Visualize Past Present and Future

Now that you’ve learned the basics of visualization (see my article on the first steps toward visualization), lets take it to another level.

After practicing the relaxation techniques to get yourself in the right state of mind to visualize the next step is to do a visualization. One that I like is to imagine yourself climbing a mountain. Around and round you go through the circular paths. This is a metaphor for life’s journey. Eventually you reach a plateau. The plateau represents the here and now. You are placed firmly on the ground in your present life. To one side of the mountain you see a village. The village is filled with the details of your life. Review all of it. Review the highlights and the times that were most challenging. See the common thread that helped you through every event that you have ever been through. See how strong you were and are. Look at the clever ways in which you overcame obstacles as only you can.

Turn to the other side of the mountain in your visualization. See the valley that is empty and full of possibilities. This is your future. As you stand firmly in the here and now, what are all the possibilities for tomorrow? See them, paint them, expand on them, change them. Extend your life and see yourself as healthy and energetic and able to live a long time with all the strength and vibrancy that you’re going to need to accomplish all that you set out to achieve.

This is a visualization to review the past, observe the present and to create the future.

Debbie Simon, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, NY State Licensed Psychotherapist and Life Coach. Specializing in visualization/manifestation; 20 years experience; seasoned, skilled and intuitive.

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Financial Planning Services – Decorate Your Present and Protect Your Future

Life is all about working today and planning for tomorrow which sometimes we forget to do due to many issues. You would be working so hard for savings so that you can enjoy a good life and your children can avail best of education. But, do you keep track of your income and expenses. Have you ever planned that how much you need to earn in the coming 5 years? If your answer is negative then financial planning services may help you.

If you have a well thought out financial plan then you can have great benefits in the future. You can do it all by yourself or you can hire a professional financial planning services firm. A good financial plan can change your financial outlook and it can remove several financial bottlenecks. In fact, financial planning services are various financial tools which can provide you help while you need finance.

You can plan your business expansion or your children’s education or some family protection or your retirement, by utilizing these services. Financial planning services may provide you valuable advice about individual and corporate pension planning, group employee benefits plan, investment planning, insurance advices, tax planning, residential & commercial lending advices etc. These financial solutions are needed by every family for securing the future and for decorating the present.

Furthermore, financial planning services can help you to protect and grow your savings and investments in a tax efficient way because it is very difficult to save tax and at the same time plan for savings. Financial tools also protect dependents and it also increases the after-tax legacy you pass on to your beneficiaries. These and many more services make the life of your and your dependents easy.

These days it has become easy to enquire about various financial planning services over the Internet. You can check your requirement and budget and check about various services accordingly. So, for decorating your present and for securing your future use these secure services

Anton Kadin is an expert in the domain of asset management and investment solutions. Written from experience and with expertise, his write-ups provide guidance to individuals and businesses on asset management UK, investment solutions UK wealth management company and financial planning services.

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Diamond Engagement Rings – Past Present and Future

In most of the Western World – Europe, the Anglophone countries and increasingly Westernized Asian countries such as Japan and Korea – diamond engagement rings are a traditional part of the courtship and marriage process. Although plain gold bands for the actual wedding are also traditional, diamond jewelry in the form of a diamond wedding ring set has become much more common. Interestingly, the custom of rings for marriage predates the concept of diamond engagement rings by several centuries.

Diamonds Haven’t Been Forever

Diamonds have been worn as adornment as far back as the days of the Roman Empire, but weren’t used in diamond wedding rings until Archduke Maximilian I of Hapsburg presented one to Marie of Burgundy on the occasion of their wedding in 1477. The concept of engagement rings had started about 250 years earlier as a result of a papal decree; Pope Innocent III decided that couples should go through a longer betrothal period prior to taking vows. Upon announcing their wedding plans, it was customary for the man and woman to exchange plain metal bands – gold for royalty, silver for nobility, bronze for the upper and middle (merchant) class, and iron for peasants.

The Market for Diamond Engagment Rings is Created

The practice of presenting diamond engagement rings is shockingly recent – and in fact, goes back less than sixty years. In fact, it was the result of a corporate marketing strategy designed to convince people of the existence of a “historical tradition” that in fact had never existed!

