By CAREEREALISM-Approved Expert, Mary Sevinsky How do you cope with unemployment a during the holidays? Like any loss, a job loss results in grief. In Part I outlined some basic stages you may pass through in dealing with job loss. You can read that article in full by clicking here. In this sequel, you will find practical suggestions for how to ease your progress through these stages. 1. SHOCK & DENIAL- In this stage you will feel generally numb. You should take this opportunity to breathe. Literally. Keep a notebook with you during this and following stages and right EVERYTHING down. The smallest thought and feelings, when they come. Let yourself be emotional and feel. The worst thing you can do is to block yourself off from your emotions. To refocus: Keep a separate section for any ides that come to mind – you will find comfort in these as you progress through the various stages. 2. PAIN & GUILT- Pain and heart-break are laced with guilt in this stage. Accept comfort and seek out others who care about you and/or who have had similar experiences or are currently working through this process themselves. To refocus: Think about when you have experienced similar feelings – what helped? What didn’t? Repeat those things or techniques that are tried and true. 3. ANGER & BARGAINING- Anger is normal. Scream into a pillow or an empty field (if you have one available). Jump up and down and throw a tantrum. Sometimes you just need to physically express your anger to get through it. If you are a religious person, you might plead with your higher power at this point, promising anything from a new and improved you to all the money you will ever earn if you can just get a new job. To refocus: Continue to write in your notebook (call it a journal if you want!). Ask yourself what you are angry about. Return to the section of your notebook in which you wrote any ideas you might have for your Return To Work. 4. "DEPRESSION", REFLECTION, LONELINESS- It is important for you to “feel” how you feel – you are likely to feel depressed and lonely. If that is the case, take this time to be alone and think about your current situation. If you feel too lonely seek out others who you respect and/or have a positive, supportive nature. To refocus: Take stock of your assets (literally and figuratively). These may include your skills and abilities as well as your financial assets. 5. THE UPWARD TURN- Eventually you will be able to begin and attain a rhythm in your job search and networking. Have a goal, complete with time frame, and steps that you can take toward that goal. Make your goal more specific and meaningful than “Get a job.” For example, will you settle for any job right now and then move on to find a better one? Or, do you have the resources to spend X number of months to search for a job at a given level? To refocus: Write down your goal and when you want to achieve it (it can be modified if necessary), develop a schedule (also in writing) that will allow you to reach your goal. Review your schedule and goal daily. For more information on setting goals, read my article: Dare to dream of change. 6. RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH- As you begin the upward turn, you will eventually be able to think about where you want to be and what type of job you might like to have. To refocus: Keep writing in your notebook and re-evaluate your progress and which goals you want to keep on at least a weekly basis. What is working? What is not getting you the interviews you need to get hired? Try to use a critical eye, if this is difficult, seek the help of an expert or a mentor. 7. ACCEPTANCE & HOPE- Eventually, you will be able to accept that you may not be the same exact person you were before your “loss.” Who are you now? What is important to you? You may find it easier to be positive. To refocus: you will gain confidence and hope from your activity. Stay organized and act on every lead as soon as possible without being overly hasty. You may not progress neatly through these stages, but most people will experience some level of each. Treat this part of your life as a leg of a journey, secure in the knowledge that you will end up where you need to be. Mary is a Masters-prepared Career Counselor with over 18 years experience in resume writing, personal branding, career assessment and counseling. Specializing in non-traditional specialized careers and career-transitioning, she has the ability to synthesize and focus your unique skills and abilities to obtain interviews for the positions you want with the employers you want to notice you. Follow her on Twitter at @MarySevinsky.
Public speaking can’t always be avoided in the business world when you’re tapped on the shoulder to give a presentation to your peers or to an important client.
Even in the age of home video conferencing, it’s still very natural to feel like you’d rather do ANYTHING other than turn on that camera, take a deep breath, and feel everyone’s eyes on you…watching.
Ever wonder how actors push through stage fright?
As a trained actor and coach (prior to entering the business world), I’ve learned to not be timid while orating Shakespeare in the spotlight or when hitting those high notes in front of thousands of eyeballs.
Not surprisingly, the same tricks actors use can be applied to public speaking in a business context. Here are some tips from an actor-turned-business-professional on calming your nerves.
Tip #1: Put Yourself In The Audience’s Seats
I always get incredibly nervous right before a singing audition. I’ve found what helps lessen my anxiety is to do as a fellow performer once suggested and put myself in the director’s chair. (The director is typically the person who decides if you are cast in the show).
