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Articles | Communication

Why Do We Fear Public Speaking? And What You Can Do Immediately To Vanquish This Fear Once And For All

Have you ever come across someone who tends to freeze in front of an audience, even a couple of people? They find that their mouth dries up, their voice goes weak and their body starts shaking. They may even start sweating profusely, go red in the face and feel their heart thumping rapidly.

Has this happened to you sometime? Do you often shy away from any opportunity to speak in public? Does the thought of speaking in public leave you frozen with fear?

Glossophobia - fear of public speaking

Yes, there is a cool Greek-inspired name for fear of public speaking as well! And as much as 75% of all people are affected by it. Not surprising really, we have all felt butterflies in our stomachs before going up on stage, and most of us have an anecdote or two about public speaking disasters.

But why does something as straightforward as speaking in front of a bunch of people, cause so much dread for so many people?

Studies across the globe have identified four main reasons -

An Anxious Nature

For some people predisposed to anxiety, public speaking can trigger a threat perception hyperarousal – basically your body senses and experiences it as a threat and reacts accordingly – making it even more difficult to perform well.

Your Thoughts

You build it up to be more important than it is, you don’t think you are good enough, you think everyone will judge you and so on – basically your thoughts take over and inflate the importance of the situation to such an extent that natural nervousness snowballs into full-blown fear of public speaking.

Past Experiences

Did you have a bad public speaking experience in the past? Do you speak in public regularly? Your skill and past success or failure play a big role in how you approach public speaking situations.

New or Unfamiliar Situations

It is natural to feel more anxious if you are encountering a new audience or trying out an untested idea or are in an unknown setting. Even something like speaking in your second language or on an unprepared topic can trigger anxiety.

If you are trying to grow your business or climb the corporate ladder or have a fantastic idea that you need to communicate – you need to look your fear in the face and vanquish it.

How? Well keep reading – we have put together some simple tips to help you become a better and more confident speaker.

Know your Content

With anxiety comes the loss of concentration and memory -- the first thing to go out of the window is the speech or the presentation you memorised. To avoid a black-out its best to understand your content thoroughly. Don’t just learn the lines; you should know the content well enough to be able to convey the idea in entirely different words.

Practice

For nervous speakers, practice makes perfect! Practice the speech, the pauses, the stance, the gestures and practice in front of a mirror and front of friends. Rehearsing your speech or presentation bakes it in your mind and when anxiety strikes, being over prepared will come in handy.

Relax

Relaxation techniques like breathing exercises, meditation or even some physical activity can help you tamp down the anxiety. The goal is to start the speech with a calm frame of mind, a lower heartbeat, and controlled breathing. If you start off nervous, chances are it will keep getting worse.

But relaxation techniques don’t just work overnight – you will need to make them a habit and practice them constantly to see the benefits.

Know your Limitations

Like everything else, public speaking also requires practice and time to perfect. Don’t try to just jump into a big gathering straight away – know your capabilities, start small. If you are having trouble memorising your content, carry bullet points; don’t force a joke or an anecdote if you don’t want to; don’t speak in front of hundreds of people if you can’t handle ten.

Becoming a good orator requires time and experience. Understand which stage you are at and take your time.

Lastly, ask for Help

You don’t have to go at it alone; if a big presentation or an important speech is coming up, then bring in the professionals.

Counsellors can help you structure your content, help you practice, give you useful and actionable tips to improve and also provide the much needed emotional support.

Don’t let the fear of public speaking close opportunities and stunt your professional or personal growth.

Ralph Waldo Emerson puts it so well,

"All the great speakers were bad speakers at first."

If you want to become a confident and engaging speaker, then don’t hesitate to get in touch!

You might not end up loving the stage, but we promise you will learn not to hate it.

To know more, click on the Request Consultation button above.

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Articles | Insight

5 Tips to Overcome the Fear of Going Back After A Career Break – Career Coaching Advice for Returning Professionals

Career breaks happen! Whether you took out time to raise your children, took a break to deal with health problems, pursued higher studies or took a much-needed sabbatical to travel the world – there are times when personal needs demand your full attention and work takes a back seat. Getting back to work after a few years might seem a bit daunting at first, but with professional career coaching, you can find a job that values your experience and education!

