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As a woman, you could still be in your 20’s, feeling a free spirit, energetic and busy pursuing your career ambitions. However, as you climb up the age ladder, you will want to settle down with your significant other, give birth and raise a family. Well, better not delay the transition to family process because research over time has proven that a woman’s fertility depreciates with age.
How is this so? When women are born, it is common knowledge that they come with all the eggs they will ever have in their lifetime. However, as they age, their eggs also decrease not only in quantity but quality. You will, therefore, want to ensure that you give birth while still young and space your childbirth at reasonable and well-timed intervals.
In other words, a woman who delays giving birth increases the chances of not getting pregnant and having an unhealthy baby. Depending also on the age of your partner, it could also take longer for the woman to conceive. Worse still is the fact that you increase other pregnancy-related complications such as a miscarriage or giving birth through a caesarian section.
On the contrary, you could be a woman of a faith and a firm Christian believer who believes in the Biblical Sarah giving birth to Isaac way beyond her menopause. I respect your beliefs but if of a different view, allow me to dispel the myth that a woman could give birth at any age. It is a notion that no scientist has proven yet but a pure myth.
A woman who starts giving birth at 32 has a lower chance of conceiving compared to a woman who is 30 or below. At the age of 32, there is already a significant but gradual decrease in a woman’s conceiving power. When a woman clocks 35, her fertility is on a downward spiral, and by 40 her pregnancy potential will have declined by half.
Indeed, research in the past has given credence to the fact that a woman at age 30 has a 20% chance of conceiving each month as compared to a woman at age 40 who stands at a 5% conception rate monthly.
Here are a few pregnancy and birth risks to consider to women giving birth in old age:
- Older women are most likely to give birth via the caesarian section as compared to younger women.
- Genetic abnormalities and congenital disabilities are high in children born of mothers at an old age.
- A woman at age 40 stands a higher risk of miscarriage than a live birth.
- At the age of 35, a woman is 2.5 times more likely to give a stillbirth as compared to a younger woman. At 40, a woman is five times more likely to experience a stillbirth as compared to a woman at the age of 35.
- Other birth-related complications such as placenta abruption that occurs when the placenta separates itself from the uterus lining. However, this incidence occurs in a significantly low percentage of women.
- Placenta previa is also another congenital disability to consider that could affect women in old age. It occurs when the placenta covers the cervix partially or sometimes completely. This condition is said to affect 1 in 200 women. However, the situation could be dire for old age mothers.
That said, it is of essence to note that there are some catalysts to this congenital disability in women. It’s more common in women who may have a uterus surgery, gave birth through a caesarian section or gave birth to twins.
To a woman below 30 years of age,avoid the stress that comes with giving birth at the age of 32 and beyond. You are fully aware of the dangers that await you when you choose to go that direction. Some of the birth-related complications you will avoid when you give birth at a young age include having an abnormal genetic child and finding it difficult to conceive. Giving birth at a young age means you are fertile and at a prime age to conceive and give birth to healthy kids.
Conversely, to a woman beyond 30, it’s never too late. There are several cases of women who have given birth to healthy children at 30 and beyond. However, you want to make sure that you do not make the situation worse than it is already.
I hope you have woken up to a brilliant morning. Personally, I have. I remember once when traveling to work, the driver of the vehicle I was traveling in had tuned on a popular radio station-Radio Jambo.
One of the radio presenters popularly known as Gidi in the favorite morning show –Upatanisho decried the rising number of women in Kenya adding abnormal weight in the recent past. Actually, he suggested that this trend seemed to be happening mostly among the married.
Well, this got me thinking hard and scratching my head for answers. What are some of the factors that could make women add weight at a higher rate? Some of the reasons that came to mind include:
- The use of contraceptives such as the contraceptive pills and injections
- Eating junk food
- Passive lifestyle as a result of too much office work or simply laziness.
It should be noted that matters regarding the addition and loss of weight do not only affect women but cut across both genders.
As for the above-mentioned factors, they all boil down to the kind of lifestyle you choose to put up with. For instance, chances are high that if you are used to eating food prepared by most local eateries, you could be consuming junk food. The reason behind it is that most local eateries prepare their food using saturated fats. Not wanting to delve much into the nit and grit of saturated and unsaturated fats, I will say this: it is commonly understood that saturated fats( Chipsy & Kimbo products) are solid at room temperature while unsaturated fats tend to be liquid at room temperature. Examples of unsaturated fats in our local supermarkets include Freshfry and Elianto.
