study of mathematics, into algebra, geometry, and so on, the new things you learn will start to build upon the things you have already learned. Thus, make certain that you have a firm grasp of each lesson before moving on. Even if math is challenging for you, try not to fear it. Nervousness will just make matters worse. Instead, be patient with yourself and take the time to learn step by step. Have fun. Even though it may not seem like it yet, mathematics can be remarkably beautiful for its order and elegance. Don't sit out just because you're afraid of making mistakes. Try something, even if you're not quite sure yet. Whether we like it or not, the ability to make quick and accurate arithmetic calculations plays an integral role in both our business and personal lives. Interestingly, arithmetic stimulates brain activity in both the left and right hemisphere of the frontal lobe does more than participate in reading or listening to music. Insofar as the frontal lobes control our motor function, problem solving, memory, language, judgment, impulse control, and social/sexual behavior, appropriate frontal lobe stimulation may have far-ranging beneficial effects on our daily activities. Practice as much as possible, but take regular breaks. Learning math takes practice.

It is said that when King Ptolemy asked for an easier way to learn mathematics, Euclid (the inventor of geometry as we know it) replied, "There is no royal road to geometry." For many people, math is not one of their strong skills. If you struggle with it, read on to learn how you can improve your understanding and excel in the subject. Ads by Google Brain Exercises Improve Memory and Attention with Brain Games by Scientists www.lumosity.com

EditSteps

1. 1
Enroll in a math class. Ads by Google Surf Facebook On Mobile Update Your Facebook Status On Your Mobile. Check Out Hotlink Now! www.Hotlink.com.my/Internet

2. 2
Pay attention in class. You're not going to get any better at math if you don't listen or if you don't know what's going on. Listen and pay attention to what the teacher is saying.

3. 3
Make sure that you know what the words mean. For each math word, such as "variable"..

1. 2. 3. 4.

Memorize the definition from the book Make sure you know the meaning of each word in the definition Be able to give examples Be able to give counter-examples, that is, things that almost fit the definition but are not quite correct

4. 4
Pay particular attention to the rules, properties, formulas, equations, and methods, if you are to that point in math. Those are the tools of math, and will make math and computation

much easier for you. Learn to rely on them like a good carpenter would his saw, tape measure, hammer, etc.

5. 5
Participate. Even if you don't know the answer to a question, you can surely make an educated guess. So what if you're wrong? At least you tried. And hey, you just may be right! If you're not, that's how you'll learn.

6. 6
Ask questions. Even Einstein asked questions, so why shouldn't you? If you don't understand something, ask the teacher. You're not going to suddenly understand it by staring at the problem. If you don't want to ask a teacher, ask a nearby student, or friend.

7. 7
Seek math help. If you still need help, ask the teacher if there is somewhere you can go for assistance. Find out if there is a study hall or tutoring program, or ask if a teacher could give you extra help before or after class.

8. 8
Memorize your multiplication tables. This is crucial for mastering arithmetic.

9. 9
Write out your work. For example, when working out equations, divide your solution into steps, writing down what you did you get to the next step.

o o

Writing out your work helps you to keep track of the work as you do it, and it may help you get partial credit if you make a mistake somewhere. Writing your steps out will show you where you went wrong.

10.

10

Attempt ALL the work that is given to you. After attempting a few examples, you will get the hang of it!

11.

11

Review your graded homework assignments when they are returned to you. Try to figure out where you went wrong. Ask your teacher to help you review any problems you still don't understand. Ads by Google Build your EA capability Expert Enterprise Architecture Consulting, Training & Resourcing www.EnterpriseArchitects.com

Maths Resources from $4 Buy mathematics teaching resources, age 5-18. Download Now. Teachable.net Final Call: Get a job @ CPA Australia Career Expo KL Convention Centre 21 April www.cpaaustralia.com.au/Career-Expo

