15 Ways to Love More Effectively

Today is Valentine’s Day, the day set apart to shower the special people in your life with all the love they deserve. If you’re scrambling to find that perfect way to demonstrate your affection beyond the usual heart-shaped cards or box of chocolates, I understand. Wanting others to know what they mean to you is … Continue reading 15 Ways to Love More Effectively

Today is Valentine’s Day, the day set apart to shower the special people in your life with all the love they deserve. If you’re scrambling to find that perfect way to demonstrate your affection beyond the usual heart-shaped cards or box of chocolates, I understand.

Wanting others to know what they mean to you is great, but expressing it can be a challenge.

A few years ago, my wife wrote a lesson in which she detailed the importance of loving people according to what Dr. Gary Chapman referred to as their “primary love language.” In summary, we all give and receive love differently; to one person, a hug is enough to brighten a morning; to another, a surprise home-cooked meal is more meaningful than the shiniest jewelry.

I decided to add to her wisdom by providing a list of 15 simple and effective ways to love people according to the five love languages. If you are unsure how to identify someone’s primary love language, I encourage you to read Joy’s post—or have your friends and family take the online quiz.

Words of Affirmation

A well-timed compliment often has the power to make a words-of-affirmation person’s day. For them, the more specific, the better. They don’t merely need to know that they are amazing—they need to know why.

1. Scatter loving and encouraging notes across the house, in their car, or in their packed lunch.

2. Compile a list of 15-20 of your favorite things about them, and read it aloud.

3. Observe what they seem insecure about and point your affirmation in that direction.

Acts of Service

Nothing says “I love you” to people who value service like going out of your way to do something you don’t enjoy just because you care about them. Loving these people will vary depending on their circumstances, but here are some timeless ideas.

1. Wash their car. If possible, do so while they’re sleeping or otherwise preoccupied so their clean car will be a surprise.

2. Make their favorite meal when they least expect it.

3. Offer to run an errand for a busy or overwhelmed friend.

Gifts

For these people, a dozen red roses will certainly not suffice. They need to know that you put thought into a gift, and that you were willing to go through the extra effort to pick something out just for them.

1.  For a spouse or an old friend, find a gift that is reminiscent of a particularly joyful time in your relationship (i.e. an old record that you listened to as teenagers, a piece of jewelry from where you went on a vacation or honeymoon, etc.).

2. Give little things throughout the day or week and at unexpected times. Many gifts, regardless of cost, are usually more meaningful for gift-oriented people than one large, expensive present.

3. For those who never stop talking about a certain band or TV show, consider buying them fan merchandise (t-shirt, mug, etc.). It will likely result in a good laugh and show that you listen and care about their interests.

Quality Time

This is the love language that can be easily whisked aside when life gets busy. It’s important to recognize that even if you only have 20 minutes to spend with someone, you can make it count.

1.  Make a lunch or breakfast “date” with your child or grandparent, and let them choose the place, even if it’s a place you don’t like.

2. Make spending time together a habit. Whether it means having a short coffee break with your husband every afternoon or lunch with your daughter every Thursday, regularly blocking out time is a great way to ensure these people feel loved and appreciated.

3. Give them your full attention when you’re together: ask pointed questions, put your phone down, and listen well.

Physical Touch

Loving these people often requires making simple and conscious choices throughout the day to ensure that they feel connected, even when it doesn’t come naturally for you.

1. Sit close to them when you’re watching a movie or TV show.

2. Give a foot or back massage (when appropriate, of course).

3. Hug them. This may seem simple, but even if you’re not a hugger, make a point to properly embrace those in your life who are.

My Challenge

Healthy relationships are essential to a meaningful life. Don’t let loving others take the back seat to your career and ambitions. Find a balance and a way to not just love, but to love well. I encourage you to discover the love language of those closest to you and start applying these tips.

Do you have any additional ideas or experiences on loving people according to their love language? Please share in the comments below.

The most important relationships in your life are with your family members and close friends.  Love these people they way they need to feel your love. 

15 Tips to Speaking in Front of People

While you may be reluctant or, even worse, scared to give a presentation in front of a group of people, it is one of life’s greatest personal growth experiences. When you have the opportunity to share your insights with a group, accept the invitation and watch your self-confidence and value to the market grow! Over … Continue reading 15 Tips to Speaking in Front of People

Man is speaking on indoor business conference for managers.