I’m not in anyway on an internet marketing campaign to kill the hotel business. Besides, whether you choose to eat frequently at eateries and hotels that is up to you. However, my advice is you are better off cooking your own food than eating out. It is cost effective too.
Eating out also increases the chances of eating junk food that is considered unhealthy and low in nutritional value.
Here is a list of junk food you will find in most fast food restaurants and eateries:
- Most takeaways and fast foods such as sausages, fried chicken, potato chips, noodles.
- Soft drinks such as Fanta, Coca-Cola, milkshakes
- Ice creams
- Snacks e.g sweets, biscuits and cookies, cornflakes. hot-dog, crisps, popcorn, French fries.
- Carbonated beverages that contain high sugar levels. More so, there are those drinks that are sugar-free but are made sweet using aspartame which could be harmful to your health when consumed over time.
- Creamy cakes
- Beef burgers
I do not know much about you but I’m sure you know yourself well to know whether you have added weight in the recent past or not. Here are signs you have been adding weight in the recent past:
- Your waist circumference has ballooned.
- You have high blood pressure
- Simple chores and activities get you breathless
- You snore in your sleep
- You are always tired
- You are always hungry or craving for food
- You have stretch marks
- You are avoiding physical activity of late. You would rather drive a short distance than walk.
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You all know the saying that when life hands you a lemon, turn it into a lemonade. Well, it is easier said than done. How about the negative situations, behaviors, thoughts and experiences you face in your daily life? Do you turn them into positives or allow yourself to be immersed in the sea of negativity?
It is very easy and almost natural to be positive when everything in your life is good. And what do I mean when your life is good? You’re meeting your goals, your wallet is growing fatter every new day, you are full of health and surrounded by caring loved ones.
Conversely, being positive in the face of negativity is one hell of a mountain to climb. How are you expected to be positive when you have a sick spouse in the hospital with a skyrocketing hospital bill? Still, how are you expected to be positive when you are broke, hungry and cannot even afford three square meals in a day? It actually becomes even more difficult to tell a graduate to be positive about life when he or she has gone round in search of a job for months without success. There you are! Trying hard to make your business work but ends somehow just can’t meet. From the lazy and sly staff to poor sales and low profits negativity snaps the joy of life away from you.
So how are we expected to be positive when we are being hit left and right with negativity? From the negative clergyman to the negative conductor on the road, we also meet people who are outrightly negative and only serve to make us negative. Not at all. Actually, no one expects you to be positive or negative. It is none of their damn business it yours.
The world is full of negativity in equal measure as positivity and it’s upon us to make the choice on whether to dwell on the positive or negative. Let me not blame the world, you need to look at your own life and you will be surprised to notice the negatives on you. Have you noticed how you belch loudly? What about the large tummy that you don’t like looking at? Okay, you know you are quiet and reserved and you hate yourself for it.
When we constantly chose to focus on our negatives we actually register negative mental states in our subconscious minds. As such, anytime we are confronted with a strange situation or circumstance, the mind is already conditioned to point out the negatives before the positives. Have you ever realized how negative people complain about everything? If not the weather today is bad it will be the waiter was disrespectful. If not am bored today it will be the food today is tasteless.
Suffice it to say that being mentally positive can be actually hard to you who is accustomed to looking at a glass as half empty. However, with much practice, perseverance and patience, you could just be on your way to be the most positive person you have ever met.
For example, let us say you are accustomed to viewing news as always bad news. So every news hour you switch off the TV because you have the skewed notion that news is always bad. Well, maybe you will need to evaluate your perception and understanding of what constitutes a bad news? Besides, you could start watching sermons and your favorite music if at all you find them positive.
What about your negative views towards the current regime? Could you just change your negative mentality a little bit and start being a fair judge here. It is actually so negative to only point at the ills of an individual, institution or government without recognizing their achievements as well. For you to cultivate that positive mentality it is important to make the necessary step of recognizing the good in every opportunity, person or situation you deem bad.
So how should we handle negativity?
Just like learning any other virtue being positive is also a character that can be learned over time. Therefore, the only way out of negativity is to stay positive at all times. One reason is that you will never ever chase all the negative people from your life and neither will you avoid them in totality.
Somehow the people close to you could be negative. Rather than try to avoid them start appreciating the good in them.