It was the DeBeers company – a corporate entity based in South Africa that today controls over half the world’s diamond supply – that came up with the most successful “catch phrase” of all time – “A diamond is forever.” This campaign, which began around 1950, resulted in the creation of the new “tradition” of diamond engagement rings.

A similar attempt was made in U.S., again in an attempt to convince the public that it had long been “traditional” for men to receive engagement rings. American men didn’t fall for it, but eventually, a similar marketing campaign resulted in today’s extensive market for “his and hers” diamond wedding ring sets.

Diamond Jewelry and Weddings Today

Regardless of what advertising executives say, it is important that those who have a wedding in their future do what is economically comfortable and meaningful for them. After all, millions of dollars have been spend for diamond wedding ring sets to celebrate weddings that lasted only a few years or months. On the other hand, there are couples wearing plain, simple gold bands who have gone on to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversaries.

For those who are curious however, the “rule of thumb” – established by the diamond industry – is that men should plan on spending about six months’ salary when considering the purchase of diamond engagement rings.

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Public Speaking – How To Use Handouts To Connect With Your Audience When You Make Presentations

When you give a speech or other public speaking presentation, make sure you have something to give to the audience members. This will help them to remember you and will also give them a way to contact you later on. Here are 3 tips on how use as a handout the next time you make a public speaking presentation to others.

Find out in advance who your audience is comprised of. This will help you to connect with them and to have a better experience when you give your speech. If you are speaking to a civic organization such as Rotary, you will have a diverse group of professionals from the local community. Give these people a one page outline of what you will be speaking about. Make sure to have your contact information on the handout. Do not give this paper to them until your talk is finished, or they will be likely to look down at it and read instead of listening to you.
When speaking to a group of people who are all in the same line of work, or at least a similar profession, prepare a two to three page handout that can be interactive. You may ask them to write something down and to share what they have written with the group. Depending on how much time you have, you may want to give them an exercise they can do with a partner or in a small group.
If you have lots of information to share with a group you are speaking to, refer them to a blog or website where they can get this information at their convenience. Offer them a special deal if they visit and sign up for your information. You may want to give them a discount code or a free special report for looking at your website or blog.
Using these 3 tips when you give a speech will help you to connect more completely with your audience. Public speaking can open many doors for you and it is good to receive training from people who speak to audiences on a regular basis.

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Learn French Verbs – Let’s Conjugate The Verb (Manger) At The Present Tense!

Learning a new language can be very scary for many people. Learning French is not easy for native English speakers because the grammar is totally different. Plus conjugation is way more complex. You have a lot to learn, but when you finally speak the language of romance, you’ll have a pretty good feeling of accomplishment.

I have many friends from every part of the word, and I don’t know why, but people from the United State like to speak French like crasy. Some of them even learned a few words at school, like:

1. Bonjour! (Hi)

2. Comment ca va? (How are you)

3. Comment tu t’apelles? (what’s your name)

Let’s look at the third example: “Comment tu t’apelles”. The sentence’s structure is completely different in French. You need to conjugate the verb “s’apeller”. It’s not an easy verb to start with, so I will take the verbe: “manger”.

Let’s conjugate this verb at the present tense: “le present”

1. Je mange

2. Tu manges (here you need to add an “s” at the end)

3. il/elle mange

4. Nous mangeons (note that you don’t pronounce the letter “e” after the “g”)

5. Vous mangez (note that you don’t pronounce the last letter “z”)

6. Ils/Elles mangent (you don’t pronounce the last two letters “n” and “t”. In fact, you pronounce this word exactly like you pronounce this one: “mange”)

Learning the French language can be fun. There are many softwares on the Internet that let you learn without moving from home. Some tools even have conjugation games.

A good learn French software is a must if you have a hard time to conjugate.

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Throw Rugs For Children – Looking For a Birthday Present?

It does not speak of your sense of hygiene, but there can be no running away from the fact that potentially, the most contaminated part of the house is the floor. Inmates walk all over it, liquids and foods which spill on to the floor, attract germs. You simply cannot swab the floor time and again, but the worries about a contaminated floor can tend to accentuate when you have a kid at home, as children are more prone to infections and allergies than adults. That’s why it is an amazing idea for giving children’s throw rugs for birthday presents.

