THINGS YOU CAN IMPROVE IN THE NEW ACADEMIC YEAR

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November, 2018

A new school year can mean a new beginning. Make it one. You have probably learned by now that there is always room for improvement, especially when it comes to school. Even if your grades are perfect and you show up to every class, you can always find ways to do better, be better, and feel better. Ready to improve your academic year?

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LET’S GET STARTED.

DETERMINE WHERE YOU ARE FALLING SHORT

Before you design your action plan for improvement, you should take some time to figure out where you need to improve. Take a look at all the areas of your academic life and ask yourself what you want to see differently.

Are your grades low across the board, or maybe just in one or two areas?

Identify those academic areas where you may need some help. Is it the content? Or is it your study skills? Maybe you struggle with writing or taking notes.

Isolate those problem areas and then think about how to solve them.

Need help isolating those areas? Consider meeting with an academic support specialist on campus. Make an appointment with Student Services and put yourself on a path to identifying those areas where you need the most help.

ESTABLISH A ROUTINE

It is no secret that structure helps you focus. Develop a workflow for yourself. Figure out when you are going to work on homework, where it’s going to happen, and when you have time for extra things, like hanging out with friends and exercising. Make sure your routine allows flexibility, but also holds you accountable to what you need to get done.

Consider talking with that academic support specialist to help you develop a routine. Also, make use of a calendar.

SHOW UP TO YOUR CLASSES

It’s hard to know what you are missing if you don’t show up. Go to your classes. All of them. All the time. That should be your goal.

Of course, children and family commitments can prevent you from showing up, but your plan is to show up, be on time, and participate as much as humanly possible.

FIND A PROPER STUDY PLACE

Your study area should be consistent and free from distractions.

If you don’t need the internet, turn it off.

Studying in an area that’s too noisy? Move.

The study area, library corner, home office, coffee shop, wherever it is, make sure it’s comfortable, free from distractions, well-lit, and that you have everything you need. If that means making sure you are close to a pot of freshly brewed coffee at all times, make that happen.

OPEN YOURSELF TO NEW ADVENTURES

Yes, we know it is about academic improvement. Part of that means exploring new things. Be open. Sign up for that outing club hike you’ve had your eye on, or volunteer to take therapy dogs to the nursing home. Go to game night. Try out for a play.

These might be things you have wanted to try but haven’t. Push yourself a little. Go for it!

LOOK FOR STUDY BUDDIES

Be careful with this one. A good study buddy isn’t always a good friend, although it can be. A good study buddy won’t distract you. You need to make sure of it.

Collaborating with your peers is a great way to learn. Seek those In your class who want to succeed, and are open to study groups.

The best study buddies are the ones who challenge you, who get you to explain complicated concepts that you didn’t realize you knew — and who can explain things to you.

DON’T PROCRASTINATE

One culprit in academic underperformance? Procrastination. When you find something too challenging, it is easy to put it off because you don’t want to deal with it.

But by putting it off, you make it harder and that much more unreachable.

The other problem might be workload — when it gets too big, it is easy to put everything off and label it all as overwhelming.

Don’t delay the inevitable. Stick to your routine. If you need help, get it.

SET GOALS FOR YOURSELF

Write them down someplace visible, like on a sticky note posted on your bathroom mirror. These don’t have to be big, but they need to be specific and measurable. “I’m going to get at least a B in History,” for example. “Doing better” is a less measurable goal. “I need to write for an hour every day” and “I’m going to earn at least a 3.5 this semester” are specific, measurable goals.

Welcome back. You can do it. Make it happen.

Also read: The Do’s and Don’ts of Improving Your Academic Performance

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EXAM PREPARATION: TEN STUDY TIPS

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October, 2018

Preparing for exams? Give yourself the best chance with these top ten study tips, and try not to let the stress get to you!

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1. GIVE YOURSELF ENOUGH TIME TO STUDY

Don’t leave it until the last minute. While some students do seem to thrive on last-minute cramming, it’s widely accepted that (for most of us) this is not the best way to approach an exam. To help sort out your time management, set up a timetable for your study. Write down how many exams you have and the days on which you have to sit them. Then organize your study accordingly. You may want to give some exams more study time than others, so find a balance that you feel comfortable with.