Here are five tips I use to fight negativity
- I Accept Who I am
A long time ago as a teenager I would feel terrible about my muscle size and how short I was compared to my peers. However, I grew into a youth and realized I could just be as sizeable as any other person. This all began when I started accepting myself the way I am.
So do you feel a flaw in you could be making you uncomfortable? To be sincere with you, every single one of us has a flaw. What makes the difference is the fact that some have accepted who they are with their flaws and have chosen to move on to other pertinent issues in life. On the contrary, a person who focuses on his her flaws only magnifies and makes them even more pronounced in their mind.
Focusing on your flaws only serves to kill your self-esteem, kill your self-confidence and make you less productive in life. Clearly putting you in not a very good disposition to attract success in your life.
To be positive in life stop focusing on your flaws and focus on your strengths. Everyone has strengths. This explains why interviewers usually ask a prospective employee about their strengths because they know they have some.
- I Share My Positivity with Others
Basing on the Law of Cause and Effect it is highly encouraged to share out your positivity with others. This law also referred to as Karma states that whatever you send into the universe comes back. If you send out negativity you get back negativity. Conversely, if you send out positivity, positivity is what you will get.
I am made to understand that such laws never err. It just the same concept when the Bible talks about reaping what you sow. If you choose to sleep more today, you will sleep hungry tomorrow. No shortcuts! No magic! The same concept is clearly demonstrated by an echo sound. It only echoes what you say and nothing else.
And so how do I share out my positivity with others? I compliment them when they look good. I chat continuously in a Whatsapp group that is always dormant and silent. I notice the good things around me and admire them for what they are; the sparkling VX V8 speeding past me, the artistically designed bungalow across the street, the smartly dressed young man nearby. The list is endless.
Apart from just complimenting, I also share my positivity with others by encouraging those who feel life is over for them or life is unfair rather. This I do via this blog and the many individuals I happen to interact with.
You need to realize that by you encouraging others you make them have a positive outlook on life and subsequently you never remain the same but also change to be like them.
- I start My Day in a Positive Way Like Let’s Say Listening to My Favorite Music
Sometimes I may wake up confused and full of fearful thoughts. However, all that changes in an instant when I play my favorite music.
How you start your day counts a lot in how you are going to handle the negatives that will be thrown at you during the day.
Imagine yourself quarreling with your wife as the first thing when you wake up. The rest of the day won’t just flow. Your productive energy is already sapped through the quarrel and you will view every other encounter on negative glasses. Your subordinates at your place of work cud have it rough that day.
One other way I start my day positive is to start with a morning devotion where I study the word of God and pray. Here are some simple truths about a morning devotion using God’s word:
- It builds your faith as a Christian
- It heals your physical and emotional pain
- It fights the enemies in your life including works of the devil
- It builds your character
- It brings hope
There is no doubt about the positive power of good music and a morning devotion to your life.
- I Try as Much as I Possible to Live in the Present
Living in the present is one sure way of letting go every fear that creeps up on you from failures of the past and anxieties of the future. I live in the moments by taking a walk through nature and enjoy the cool breeze and the sound of moving wind. I also live in the moment by appreciating the things I have in life instead of worrying about what I do not have.
Sadly, at times a conversation from friends or a TV commercial could kill this disposition in you, such that you will be made to fill empty and a low achiever when TV commercials project a life of class and wealth that yours does not compare to.
Adding on to your negative state is when you start worrying about your future and thinking of the things you do not have and what you are supposed to achieve. Too many of us have stolen the joy out of our lives by worrying about our future. For instance, you will come across a young person worrying about the man r woman they will get married to, their health, their finances and many other things.
Well, this is not to say we should not live in the present but it is healthier, positive and less of an effort to live in the moment that constantly think about your future. You will be surprised to learn that some of the successes in your life happened randomly without even your panning.
- I Choose to be Open-Minded
By being open-minded means I am willing to consider new ideas. Whether I embrace them or not depends on my core values as a person and more so as a child of God.
However, sometimes being narrowly minded can be a big cause of negativity in our lives in the sense that we value more who we are and what we know to the point of refusing to acknowledge any new idea or information that is contrary to what we already know.
For instance, a Christian who firmly believes in the word of God and full of faith might get agitated when he or she meets an atheist who tells him or her there is no God.