EditTips

Make sure you do your homework. You could even write out your own problems to practice. Try to understand what you are doing. Don't just "plug and chug". For example, if you are learning to add larger numbers, think about why you are carrying the excess over to the next place, and if you still don't understand, ask. As you move beyond arithmetic in your study of mathematics, into algebra, geometry, and so on, the new things you learn will start to build upon the things you have already learned. Thus, make certain that you have a firm grasp of each lesson before moving on. Even if math is challenging for you, try not to fear it. Nervousness will just make matters worse. Instead, be patient with yourself and take the time to learn step by step. Have fun. Even though it may not seem like it yet, mathematics can be remarkably beautiful for its order and elegance. Don't sit out just because you're afraid of making mistakes. Try something, even if you're not quite sure yet. Whether we like it or not, the ability to make quick and accurate arithmetic calculations plays an integral role in both our business and personal lives. Interestingly, arithmetic stimulates brain activity in both the left and right hemisphere of the frontal lobe does more than participate in reading or listening to music. Insofar as the frontal lobes control our motor function, problem solving, memory, language, judgment, impulse control, and social/sexual behavior, appropriate frontal lobe stimulation may have far-ranging beneficial effects on our daily activities. Practice as much as possible, but take regular breaks. Learning math takes practice.

SQ3R
Increasing Your Retention of Written Information

There are better ways to retain information! iStockphoto/Cimmerian

SQ3R is a useful technique for fully absorbing written information. It helps you to create a good mental framework of a subject, into which you can fit facts correctly. It helps you to set study goals. It also prompts you to use the review techniques that will help to fix information in your mind. By using SQ3R to actively read a document, you can get the maximum benefit from your reading time. The acronym SQ3R stands for the five sequential techniques you should use to read a book:

Survey
Survey the document: scan the contents, introduction, chapter introductions and chapter summaries to pick up a shallow overview of the text. Form an opinion of whether it will be of any help. If it does not give you the information you want, discard it.

Question
Make a note of any questions on the subject that come to mind, or particularly interest you following your survey. Perhaps scan the document again to see if any stand out. These questions can be considered almost as study goals understanding the answers can help you to structure the information in your own mind.

Read
Now read the document. Read through useful sections in detail, taking care to understand all the points that are relevant. In the case of some texts this reading may be very slow. This will particularly be the case if there is a lot of dense and complicated information. While you are reading, it can help to take notes in Mind Mapformat.

Recall
Once you have read appropriate sections of the document, run through it in your mind several times. Isolate the core facts or the essential processes behind the subject, and then see how other information fits around them.

Review
Once you have run through the exercise of recalling the information, you can move on to the stage of reviewing it. This review can be by reading the document again, by expanding your notes, or by discussing the material with colleagues. A particularly effective method of reviewing information is to have to teach it to someone else.

Key Points
SQ3R is a useful technique for extracting the maximum amount of benefit from your reading time. It helps you to organize the structure of a subject in your mind. It also helps you to set study goals and to separate important information from irrelevant data. SQ3R is a 5 stage active reading technique. The stages are: Survey

Question Read Recall Review

Review Strategies
Committing Learning to Long-Term Memory

Review what you've learnt to increase retention. iStockphoto/blackred

Have you ever taken a useful training course, read a business book, or learned a new skill, but then forgotten almost everything about it within a few weeks? When you don't have the chance to apply new knowledge, it's easy to forget what you have learned. This is why it's so important not only to take notes, but also to review what you have learned regularly, so that you can remember it in the long-term. In this article, we'll look at the benefits of reviewing information, and we explore several strategies that you can use to do this effectively.

Why Review Information?


When we learn new information, we remember it best immediately after we have learned it. We then forget details as time passes. Even after a few days, we may be able to recall only a little of what we initially learned. So, to remember what've we've learned over the long-term, we need to move information from our short-term memory (what we're currently thinking about or aware of) into our long-term memory. To do this, we need to review what we've learned, and we need to do this often. It takes time to commit information to our long-term memory, and reviewing information helps us do this.

Tip: As well improving your learning, these strategies are also useful in day-to-day business situations, such as when you want to remember client details or recall information for a presentation.