2. ORGANIZE YOUR STUDY SPACE

Make sure you have enough space to spread your textbooks and notes out. Have you got enough light? Is your chair comfortable? Are your computer games out of sight?

Try and get rid of all distractions, and make sure you feel as comfortable and able to focus as possible. For some people, this may mean almost complete silence, for others, background music helps. Some of us need everything completely tidy and organized in order to concentrate, while others thrive in a more cluttered environment. Think about what works for you, and take the time to get it right.

3. USE FLOW CHARTS AND DIAGRAMS

Visual aids can be really helpful when revising. At the start of a topic, challenge yourself to write down everything you already know about a topic – and then highlight where the gaps lie. Closer to the exam, condense your revision notes into one-page diagrams. Getting your ideas down in this brief format can then help you to quickly recall everything you need to know during the exam.

4. PRACTICE ON OLD EXAMS

One of the most effective ways to prepare for exams is to practice taking past versions. This helps you get used to the format of the questions, and – if you time yourself – can also be good practice for making sure you spend the right amount of time on each section.

5. EXPLAIN YOUR ANSWERS TO OTHERS

Parents and little brothers and sisters don’t have to be annoying around exam time. Use them to your advantage. Explain an answer to a question to them. That will help you to get it clear in your head, and also to highlight any areas where you need more work.

6. ORGANIZE STUDY GROUPS WITH FRIENDS

Get together with friends for a study session. You may have questions that they have the answers to and vice versa. As long as you make sure you stay focused on the topic for an agreed amount of time, this can be one of the most effective ways to challenge yourself.

7. TAKE REGULAR BREAKS

While you may think it’s best to study for as many hours as possible, this can actually be counterproductive. If you were training for a marathon, you wouldn’t try and run 24 hours a day. Likewise, studies have shown that for long-term retention of knowledge, taking regular breaks really helps.

Everyone’s different, so develop a study routine that works for you. If you study better in the morning, start early before taking a break at lunchtime. Or, if you’re more productive at nighttime, take a larger break earlier on so you’re ready to settle down come evening.

Try not to feel guilty about being out enjoying the sunshine instead of hunched over your textbooks. Remember Vitamin D is important for a healthy brain.

8. SNACK ON BRAIN FOOD

You may feel like you deserve a treat, or that you don’t have time to cook, but what you eat can really have an impact on energy levels and focus, so keep away from junk food. Keep your body and brain well-fuelled by choosing nutritious foods that have been proven to aid concentration and memory, such as fish, nuts, seeds, yogurt and blueberries. The same applies on exam day – eat a good meal before the test, based on foods that will provide a slow release of energy throughout. Sugar may seem appealing, but your energy levels will crash an hour later.

9. PLAN YOUR EXAM DAY

Make sure you get everything ready well in advance of the exam – don’t leave it to the day before to suddenly realize you don’t know the way, or what you’re supposed to bring. Check all the rules and requirements, and plan your route and journey time. If possible, do a test run of the trip. If not, write down clear directions.

Work out how long it will take to get there – then add on some extra time. You really don’t want to arrive having had to run halfway or feeling frazzled from losing your way. You could also make plans to travel to the exam with friends or classmates, as long as you know they’re likely to be punctual.

10. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER

As a final tip, remember that being well hydrated is essential for your brain to work at its best. Make sure you keep drinking plenty of water throughout your revision, and also on the exam day.

Also read: The Do’s and Don’ts of Improving Your Academic Performance

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THE DO’S AND DON’TS OF IMPROVING YOUR ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE

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October, 2018

As a college student, you want to succeed in everything—including your classes. Let’s take a closer look at some strategies to improve your academic performance, and some things you should avoid.

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DO:

1. FIND OUT WHAT YOUR WEAKNESSES ARE

Chances are, you already know what you’re good at. Keep being good at those things. To succeed academically, you need to figure out where you need help.

How? For starters, take a look at your grades. Look where you’re earning low grades and try to discern a pattern. If you underperform in writing and literature courses, for example, you may need to brush up on your writing skills.

The important part is next: figure out what’s stopping you. Are there external factors that are making a negative impact on your grades? Are you struggling with a specific skill? Are you maximizing your study-time and space? There’s a good chance that all of these factors could affect your grade.