However, if they were to acknowledge that not everyone is saved and not everyone believes in God but have different beliefs it could have made a hell lot of a difference and make them feel more positive than negative about the experience.
To be positive in life choose to be open-minded and accept that in your journey through life you will meet so many people who will oppose your absolute truth about life and yourself. If you are open minded you will approach such encounters with positivity rather than negativity.
What are you negative about?
- Is it your current job
- Mother in law
- Your lack of employment
The list is endless. Whatever situation that makes you feel negative train yourself to only see the positive in situations and other people and you will be on your way to being a positive person in life.
Take the lack of employment to be an opportunity for entrepreneurship in your life.
Wishing you a Happy and Positive 2018!
If there are any other ways you use to stay positive let me know in the comments section below.
Two days ago while talking to a sales and marketing acquaintance, he lamented to me how reading culture had waned among the middle working class. Probably, the reason behind this could be the demand that comes with an office job. Besides, their reading culture may not have been developed properly during their tender ages.
Given his job of marketing and selling books that border on finance, business and self-help he was lost for words when a one female bank manager turned him off for coming to her office with a sales proposal rather than to seek banking services.
If not turned off, he is either met with queer remarks or empty promises that are meant to appease his eager to sell attitude.
There is a poor reading culture not only among the middle working class but across the divide in our society. Teens too abhor reading and only want to chat on social media. Reading has been made to appear tedious and only meant for the preparation of an exam.
Personally, reading and writing is part and parcel of my life. I find relish in reading content in both published books and blogs.
During school days, I would often be mocked and called a bookworm for reading the Bible, novels, online blogs and journals. At home, relatives would troll in and wonder how one hell of an avid reader I was.
Well, I developed a reading culture quite at an early age thanks to my great dad Boniface Kiniale Wasike. Every morning when I woke up, he would give me children stories to read out loud to him. Later on, he would give me newspapers to read after he read them through.
The rest as we always say is history. I picked momentum from such early age experiences and read every material I could find with zeal and interest that knows no bounds.
Young parents should seek to build a strong reading culture in their children while still young as reading will determine how far they will go in their lives.
So how do you develop a strong reading culture in your life? Read on and learn more.
- Join a Book Club
Have you ever found yourself yearning to eat something just because you saw your neighbor two seats away eating it? The effect is quite the same when it comes to reading. Once you join a book club, even if reading is not your cup of tea, the book club will gradually build in you the desire to read and be a commoner in their meetings and discussion forums.
If you know of none, you could team up with like-minded friends and begin your small book club. With consistency, you could grow your membership to a dozen and more.
- Have a Reading Goal
For beginners, you could start with reading one book every new month. Having a reading goal not only helps you build a strong reading culture but it will also be instrumental in making you grow gradually from reading one book every new month to reading three books in a month.
You could pick particular topics that interest you. This could be about wealth and personal finance, relationships, spirituality, history among others.
- Read Everywhere
Unlike in the past, the digital world is here with us. Gone are the days when you needed to visit a library in the city to access a novel or an interesting book to read. While you can still do this, the digital era we live in has made accessing books easier than ever before. For instance, I recently bought Robert Kiyosaki’s best seller Rich Dad Poor Dad on Amazon. Downloaded it to my Amazon Kindle account on my smartphone which allows me to read it from anywhere and everywhere.
- Switch Content When Frustrated
You just positioned yourself comfortably in your favorite seat to watch a movie with a title you found to be catchy. Ten minutes down the movie you find it to be flat and outright boring. Well, who said you cannot switch to another movie that is more interesting?
A book could also get frustrating or lose meaning to you along the way. No need to force it on yourself, you can always shift to a more interesting topic of your choice.
However, for you to build a strong reading culture, it is important to understand that discipline and consistency is key.
- Read to Learn
There is a wealth of information found in books if you would care enough to read them. There is a wide range of books that offer knowledge and solutions to the present day life challenges and problems.
For example, reading books on real estates and long-term investments will make you a brilliant investor. On the other hand, reading a book about sales and marketing will improve your marketing skills.
There are also books on personal development such as wealth creation, self-confidence and stress management among others.
- Create Time for Reading
Work, be it office work, field days or house chores can be demanding at times. Hence, there is the need for you to also create a specific time for reading books. It all depends on your schedule, this could be early in the morning when you wake up or late in the evening just before you retire to bed. Setting aside that 20 or 30 minutes to read a book could make a difference between reading and not reading your book at all.