How to Review Information Effectively


We'll now look at some simple strategies that you can use to move knowledge from your short-term memory to your long-term memory.

1. Review Immediately
Begin by spending a few minutes reviewing material immediately after you've learned about it. This helps you confirm that you understand the information, and reduces the time needed to "relearn" it when you review it again in the future. As you re-read material, use effective reading strategies to make sure that you're reading efficiently and intelligently. For instance, if you've just read a chapter in a business book, you may only need to review section headings and the conclusion.

2. Rewrite Materials
Rewriting and reorganizing your notes is another great way to review information. This might seem like a waste of time at first. However, rewriting can be a very effective method for reinforcing what you've learned. Research shows that the act of rewriting notes helps us clarify our understanding. One way to do this is to put the information you have learned into Mind Maps. These are especially good for rewriting notes, because they force you to make connections between concepts and themes. You can also simply jot down key points in bullet form, or tidy up any original notes.

3. Schedule Reviews
Remember it takes time to move information to your long-term memory. So, it's important to review information frequently. It's best to carry out a review after a day, after a week, and after a month; and then to review your notes every few months thereafter. Make sure that you schedule time for your reviews, otherwise they will just get pushed aside when urgent issues come up. Also, put these on your To-Do List, or into your Action Program. Again, you'll also find it useful to write notes during these regular reviews. Try jotting down what you can remember about the subject, and then compare these notes with your original ones. This will show you what you've forgotten, and will help you refresh your memory.

Tip 1: Reviewing learned information is the final step in the SQ3R process. SQ3R (which stands for Survey, Question, Read, Recall and Review) is a particularly potent method for assimilating information, and for getting the greatest benefit from your learning experience. Tip 2: Sleep also helps your memory research shows that we remember more when we get a good night's sleep.

Key Points
To remember what we've learned, we need to commit information to our long-term memory. A great way of doing this is by reviewing information regularly. To review information, revisit learning material straight after you've learned it, using an effective reading strategy. Also, write notes about what you've learned using tools such as Mind Maps, and then review this information one day, one week, and one month later. Then revisit the information every few months.

Keeping Up-to-Date on Your Industry


Staying Informed

Find the best sources for keeping in touch with news and trends. iStockphoto/oonal

Bob has just had to shut down one of his department's production lines, while he re-engineers a key process to comply with new safety legislation.

This change in legislation has been expected for well over a year, and, while it's only now coming into force, other people in Bob's industry have been prepared for the change for months. Needless to say, Bob's boss isn't happy, particularly when she hears how this is going to affect profits and delivery times. Many of us work in changing competitive environments. If we don't keep up with news and trends, we can miss key opportunities and can be caught unawares. That's why, for some of us, it's important to keep-in-touch with news and trends in our industries.

Benefits of Keeping Up-to-Date


Although keeping up with industry news may seem to be just one more thing to add to your To-Do List, there are several important benefits. First, you'll make better decisions, and you'll spot threats and opportunities early on, which can give you a competitive edge. This is especially important if you contribute to shaping your organization's strategy. It's also important if you're involved in sales and marketing, where it helps you identify and take advantage of the sales opportunities that come your way. Secondly, keeping up-to-date with your industry is key for building expert power. By developing expertise in your job and your industry, you'll earn the trust and respect of the people around you. From a leadership perspective, this is invaluable! Finally, it will alert you to changes that you need to think about. This is the sort of information that would have saved Bob his embarrassment.

Note: Clearly, in some roles (for example, in junior roles, or where you're providing a service within your organization) there may be no need to keep up-to-date with your industry. Use your best judgment when applying the strategies in this article - if you don't need this information, don't waste your time sourcing it!

Sources of Information
To keep up with news and developments in your industry, the first thing you need to do is identify the best sources to use. We've listed traditional and online sources below: choose the most appropriate sources depending on your industry and the type of work that you do.