The best things about choosing children’s throw rugs for birthday presents are that they are not staid in characteristic. Children’s throw rugs for birthday presents come in countless shapes, sizes, colours and patterns, but the external features apart there are so many other things, which a kid can do if you gift him or her with a children’s throw rug for a birthday present.

As discussed earlier, not only do the children’s throw rugs for birthday presents keep the child off the floor, but if a rug is chosen as per the tastes of the child, you can be rest assured that he would be kicked by it too. Say for example if the child is fond of animals or birds, you could pick up a throw rugs with such patterns. With the makers of such children’s throw rugs flooding the market with their products that should not be too difficult to manage.

Children’s throw rugs for birthday presents can serve as extremely efficient and subtle learning tools too. A colourful throw rug peppered with alphabets or numbers can really help the child pick up these basic tenets of education sooner than you think. The point is driven home faster this way because the child has fun learning them. Children’s throw rugs for birthday presents also serve as great teaching aids when it comes to identifying patterns and colours too, making it a very handy and practical birthday gift. And if you are worried about the birthday kids not favouring these children’s throw rugs, think again. They tend to get attracted to the children’s throw rugs because they form an excellent colourful relief which stands out on the floor and grabs their attention.

While rugs like these were earlier patched together by grand moms as a tradition, by patching scraps of cloth into a colour patterns, the process has become professional in today’s times.

Manufacturers of children’s throw rugs for birthday presents now use the help of design specialists when it comes to manufacturing these rugs with carefully thought out patterns and static animations. Contemporary designs try to weave in the element of design with education forming a very efficient blend. In fact so practical are children’s throw rugs for birthday presents these days that you have some of them even fashioned out as chess or a checkers board making these children’s throw rugs for birthday presents, an excellent choice.

So the next time round you choose a Barbie doll for a birthday girl or a toy Uzi for a birthday boy, that is more likely to get the hosts to frown, try a gifting them with a children’s throw rug for a birthday present. Perhaps you’ll see a smile on them then.

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Presenting – Lucille Crighton – A Textile Arts Hall of Famer & Gifted Gardener in The Beach

Toronto’s Beach community is not only a beautiful waterfront neighbourhood with mature trees and historic houses, it is also one of the favourite places of residence for a great many artists. I was glad I had a chance to discover more about arts in the Beach when I accidentally connected with a local artist, a photographer by the name of John Dowding, during my interview with Mary Lee from Spiagga Restaurant. This gave me an opportunity to learn more about the wide spectrum of creative people in the Beach. John then connected me to Lucille Crighton who is one of Canada’s foremost textile artists.

On a snowy afternoon, after my interesting interview with Steven Zarlenga and Paul Karamat, two creative bed and breakfast owners in the Beach, followed by an interview with John Dowding, I had a chance to visit Lucille Crighton at her home: a beautiful historic property dating back to the first part of the 20th century. Lucille has a long attachment to Beach, as her grandfather bought this very house in 1927. The brick came from rubble from the Great Toronto Fire of 1904, and Lucille took me outside to show me the darkened colour and rough texture of the bricks.

Lucille also has a long connection to the textile arts: she started weaving as a teenager. With a chuckle she says she hesitates to count the number of decades that she has been weaving now. She graduated in design arts and textile arts, has a diploma in weaving with Nell Znamierowski from FIT, NYC and also completed a program in teacher training for professional hand weavers. She has written 2 of the courses (Fabric to Fashion and Fabric Design Sample) for the OHS master weaver program.

When her children were small, she opened her own yarn store and ran classes in quilting, macramé, knitting, weaving and needlework. Lucille explained that at one point she decided to specialize in weaving because it is an in-depth craft where you never stop learning. Weaving reminds her very much of music; her brother Garry is a musician. Designing a threading is quite analogous to writing music and the intricacy of the threadings keeps you challenged for a long time.

Lucille used to teach weaving all over North America, in places such as Washington DC, Portland, Oregon, Florida and Michigan, New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. All these places have weaving guilds, and they would invite her to teach colour and design in weaving. Although she enjoyed it, she had to give it up since she did not have enough time to produce the jackets that she has become so well-known for. Lucille adds that she enjoys teaching, but she loves designing.