Bottom line: once you figure out where you need help, go get it. Talk to your professors and advisors, parents, friends, and counselors. Get the help you need so that you can be and do your best.

2. ASK QUESTIONS IN CLASS

Don’t ask for the sake of asking. Pay attention, focus, and ask—even if it’s just a clarification question. Make sure you understand concepts in class and don’t be afraid—someone else probably has the same question you do, too.

Don’t take notes without thinking—take your notes, reflect on them, and ask the questions you need.

If you need time to process and maybe feel a bit shy at first, don’t worry. Make time to meet with your professor or send an email with your question. You’ll be glad you did.

3. BE PHYSICALLY ACTIVE AND EAT HEALTHY FOOD

Physical activity makes your body—brain, heart, and lungs—strong. In 2011, researchers in Denver found that students who are healthy and physically fit do better in school.

What does this mean? Eat a balanced diet, drink lots of water, limit your alcohol consumption, and get outside and play—preferably with friends.

4. IMPROVE YOUR DAILY ORGANIZATION

We don’t just mean how organized your study space looks. We mean this: organize your day and plan your time. By doing so, you won’t late until the last minute and you’ll prioritize your goals.

How? Put the hard stuff at the top of the list and tackle it first. Then do the easy stuff. Trust us.

DON’T:

1. GET A GHOSTWRITER FOR YOUR ESSAYS

Do your own work! Not only is it ethically and morally wrong to submit work that isn’t yours, it’s illegal.

Academic writing is tough, so what should you do if you need help? Ask for it. That’s why you’re in school, anyway, right? To learn how to do challenging things? Asking for help when you need it is one such thing.

Don’t let writing intimidate you and don’t hire a ghostwriter. Take pride in the work you submit and get help when you need it.

2. ABUSE PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION

We know you may be tempted, especially if you know others are using prescriptions to help them concentrate or stay up later. But medication, of any kind, used without a doctor’s prescription and direction, can be dangerous.

In sports, using medication to improve your performance is considered unethical and illegal both because they give players unfair advantages over their peers, and because these types of drugs can have dangerous side effects. In academics, the lines may appear a bit blurry, but the reality is that using prescription medications in any way that is outside its prescribed intent can get you into trouble. The same goes for sharing your prescriptions. Your doctor considered your unique medical history and treatment goals when she wrote your prescription, and what is safe and beneficial for you may not be for someone else.

The long and short of it – don’t take other people’s prescriptions, don’t share yours with anyone, and don’t take medications for any reason other than their intended use.

3. GIVE UP

Failure is not an option. Don’t give in. Don’t give up. Get help.

It’s ok to feel disappointed if you didn’t do as well as you liked. Get your attitude right and focus on improving—take a positive approach, get the help you need, and move forward, even if it feels like you’re moving too slowly. You’re not.

4. STAY UP ALL NIGHT

It’s not fun and it’s dangerous. Staying up all night has adverse affects on your immune system, your ability to concentrate, and your ability to make decisions. Exhaustion is never the answer. Avoid it at all costs.

You can improve your academic performance with a positive attitude, grit, perseverance, and hard work. Allow yourself to make mistakes—and then learn from them. After all, you can always try again and do better.

Also read: 5 Ways To Keep Your Brain Sharp

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5 WAYS TO KEEP YOUR BRAIN SHARP

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October, 2018

Do you often feel sluggish and lethargic when you sit down to study? Is your concentration span not more than 5-10 minutes? Find your mind wandering off to faraway places while sitting in class? It is then time to sharpen your brain and try to keep it active!

 

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HERE ARE 5 WAYS IN WHICH YOU CAN KEEP YOUR BRAIN SHARP:

1. EXERCISE YOUR BRAIN

Your brain is a muscle and it needs its share of workout in the gym too! The more you use it, the better it will work! So here are a few ways to keep it well-oiled and in top working condition:

a. Solve crosswords puzzles and Sudoku. Sudoku puzzles reinforce the brain’s logical thought process, enhance problem solving abilities, improve concentration, boost mental sharpness and minimize diseases such as Alzheimer’s according to Craig Atwood, research director for the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute.

b. Play video-games. It is a highly simulating activity and helps improve hand – eye coordination and visual – spatial abilities.

