I Speak…

once uponOne of the greatest stresses of public speaking is nervousness. Now, we’ve talked about this before, and I would like to go through some really useful tips for getting over those last minute nerves. Picture this: You are standing backstage, waiting to go on and talk to 20,000 people about writing. Your stomach is churning; your head is pounding. You are scared. What do you do? Well, why don’t you try a few of these ideas…

Push, Push, Push That Door

Before you give your speech, find somewhere where you can be alone for just a few minutes and stand and face a door. Place both hands on the door at about shoulder height and push as hard as you can. After pushing, stand normally and try speaking out loud. See how much more relaxed your voice sounds. Do this before every performance, and you will see a difference.

Tongue-Along

Try sticking your tongue out as far as it will go and repeat a nursery rhyme. This will help open the back of your throat and help you sound more confident.  This should help you in your effort to be a better public speaker.

Breathe, and Breathe, and Breathe

Breathe in through your nose very slowly for a count of five. Then breathe out though your nose for a count of five. Repeat this three times, and you will have significantly lowered your heart rate, so when you start to speak you won’t sound like an express train. This is a beautiful way to help your speaking engagements begin smoothly.

And Squeeze…

Simply clench the muscles in your buttocks. Most clothes will completely mask your actions, and it will help you feel and appear more confident. Then smile. You are ready to give your speech!

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I Write…

once uponFormatting and uploading an e-book can be one of the most frustrating parts of publishing a book. It’s a completely different process to formatting a paperback or a hardcover, and it can be frustrating to see your perfect looking Word file turned into a jumbled mass of words when it’s uploaded and previewed. This blog article is all about formatting your e-book from your Word document. Just a few tips to help your frustration…

Fiverr Is Your Friend!

Yes, you can do it all yourself, but really, it’s much easier to let someone else do it. E-book formatting often costs around $100, but you can get it done for $15, or even less on Fiverr.

E-Books Are a Living Thing…

The most important thing is that the text works and is easy to read – so if you’re trying to do anything too complicated, let it go. Simple is usually the solution. Look at any mainstream published e-book – they rarely have special fonts or images and are super minimal.

You can’t set up everything exactly because readers need the ability to enlarge the text, change the font, and the e-book will look different on every device and previewing tool. Rather than add a lot of style, you need to remove as much style as possible and make everything very simple.

Start with Your Word file

The easiest way to make an e-book is to start by setting up your Word file the right way. Use automatic paragraph indents not tabs. Use the “heading1” style for all chapter titles, and check that a TOC is being made automatically. If you’ve done it right, you can use a simple online e-book conversion tool, or upload it straight to Kindle, or run it through Calibre, and everything should look just as you set it up in Word.

There Is No Page!

If you learn one thing about formatting an e-book it should be this: Inside an e-book, there is no page. This is the hardest thing for would-be e-book publishers to get their heads around, and I understand. It was hard for me too. Seriously.

Don’t Overdo the Fonts

Try to use the same font and font size throughout the book for both text and headings. Select a standard font face such as Times Roman or Verdana in 12-point size. Use italics in the text where appropriate, but no underlines. It makes everything else easier.

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I Teach…

coachFew people realize this, but you can actually be your OWN life coach. Seriously. You can absolutely coach yourself to success. If you have the time and the self-confidence to look within yourself to work out all the crinkles and issues that are holding you back, you may find this to be a very beneficial way of discovering if coaching is for you.

Dig Deep and Begin the Search…

One of the main things a life coach will help you do is find out what really drives you, and what you’re really looking to achieve. Too often, we find ourselves following the wrong path or chasing the wrong thing simply because we believe it’s what we want. The truth of the matter is that what we really want can be very different to what we think we want. Whether it’s down to external pressures or expectations, we can really find ourselves off our true track.
This can be a very enlightening search as you may find that all the goals you truly thought you were aiming for are wrong. You may find that decisions you made do not hold up when the cold light of day is shone on them. You have to dig deep to really find out your purpose—so give it a try!