Lucille finds inspiration in daily life and constantly looks at relationships of one colour to another, texture, line and pattern, values and intensities. While weaving, she is intuitively considering light reflection, rhythm and repetition, emphasis, balance and proportion while experimenting with new harmonious colour combinations.

“Although I work long hours it is creative, it is inspiring to put my ideas out there in terms of colour and design. I get up every morning and love what I do.” But Lucille admits that it took her a long time to get to this level of success. Today her brilliantly coloured jackets are highly coveted fashion items, and her customers often wait several months for Lucille’s creations. Her special artistic craft was honoured when she was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the One-Of-A-Kind Craft Show, a popular trade show for unique arts and crafts, held twice a year in Toronto.

Lucille and I went upstairs where three of her rooms are dedicated towards her craft. The smaller loom is set up in a room with hundreds of cones of yarn, all organized by colour, which presented quite a beautiful arrangement by itself. Lucille explained that with the Leclerc loom, bought in Canada, she uses up to 20 shuttles (the longitudinal pieces of wood that are moved horizontally across the vertical threads, creating a fabric one row at a time) for one jacket. Each bobbin in the shuttle can be set up with a different colour and as a result, Lucille can create very intricate designs as she weaves, with occasional repeats in the same fabric.

Lucille demonstrated to me how the weaving actually works: the shuttle containing the thread is virtually thrown from side of the loom to the other, creating an additional row. Then a “beater” is used to compress the new line of thread and push it close to the already woven fabric. Then pressing a foot pedal (treadle) a new opening is created for the next row of yarn. She uses numerous yarns of different thicknesses and materials; some of them have metallic or even three-dimensional effects.

Weaving is a very physical process, you always sit hunched forward and the process of throwing the shuttle produces a repetitive strain on muscles and joints, particularly when you work every day from morning to late at night. Lucille explains that she needs physiotherapy every six weeks and daily exercises to relieve the physical strain of her profession.

A second room features a larger California-built AVL loom that is actually connected to a computer and a weaving software program. Lucille added that this setup allows her to create intricate fabric designs on the computer while in the past graph paper would have had to be used. The software has made fabric design so much more convenient and efficient than before.

The third room is a cutting room where the woven fabrics are cut, ready to be assembled into jackets. In addition this room houses dozens of binders of fabric samples that Lucille has created over the years, a tangible chronology of Lucille’s artistic evolution. She could literally go back, for example, to November of 1996 and show me what types of fabrics she was producing at that time. I was admiring her organizational skills for keeping such exact records of her artistic projects. She added that she never produces the same fabric twice unless a customer specifically requests it. Now I started to understand that this is truly a craft where you never stop learning.

Weaving is indeed a very intricate craft: it takes about a week to 10 days to set up the threads on the smaller loom while the setup on the larger loom could take more than three weeks. This does not include designing the warp, weighing and calculating yardages for the yarns as well as searching out the yarns and ordering them. Lucille sets up about 200 yards of warp yarn on the loom at a time which allows her to create between 75 to 100 jackets from one setup. The nature of weaving is such that on one warp you are able to create completely different fabrics; you would not even think that the designs came from the same loom.

It was obvious to me that considering the set-up and the manual process of weaving a fabric row by row, weaving is an extremely labour-intensive process. I inquired how much one jacket would cost roughly, and Lucille responded that the average cost of a jacket is in the C$650 to $1000 range. That was actually a lot more reasonable than I had expected. Lucille explained that her customers are very diverse and simply would like to own a one-of-a-kind garment that is not replicated anywhere in the world.

Now a well established successful artist, Lucille has a substantial backlog of orders and does not have to worry about where the next project is coming from. Her marketing consists of four art shows a year: twice a year she participates in the popular One-Of-A-Kind Trade Show in Toronto, while another two times a year she is a key participant in the Beach Studio Tour.

The Beach Studio Tour is organized twice yearly by a group of about 15 to 24 local artists in the Beach who open their homes to the public free of charge for three days in May and October of every year. Pottery, stained glass, jewellery, photography, fine art and textile arts are represented, and the artists welcome the visitors with demonstrations of their crafts and an opportunity to learn about the creative process.