c. Learn a new language. Learning a new language can actually make parts of the brain grow, according to a research conducted at Lund University, Sweden. This research was published in the scientific journal NeuroImage.

d. Attempt daily routine activities in a different way. Eg: take a new route to school/ college (and try to reach on time!)

e. Read more and on diverse topics. This helps you learn something new every day which in turn sharpens your brain further.

f. Listen to music; learn to play a musical instrument. While a research conducted in Stanford has shown that listening to music engages the areas of the brain involved with paying attention; similar research by neuroscientist Professor Nina Kraus at Northwestern University in Everston, Illinois has proven that learning to play an instrument has major advantages for a growing brain.

2. EXERCISE YOUR BODY

Sweat it out, take a walk, jog around the park, play a game of football. And tell your parents that you’re not wasting time – but keeping your brain sharp and healthy. And you can then quote the following findings:

 

  • A Columbia University Medical Centre trial proved that exercise stimulates the generation of twice as many neurons in the part of your brain that governs memory as a state of non-activity does.
  • A 2006 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign study also found those who walk for an hour three times a week have more brain volume and better right-left brain connections than those who don’t.

 

3. GET ENOUGH ZZZZZ

The next time you get caught sleeping in class, tell your teacher that you’re just trying to increase the cognitive abilities of your brain! On a more serious note, getting enough sleep (7-8 hours) is vital for your mental as well as physical health. Research time and again has shown that memory consolidation takes place during sleep through the strengthening of the neural connections that form our memories. So that completely rules out staying up all night studying before an exam day – you’ll hardly retain any of that in your long-term memory!

4. EAT RIGHT

The human brain weights just about 1.3 – 1.4 kgs but it uses about 20 % of the daily calorie intake. Now that’s a lot! So make sure you eat right, eat healthy for an active and pumped up brain. Eat healthy and balanced meals and at regular intervals. Need we say that you should avoid junk food as much as possible? Remember “GIGO” (garbage in, garbage out). If you feed on junk, you’re brain will be no better than a junkyard!

5. GET A (SOCIAL) LIFE!

Yes, being a social butterfly actually makes you smarter! Interacting with new people, taking dance lessons, travelling to new destinations engages your brain in novel and fresh ways that act as a powerful brain boost. Mixing and mingling stimulate parts of the brain that control your memory, explains Pittsburgh-based neuropsychologist Paul Nussbaum, Ph.D. Plus a lively discussion is always invigorating. So, go out and have a cup of coffee with your friend or take out your best dress and head out to that party already!

6. DE-STRESS & MEDITATE

Stress can play havoc with your mind and not let you function at all, if it hits an extreme. So before you start pulling out your hair, try devoting at least half an hour every day indulging in some relaxing activity like meditation and yoga. Yoga can be really effective stress buster. Spend some time in relaxed contemplation and find your worries slipping away. You’ll emerge lighter and with a relaxed mind!

Also read: 7 MOBILE APPS THAT MAKE LEARNING MATHEMATICS SIMPLER FOR SCHOOL STUDENTS

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Source: indiaeducation.net

10 FUNNY EXCUSES ONE GIVES TO AVOID STUDYING FOR EXAMS

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October, 2018

On the occasion of Children’s Day we bring to you a few excuses that you, me or your friends have given to avoid studying for exams (in some cases, until the last minute).

Studying for exams is a pain to say the least unless you have a God-gifted talent or memory to remember everything that has been taught all year long. No wonder then that most of us have an aversion towards exams and have tried to stay far from it. If only we were that lucky.

For some of you it will be a trip down memory lane while some of you might just sit back and laugh about how many of these excuses you might have used already to skip studying.
Let’s get started then!