While you may be reluctant or, even worse, scared to give a presentation in front of a group of people, it is one of life’s greatest personal growth experiences. When you have the opportunity to share your insights with a group, accept the invitation and watch your self-confidence and value to the market grow!

Over the last 25 years I have given more than 1000 presentations to groups as large as 50,000 people. During this time I have become a student of public speaking and hope you can benefit from some of the things I’ve learned when giving your next presentation.

1. Prepare – The more prepared you are, the more comfortable you will be come presentation time. Before I gave my first presentation I scripted out what I wanted to say word-for-word and memorized it. I then practiced in front of my video camera. While you may not need to take your preparation to that extreme, if you want to influence people with your presentation, make sure you are prepared.    

2. Dress Appropriately – Just as someone forms an opinion of a website in less than one second, they will also form an opinion of you in less than a second. If you want them to take your message seriously, they need to take you seriously. While I hate wearing suits and ties, when I speak, I almost always wear a suit and tie.

3. Come Early – Arriving early reduces stress, allows you to become familiar with your surroundings, and gives you time to get set up without rushing.  If you will be using in microphone, make sure it’s working and has a fresh battery if it’s wireless. If you are using a Keynote or PowerPoint presentation, make sure the remote is working and that your slides are being displayed correctly.

4. Use Visuals – I have found that using visual aids such as a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation helps. Not only do attractive slides help your audience absorb your message, but they also help you stay on track. 

5. Make Sure Your Visuals are Readable– Be sure the fonts and images used are large enough that the people in the back of the room can easily see them. Throughout my career I have found that 80% of the people who use visuals don’t take into consideration that people will need to read them in the back of the room. Not only does this reflect poorly on the speaker, but it undermines their ability to connect with their audience.

6. Give the Person Introducing You Instructions – The person introducing you should have a short script or bullet points of what to say when introducing you. The goal is for this person to establish you as an authority on your subject.

7. Open with a Smile – I always open my presentations with a smile and warm welcome.  When I do this I see people smiling back and beginning to connect with me. Try it and you will see what I mean.

8. Connect Emotionally – As you open your presentation, be warm and gracious and look for ways to emotionally connect with your audience. Help them feel the need for what you are offering.

9. Be Humble and Authentic – For some reason when people stand up and start speaking their egos grow like Pinocchio’s nose. If you want people to like you, respect you, and connect with you, be authentic and stay humble.

10. Stay on Time – Part of earning people’s respect as a presenter is making sure you are prepared to deliver your message in the time allowed. If you are giving a one-hour presentation, know where you want to be 15, 30, and 45 minutes into your presentation. If you see you are running behind at any of these points, then adjust to get yourself back on track.  Rushing to finish makes you look like you weren’t prepared.

11. Make Eye Contact – If you want people to connect with you and your message, they need to feel included. That’s best done by making eye contact. If you are talking to a small group, look at each person for one or two sentences. If you are talking to a large group, look at each section of people for one or two sentences. Try to keep eye contact with each person or section until you complete your sentence, and then transition your eyes to another person or section of the room.

12. Walk Side to Side, But Never Backwards – When you are speaking be sure to walk from one side of the stage or room to the other as you include people from both sides. You should also avoid walking backwards while you are talking or people may feel a disconnection.

13. Be Clear – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat in a room listening to someone and been completely lost or struggling to try to figure out what they are trying to say. Make sure you are speaking with crystal clear clarity and never use jargon, acronyms, and slang that people may not understand.

14. Provide an Overview and Summarize – Give people an overview at the beginning as to what you will be sharing, and then summarize what you’ve said when concluding your presentation. I always look to do this in a creative way, so the audience does not realize what I am doing.

15. Learn From Every Experience – Your goal should be to improve with each presentation you give. The best way to improve is to video tape your presentation. You will be amazed with what you see that you had no idea you were doing. If you can’t video tape yourself, at least audio record your presentation.

If you will implement these 15 tips when giving your next presentation, you will earn people’s respect and have influence with your audience. To learn how to structure your presentations, read my post titled, 10 Key Elements of a Persuasive Presentation.

Do you have tips you would like to share from your presentations?  If so, share them below this post.

The most important element to speaking in front of a group of people is to be prepared.