The artists that participate in the Beach Studio Tour collectively shoulder the arketing and publicity effort to promote this event. They fundraise and sell advertising in their flyer in order to pay for an advertising campaign. Brochures have to be designed, a mailing list needs to be maintained, PR work needs to be done in order to publicize this event and attract visitors from all over the city and beyond. As a result, a lot of work has to be split between different artists. But the Beach Studio Tour has turned into a very popular regular event in the neighbourhood that is a successful marketing tool for local artists.

During the studio tour Lucille hires someone to give a tour of the looms and answer questions, and her dining room becomes a showroom for her creations. Usually she also features guest artists and during the last few years well-known local photographer John Dowding has showcased some of his work at Lucille’s home. She also hires someone to help her on the main floor so potential clients have a chance to talk with the master artist herself and be custom fitted or to discuss future projects.

But Lucille is not only a gifted textile artist, she is also an avid gardener. Horticulture is extremely popular in the Beach, a neighbourhood with many talented gardeners. Lucille volunteers as the librarian at the Beach Garden Society and a member of the board which meets once a month. The society brings in expert guest speakers who talk about such topics as shade gardening and planting perennials. Lucille’s garden was recently featured in Gardening Life magazine.

Lucille Crighton is an all around creative person, whether it be in textile arts or horticulture and garden design. She is a one-of-a-kind Hall of Famer and a good example of the creative talent in Toronto’s Beach neighbourhood.

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Net Present Value Analysis and When to Use It

Valuing a loss making company is pretty difficult. The ‘gold standard’ of the stock market, the price/earnings ratio, can’t be applied. You could look at price to sales, but if the company can’t make a profit out of those sales, it’s not the most interesting measure. You could look at price to book, but for tech stocks, say, that would be missing the point – the book value is likely to be very low, and not really relevant to an investment decision.

If a company is just making a loss this year, then you might look at next year’s PER. But with a company that’s expected to make a loss for several years as it boosts its revenues and finally gains profitability, that’s not an option either.

You could look at a PER some years ahead, but then you’re going to be extrapolating earnings growth to get comparable figures for the market or sector, and that’s likely to introduce significant error.

So one of the better ways of looking at this kind of loss maker – let’s say a datacentre that is going to take some time to fill up its capacity, and which will be operating below the breakeven level for the first couple of years – is creating a discounted cash flow valuation to arrive at an NPV – net present value.

The whole concept of discounted cash flow is that the same amount of money is worth more to me today than it is in ten years’ time. So if I’m looking at the company’s earnings in ten years’ time, I need to discount them back to today’s value. If I’d put the money in the bank instead I would have earned, say, 3% on my money, and by tying it up in the company I’ve given up that interest – so I’ll only see 97% of the value of next years’ earnings, and so on.

To do a discounted cash flow you need to build a ten year cash flow account – the company’s revenues, profits, capital expenditure and working capital needs over that time. Then you’re going to take each year’s cash flow and discount it to today’s value. You can then compare that to the current share price and see whether there is some value in the stock, or not.

You’ll also give a ‘terminal value’ to the stock, because at the end of ten years, it doesn’t self-destruct but it will still be worth something. So that gets added in, as well. Usually, you’d say if stocks in the sector trade at 10x earnings, then this company in 2020 will be worth 10 times 2020 earnings. And then of course you discount that back to today’s value.

It’s a relatively simple concept. However, getting it right is tricky. First of all, how accurate are your forecasts? Have you got a good feel for how fast the industry is growing? Have you done a reality check? Some internet stocks assumed you could just keep growing your customers – one business plan I saw had a 2015 figure for broadband subscribers in the UK that was slightly larger than the entire population!

NPVs also have their pitfalls. For instance if you have made an error in your year one forecast, that error will be compounded in future years. So if, say, you thought sales in year one would be £10m, rising at 20% in year two, and they’re £8m, rising at only 10% in year two, the effect on the final year in the series will be massive. That’s one reason growth stocks often react extremely badly to what look like relatively small shortfalls in revenues.

The good thing about NPVs is that once you’ve prepared one, you can tinker with it and create various scenarios. You can see what happens if revenue is only half what’s expected. You can see what happens if costs rise faster. You can play around with different profit margins or levels of capital spend. You can try to ‘break the model’ by finding out how far each variable has to be adjusted to make the stock worth zero.

