Own your Presentation…..Be Unique

presentation

 

Stage fright is something which most of us suffer from . Not many of us are comfortable being on a stage performing or delivering a talk to a large audience. could never overcome throughout my growing years. It was no different in my case. I was never under pressure for studies (Did reasonably well ) and was reasonably good in sports but getting on the stage was just a Big No for me. The fear of failure , of being laughed at, always got better of me and I avoided stepping on the stage throughout my school life. 

But destiny always has something different in store. The profession I chose for myself demanded public speaking , making presentations or stage performance in some form or the other. With no alternative available I was left with no choice but to question my fear. It was not easy going at all. Those days there were no computers and presentations were done with the help of Over Head Projectors ( OHPs) with slides made on foils. Preparing the slides was a specialised task in itself.

In the initial years I used to try and memorise the script to the best of my ability and squeezed in as much details on the slides as possible, to help out, just in case the memory failed. There was nothing natural about it; very little connect with the audience with the mind more focused on the next line then on the people. Body language was generally very defensive rather non-existent most of the times. But then one learnt from the mistakes and the computers also came in. 

The first lesson learnt was that presentations are not about memorising the script but more about owning the script. The script has to be well researched keeping in mind the mandate of the talk and the intellect level of the target audience. You cannot afford to be wrong with facts and names. Once you own the script you don’t have to worry about the audience and there may not be a need to carry a script on stage. 

Prepare well and develop your own unique style of delivery. Use the rostrum if you must , I do not like being bound behind a lecture stand. I feel more at ease , hands free for making gestures ( should be natural) . I personally do not like carrying any script for reference. One should be as natural as possible. This comes with practice and experience. 

Presentation has to be lively to keep the audience interested / engaged for the desired length of time and driving home the point. The best way is to keep the talk short and simple. Reading from a script is likely to cut off the audience. It’s the novelty and the uniqueness which will hold the attention of the people. 

Use slides if you wish but keep the text to the minimum. Ensure the fonts are readable by the audience. If you have used some quotes or data, give time to the audience to read. Use some good, relevant pictures / movie clips if you can. 

Humour, wherever used should be natural and relevant to the subject being covered. Examples should be contemporary, to make the presentation realistic. The younger generation cannot generally relate to the examples from history or mythology. 

Confidence flows from preparation. Good research of the topic and the audience will go a long way in preparation of an effective presentation. 

“Be unique , Prepare well…..You will never fail in catching the imagination of the audience”

Write your own Destiny….

destiny 1

 

It was the month of Nov in the year 1993. I was to travel from my home town to New Delhi , by train. Those days my home town Mhow ( India) used to be connected only by a Metre Gauge( MG ) Rail track year and one had to travel to Indore, nearest Railway station having Broad Gauge rail connection by a MG train, to travel to most other parts in India . It was a journey of just about 45 minutes by a passenger train from Mhow to Indore. There were two trains from Indore to New Delhi, departing at 3 pm and 5.15 pm respectively, every evening. I was to board the Express train, from Indore, leaving at 3 pm. A passenger train leaving at 1.45 pm in the afternoon provided a suitable connectivity , as it reached Indore at  2 .30 pm , giving the passengers a reasonable time of 30 minutes for changing over to the Express Train. 

I had been using this train connection to travel to New Delhi since years and there never had been any problem , there was never a cause for anxiousness. But that day in Nov 1993 was to be different. I boarded the passenger train , from Mhow , on schedule at 1.45 pm , and as luck would have been , the engine power failed midway , and the train reached Indore only at 4 pm , well after the departure of the Express train I was to board . The road connecting Mhow to Indore , runs nearly parallel to the rail track , and many passengers, anticipating the delay and chances of missing the train from Indore, got down from the passenger train and got onto any available vehicle going to Indore , to reach in time for the Express train. Somehow, my elder brother, who was travelling with me up to Indore, convinced me of not attempting anything adventurous with the reasoning that even if I missed the first train there was an alternative available at 5.15 pm . We waited and finally reached Indore at 4 pm and I managed to board the next train at 5.15 pm. I reached New Delhi at 6 am in the morning quite oblivious of the fact that the train I was originally scheduled to board from Indore at 3 pm had met with an accident enroute and not reached Delhi . It was only when I made a call to my home to confirm my safe arrival at Delhi that I learnt of the train accident. 