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FUNNY EXCUSES ONE GIVES TO AVOID STUDYING FOR EXAMS

    • I will definitely start tomorrow. Did we really? The last minute studying gave us a rush, didn’t it?
    • I need to get some sleep before I start studyingHow will I get anything done if I’m sleepy? This is one excuse every kid, all around the world, must have used.
    • I am hungry! Have you ever noticed how you get hunger pangs just when you’re about to start studying? I have attended almost every day of school
    • I have attended almost every day of school so I’m sure I will be fine. Remember how I spoke about the God-gifted memory? Whoever used or is going to use this as an excuse sure is talented
    • I have not received all the study material yet. That is not a good sign. So maybe I should begin studying when I have all the material
    • Nap time! I have been studying all day. I sure deserve some rest with all the hard work that I put in.
    • Let’s make an organized list of things I need to do. All the fancy notebooks and pens and stationery comes out to make a one page list.
    • OMG! I thought it was going to be a one page list. How am I going to finish ALL of THAT in such a short time?! God, please help me!
    • ! Lets not panic. I will get up early in the morning and study. You don’t even realize when the morning has turned into afternoon and your mom is screaming from the kitchen to tell you that your lunch is ready. Panic button ON again!
    • I don’t want to study. Well who does, right? There are so many other fun things to do like sleeping and eating or pretending to be a superhero
    These are probably only half of the excuses we have tried on ourselves and others but they do not go out of style. Hope you have a smile on your face now!

Also read: 7 TIPS TO BUILD A REMARKABLE VOCABULARY IN JUST A FEW DAYS

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Source: indiaeducation.net

8 INSPIRATIONAL MOVIES EVERY STUDENT MUCH WATCH

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When life seems messed up and you cannot find your way out from the bunch of assignments and projects piled up on your desk, all you need to do is take a little break and release the pressure building up in your mind. One of the best ways to do so is to watch movies.

It is best to stay away from watching TV series with your deadlines nearby because chances are you may start binge watching them. Movies are safer alternatives with each movie running between 120-180 minutes only. Plus you get the complete story which means you do not have to wait a full week or may be a full year to know what happens next!

So, next time, you find yourself stuck with all those assignments and projects, watch one of the eight movies listed below to reduce your stress. These movies are inspirational, deliver a strong message, and every student can learn a lesson or two from them.

 

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MOST INSPIRATIONAL MOVIES :

1. NIL BATTEY SANNATA (2015)

The movie is about a single mother who works four different menial jobs to make ends meet while her daughter is an unmotivated student who is weak in math. The mother enrolls herself in her daughter’s class to learn math so that she can tutor her daughter at home. Soon the mother’s success at class motivates the daughter to work hard and achieve good grades. What follows delivers a strong message that everyone has the right to be educated and lead a good life despite their social status. The movie also teaches us that dedication and hard work always leads to success.

2. I AM KALAM (2010)

Chotu is a smart child from an impoverished family who is sent to work at a roadside Dhaba in the outskirts of Bikaner, by his mother, so that he can earn for the family. He is not held back by his difficult economical situation; he is smart with a natural inclination for academics and street smartness. Inspired by the extraordinary life of President Kalam, Chotu decides that he will study hard and become significant like him. This movie conveys a strong message that education is a basic right and should be provided to every child.

3. 3 IDIOTS (2009)

This movie was inspired by Chetan Bhagat’s novel “Five Point Someone”. It’s a must-watch movie for engineering students. The story revolves around 3 students, all of who aspire to different things but unfortunately join engineering due to parental pressure. The movie’s satirical take on the education system, family pressure, and day-to-day challenges that students face is spot on!

4. TAARE ZAMEEN PAR (2009)

The movie is about an eight-year-old boy who is thought to be a lazy, slow learning trouble-maker, until a new art teacher in his school employs patience and compassion to discover the real problem behind the kid’s struggles in school. The journey that follows will tug at your heartstrings and urge you to introspect into your beliefs, and makes you look at children, whether they are your classmates, juniors, or seniors, differently.

5. THE SOCIAL NETWORK (2010)

This is a biographical drama based on the life of Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of “Facebook”. His extraordinary journey from being a Harvard student to becoming a multi-millionaire is really inspiring for every student. The movie will inspire you to work hard and turn your dream into reality. The movie also conveys the message that sometimes you need to take risks in life in order to achieve something great.

6. GOOD WILL HUNTING (1997)

The plot of this movie revolves around a person named Will Hunting, whois a caretaker at MIT, but has a gifted mathematics-solving skill. With the help and support of a psychologist, he tries to find the meaning of life. The film will inspire students to explore and identify their capabilities in order to discover the hidden talents that they have.