I sometimes find NPVs tell me when the rest of the market is overegging a company’s prospects. On occasion, the NPV comes out lower than the share price. Sometimes, too, 80% or more of the value is represented by the terminal value. I really don’t like that – it means all the money is ‘jam tomorrow’ with very little bread and butter today, and it makes the stock much riskier than one where the stream of income represents a higher percentage of the value.

If you bear in mind the problems and pitfalls, using NPVs can be a useful way to look at growth stocks, as well as at long term investments such as refineries, chemical plants and power stations – the areas the technique was originally developed for.

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How to Find Anecdotes for Your Speech or Presentation

For many of us who have spent years in business, our anecdotes are many and varied. There is no doubt that experience is not only the best teacher, but affords us many stories and anecdotes throughout our business careers. What does the novice speaker do, however, when his/her experience is minimal?

Anecdotes are brief, true stories which usually deal with the speaker and/or his clients and customers; however, there is nothing in the book that says that the anecdotes you use must be your material. You can use anecdotes that you find on the internet, for example, when searching for information on your topic. As long as you qualify the anecdote, in which you give credit to the individual to whom it is about, you are free to use it.

1. Read articles and books on your topic.
2. Research YouTube for videos of other speakers.
3. Network your business.

Those who write about your subject are good fodder not just for anecdotes but also to see what you competition is writing. You shouldn’t copy them, but by all means, learn from them.

There are hundreds of video clips of speakers – from the famous to the not-so-famous – on YouTube. Listen to them; study them; and, get ideas from them. In addition, by using others’ material, it shows that you have done your homework and your audience will be impressed by your obvious knowledge of others in your field.

Networking your business will afford you more anecdotes than you may think. Just the process of conversing with others about your topic will offer you leads, potential introductions, and also stories which could be pertinent to your presentation.

A good example is a woman whom I met at a business conference. She was in the booth next to mine. After 1-hour of talking to perspective clients, she had no voice left. Unfortunately, the conference lasted for 7 more hours. I have used that anecdote in both my article writings and in my oral presentations when I discuss vocal abuse. The woman is not a client of mine and probably will never be. What is unfortunate for her is that her lack of voice means lack of business; however, she would rather suffer from voice loss than work on improving her vocal techniques.

Just because you are new to your business does not mean that you are limited in the stories or anecdotes you can tell. Remember, however, to always give credit to the writers or the speakers when you use their words, their examples and/or their experiences.

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Distracting Presentation Habits – Ways to Overcome Them

I realize that it is important for us to work on appearing natural while making a presentation. If, however, we become too natural and relaxed, we may not even realize that we have adopted one or more distracting habits that will rob our presentations of their power.

Avoid what I call the “speaker’s samba.” It is actually better to stand comfortably still than to get into a repetitious movement that resembles a dance. I have become noticeably distracted by speakers who move three steps forward, three steps to the side, three steps back, and three steps to the opposite side. It is not always “three” but it is repeated many times. Someone told them it was a good idea to move around, so they initiated this awkward approach. A video will provide an eye opener if you are unaware of your movement around the platform. Just remember that any movement without a natural purpose will distract the audience.

Watch where you are walking. While we are discussing movement — a good addition to a presentation if done with purpose — I want to caution you to be careful of common pitfalls. If you are using an overhead projector, a slide projector, or a computer generated slide show, do not walk in front of the light source. When people in the audience are distracted by seeing your silhouette on the screen, they will lose all focus on the brilliant words you are presenting. If you want to walk in front of your projector, turn off the light or blacken the screen with a dark slide. Also, be cautious about walking back into the audience. If you turn your back on the participants in the front rows, you will lose their attention completely.

Make note of other presenters’ habits when attending keynotes, seminars, and/or workshops. I have always attended many presentations, and not only for the information I will learn. I make note of the good, the bad, and the better. Oftentimes, another speaker’s habits will serve as a wake-up call to a habit I have that I wasn’t even aware of.. I also love to observe the great speakers — not to mimic them — but to make note of what makes them so special and unique.

Remember to check out your habits. Getting rid of the distracting ones will take you to another level of becoming a polished, professional speaker with pizzazz and panache.

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