It was then that I decided never to rush in life, not to try and run ahead of my destiny. One should give a logical best to everything they try but not to the extent that the risk may lead to a permanent loss, unless there is a question of life and death and the only chance of survival is by taking that risk.

As we move in life, in pursuit of our destiny, we get enough warning signs when we are going wrong ; take note , understand and take corrective measures. There is no harm in even taking a U-Turn when you hit a dead end and start all over again. Destination should not change the route can. 

“Do not give up” does not mean banging the head against a wall. It means logically analysing the actions you are taking to reach the destination, at each stage, and taking corrective measures. It’s better to reach late than to never make it. Staying focused in no ways means fixated ideas . Flexibility in plans is as much a necessity for ensuring success as risk taking ability is. 

“Stay focused on your dream ….

Have flexibility in plans ….

Read the warning signs as they flash….

Take corrective measures as deemed fit….

You will reach the destination ….”

Every child is born to be a Leader…..

 

“We are all leaders; leadership is not a position it is a mindset”

                                                                                           Fredrik Arnander

                                                                                      penguins-leader-1940x900_34162

Leadership quality, or rather the lack of it is one of the main ill from which our society suffers today. The leadership I refer to here is not the political leadership or the leadership in the uniformed forces . Leadership, is not just the domain of politicians or uniformed forces nor the preserve of select industries. Leadership qualities are a must in every human, for the society to progress or at least function as per laid down norms. I am reminded of an advertisement campaign run by the Times of India Newspaper group (Lead India ) , advertisement which prominently figured in last couple of years on national TV. The advertisement featured heavy rains and a road blocked due to a fallen tree . All vehicles are lined up along the road waiting for the tree to be removed. No effort is made by anyone to remove the tree trunk from the road till a young school boy reaches and attempts to push the tree on his own. Seeing the boy initially other children join followed by adults and succeed in pushing the tree away from road. This is one of the finest examples of leadership. The boy exhibited all the qualities a leader should have. These are the quality which every human has, but for various reasons , external and internal, is not willing to exhibit or exploit.

If we analyse the qualities the boy exhibited you will realise that all of us have them but are reluctant to use them .What are the qualities the boy in the advertisement exhibited?

The quality the boy exhibited is he good ‘Values’ or Sanskars , as we may call them in India . This is one of the foremost requirements for a good leader. It is the good values passed on by the parents , teachers / elders which have a major role in the leadership abilities of any human .The good values inculcated by elders will never allow a child to do a wrong or see and tolerate a wrong. It is the Values which give him the confidence of believing in himself and help him /her in the decision making or rather make right decisions for the good of all.

A leader faces any challenge with confidence rather he sees an opportunity in any challenge…….an opportunity to excel.

Decision making is another problem in our society. Starting from a family to any group , usually all actions are dependent on decision of one person who is invariably the head of the family or the group. There is hardly any discussion before arriving on a decision .This has become our mentality over a period of time and thus most of us lack decision making ability even as we grow up and always look towards someone else to take decision on our behalf. Decision making, based on values, has to be inculcated in a person from childhood and this will hold him / her in good stead throughout the life . Emphasis should be on making informed decisions for the good of the family / group/society, keeping all pros and cons in mind .This ability to take right decisions will prevent us from doing wrongs in our daily life, which may include even things like not littering the surroundings. The young boy took a decision of attempting to remove the tree from the road, without waiting for anyone .He led by personal example another quality of  a good leader. What he achieved by leading by personal example?

The boy succeeded in motivating  and making everyone in the crowd believe that it was within their capability to remove the tree. People realised their power . This is another quality of a leader , keeping the group united in crisis and make them realise their potential , infuse confidence in them by personal example and leading from the front .The boy by his action helped others in taking the right decision of joining hands to clear the road . This is another ability of a leader to help his subordinates to take right decision. A good leader will always endeavour to encourage his team members in decision making and leading . The number of leaders he/ she can create is the true reflection of a leader.

Empathy, to feel the pain and problems of all people around is another quality of a good leader .This can only be inculcated by being with the group and living the problems .If one can empathise , he /he will be always in a better position to take a decision for the good of the society. 

Transparency not just in finances but also in decision making is a must for a leader . Transparency is the hall mark of a good leader. A leader can never err in his intent , where as error of judgement may be acceptable.