Traditional Sources: Find a Mentor


A great starting point is to find a mentor within your organization. Not only can mentors help you solve career issues and develop your career, they can provide you with a wealth of insider knowledge, as well as with the insight needed to understand it.

Trade Organizations
Your industry may have one or more trade organizations that you can join. These are useful, because they can help to keep you informed with their newsletters and publications, and they provide networking opportunities with meetings and conferences.

Trade Shows and Conferences


Trade shows and conferences are great for learning about competitors, new products, and industry trends; and they can provide ample networking opportunities.

Face-to-Face Networking
Face-to-face networking can be one of the most rewarding ways to stay on top of industry news and trends. Often, professional relationships can develop into deep friendships, especially when you meet on a regular basis. Keep in mind that you have a wide pool of people you can network with. People directly related to your industry are an obvious choice, but so are industry suppliers, customers, and people working in related fields.

Online Sources: Blogs


Blogs aren't just for personal journaling anymore. Many bloggers are respected for their high quality work and honest opinion. Do a web search for keywords that are commonly used in your industry - it might take a bit of time, but you may find some high quality blogs relevant to your job and your industry. Once you've found several you like, you can sign up to receive posts through RSS, or subscribe to the bloggers' Twitter profiles for regular updates (see below). You can also find top blogs by using Technorati, a well-respected blog ranking service. With it, blogs are ranked by their authority, which is determined by how many other sites link to them. Rankings go from 1-100: the higher the blog is ranked, the more reputable it is.

Twitter

Twitter can be a great place to find industry leaders and organizations, and to stay on top of relevant news and trends. Use it to find people in your industry who are in-the-know, by searching Twitter for relevant keywords. (You may get more out of Twitter if you start a dialogue with those who you're following.)

LinkedIn
Using LinkedIn is a wonderful way to connect with colleagues, trade groups, and industry leaders. You can join industry-specific groups, and get the latest updates from individuals and organizations.

Google Alerts
The Google Alerts service notifies you when resources featuring certain words are indexed by Google's search engine. For instance, if you're a pharmaceutical rep, you might want to get notified about articles containing the words "pharmaceutical industry," or the names of your clients, your organization and your competitors. You can be notified once a day or once a week. Links can be contained in one email, or you can get updates via an RSS feed. The advantage to using Google Alerts is that you no longer have to surf the web looking for industry news. However, you might find that you simply get too much information this way - if this happens, tweak your settings or use a longer keyword-string. Also, be aware that not every new resource will be indexed by Google - this is especially true for subscription-only content.

Forums
Membership sites and discussion forums can be full of insider-information tailored around specific topics or industries; and talking with other professionals in your industry can help you network and grow your skills, especially if you're in a technology field such as IT. If you're unsure of which forums to use, ask colleagues, have a browse online, or ask your Twitter or LinkedIn connections for recommendations.

Tip: You may find that the most useful forums are on community websites, and you may need to pay a subscription to access these.

Making Time
Once you've identified the best sources to use, you need to schedule time to get the most from them. This can be challenging, especially if your day is already filled to the brim with regular commitments. But it's important to create time in your day to devote to staying current, where you need to do this for your job. First, schedule time daily or weekly to devote to reading and networking. Staying up-to-date requires a regular commitment if it's to pay off, so work time into your schedule whenever you can. Some good times might be over your lunch break, or during a "low-energy" period of the day. You can also stay up-to-date using "open time" outside of work. For instance, if you commute to work, you could listen to podcasts or audio books while you're driving. If you take a train or bus, you could read blog posts or industry magazines during your ride. You could even listen to podcasts or audio books while you're at the gym. Once you've identified several sources that you read or listen to regularly, you need to decide if they're worth your time. If a publication or source doesn't provide real value to you, then don't be afraid to cull it from your reading list. If you're doing a lot of reading, then make sure that you learn to use appropriatereading strategies, which help you make best use of your time. Learning to speed read, for instance, enables you to read and digest more information in a shorter period of time. Keep in mind that you probably don't need to know everything, from every source, about your industry. Your largest time investment will be up front, but once you've found a few reputable sources, you'll learn the most important information without having to spend much time searching for it.