Ask Yourself the Right Questions

While sitting quietly by yourself, ask yourself what you truly want to do. Forget about financial issues, problems with work, or issues with your partner, and ask yourself what you really want to do with yourself. Do you want to do jigsaws? Fight for a place in the Senate? Read books until the end of time? What do you want? When you can put your finger on what you truly want to do, you will find true satisfaction, and you will know where to put the majority of your efforts.

Examine Your Life Carefully

Some people want to get ahead in their careers, start a brand new business, lose that extra weight, become socially acceptable, or become more confident. You need to know what you are aiming for. To do this, it’s important to take a full examination to see where you currently stand.

Everything Is Listening…

Each area of your life is connected. It’s really important for you to take a good look at the overall picture and see how each part works. If you are having a poor home life, it will change the way you work. If you are under pressure to be a certain way, it will change your mood. To really become the powerhouse I know you can be—you have to have a good work-life balance. Too much negativity and you may overdose.

Be a Goal Breaker and a Trend Setter

Once you have an idea about what you want, you can see where you need to make improvements. Now, making an improvement isn’t an overnight thing, so don’t expect it to be. Also keep in mind that most people don’t change—so to make changes is to be a trend setter. Isn’t that wonderful?

At the start, you don’t have to know exactly how you’ll reach your goal, you just have to figure out how to make progress towards your goal. For example—if you want a driving lesson but haven’t even been in a car, you may want to take part in a car journey.

The Pen is Mightier… Always

Try to avoid using computer-based documents and spreadsheets for the goals you want to accomplish. Use a notepad or a diary that can be exclusively used for this process. There is far more power in the handwritten word than the typed word. You will find yourself taking goals more seriously if you write them down.

Express Yourself, Reward Yourself

Yes. We are making changes to our lives—but let’s not become overzealous. It’s important to enjoy life, and reward yourself. A life coach will provide you with encouragement when you’re able to achieve what you set out to achieve.

This positive reinforcement builds confidence and allows you to set your sights higher and higher. Don’t forget to actually pat yourself on the back. It feels good—seriously.

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I Speak…

once uponSometimes, even the best public speakers or performers find themselves in the worst possible position. They find themselves failing in front of an expectant audience. This blog post is all about the disasters that can befall a public speaker. Let’s hope these things never happen to you.

Losing Your Mind

At some point in time, you’re going to have a senior moment.  It happens to everyone. As our lives move faster and faster, it’s normal that our brains will occasionally get left behind.  What do you do?  The answer is: Wait.  It will seem like forever to you, but it will be only a few seconds in real time.  So wait it out.  The words will come to you.  Your brain will catch up with your mouth.  Just give it time. Sometimes you just need to be calm, kick back, and smile.

Unhappily Being Heckled

This happens more often than you might think. Some people really enjoy making themselves heard. The natural instinct is to avoid a heckler because the whole experience is unpleasant.  But fight the instinct on this one and do the counter-intuitive thing—stand up to the heckler.

Bad, Bad Technology

If you use technology, it will crash.  Seriously. At some point, it will crash. The answer is to have a version of your presentation ready to go – always – that doesn’t depend on technology.  Be prepared to tell good stories without those colorful slides.  Have a Plan B!

Greedy Speakers

Just as you have a non-tech version of your talk ready to go, you should also have a short version ready to go for the inevitable time when the speaker before you simply won’t stop talking.  That allows you to look like a hero for getting the agenda back on track.  In extraordinary circumstances, you can take your time out of the next part of the agenda, but get the conference organizer both to agree to it and announce it.  Otherwise, it’s your fault, and everyone will hate you for keeping them from their lunch. Don’t continue the greedy behavior of the speaker in front of you—change direction and win.

Audience Expectations

Sometimes, you will find yourself in front of an audience smaller than you expected. Be warm and thank them all for coming—then dive in with all your might. If you get a bigger crowd than you expected, try to get people seated as comfortably as possible and then keep eye contact with as many people as you can. If you are faced with a lot of noise—don’t worry—wait until they quiet down and start with a smile.