In my case, I find the most convenient time to read a book is when am waiting for something or someone. I could be sitting in a bank queue waiting to be served. Rather than fantasize about everything, I would rather take out my smartphone and read five or ten pages of a book am reading about.
Reading books is great. This is because reading gives you the shortcut to learning about the lives, mistakes and ideas of other people that you would have otherwise learned from your own worst experiences or never learned at all. To build a strong reading culture, you should be prepared to fight off the distractions that come with social media and friends. Start with those books you find interesting to read and gradually graduate to other topics. Use the comfort of your smartphone or portable laptop to make easier your reading culture. There you go! You are now a dedicated reader.
In one of the blog posts, I shared here, I listed a number of ways youths or the unemployed could beat the skyrocketing unemployment levels in Kenya.
Well, today I want to focus on one of the ways listed namely online jobs in which youths can use to overcome lack of jobs in Kenya.
“A good player they say plays where the ball is, but a great player moves where the ball will go next” Adapted from Be Inspired Before You Expire by Pepe Minambo
If the above quote is anything to go by, then you seriously need to consider launching an online business or going chest front into freelance writing and transcription services. This is because the internet is more vibrant, lively and social than ever before in the history of humanity.
Back in college, while still a third-year student, there was much hype and talk about online writing jobs. At the time, I did not pay so much attention to the whole story until when I visited a coursemate and found one of his roommates busy on his laptop.
On further inquiry, it dawned on me that the guy was actually writing a 500-word article worth $2 on iWriter. The laggard in me died that very moment.
With no standard desktop to launch my writing career, I borrowed a laptop from a close friend and got cracking. However, down the line, my sudden burst of zeal and energy just dissipated. I could not bring myself to write a 500-word article on a given keyword within 3 hours. I shut down the laptop in frustration and that was the end of the story.
More discouraging, was the fact that I was riddled with fears and worries of losing on my coursework.Besides, my meager pocket money could not allow me to purchase the much-needed bundles for researching the article to be written. I would worry more about food than anything.
Towards the end of 2015, I met a good lawyer friend, who was running a personal blog hosted by Blogspot. All I knew about blogging was the name blog. On further discussion with let us call him Tony, I opened a free WordPress account on WordPress. As they say the rest history.
I am yet to make good money like the big boys and girls in blogging but I must say I feel proud of myself for coming this far. Furthermore, I have the surety in me that I will make it with persistence, time-framed goals and the right strategy in my blogging venture.
Writing in itself is not rocket science but can be an uphill task for a novice. On the contrary, no one was born a writer and you can always learn on the job. Here are the basic qualities of a good writer:
- You are an avid reader
- You have memorable imagination
- You pay attention to detail
- You love writing and it is a passion in you
- You have good grammar and punctuation skills
- You have a knack for observing things and people
Towards the end of 2016, a year after leaving college, and after having gone around looking for a job for some time, I gave freelance writing a try again. While searching for online jobs, I bumped into a site called Upwork.
Upwork is a global freelancing platform that connects business clients with independent professionals who are commonly known as freelancers. These independent professionals include programmers, web developers, writers, virtual assistants among others.
Freelancing is considered more of a business than a job because you are not tied to one client for the rest of your freelancing career. You could be dealing with more than three clients or more at ago who will terminate your contract once your done working for them. A contract could be as short as few hours or as long as 6 months or more.
Initially, I gave Upwork a try in vain. My Upwork profile was rejected not twice and not thrice. I was getting frustrated and on the verge of giving up until I met a mentor and trainer in Walter Akolo
Prior to meeting Walter, I made some silly decisions including blowing up $100 in online scams that promise riches within a short period of time. Most of these scams disguised themselves as network marketing platforms but were mere pyramid schemes that left you pocket dry and crying for your hard-earned money gone too soon.
After subscribing to Walter’s mailing list, I kept receiving steamy email posts from Walter on the ins and outs of online jobs. Needless to say, he awakened in me the burning desire and potential to make money online.
At that time, I was still running this blog and earning peanuts from wordAds.
After enrolling and getting trained online by one of the top freelance writers’ blog in Kenya and outside the country, I got registered on Upwork and other freelance writing platforms such as Fiverr.
Given that I was still a rookie freelancer, I landed my first client on Upwork within no short period of time but got conned of my hard earned $124. This happened even after being warned of cons and scams online by Walter. Overexcitement can be your worst enemy in life.