Note: As we've already mentioned, you may not need to keep up-to-date with your industry in some roles. Bear this in mind when scheduling your time, and don't be afraid to minimize the amount of time that you spend gathering information.

Sharing and Using


In some situations, sharing industry news and trends with your team can create a positive learning environment, and can help everyone to grow professionally. To share information in this way, you could devote the first few minutes of your weekly team meeting to sharing relevant news and information. You could also post articles on your organization's bulletin board or blog, or in the company newsletter.

Note: Sharing news with your team won't be appropriate in all situations, as its usefulness will depend on people's roles, whether they're interested, and whether they can use the knowledge that you pass on. Again, use your best judgment - otherwise, you'll waste valuable time and resources.

Overall, keeping-up-to-date on your industry is only useful if you use the information that you learn. So, don't just "store" the knowledge you gain: use it to take advantage of opportunities, minimize threats, and make better decisions.

Key Points
In some roles, it's important to stay on top of industry news and trends you'll build your expertise, you'll command the respect of your team, and you'll be better placed to identify and exploit opportunities. In these roles, scour the Internet for industry magazines and reputable blogs. Use social networking sites like Twitter and LinkedIn to find industry leaders, and attend conferences and trade shows to make contacts and find out what's happening. It's easy to get information overload, so schedule daily or weekly time to devote to catching up, and be ruthless when it comes to pruning low quality sources of information. Also, remember that, in some roles, it won't be necessary to keep upto-date with industry news, so use your best judgment about what you need to know, depending on your role, and your career aspirations.

Improve Your Memory


Developing your ability to remember

How well do you remember?. iStockphoto/bluestocking

Are you often unable to remember an important fact or figure? Do you forget people's names at the worst moments? Are you ever asked a question, and you should know the answer, but you struggle to form an intelligent reply? These are common instances where a good memory is important. Memory is more than recalling information for exams or trivia games. It's an important work skill that you can develop and improve. Whether it's remembering key statistics during a negotiation, or quoting a precedent-setting action when making a decision, or impressing clients with your knowledge of their product lines your ability to remember is a major advantage. People with good memories are often seen as knowledgeable, smart, competent, and dependable. And there are many techniques you can use to develop your own ability to remember information and then recall it when and where you need it.

Take Care of Your Health


The basis for a good memory is a healthy mind and body. You can't expect your brain to function at its best if you don't take care of the body that feeds it. Here are some key issues that you need to address: Eat well Make sure key vitamins are in your diet, including folic acid, vitamin B12, and antioxidants. These improve the sharpness of the mind. If necessary, take vitamin supplements.

Drink plenty of water Most of us are dehydrated and don't even know it. When you don't drink enough water, your body and mind become weak and tired. Water makes red blood cells more active and gives you more energy. Get enough sleep During sleep, your brain recharges itself. Studies have shown that your brain needs sleep to change new memories into long-term memories. Manage stress effectively Ongoing stress has many harmful health effects. Learn to limit and control the stress in your life. Use physical relaxation techniques, thought awareness and rational positive thinking, and imagery to reduce your levels of stress. Don't smoke Limit caffeine and alcohol use (excessive alcohol can seriously affect your short term memory). Get enough exercise. These basic health tips allow you to maximize your brain's abilities.

Use Mnemonics
Mnemonics are simple memory-improving tools that help you connect everyday, easy-to-remember items and ideas to information you want to remember. Later, by recalling these everyday items, you can also recall what you wanted to remember. There are many mnemonic techniques: The Number/Rhyme Technique This allows you to remember ordered lists. Start with a standard word that rhymes with the number (we recommend 1 Bun, 2 Shoe, 3 Tree, 4 Door, 5 Hive, 6 Bricks, 7 Heaven, 8 Gate, 9 Line, 10 Hen). Then create an image that associates each with the thing you're trying to remember. To remember a list of South American countries using number/rhyme, you might start with:

One Bun/Colombia: A BUN with the COLUMn of a Greek temple coming out of it. Two Shoe/Venezuela: VENus de Milo coming out of the sea on a SHOE. Three Tree/Guyana: Friends call GUY and ANnA sitting in a TREE. Four Door/Ecuador: A DOOR in the shape of a circle/globe with a golden EQUAtOR running around it.