A good leader is a good team member. For a leader ‘us’ is what matters and not I. Bigger the circle of us the better it is , for there will be more number of helping hands available whenever required .

A good leader should have the ability to see goodness around him. He understands every man has something good in him and uses him for that. He nurtures the good qualities of the team members and makes all efforts to help them in overcoming the shortcomings, if any. He/she will give credit to subordinates for the good they do and praise them. 

A good leader never hesitates in accepting a mistake. One of the greatest quality of a good leader is his ability to take a ‘U’ turn moment he / she realises the mistake. 

A good leader is a good learner and ever willing to learn from everyone and everything around him. One should understand that change is the only constant in this world and one has to keep pace with the change by continuously educating oneself and upgrading skills. Learning can be from elders, subordinates, peers, books etc,

Listening is another good quality of a leader, He should be a patient listener and allow his team members to speak out their mind. This way he will not only gain from the collective wisdom of his team but also arrive at an informed decision for the betterment of the organisation as also help develop leadership qualities in his team members.

Don’t we all have all these qualities in us? These qualities are passed on by elders / teachers to the younger in every family / school. One does not have to be an MBA from renowned management universities to learn or master these qualities.

A leader should his head high and look into the eye of his team members and lead, He / she will never shy away from facing the world as there is nothing to hide and he / she knows the job. 

“Value based eye contact leadership is what is desired from a leader and that is what he will give” 

“A Good leader educates….. empowers the subordinates…..works for the growth of organisation”

You are born to be a Winner……Stop making excuses…Get going….

winner

 You are born to be a winner, born to achieve your dreams / desire. No one, other than your own fears, can stop you from reaching your goal. This will become possible only if you stay focused on the goal . 

Invest your time in arming yourself with the experience, knowledge required to facilitate you in realising your dream. You cannot expect to sleep your way to the top. Even if you were born with a silver spoon still you will have to put in sustained efforts to continuously progress and sustain your position. You have to put in extra effort, burn midnight oil to gain that knowledge. 

There will always be people around, may be some of whom you consider your best friends; discouraging you, trying to demotivate you, wanting you to give up your dream. Surprisingly, the biggest culprits are the parents and teachers. The main responsibility of the parents and teachers is to help the child realise his true potential however in most cases they only attempt to put in too much caution in the mind of the child in the bargain making him risk averse . Attempts are made from very early stage of life to guide the child towards particular professions , dreams are being curbed. Your life is your own responsibility . Whatever you will achieve has to be on your own strength. Where you want to reach has to be your call , solely your decision. “Listen to people , friends but make your own decisions. Once you are yourself convinced of your passion it will not be very difficult to convince others,the difficult part is convincing yourself of what you want to achieve and that you are capable of achieving it” . 

Do what you love. But before taking a final call on what you want to pursue , analyse does it make you happy and more than that for how long will it make / keep you happy ? If the ans is “Yes it will make me happy ( no matter what the end result is )” , by all means follow it . Many of us seek short term happiness and lose the plot . There is nothing wrong in seeking short term happiness provided the final goal is not lost sight of. 

Life is not limited to being a doctor , Engineer , Chartered Accountant , a management expert or a Lawyer. It’s your choice to serve a boss or serve humanity at large. You can be a doctor / engineer and the like and still follow your love of music , singing, adventure or whatever you want. 

You cannot blame others or circumstances for your failure to follow or realise your dream. Failures will be there , but they should not stop you. Failures happen to guide you on to the right path. Looking for excuses and giving up is easy , but “Success comes to those who take ownership of their failures , analyse them and infuse fresh energy and mind to overcome the hurdles”. 

Fear of failure will always be there. Whenever you are confronted by fear reason with yourself , why should you? What will happen if you fail ? Will it be the end? Or you have the strength to start all over again and go after your dream? The ans will come from within. Just be logical , give yourself time. No fear is bigger than your dream. These are small obstacles which many before you have crossed and you are not inferior to anyone. “Financial / educational background , caste , colour , creed doesn’t matter in the pursuit of happiness”. 

People who have realised their dreams had nothing special in them. They are also normal human beings like anyone else. The only difference between them and others is the ‘GO’ they had in them . The never say die attitude , not giving up for any reason. “They did not look for excuses , they searched for ans” . 

So Get up , get going , You will reach your destination . It may take time but reach you will.

 

“No one has slept his way to success …..

Prepare hard , work hard, keep going”

Respond or React ……It’s your choice…. 