Here are some good ways to know scammers:
- Promise you heaven but deliver hell.
I was conned by a client with the identity Oxford Guys. They purported to be an Indian-Writing Service Provider and even send me work samples and writing guidelines including the Terms and Conditions template. They promised to pay me every end of the month and I should not worry about payment at all. Liars they were!!
- Their payment method is not verified
Later on, when I checked their profile on Upwork, their payment was not verified and was as new to Upwork as July 2017.
- Encourage New Writers to apply in a bid to con them
For those who have an experience with Upwork, you will note that their some considerate clients who are good and encourage new writers to apply. That is not to say new writers cannot land clients.
However, in my experience, this was one isolated case whereby the same cons came back with a different identity namely -Help me Write Some Articles and still encouraged new writers to apply.
Their job advert was later scrapped off Upwork for not being in line with Upwork policies.
- Hire you out of Upwork
Upwork has policies that ensure the connection between business clients and independent professionals is well protected. For any client to hire you, he or she must first deposit money on Upwork’s Escrow account and sent you an offer via Upwork.
Once you receive and review the offer you can choose to accept or decline the contract.
A client can only hire you out of Upwork if he or she is willing to pay you upfront or sends you a down payment before you begin working for them.
- Their writing is wanting
Whenever they send you emails, you will notice poor grammar and broken English here and there in their communication.
Despite the regrettable experience at the hand of scammers, I dusted my sleeves, bade for more jobs and landed trustworthy clients. You may want to have a look at my Upwork profile here
You may be one determined soul out there wondering how that single mother never gets out of her home to go work yet pays all her bills. Well, I have just told you my freelance writing journey. It is never too late, whether in your 20’s or 50’s you can freelance from any part of the world. Personally, I am still on a journey to be better than I am today.
Many have done and in fact, have better experiences and great stories to tell than me.
If you have any questions or would also like to share your experience you can let me know in the comments section below. Besides, you could also shoot me an email through my contact page.
I have also launched a freelance course for beginners at only $25. Click here to submit your payment and start right away.
Stress is a natural reaction our body has in situations which are not common in our life. It can be as simple as watching a basketball match or more complexed like stress at work because you have too many tasks you have to do before the deadline.
The good – the basketball match stress is OK because it raises your adrenaline and it keeps you focused. The bad – is ok in small amounts, but in high amounts, it makes you nervous or even distracted. When the stress reaches elevated amounts you have to deal with it or it will decrease the quality of your life. You won’t be able to focus, you will be in a bad mood and you will fight with people around you.
So, how can you fight stress in your life? Easy. All you have to do is organize your day so that you can have an hour a day for you. In that hour you can go for a walk, read a book, watch a movie, hang out with your buddies over a small foosball table, go jogging, go to the gym, play video games, whatever you want. There is only one thing you have to keep in mind – you have to be relaxed after that hour. That hour is your time and you are first. You mustn’t talk about the problem, you mustn’t think about the problem. That hour will recharge your batteries and you will be ready for another day.
If you aren’t sure that this will work, I want you to take a look at the infographic below the article. That will explain to you what stress is all about and how you can manage it in the best way. Relax!
Oh, God. You’ve been asked to do a presentation, and you can’t really say no (although that’s what you’re screaming in your head, isn’t it?) because your boss has already moved onto the next point on the agenda.
Fear of public speaking is incredibly common. In fact, experts estimate around 75% of all people get anxious when they’re asked to speak in front of others. Some particularly melodramatic studies have found that most people fear to speak in public more than they fear death. So, you’re not alone.
The problem is, avoiding that presentation could have some pretty disastrous effects on your life, career goals and other areas. You might stop being overlooked for that promotion if only you could get past the anxiety that’s stopping you from presenting like the professional we all know you are.
The best way to get over crippling fear, in my experience, is a little preparation.
Here’s some advice that might help next time you’re given the unenviable task of commanding your colleagues’ attention at your departmental pow-wow.
Developing the ‘X Factor’
All the world’s a stage – but how much presence you do have on it?
Stage presence is essentially your ability to get and keep your audience’s attention. Energy and charisma play a part, but you don’t have to loudly bounce around the stage in order to develop a presence. In fact, someone quiet and intense can be just as engaging.