The director WANTS you to do well! They want you to be the perfect person for the role—able to garner good reviews and box office sales. They want you to do so well that they could even tell everyone else to go home; they’ve found their star.
Plus, no director wants to sit through hours and hours of bad singing auditions…would you?
Likewise with public speaking.
When have you ever found yourself listening to a speaker and wished that they would be boring? Or wanted them to bomb so badly that you get nothing from their talk?
Rather, you probably hope the speaker is so dynamite that you actually forget to take notes because you are so transfixed and inspired by their message.
Know that the audience is on your side and let that encourage you. They want you to do well.
Tip #2: Give ‘Em The Old Razzle-Dazzle
I love to tap dance. Sometimes (ok, quite often), my feet don’t move as quickly as they should and I mess up a step or two…or ten.
A choreographer once taught me that a major part of dancing, and where the audience usually focuses, is all in the face and arms. If you are smiling a 1,000-watt smile and making grand arm gestures, the audience isn’t likely to see that your feet messed up that paradiddle step. (Yes, that’s a real thing!)
Public speaking also follows this rule. The audience can’t tell that you are nervous and feel like you just might pass out.
Bluff it! Put on your smile and stand tall. Walk with purpose and speak with authority, even if you feel unsure of yourself. It can feel weird, but you have to trust me here.
When you act as if you are confident, the audience will assume you are confident. Your body will even convince your brain into believing that you are, in fact, confident!
What if you DO mess up? So what? Keep going! Don’t drop your poise and strong voice, as they are effectively drawing attention away from any insecurities that may come up, just like jazz hands can help cover for missing a step-shuffle-ball-change.
Tip #3: Enter The Clown
Actors have learned that mistakes are bound to happen and sometimes you have to play the fool.
For instance, props or scenery may break or fall unexpectedly during a show. Actors are taught to pretend like it is supposed to happen, and work it into the scene. Or they may quickly remove the wayward item and simply continue on.
I’ve even witnessed actors stumble and fall onstage, then make a comment about what a klutz they are (in character, of course!) and continue on like it was scripted that way.
Let’s say during your speech you trip up on some words unexpectedly. Work it into the presentation as if you meant for it to happen. For example: “The biggest finanbial chamanges…a-hem, well those lesser-known things…as well as the biggest financial challenges we face are…”
Call yourself out and you get an on-the-spot joke to lighten the mood—and the audience loves you for it.
Or let’s say you knock over your glass of water while speaking. That’s the perfect time to make a crack about how uncoordinated you are and why you never made the basketball team. (*Rimshot please!*)
Tip #4: “Once Again From The Top, Ah-5-6-7-8!”
Actors spend hours, days…weeks! memorizing their lines to be “word perfect” right down to the smallest pause. They get every tilt of the head, every gesture, and every single word into muscle memory.
When opening night comes, no matter how much their stomach is turning over like they’re on a cruise ship in a hurricane, they can effectively put themselves on autopilot and get through the show without a hitch.
Now, with this tip, I would NEVER recommend that you, as a public speaker, go to the extremes actors do.
Why? Memorizing isn’t necessary for public speaking. In fact, I strongly suggest you don’t memorize, as you risk coming off as “fake.”
Rehearsing on the other hand is a must!
Rehearse in front of a mirror…while shopping for groceries…in front of a friend. Video or audio record yourself and play it back.
If possible, practice in the actual space where you will be speaking (yes, even if it’s in your home office) to get a feel for it so that it doesn’t disorient you on the big day.
Your goal is to know your main points and examples while allowing yourself to improvise here and there with different words and phrases to keep it fresh.
If you try to memorize and you forget a sentence while speaking, it has the tendency to really trip you up unless you’re a seasoned pro. However, if you practice experimenting with different ways of saying things, you’re building your quick-thinking prowess and ability to handle the unexpected while in the spotlight.
Notes are, of course, perfectly acceptable, but you don’t want to stay buried in your notes resulting in never making eye contact with the audience (or webcam).
Another no-no is clearly reading from a script while on a video conference. Reading a script is one of the best ways to disengage the audience unless you are very good at making it sound conversational…a tough skill to master.
Instead, know your speech so well that glancing at the first few words on a notecard will propel you into that part of the speech, without having to constantly refer to your notes.
Remember that public speaking is one fear that, with a little practice and the right mindset, can be overcome. Who knows, you may start to crave the spotlight so much that I’ll see you at the next audition!
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