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I Write…

medFor many authors, the obvious way to get their book onto shelves as a paperback is by using the CreateSpace service. With numerous pros and cons, CreateSpace has been the market leader for some time now. I thought it would be a good idea for us to take an in-depth look at the platform and see if it could be the way forward for your book project…

The ISBN Issue

CreateSpace offers several options for ISBNs, and the most popular option, by far, is the free ISBN. Amazon will, for no charge, list your book so it can be ordered by libraries and academic institutions. This is part of Expanded Distribution. As ISBNs themselves can be pretty costly, this is a good alternative that will give you the freedom to publish at will.

Need a Barcode?

You don’t need to buy a barcode, which is necessary for printed books, because it is provided for free by CreateSpace. This is another major positive to using CreateSpace.

Looking for a Hardback?

Hardbacks are an important edition for many authors, and although several services offer them—CreateSpace is not one of them. This is one of the major negatives to using the CreateSpace service.

The Price of a Book

Your price per book—the price you pay CreateSpace if you want to buy copies for your own use—is the same for any size book with one hundred or fewer pages. There is, however, no volume discount for buyers. This is both a positive and a negative.

Keywords, Categories and Optimization

You choose a single category for your book in CreateSpace compared to the two you get when you use KDP to release your Kindle book. You have the option to input five keywords. Compared to Kindle, there are fewer SEO options.

Away from Amazon?

Your book will be available on barnesandnoble.com and on some other online stores if you select Expanded Distribution, which is free.

Counting Your Pennies

You can produce a print book for free if you are willing and able to create your own book cover, and templates for those are provided by CreateSpace. The other plus is that you don’t have to buy a printed proof, but most authors will want to see a hard copy before releasing their book to the general public.

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I Teach…

once uponThere are many reasons to seek out a life coach—but before you do, you should know a few facts about life coaching. Many people see it as an opportunity to go through therapy without going to see a therapist; others see it as the answer to all their problems—but there are certain realties you have to realize. Let’s take a look at them…

Focus – Life Coaching Allows You to Focus on Yourself

Many people often leave themselves behind. Life coaching actually puts you first, for perhaps the first time.  Life coaching takes the necessary time with you to discover your true values, goals, and talents, and will help you create a plan to fulfilling them. After all, YOU are important! Repeat that to yourself now—YOU ARE IMPORTANT!

Order – Life Coaching Gives You the Opportunity to Get Your Life in Order

In life coaching, you immediately take action. You stop being a person living on the sidelines, letting your life pass you by. A good life coach helps you understand yourself better and helps you to live a life aligned with your morals, values, and core beliefs.  It is NOT long-term psychotherapy. With support and encouragement, YOU are urged to sit in the driver’s seat in your own life. With your coach as your strongest advocate, YOU decide when you have met your goals. Try it!

Professional – Life Coaching Is Unbiased

When you have a life coach, you get to talk through your struggles with someone who is not going to interrupt you or push you towards what they think you should do. A great life coach would never make judgments or criticize your choices, but instead offers suggestions and give you the space and time to think through your challenges and options. Of course, everything you say to your coach will be kept in total confidence. It’s all about you.

Therapy – Life Coaching Is Not Therapy

Life coaching is never about treating mental illness and working through deeply rooted psychological issues. You should seek professional help in those situations. Therapy is great for people with psychological problems that require intervention with a mental health specialist. Life coaching is an empowering process for normal, healthy people to get help making their lives better, happier, and more fulfilled.

Fun – Yes, Life Coaching Can Be Fun

Expect to laugh a lot during your coaching sessions! Sometimes making change can be more than a little scary, but coaching is actually fun and empowering. It feels great to get things out in the open – so you can get clarity and take action.

Accountability- Life Coaches Hold You Responsible for Yourself

If you’re feeling negative and lacking in motivation, your coach will help you challenge limiting assumptions and beliefs you may have about yourself and the situations you find yourself in.  He or she will help you work through the issues that are preventing you from moving forward and, above all, keep you focused on your goals!