It’s all about keeping an eye on your energy level. You’ll need to add a pinch more of the key ingredients – animation, enthusiasm and volume. It makes sense to warm up your voice and body before you start – so you can use them at a slightly higher level than you’re used to without getting tired.
Project your voice instead of shouting, and crank up your body language and animated movements (without becoming a cartoon). And, difficult though it seems, appearing relaxed and comfortable can make a world of difference. Breathe deeply and slowly, and smile.
Smiling is so important.
It’s All About Connections
Why is smiling important? It builds rapport, the relationship between you and your audience. A good rapport is vital for a successful presentation.
A few easy ways to build rapport before you’ve even started your presentation:
Do some groundwork. Social media is a fantastic way to interact with the people you’re going to present to – you can even ask them what they’d like to get out of your session so you can plan accordingly.
If you can, get into the room before your audience so you can greet them as they come in. If that proves to be a problem, and your audience is already waiting for you, show you’re pleased to be there by greeting them warmly. If it’s a small group, try to shake hands with everybody.
Humour is a good way to develop a relationship with your audience, but make sure it’s appropriate. Safe things to play with include the room, the weather or a current news story – it’s probably not the place to try out that cutting-edge stand-up routing you’ve been working on.
Eye contact is really important, too. You need to make sure you’re making it, regularly, with everyone in the room. Don’t focus on the most senior person, or your best friend – share the love. If you’re speaking to a big audience, you won’t be able to make direct eye contact with everyone; so just let your eyes sweep across the audience regularly. The fools won’t be able to tell the difference.
Finally, I can’t stress the importance of smiling when it comes to presenting. Everybody responds warmly to a smile, so if you want to get your audience onside quickly, flash those pearly whites. (Or smoky yellows. No judgment.)
Get a Feel
Reading a room is all about developing an awareness of the conditions of the room as well as the audience’s responsiveness and general mood.
When you lead a presentation, you’re in a position of power that allows you to take control of the room and get problems fixed. What’s the temperature like in there? If it’s too chilly, your audience’s mood might harden. If it’s too warm, you could find yourself talking to a room of nodding heads (the wrong, sleepy kind of nodding.) Keep an eye out for jackets being removed or people fanning themselves. Don’t be afraid to check in with the audience on whether they’re too cold or warm, it’s a great way to build rapport. Just don’t expect a consistent answer.
It goes beyond temperature, though. Lighting can also have a drastic effect on people’s attention. Flooding a room with light can help to wake people up, darkening it might help people see your slides better, at the cost of sending a few to sleep.
Pay attention to what time of day you’ll be presenting. The graveyard slot, after lunch, is where most people slump. Last thing in the afternoon is tricky too since people tend to switch off. First thing in the morning can be really tricky if you’re presenting to a room of zombies who haven’t quite processed their coffee yet. You can’t always present at the sweet spot, but knowing in advance that you’ll have an unfocused audience might help you prepare.
You have to be able to spot the moment when you’re losing people’s attention. If they start checking their emails or their eyes turn towards the window, you’ll need to do something to bring them back to you. You could ask a question (like your horrible geography teacher used to do), or run an exercise. Have some kind of interaction ready to refocus a drifting audience, and you’ll be fine.
This seems like a lot, I know. But you can afford to relax a little on this – most people are pretty good at spotting the mood of a room and responding to it, so don’t worry – you’re pretty likely to be aware of all of this anyway, without working too hard on it. Like anything else though, the more you practice, the easier it becomes!
A lot of presenters are really worried about goofing up their lines, stumbling over their words or saying something wrong. In order to counteract that, many people will write a script in advance of their presentation and memorize it.
This can help settle nerves, but it doesn’t always make a very good presentation. When you’re regurgitating a script, there’s a tendency for people to come across as a bit detached and distracted. You can spot it by the slightly sing-song tone as they recite the script in their head aloud.
Put it this way – if you’re focused on remembering your lines, how can you be focused on the audience?
The trick? Go into the presentation knowing what you want to say, but not the exact words you’re going to use. Your opening line or joke can be rehearsed or scripted, but don’t overdo it. You want to sound natural and off-the-cuff, but it takes years to learn to do that from a script – you’ll get instant results by building a skeleton of your points and then improvising around them.
Study the Experts
There’s no shame in finding out how corporate speakers do it and trying out some of their techniques until you find one that works for you. Some speakers demand attention by leaping around the stage, mustering enthusiasm from their audience with sheer energy. Others prefer to stay still and speak quietly, to force the audience to be attentive without distracting from the point of the presentation.