I guess you are reading this article because you are now ready to head back to work. Right? For most people, taking a career break is equated with loss of money or rank – people expect to get paid less or be demoted!

A study by PWC conducted in the UK found that 3 in 5 women get lower-paid or less skilled jobs when they return after a break! The numbers, if reported, will probably be even more depressing in India.

This is exactly why returnees have such a stressful time starting again. They settle for either less money or less meaningful work, and when you know you deserve better and can do more, the chances are you will end up deeply frustrated and unhappy.

To avoid falling into this career rut, we have put together some helpful career coaching tips to get you started right -

1. Assess and Research

Don’t just jump in and start firing off your CV to all and sundry. Take time to focus on what you want to do and assess your strengths and positives. You can find a career coaching service near you or online and get some professional help to you decide what you actually want to do.

You also need to research the various options that are available in your industry. For this, you can browse through job portals and well-known job communities on Facebook or LinkedIn. If you have kept in touch with industry publications, you could also make a list of any significant policy, strategic or technological changes that you might be expected to know.

2. Network, Network, Network

Break out that contact list, open LinkedIn, call old colleagues and bosses – get the word out that you are ready and looking for work.

Most people hesitate to call or reach out – trust us only the first few calls will feel awkward. Your friends, old colleagues, acquaintances are all nice people – they might not be able to help, but no one will be rude to you.

Spend some time drafting an email or practising your call and just get started. Dropping a personal message on LinkedIn or Facebook is the easiest thing to do!

3. Upgrade your Skills

If you are in a technical profession and have been away for more than a year then polishing up your credentials with a specialised course might be helpful.

With so much high-quality education available online, its possible to find a course that fits your interests and budget. You can also work with a career coach to find out relevant options – this is especially helpful if you have decided to change your profile significantly.

4. Aim Small

You might have left a job at an MNC, but maybe a small start-up is more suitable to restart your career.

Bigger and more established companies tend to have stricter policies and more competition, whereas a small firm would be happy to use your experience and might offer you the same profile and salary as well as more flexibility. So, don’t just consider the big-name companies, explore small or medium-sized concerns as well.

5. Focus on the Job Profile

If it comes down to money vs. job profile, pick the work.

Re-entering the job market could entail some sacrifices, and sometimes you just need a little bit of time to acquaint your employer with the skills and experience you bring to the table.

Look for an environment, a work profile or a team that allows you to grow and learn. A more challenging work profile might not get you the paycheck you are looking for – but it will certainly speed up your learning and help you fill in the time you lost while you were away.

Once you are back up to speed, there is always room to negotiate for a better salary or a higher designation.

In this situation does Career Coaching help?

Well, yes!

If your initial research has not thrown up any clear ideas on how you can start your job search or if you are thinking of changing your professional path altogether, then a coach can be very helpful to point you in the right direction.

Our advice - just start! It’s the first and the most daunting step. Stay focused on your life goals and give it time.

Are you looking for some help getting back in the saddle? If yes, then our coaching program for returning professionals is the perfect starting point for kickstarting your new professional life. Click on the Request Consultation button above.

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Articles | Insight

5 Career Counselling Factors That Give You Clear and Actionable Advice

How many of you out there – finishing school or graduate courses - know exactly what you want to do?

It would be fair to presume that most of you have an inkling of where your interests lie – after all, we are living in the digital age!

When it comes to the great big decision of choosing a career path or a college course, there are two types of people. There are the lucky few who have a passion or a creative gift that defines their life choices from an early age and then there is the vast majority, made up of teenagers and young adults who need some career guidance to find the right paths.

As things stand in India, most children tend to enrol in a course first and figure out career options later. The post class XII scramble for admissions mixed with peer pressure doesn’t give most students a lot of time or opportunity to think deeply about their long-term careers.

For most, the goal is to somehow just get into a good college! And the cycle repeats itself after graduation when choices become even more limited, the competition becomes tougher, and the cost of education goes up.

For the last two decades, career counsellors and career guidance services have been trying to help students make the right decision. Over time a lot has changed - what started with aptitude tests and informal chats with counsellors has now turned into a nuanced and detailed process that focuses on the mindset of the student.