Reactions-Black

Respond , not react, to any situation calmly , that is what every Guru (Teacher) tells. We all know the basic difference Reaction and Response. Reaction being more of an impulsive action (theoretically speaking) taken without much thought in a given situation and Response being a more logical , rational / calm action taken in a similar situation.

When we all are aware of the differences and the apparent advantages and disadvantages then why do we still react under some situations if not all?? The second logical question which arises is that should all actions taken without much apparent thought be termed as reaction or to put in simple words can’t a snap action be termed as response ?

My experience has been that we generally react when we are dealing with a junior (or our child ) or a person we consider / perceive is weaker than us, someone we have nothing to fear from or someone we think will not react back. Whereas we respond very calmly while dealing with our seniors ( the boss) or people in power or someone we perceive is stronger than us. Someone who can cause harm to us physically or can harm our career prospects . We often come across people in our professional life who very forcefully state that they don’t take nonsense and blow their top at the smallest reason on the juniors but their behaviour is dramatically totally opposite in front of their seniors or people more powerful than them. In short , our angry reactions are generally reserved for the juniors or the weaker. I always narrate this example to the youngsters in the organisation to explain response and reaction. If my boss comes to my home and accidentally drops and breaks a glass, the action I take thereafter will fall in the realms of response ( I will be very polite and get the place cleaned and offer another glass to the boss) whereas if my child drops and breaks the same glass my follow up action may be totally opposite and termed as reaction . I may give her my piece of mind , a lesson on her absent mindedness and carelessness may follow. A different reaction or response to the same loss.

Our reaction and response also depends on the situation and the place. In most cases when we think we have something to lose we may respond calmly and diffuse the situation / resolve the issue whereas at a different place our reaction may be ‘louder’.

The best example of Response vs Reaction can be seen on social networking site where some people choose to react in whatever way they want because of their perceived notion of immunity since they are hidden behind a fake name / identity and their face is not on screen. Then there are others who just choose to stay quite and ignore .

Our experience may also help in invoking good responses even in snap situations. Since we have already been through a similar situation before hence we may not take much time in giving an adequate and appropriate response. This is so true for juniors , they get so used to the behaviour pattern/ reactions of their team leader that they develop auto response system.

People in the Defence ( Defense ) / Police services do feel that at times situations develop so fast that they have no option other than reacting fastest with whatever they have , to control it. Well I will term that reaction as Response because the Defence officers have a progressive and tough training regimen. They practice dealing with every possible war like situation, which can be visualised , during the training . It is this training which empowers them to make quick mental appreciation of a developing situation and helps in responding in a very fast time frame. (Some may say – in a fraction of a second). Same will be true for any professional, provided a constant endeavour is made to upgrade skills and gain knowledge.

Response is what is needed. “With so much of stress already in the environment, why add to it with our unreasonable reactions. Response is to a situation irrespective of who all our involved in it”.

“It should not matter whether the glass was broken by the Boss or the child , the action to resolve the issue should be same”.

Be the driver of your Life…..

self-confidence

 

“The difference between who you are and what you are going to be is what you do today” 

Life is a beautiful journey , the route full of scenic locales , it’s up to us to live and enjoy or be so busy in our routine and miss out on the beauty. The choice lies with us to be the driver , in control of the steering of the vehicle or be a passenger just going where ever the vehicle takes us. There in lies the difference between the successful and not so successful. 

The majority takes the safer option of being the passenger trusting the skill of the driver to take them through. Trusting someone else with their future. 

Most get nervous with the mere thought of being in charge. We have all experienced nervousness at some point in our life . There can be ‘N’ number of reasons when one felt the heart racing or the palm sweating ; before an exam , attending an interview , before a presentation or even when we are getting late for an appointment or a flight. 

It is this nervousness or lack of confidence which makes or mars the future. Why should one be nervous? If you have prepared well , done good research work , rehearsed well ,  there should not be any reason for nervousness. Invest well in skill development, gaining knowledge and your health . These are the basic ingredients for building self-confidence. At times it is the hangover from the past or fear of failure ( Worrying about what others will say)  which gets on the nerves. If you have done step by step preparation you should not fear the outcome. Even if you do not achieve the desired result, the life does not come to an end. There is another day , more opportunities to excel . Do not give up at any failure , just analyse the reason and move on . May be you did not have the requisite experience for that job, get it. Or may be that job did not deserve you , there is something better waiting. 