It’s just a case of finding the style that works for you.
End of the year holidays are here with us and Christmas is fast approaching sooner than you know it. To most learners in the first two stages of the popular 8.4.4 Education system in Kenya, school term is over.
You only need a 10-minute walk down the streets to see the yoyo boys and girls from school hanging out and counting every vehicle that passes by. Hahaha.
Interestingly, given the age limit that most pubs and local entertainment joints have, most students find themselves under 18 years of age and therefore restricted from raving. However, many will still find their way in.
Conversely, disco matanga has become the modern day entertainment sensation. This mostly happens when a neighbor or acquaintance in a given neighborhood losses a loved one.
According to most African cultures, the dead are supposed to be given a befitting send-off and their last wishes respected. As is the norm, there is usually a mourning period decided by family members to the deceased and the funeral committee involved.
Such mourning periods come with a lot of visitors turning up to condole and mourn with the family of the deceased. In most instances, there is always music that is played to calm nerves and give solace to those undergoing the loss.
What beats logic nowadays is the fact that DJs have taken over the music systems in funerals and converted them into discos for both old and young to dance and drink freely without the fear of being victimised or apprehended by anybody whatsoever.
Yeah, you get what I am trying to say and this leads to my next line of thought.
Our kids, given the freedom and spirit of adventure they now possess, will no doubt find their way into such impromptu, makeshift discos. In such cases, correction becomes a vocabulary as everyone turns out to be a reveler that now has a third eye.
Incidences of immorality and our young girls getting unwanted pregnancies are likely to be palpable.
Disco Matangas aside, I am not here to give any lecture on parenting but as a matter of fact, our children need to be engaged in constructive activities this holiday that will add more value to their lives.
One most valuable thing you can do to your boy or girl child student is to offer them tutorship or a private teacher who can teach them at home.
Sorry, maybe you expected me to mention a sporting event or tour in Malindi with your family.
You can think about that later but first things first.
In 2014, the then Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi while attending a Unesco event at a Nairobi hotel dubbed Education for all, decried the poor pupil (student) ratio in Kenyan schools.
“The pupil-teacher ratio is one measure of assessing progress towards education for all. Due to financial constraints, we have not been able to meet the international standard. In many schools the ratio is above 42:1, with as high as 85:1” Kaimenyi was quoted.
Read more at https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2000111214/pupil-teacher-ratio-now-more-worrying-says-education-cs-jacob-kaimenyi
This upsurge of students in our learning institutions was brought about by free primary education initiative initiated by the Kibaki administration.
Thanks to the regime, many parents got the privilege of educating their sons and daughters for free throughout their primary education.
However, the unhealthy trend of a poor pupil-teacher ratio is bound to be the same or worse if a politician’s promise of a free secondary education is anything to go by.
10 years ago, while still a student in high school, our class teacher handled a class that comprised of 60+ students. My uncle who also happened to be a student in the same institution 5 years prior says their class comprised of 35 students only.
Flash-forward your daughter who is in Form 1 right now as a K.C.S.E candidate in 2020. With a possibility of a free secondary education her way she might just be in a classroom with 99 other students.
You tell me how one teacher with red blood cells flowing through his or her veins is going to pay attention to one student. Before we even ask for more, the scripts to mark are already overwhelming.
And it is not like the Teachers Service Commission is planning on a massive teachers recruitment anytime soon.
It is for this simple reason that as a parent, you would rather chop off part of your festive budget to guarantee your student child a thorough home alone understanding of the subjects and coursework already covered in school.
More so, the tutor will be resourceful in preparing your kid for the next coursework coverage when the new school term begins.
That said, it is also important to note that people are empowered differently. Some parents, have the resources to educate their kids in the best of private schools in Kenya and abroad. In that case, the worrying trend of the pupil-teacher ratio in public and some private schools does not arise to them.
On the contrary, the majority of parents have been great beneficiaries of the Free Primary Education and would definitely welcome the idea of a Free Secondary Education too.
Though cash draining, putting aside that cash to hire a tutor for your school going kid could just work magic to his or her performance when the next school term begins.
I’m done. Maybe I should revisit the idea of a family camp or sporting event in someplace yonder but that is a topic for another day.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Thanks for stopping by.