We at SoaringEagles, have developed a career counselling process that takes into account five crucial factors which give students and adults clarity about their career choices. Our one-on-one sessions include a mix of various assessments, self-reflection activities, and in-depth discussions which focus on the following aspects -

Life Values

We start with taking stock of where you stand in terms of certain areas of your life such as achievement, belonging, financial prosperity and spirituality. The goal is to make you aware of who you are and what you value most in life.

This assessment is then aligned with your career activities to give you an idea of what could work best in the long run. E.g., If you put creative freedom over money, then a freelance artistic career could be more in line with your interests.

Workplace Values

Most students starting out are not thinking as far ahead as actually working in an office. But the career path you choose will determine how you spend a large part of your day.

Our workplace value assessment is designed to make sure you understand what is more important for you - is it loyalty or stability; do you want to lead teams or prefer to use your hands to create something new; do you prefer money over status or do you want to both – these are some questions that a workplace value assessment will force you to consider and pay attention to.

Skill Set

Most students have some basic career aspirations; as part of our career counselling sessions, we use a broad-based skill assessment to give them an insight on how their current skills or abilities can help them achieve their goals. Another important outcome of skill analysis is to provide them with a roadmap for improving or acquiring skills they might need for their dream job.

Multiple Intelligence Assessment

There are many factors which can determine what type of work and environment would best suit your temperament. We have a special multiple intelligence test that evaluates your thoughts measured against daily activities, and the results are a great way to figure out your latent strengths.

We all are a mix of different abilities – such as musical, logical, visual, verbal and so on. This type of evaluation helps us - and you – understand where your strengths lie (for example you might lean more towards verbal and visual intelligence rather than physical) and which types of career could best suit your abilities.

Occupational Interests

Lastly, we focus on assessing your core vocational interests. This is an advanced career guidance test that identifies suitable educational streams aligned to your occupational dimension.

For example – do you have an artistic temperament or a realistic one; are you more comfortable following rather than organising and leading. The test matches your occupational abilities to groups of industries and job clusters to suggest the ones you are best suited for.

Conclusion

We understand that choosing your educational stream or your graduate or postgraduate course can be daunting. After all, this all-important decision could define how you spend the rest of your life.

We want you to start your professional journey on a sound and steady note. The whole point of our new-age career counselling services is to make you (and us) understand your mindset, values, and strengths.

With this understanding, we will be able to recommend what we think are the right options and you will be able to choose your path with complete confidence and clarity.

If you are feeling a little overwhelmed and need some help. then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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Articles | Training

Top 10 Pathbreaking Learning And Development Solution Provider – SoaringEagles

SoaringEagles, an innovative talent development company, announced that it has been named amongst one of the Top 10 Pathbreaking Learning and Development Solution Providers in 2018 by Insights Success magazine.

Recognizing the best-in-class educative learning solution providers of the industry, Insights Success published 'The 10 Pathbreaking Learning & Development Solution Providers 2018' report. SoaringEagles is honoured to be featured in this prestigious list.

What differentiates SoaringEagles from its competition is their strong learner-centric approach based on cognitive behaviour techniques and motivational counselling. The programmes arouse an intrinsic motivation to learn so that the participants are able to absorb more from the programmes and become lifelong learners.

Unlike most other training organizations who depend on a panel of freelance trainers for meeting their delivery requirements, SoaringEagles works only with full-time in-house learning facilitators who have a psychology background. Their training content is developed in-house through in-depth research in positive psychology, cognitive behaviour techniques, motivational interviewing, and the science of learning which enables them to provide world-class training, consistently.

Follow the link to read the complete write-up: https://www.insightssuccess.in/soaringeagles-new-age-nimble-footed-organization-making-businesses-future-ready/

About us

SoaringEagles focuses on building skills that are relevant and critical for the 21st century. Given the increasingly rapid pace of changes in the business world, individuals need to be equipped with skills like emotional resilience, social intelligence, learning agility, novel & adaptive thinking and persuasive communication using new media. Developing these skills will make employees change ready, strategic and agile.

SoaringEagles has a unique approach to delivering desired behaviour change. This is premised on cognitive behaviour techniques, motivational counselling and experiential learning. They validate development of knowledge, skills and behavioural change through assessments and surveys so that the results are quantifiable.

