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Successful Women

SUMMER 2014

Becoming a better public speaker

It takes a lot of preparation to “wing it”

Some people appear natural at public speaking – poised and confident even though they frequently admit to being nervous beforehand. Then there are the rest of us, who shake, shy away and stammer at the mere thought of speaking
in front of an audience.

Interestingly, more women than men admit to a fear of public speaking, and for some surprising reasons. For example, women tend to shoulder an inherent fear of not having something of value that an audience would want to hear. Furthermore, many women prefer not to be in the spotlight.

By and large, public speaking is an acquired skill, and there are ways you can get better at it. One of the most effective is to prepare as much as possible; know your topic inside and out. Review the points you want to make over and over again until you can recite them in your sleep. Even while holding notecards to prompt your speech, your mind can still go blank (and watching your hands shake, knowing others can see it as well, does not exactly help). The better you know your topic, the more knowledge you have to fall back on if you need to transition to a question-and-answer session just to get through the presentation.

The following are some additional tips to help anyone – women and men – thrive at public speaking.

  • Develop a signature style – both in appearance and presentation. Think of Steve Jobs, who wore a black turtleneck and projected a single graphic behind him as he spoke to reiterate his points – in lieu of words the audience must read.
  • Focus on your message – instead of thinking about what you want to say, consider what information the audience wants to hear. If you impart useable information, people will care more about the content and less about the delivery.
  • Move around – try not to hold the podium in a death grip. Use hand gestures and walk around – this movement will help you loosen up and be more fluid (less robotic) in your speech.
  • Work the room before the meeting gets under way – greet people who come in, introduce yourself to some you don’t know and connect with those you do. This will help you establish eye contact with friendly faces as you speak, which will give you more confidence.
  • Breathe deeply – in through the nose, hold it for a count or two, and exhale through the mouth to help your voice stay relaxed.
  • Practice makes perfect – even the best speakers practice their speeches over and over again – that’s what makes them good speakers.

Some of the same principles apply when it comes to speaking up in meetings, too. Of course, these guidelines don’t just apply to women; men can use them to improve their public-speaking skills. However, it seems the world still needs more of the female perspective in positions of power. We need more women in the highest levels of politics, in the C-suite offices of America’s corporations, starting their own businesses and supporting other women. And in today’s society, exposure gets you noticed and promoted, and being able to speak often and well gets you that attention.

The more you speak publicly, the better you’ll become at it. But whether you become an accomplished speaker or not, know this: Speaking is something you do; it does not define who you are or what you know. The more you believe in yourself, the more your confidence will show and your abilities will be recognized.

The information contained herein has been obtained from sources considered reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Raymond James is not affiliated with any other entity listed herein. Investment products are: not deposits, not FDIC/NCUA insured, not insured by any government agency, not bank guaranteed, subject to risk and may lose value.

Rebounding after an unexpected job loss

10 steps to recover and reset your course for a bright future

Involuntarily losing a job can be both financially and emotionally devastating, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. For some, in fact, it’s a new beginning. Consider the following 10 steps to help you recover from an unexpected job loss and reset your course for a better future.

1. Refresh
Before you do anything else, update your résumé. This will force you to consider what you accomplished in your former position and add any new experiences. If it wasn’t much, then recognize that the job wasn’t fulfilling for you. Either way, this exercise can help restore positive feelings.

2. Vent
Once you start to feel a little more confident, it’s a good idea to vent about what happened to someone you trust. You may wish to vent to someone from your former company, but be careful not to be too disparaging since that person still works there. The purpose is to exorcise your negative feelings about the situation – so you don’t carry them into future job interviews.

3. Restore
After you’ve let out all of the negativity, do something that restores your sanity. If you need some time for yourself and can afford it, then take it. But restoration doesn’t have to be an expensive vacation. It can be anything from a rejuvenating nature hike to a night out with friends. Spending quality time with your family is another good way to restore your focus on what’s truly important in your life.

4. Connect
Contact former colleagues to solicit referrals while you’re still fresh in their minds. Many may want to help by making introductions to their network. Establish/update your profile on LinkedIn and send invitations to colleagues you respect. Ask for written referrals you can post to your profile. Schedule networking opportunities in which to glean advice, leads, encouragement, ideas and words of wisdom. You may be surprised by stories about job losses from others – you are certainly not alone in this situation.

5. Move
Establish a routine to stay physically active. This will help restore a sense of discipline and physical exercise releases endorphins that can help reduce anxiety, give you energy to tackle an organized job search, boost self-esteem and improve sleep – all typical symptoms that occur after job loss.

6. Insure
Fortunately, healthcare benefits are no longer tied to employment. If you lose your job, you may now purchase coverage via the government exchanges, and may even qualify for affordable subsidized coverage until you land your next job. You also have the option to continue coverage through COBRA, which allows you to keep the same coverage you had with your employer (for up to 18 months) by paying the negotiated group rate on your own.

7. Budget
Review your expenses for the next few months and cut out anything you don’t need. If part of a couple, consider how well or how long you can live on a single income, and create a time frame by when you’ll need to secure another position. You should also work with your financial advisor to identify contingency sources of income. Developing best- and worst-case scenario plans can help you feel more in control.

8. Work
If you need a job right away to make ends meet, consider something part time until you figure out the best move for your career. You’ll want something flexible so you can still interview and attend to the needs of your family, if applicable. Apply for jobs that offer exposure to networking opportunities.

9. File
Unemployment benefits are available to many people who get fired. However, they can take a while to begin, so apply right away. Your company likely has been paying unemployment insurance coverage for your position all along, so don’t be shy about claiming this benefit.

10. Dream
This is your chance to redefine your future. Put some time into assessing what you really want from your career – perhaps you’re interested in a new industry or want to become an entrepreneur. Also consider what type of position will best meet your family’s needs – maybe a more flexible work schedule and work/life balance benefits.

It’s important to think about where you’d like to be in your career a year, five or 10 years down the road. Leaving one job gives you the opportunity to redefine the career path of your own choosing – something not always available to employees for whom there is only one trajectory in their current company. The important thing is to change your mindset from one of rejection to opportunity: Embrace the future.

The information contained herein has been obtained from sources considered reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Raymond James is not affiliated with any other entity listed herein. Investment products are: not deposits, not FDIC/NCUA insured, not insured by any government agency, not bank guaranteed, subject to risk and may lose value.

Aptitudes and missteps

Women excel when proactive

Guess what: Women are different from men. The two genders look, dress and think differently. And they manage money differently, too.

Sometimes doing things differently is just that – different. But other times doing things differently means doing them better.


The information contained herein has been obtained from sources considered reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Raymond James is not affiliated with any other entity listed herein. Investment products are: not deposits, not FDIC/NCUA insured, not insured by any government agency, not bank guaranteed, subject to risk and may lose value.