The Number/Shape System Here, create images that relate to the shape of each number, and connect those images to the items in your list. Let's use the same example:

One Spear/Columbia: The shaft of the SPEAR is a thin marble COLUMn. Two Swan/Venezuela: This time, VENus is standing on the back of a SWAN. Three Bifocal Glasses/Guyana: GUY has just trodden on ANnA's bifocals. She's quite cross! Four Sailboat/Ecuador: The boat is sailing across the golden line of the EQUAtOR on a globe.

The Alphabet Technique This works well for lists of more than 9 or 10 items (beyond 10, the previous techniques can get too difficult). With this system, instead of finding a word that rhymes with the number, you associate the things you want to remember with a particular letter of the alphabet, from A to Z. This is an efficient way to remember an ordered list of up to 26 items. The Journey System In your mind, think about a familiar journey or trip: For example, you might go from your office to your home. Associate the things that you want to remember with each landmark on your journey. With a long enough, well-enough known journey, you can remember a lot of things! The Roman Room System (Loci Method) This technique uses location to stimulate your memory. Connect your list with items you see in a familiar room or location. You might find associations with things in your kitchen, in your office, or at a familiar grocery store.

Mind Mapping
Mind maps (also called concept maps or memory maps) are an effective way to link ideas and concepts in your brain, and then "see" the connections firsthand. Mind mapping is a note-taking technique that records information in a way that shows you how various pieces of information fit together. There's a lot of truth in the saying "A picture speaks a thousand words", and mind maps create an easily-remembered "picture" of the information you're trying to remember. This technique is very useful to summarize and combine information from a variety of sources. It also allows you to think about complex problems in an organized manner, and then present your findings in a way that shows the details as well as the big picture.

The mind map itself is a useful end product. However, the process of creating the map is just as helpful for your memory. Fitting all the pieces together, and looking for the connections, forces you to really understand what you're studying and it keeps you from trying to simply memorize.

Challenge Your Brain


As with other parts of your body, your mind needs exercise. You can exercise your brain by using it in different ways, on a regular basis. Try the following: Learn a new skill or start a hobby Find activities that build skills you don't normally use in your daily life. For example, if you work with numbers all day, develop your creative side with art classes or photography. Use visualization on a regular basis Since much of memory involves associating and recalling images, it's important to build this skill. Get plenty of practice with this! Keep active socially When you communicate and interact with people, you have to be alert. This helps keep your brain strong and alive. Focus on the important things You can't possibly remember everything, so make sure you give your brain important things to do and don't overload it with "waste." The "garbage in, garbage out" philosophy works well here.

Tip: While it's important to develop a good memory, remembering unnecessary things (such as tasks you need to do, or things you need to buy) is hard work. What's more, because these consume short-term memory, they can diminish your ability to concentrate on other things. They can also leave you stressed, as you struggle to remember all of the things you have to do. Write these things down on your to-do list! This way, you don't have to remember everything. And if your memory fails, you know where to look for the information you need.

Keep your brain active with memory games and puzzles Try Sudoku, chess, Scrabble, and Word Twist as well as trivia games, pair matching, and puzzles. These are popular ways to practice memorization while having fun. And explore brain-training sites like Lumosity as a way of pepping up your mind.

Key Points
Your memory is a valuable asset that you should protect and develop. Even if you no longer have to memorize information for exams, the ability to remember quickly and accurately is always important. Whether it's remembering the name of someone you met at a conference last month, or recalling the sales figure from last quarter, you must rely on your memory. Learn and practice the above techniques to keep your mind healthy.