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I Speak…

fearsThe biggest factor holding many would-be public speakers back is fear. Fear is a deciding factor—and this article is all about taming that fear to your advantage. While some readers are conquered by their fear and make grievous mistakes, others can channel their fear and become outstanding public speakers. Here’s how…

Embrace Your Nervousness

All you have to do is admit that you are a little bit nervous speaking to your audience. When you do this, the audience will be more forgiving if your nervousness shows up later on. More importantly, you will feel more relaxed now that they are not expecting a world-class presentation. Imagine their surprise when you give them the best presentation ever despite your nervousness. One of the best ways to allow your audience in on your fear is to joke about it. Try starting your speech with a joke about how nervous you are. It may just be the deciding factor.

Make Mistakes Intentionally

This is another tip I would encourage. The idea is to gain control of your audience. If you can make them laugh and be more interactive with you, your presentation will have that casual feel to it, which will make it memorable. Ultimately, you will find it easier to do. Try it to see if it works for you.

Redefine Your Audience

Redefining your audience generally means changing how you see your audience. Instead of seeing them as lecturers who are evaluating you, maybe you can convince yourself that they are all fellow students who are waiting to present after you. They are all equally nervous, so there is no reason why you should be, too.

Use Visual Aids As Much As You Can

Imagine a presentation with beautiful slide presentations and even more impressive notes given to each of your audience members. Most of the time, their attention will not be on you. They will read through the notes and watch your presentation. This will help a lot as you can then speak to the people who are not looking at you. When they look at you, you just change your focus to other people who are not looking. Giving a speech to people who are not looking at you is always easier. It’s just like taking a Skype call.

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I Write…

coachOver the years, there have been many success stories from people who have self-published their books—and many more stories of failure. This blog article is all about examining the places where authors went wrong when they first published their books. Let’s take a look.

Is your book too long?

If you are looking to write a book, you have to be aware of the fact that a story can be told either with brevity or with sloth. If your book is too long, you could be damaging your own success. People like to read shorter books—it makes them feel good. Will your 2,000-page book make them feel good or will it bog them down?

Can people afford your book—really?

Yes. It’s a temptation to price your book at $12. But will people buy your Kindle book at that price? People are used to paying less for e-books.  Try to price your book so it fits all wallet sizes.

Did you happen to mention the sequel?

Even if you don’t have a sequel in mind, you want to set up the book so that you can have a sequel if you ever decide to write one. If you have a long book, you may want to consider splitting it into a series of books that will create a franchise. Don’t overlook the sequel.

Wait—I have to format it differently for Kindle?

Yes. You do.  Authors have learned that you need very specific formatting in order for a book to transfer to Kindle and other popular e-book formats like Nook.  Many people overlook this fact—and will continue to overlook it. Don’t make their mistake.

Wait—hold on. People buy books from Amazon?

If your e-book isn’t on Amazon, you are missing a huge automatic sales funnel that could be sending you customers while you sit back and do nothing. Your ability to promote it on your own tiny blog is nothing compared to the exposure it gets on one of the biggest sites on the Internet, just from people doing searches in their “book” tab. Take advantage of Amazon, use their promotional tools, and use it to be seen. Don’t wait around for Barnes and Noble to call you up with a great offer—chances are they won’t even know you exist until you sell a lot of books.

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I Teach…

sleepThis blog post is all about YOU! Have you recently started with a life coach but you are unsure how it is going? Have you been trying to work out how to get the most out of the coach you’ve chosen and hired? This blog post is all about the mindset you will need to get the most out of your chosen coach. The coach has a responsibility to do their best to help you become a better YOU… but you also have a responsibility to clear your mind and be open to change. At the end of the day, only you can enact change… or kill it. Let’s look at the mindset you will need for successful coaching to take place.