SoaringEagles designs customised training programs as per the specific requirements of companies. SoaringEagles was recognized as one of the Top 25 Most Promising Learning & Development companies in India in 2017 by Consultants Review magazine for having a positive impact on the learning environment.

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Articles | Insight

Present Me A Tale – The Power of Storytelling

Bedtime with my grandmother was always a much anticipated event for me as a child. We would settle down on the bed and she would regale me with stories. Stories of queens and kings, princes and princesses, snakes and elephants, mythical creatures and mythological characters. And I would return, night after night, hungry for more stories.

When I asked my friends if they had similar experiences with stories, they all replied in the affirmative. It was interesting to see that many of them, to this day, could remember the stories they had heard as kids. And some went on to say that they narrate the same stories to their nieces and nephews, daughters and sons.

If stories are so memorable, why then do we not use them more regularly in our presentations? It is true that fact and logic is at the core of any business. Nobody can dispute the credibility that numbers bring to a presentation. However, when numbers are blandly presented with hardly any story around it, the result is a yawn inducing, boring, full of text and full of graph presentation.

A study was conducted by Origin/ Hill Holliday wherein a representative sample of 3000 participants ranging from ages 23- 65 had to assign monetary values to products. The study found that a hotel room which had only a description of amenities was assigned lower value whereas the same hotel room with a picture story from a person who had stayed at the hotel was assigned a higher monetary value.

Stories stick. Chip Heath, Stanford professor and the author of the book Made to Stick found that while only 5% could remember statistics, 63% could remember the stories. A startling difference!

There is lot of data out there in the world waiting to be transformed into a story. Data which can significantly impact the way buyers buy and consume products and services. How can this data be converted into a story worth buying? Here are four proven storytelling strategies that can help you reach out to any audience.

Personalize:

Let’s say that you have to sell a drug that helps anaemic women. How will you convince your buyers of the need for this drug? There are two ways of stating this need.

  1. In India, 20- 40% of the maternal deaths are due to anaemia and 56% of the women suffer from some or the other form of anaemia.
  2. Do you know the person sitting next to you? She is probably the same person that you share your lunch breaks with, your secrets with and the stories of your life with. Did you also know that 1 in 2 women in India suffers from anaemia? The woman sitting right next to you may be anaemic. Are you doing something about her health?

Which way would seem more convincing?

When data is personalized, people are more likely to see the need.

Empathy:

So imagine, you have designed a product which helps a complex data analysis process get done in just 20% of the time it otherwise takes to do it manually. So what? While this data is suggestive of greater efficiency in the process, your customers may not be able to really see the benefits of the product if it is just presented in terms of data. But if you present it like this -

Anand and his team had been putting in close to 10 hours every day into analysing all the business related data. But once they started using your innovative product, they are able to complete the same work in less than 2 hours. The team now has time to take on new projects and scale up their operations significantly.

You may not know Anand and his team, but their pains and successes are relatable.

Abridge:

You need not present every single data you have. Sift, sort and retain only those aspects that you wish to highlight. Redundant data only serves to confuse the audience. And it hardly serves any purpose.

Specific:

Call this a biased approach but we are more moved by individual stories than by the sufferings of a group.

Example 1: Little Ananya is one of the victims of the floods in Uttarakhand. She lives in a camp which has scarce sanitation and hygiene. Do you want to help 10 month old Ananya and help rehabilitate others like her?

Example 2: Let’s help the victims affected by flood at Uttarakhand. 80% have no homes and are living in camps. Would you want to help rehabilitate them?

Which is more likely to appeal to you?

The primary idea here is that stories connect us with people. When people listen to stories, they are less guarded and more interested in the story that you are sharing. The emotional appeal in stories keeps them connected.

The next time around, when you need to make a presentation, tell stories. Want to know how? Meet us at SoaringEagles where we can help you with more such amazing strategies. Get ready to soar!

To know more, click on the request consultation button above.

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Articles | Insight

To Be, Or Not To Be – The Perils of Decision Making

After an exhausting Diwali shopping with her family, Sunita plonked down on her favorite sofa. Her phone rang. She looked at her eight year old kid imploringly to help find her phone, which he did as usual. The kid noticed the expression on his mother’s face change from tiredness to amazement while talking on the phone. As soon as she disconnected the call, she started dancing and celebrating. The kid asked her “What happened mom?” Sunita said “That call was from the shopping mall. We are the lucky winners of an exotic holiday!’