7. STAND AND DELIVER (1988)

This movie is based on the real story of a high school math teacher named Jaime Escalante. The movie portrays how the math teacher supports his dropout-prone and uninterested students to study by adopting unusual teaching methods. The movie is very inspirational for those students who feel demoralized often.

8. THE BREAKFAST CLUB (1985)

The Breakfast Club is a movie about 5 students from different backgrounds who end up together for detention and an unlikely friendship blooms among them. This movie tells you how you develop the strongest bonds at the most unexpected places. It also portrays how difference in social status or personality do not hamper the bond of true friendship.

Also read: 7 TIPS TO BUILD A REMARKABLE VOCABULARY IN JUST A FEW DAYS

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HOW TO PREPARE AND DELIVER A SPEECH EFFECTIVELY

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“The wise ones fashioned speech with their thought, sifting it as grain is sifted through a sieve”- Buddha

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FOLLOW THE STEPS BELOW :

1. FOCUS ON THE MAIN MESSAGE

If you’ve been asked to give a speech, the first step is to choose a focused message. Even if you’ve been given a theme for your speech such as “inspiration” or “strength,” this is more a general umbrella under which your specific points (and point of view) will fall. Make a short list of five ideas for your speech. It can be helpful to write them in command form. “Strength” a brainstorm of five speech messages could include: “don’t ever give up, “overcome failure,” “build physical strength” and “know your strengths.” If you feel stuck for ideas, a reference to your current political or social context can bring new insight to your theme.

2. BUILD THREE SUPPORTING POINTS

By focusing on your central message with supporting evidence, you strengthen it. A stronger message will resonate more with your listeners. To come up with supporting points, ask yourself “why” about the speech message you’ve selected. For example, for “don’t ever give up,” you’d ask, “Why should you never give up?” Make a list of several possible supporting ideas. Read through your finished list, and at the end, cross off the weaker ones that don’t support your main point.

3. KEEP YOUR AUDIENCE IN MIND

After looking into the central message and supporting points for your speech, you can flesh out the rest by considering your audience. Knowing who your audience are and what they are expecting from this encounter can help you pick the right tone to optimal effect.

4. BE A TACTFUL SPEAKER

Some speakers choose to generalize complex topics in a speech because they think it’s easier for the audience to understand. It’s actually better to do the opposite. Listeners tend to connect better with concrete examples and personal stories, so embrace detail in your speech. A personal anecdote about why one shouldn’t give up is more effective than just saying not to. Areas where your passion and knowledge overlap are generally the richest. If appropriate to the context, don’t be afraid to tell a joke about the topic. A little self-deprecating humor goes down well with the crowd, one can always give it a shot.

5. BREVITY IS THE SOUL OF THE WIT

Some of the most effective speeches of all times have been brief. “The Gettysburg Address” was only 15 minutes, while “I Have a Dream” was for 17 minutes. Aim for brevity. A good formula is to speak for less time than you’ve been asked to, as people tend to overestimate the attention span of their audience.

6. FEEDBACK IS IMPORTANT

As the speech has to be delivered to an audience, it is important to get feedback from theoretical listeners. Read your speech to someone you trust and ask for some honest feedback. In particular, it can be helpful to ask if anything is confusing or unclear. Your speech will have more impact if the message is engaging.

7. EYE CONTACT IS IMPORTANT

During your speech, look at your audience while you are speaking. Put the content of your speech, either fully written out or in bullet points, so you are not staring straight down at a piece of paper while you speak. Engaging your audience visually makes you appear secure and confident.

8. USE APPROPRIATE GESTURES

A well-placed gesture can add humor or aid greater understanding of your speech. For optimal effectiveness, punctuate your speech with gestures when appropriate. If you’re a very nervous public speaker, try just resting your hands against the podium. It will make you feel steadier.

9. WALK WHEN REQUIRED

If your speech is informal, walking from one side of the stage to the other can help engage people sitting in different parts. It will draw your audience in and enhance your confidence.

10. USE PROPS

If appropriate, bring props to punctuate your speech for your audience. This can be anything useful such as a graph to handout to all attendees or even a personal item to drive home your speech’s content. Props can personalize your speech and add interest or humor. Limit yourself to one or two props maximum per speech.

Also read: 7 TIPS TO BUILD A REMARKABLE VOCABULARY IN JUST A FEW DAYS

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