Start with a Clear Head

If you can, write a list of the areas you want to work on before you start your coaching sessions. If you are not sure about what you want to work on, you can let your coach know when you initiate coaching and work on this together. The clearer you are, the easier it will be to achieve your goals.

Start Ready to Make Change Happen

Coaching really does takes commitment. Be prepared to work hard and be challenged during every session. Coaching is about making changes and achieving different results to what you are achieving now. You will need to be in it for the long game and be prepared to try new things. Your coach’s job is to help you to go beyond what you normally do and achieve. The purpose of coaching is to see where you can improve in the area of life you are working on. Be ready to work and achieve.

Start Prepared

Be prepared for each session. You will work with your coach during each session to create actions to complete for the next session. These actions will help you to move towards your goal. Make sure you do what you promise and turn up prepared each time. Completing these action steps may be very challenging at times, but the real work happens between sessions.

Start Punctually

Treat your coaching sessions and coach with respect and be punctual for coaching sessions. If you are always late for appointments and you are doing the same with your coaching sessions, this could be an area that you could use your sessions to work on. This would also be a good area for you to work on regardless. Being punctual is a part of business life.

Start with Change in Mind

Know that by undertaking the coaching process, you are saying that it is time to move your life forward with absolute commitment and confidence. Be prepared for change. Coaching will have positive impacts on many areas of your life, not just the area you are working on. Be open and willing to change. Don’t hire a coach because someone has told you that you should or because it sounds good. Do it because you are ready to change and take full responsibility for engaging in the process. Be open to anything.

Start Totally Committed

The coaching process takes absolute commitment from you. To achieve anything extraordinary in life, you need to be willing to engage, work hard and move past obstacles and your own fears. Make sure you are ready to take on the commitment when you start your coaching sessions. Being clear about your commitment will help you get through the challenges you will face along the way. Your coach will be committed, and you should be, too!

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I Speak…

coachOne of the biggest problems with writing a speech is knowing where to begin. There are many people out there who would happily write your speech for you—but for those public speakers who really want to hit their audience and hold their sway, there has to be a level of self-knowledge. You need to know how to open your speech—how will your audience react to what you have to say? How does your personality grab your audience? Are you patriotic? Are you revolutionary? What does the world think about you and what you have to say? Take a look at these speech openers, and see if you can see yourself starting with some of these…

Thank You Very Much

Some of the best speakers start by thanking the audience for coming and thanking the organization for inviting you to speak. Refer to the person who introduced you or to one or more of the senior people in the organization in the audience. This compliments them, makes the feel proud and happy about your presence, and connects you into the audience like an electrical plug in a socket. As someone once told me—manners are more important in business than degrees.

Think Positive, Start Positive, Be Positive

You can begin by telling the audience members how much they will like and enjoy what you have to say. Explain how positive you feel the audience is towards you, and that you are excited to get to know the people in front of you. Keep a level of positivity and people will engage with you.

Compliment the Audience

You can begin by complimenting the audience members sincerely and with great respect. Smile as if you are really glad to see them, as if they are all old friends of yours that you have not seen for quite a while. How about telling them that it is a great honor for you to be here, that they are some of the most important people in this business or industry, and that you are looking forward to sharing some key ideas with them.

The Audacity of Hope

Remember, the ultimate purpose of speaking is to inspire people to do things that they would not have done in the absence of your comments. Everything you say should relate to the actions you want people to take and the reasons that they should take those actions.

Question Time…

You can open by making a positive statement and then asking a question requiring a show of hands. How about starting with one crucial question that everyone in the room will have an answer to: “Who here wants to be a billionaire?”

Refer to a Recent Conversation

Some of the greatest public speakers start by telling a story. Some of the most effective stories are recent conversations. “I was talking to Bill the other day—we were discussing this event, and he told me that the people in Louisiana are some of the best people you could ever hope to meet. I have been here for a few hours, my first visit to the great state of Louisiana, and I have to say that Bill was completely correct. This is the best event in the country, bar none.” See? Complimenting, telling a story and engaging will have them listening from the get-go.

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