Her kid and husband also started celebrating as this was the first time they had won anything like this. The husband excitedly asked “Where exactly?” She said “They have given us three choices, first is a cruise party in Goa, second is Kerala and third is Ladakh”.

Diwali holidays came and went by and Sunita’s family did not go anywhere. They celebrated Diwali at home. Shocked why? They missed the date for reverting on where they wanted to go.

They kept debating amongst themselves and didn’t notice that their time was up. The kid was excited to go to Goa as every young kid would have wished! Sunita wanted to spend quality and peaceful time in Kerala and her adventurous husband wanted to do something different. Ultimately they were not able to make any firm decision and lost the free holiday opportunity.

So what’s your story of missing out on opportunities just because you have not taken the right decision at the right time?

Research reveals that emotions constitute powerful, pervasive, and predictable drivers of decision making. Decisions serve as the conduit through which emotions guide every attempt at increasing positive feelings such as pride, happiness, love and avoiding feelings such as guilt, fear, regret. We lack awareness of these process while taking decisions in our life but emotions and decision-making go hand in hand.

For example, you may feel afraid of flying after reading about some airline crash and decide to drive instead. However, it is a fact that the base rates for death by driving are much higher than base rates for death by flying.

Our emotions are a strong influence on our decision-making even when we have facts and data that support the alternative course of action as more logical. Understanding this and taking this into account can help us get better at decision-making.

Edward De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats is a powerful tool which allows emotion and skepticism to be brought into what, on the surface, might appear to be a purely rational process, and it opens up the opportunity of creative decision-making.

The six hats represent six modes of thinking and provide directions or guidelines to think from different perspective on any situation or problem. The best approach is to use this tool proactively rather than reactively. The six hats and the perspectives they represent are:

White Hat: The neutral White Hat focus on the available data, analyze past trends, and look for gaps in knowledge. It offers objective facts and figures.

Red Hat: The emotional intuitive Red Hat is used to get people’s gut reaction. You also tend to be keenly aware how others may react emotionally to a decision.  On the other hand, you can struggle to see a problem logically.

Black Hat: The cautious Black Hat is used when you want to get the critical viewpoint. You can identify the risks that may occur and can also identify potential pitfalls as this well help to decrease the chances of making poor decision. And will make your decisions stronger.

Yellow Hat: The sunny and positive Yellow Hat helps to counterbalance judgmental thinking of Black Hat. It can be used in looking forward to the results of some proposed action, but can also be used to find something of value in what has already happened. It will an optimistic viewpoint of the decision when everything looks difficult.

Green Hat: The creative Green Hat comes on when you want to generate fresh ideas, changes, and innovation. It is a freewheeling way of thinking without criticism.

Blue Hat: The Organizing Blue Hat sets objective, outlines the situation and return at the end to summarize and draw conclusion.

So what are the benefits of using something like the six thinking hats? This approach helps us take into account various factors and perspectives before arriving at a decision. So they help us avoid jumping to conclusions based on only one or two perspective.

Ask yourself following five questions before taking any decision:

  • Do I understand the context?
  • Do I know what is wrong and what decision is required?
  • Do I know what the options are and the consequences of each?
  • What will I regret for each decision?

Every problem you experience has a purpose and message for you. See each problem as an opportunity to learn and grow as a person. See it as an opportunity to become more effective and efficient in your daily activities and a chance to more another step in your journey towards success.

Diwali is a time to turn inward and light the lamps of knowledge and truth in our hearts and minds so that we can dispel the forces of darkness and ignorance within us and allow our innate brilliance and goodness to shine forth. It is a time to acknowledge and better understand our prejudices, negative behaviors, and bad habits so that we may begin the process of transforming ourselves. Diwali is, most importantly, a time to celebrate and appreciate life and to look forward to the coming year with a renewed sense of purpose and passion.

On this auspicious festival of lights, may the glow of joy, prosperity & happiness illuminate your days in the year ahead… stay confident and positive…Happy Diwali from SoaringEagles.