Have faith in your abilities , trust your instincts . This will only come if you are honest in your preparation. Do not start looking for help at the smallest of obstacle, find your own solution. Get your own experience, it will build your confidence and come in handy in overcoming bigger hurdles later in life. Take charge of the steering and be the driver of your life. It’s your destination, you will understand the way better and utilise your abilities to your advantages. 

“If you leave the steering of your life in someone else’s hand you will only be sure that the vehicle will start, but how the journey will be and where it will hand will not be in your hand. Take charge of the steering…..live your life your way…..Be sure”. 

Do not let nervousness come in the way of your success. Be like a child, instead of being nervous , be excited. Only you can change the narrative of your life. 

“Invest in building your confidence…..it will take you places….certainly to your desired destination”

Discover Yourself ….. You are Awesome….

“The first step in making a dream come true……is to decide what you want……once a decision has been made….put your heart and mind in achieving it…….there will be struggles , obstacles……. stay focused……let not your mind waver …never ever give up…….you will live your dream”

Have you realised your true potential? Have you achieved what you could or rather are you even aware ofwho am i what you were capable of achieving? Most of us love to work from our comfort zones and are not comfortable with the idea of venturing out ….doing something different….or doing things in a different way. This happens for variety of reasons which may include fear of failure, not wanting to take risks , averse to change  or may be sheer laziness. We have to understand that all of us are unique and have the ability to perform /achieve much more than we think we can. Let us try and analyse the factors which may help one in achieving his / her true potential.

The first step is to understand and accept yourself the way you are ; your capabilities and shortcomings. Once you understand your strengths and weaknesses, it will become easier for you to focus and work on them , to exploit your strengths and to improve upon your weaknesses. Be clear in your mind , unless you accept a weakness ,you cannot find a solution for it. A critical self- appraisal , feedback / interaction with colleagues and may be support of an experienced coach ( in case of students ; may be the help of teachers and parents) will help in this area.

Once you have understood your strengths and weaknesses , the next logical step will be to invest in self- improvement. Self- investment is a must in the area of health , building up your knowledge base , honing up your skills and your personal grooming. While talent may be natural, God’s gift, but it is only of any good if supported by good skills. You may be having a good voice but unless you rehearse / practice regularly under a good coach , you may not become an established singer and just remain part of the chorus.

Personal grooming , is one area , which normally gets neglected. Personal behaviour, the way you conduct yourself , the way you walk and talk and look , all matters in your growth , both personal and professional. Combination of well groomed manners, smart looks and a ticking brain under the neat hairstyle is always a winning combination. Presentation matters , but what matters most is a well packaged presentation which is beautifully laid out, has novelty and brimming with logical professional content.

Once you have invested in personal your growth , you will be comfortable working anywhere , anytime and not limit yourself to so called comfort zones. Once this happens , nothing will stop you from achieving your true potential. The aim should be break free from the comfort zones , the earlier you do ,better it will be.

Have a dream and follow it relentlessly, the flame of passion should keep burning till you have realised your goal. Do not be averse to taking risks or stop yourself from doing things differently because of fear of failure. Remember the good old saying “No success is the last and no failure is fatal”. Once you have prepared well, chances of failures are negligible and even if you do not achieve what you intended , there is always a second time. Once you have taken home correct lessons from the first failure , nothing will stop you from achieving your goal the next time , you only got to be persistent and focused.

Maintain a positive attitude and this is only possible if you have prepared well  (invested well in yourself) and have faith in your abilities .You start anything with faith in yourself , ability of your team and your plans chances of failure are negligible but if you start anything with a doubt ,chances of success are remote. Maintain your cool and be calm under all conditions, do not ever let the stress get the better of you.

Be selective in the company you keep. Company matters in what you can achieve. Have a selective team of advisers , friends and colleagues(team members) , who will be there with you in your endeavours. There has to be mutual trust and understanding between all team members. Remember “Success of any team depends on how well each member inspires , motivates and co-operates with each other………….manipulations , complaints and blame are recipes for failures”.

You were born unique , to achieve something different , to be unusual , to do things differently. Prepare well , step out of your comfort zone, take risks , keep your feet moving and mind ticking …success will be yours.  

“Do not try to fit in…….you are different…. you are unique……you were not born to be someone else…you were born to be awesome”.