thebalance.com

When it is your turn to be front and center, fear, anxiety, doubt, and even despair can loom. Unless you are a born presenter or an old pro, presenting to a group, no matter the size, can be daunting.

But that is no reason to hide in the shadows allowing a colleague to steal your thunder. You can do this, as long as you calm your nerves to let your confidence, charisma, and intellect shine through.

These five tips will help you to de-stress, so you can impress! Take your time to work on your woes and worries so when the big day comes, you will be on-the-ball with a successful performance.

Rehearse and Practice

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Just like an actor preparing for a role or a teacher preparing her weekly lesson plans, there is preliminary work that goes into doing a stellar job. Practice your presentation and hone in on the important points, cut out the unnecessary jargon, and then do it all again. If you can find someone willing to sit in on your "rehearsal," even better. Get their feedback and rework if needed.

Inc. recommends, "Write your speech rather than taking chances winging it. Try to practice where you'll be delivering your talk. Some acting strategists suggest rehearsing lines in various positions–standing up, sitting down, with arms open wide, (etc.). The more you mix up your position and setting, the more comfortable you'll feel with your speech. Also try recording your presentation and playing it back to evaluate which areas need work.

Be the Early Bird

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You don't need to further add to your stress by getting stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Leave the house extra-early on presentation day so you are sure to arrive at the office with plenty of time to settle in, have some coffee, and go through your notes one last time.

As Youper suggests, "(Get) comfortable with the location and the audience. Walk around, pay attention to the layout of the room, and look for things that could potentially distract you. This will help you feel more comfortable because you'll extinguish the initial tension of being in a new place. (Take) the opportunity to talk to a few people that will be in the audience, so you don't feel like you are presenting to strangers."

Remember to Breathe

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Of course, you won't stop breathing, but doing so purposefully can work wonders on calming you down and allowing you to focus. As Inc. notes, "When we're nervous, our muscles tighten–you may even catch yourself holding your breath. Instead, go ahead and take those deep breaths to get oxygen to your brain and relax your body."

Youper adds another potential breathing bummer, "When you get anxious your breathing gets faster. Progressively slowing down helps match your breathing from the start and ease you into a calmer state as the rhythm slows."

Just like meditation teaches, be mindful of your breathing until you are steady and secure. Do this at least 15 minutes before it is time to present so your mind is clear and your body is balanced.

Drink Up… Water, That Is

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It is always important to stay well-hydrated, but before you need to talk for an extended period of time, a moist mouth is a life-saver. A parched presenter is hard to swallow, so to speak.

As per Quick and Dirty Tips, "Dry mouth, also known as cotton mouth, is a very real sign of anxiety and the person experiencing it is suffering." Even if you are a bundle of nerves, you do not have to let 'em see you sweat.

Keep a water bottle by your side to refresh in between points.

Embrace Your Emotions

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Take that nervous energy and transform it into something positive. You will be excited in some way or another, so use this adrenaline rush to make your presentation electrifying.

Like Quick and Dirty Tips notes, "Getting the blood pumping sharpens your senses sand makes you more aware of what's going on around you. Use that extra energy to engage your audience, and to show your passion."

Rather than dwelling on what may go wrong, use your energy to imagine a successful presentation. As per Youper, "Visualize members of the audience thanking you, or colleagues congratulating you. These positive images help manifest a positive attitude, and that will show while you are speaking."

Calm down and get pumped up for a presentation that will prove you are one to watch.

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Home garden and porch

As anyone who has ever sold a house will tell you, you must prioritize curb appeal. Before a potential buyer even considers looking inside your house, they notice the outside first. Does it attract the right kind of attention? Does it take away from the feel you're going for? If you plan to sell sometime soon, you must think about these things. Here are some landscaping options to increase your home's curb appeal, so you can get the best price on your home.

Extensive Plants and Greenery

A barren front yard won't get you the price you want on your home. So, invest in at least a little bit of greenery to keep the surrounding area from looking too dead. Shrubs and bushes tie the house to the lawn that precedes it, and flower beds bring a pop of color to an otherwise drab structure. You can also strategically plant some trees to improve the overall feel of your home's exterior.

Lawn Care

As we mentioned, your lawn is one of the most prominent features of your home's exterior. A patchy, dried-up lawn will quickly drive your home's price way down. Some of the best landscaping options for your home's curb appeal involve improving your lawn for the next inhabitant. Overall fertilization, ground aeration, underbrush removal, proper mowing—all of these lawn care tasks contribute to a greener and more lively area that invites people to see your house, rather than stay away from it.

Paved Pathways

There's nothing like a broken and disheveled pathway to make someone think twice about buying a property. Just as you want the entryway in your house to be welcoming, so too should the pathway leading up to the house be inviting. The pathway from the street to your front door provides plenty of real estate to get creative with. You don't have to settle for a boring concrete pathway. Consider something more eye catching, like a cobblestone path or intermittent brick patterns, as a way to better welcome potential buyers.

Usable Outdoor Furniture

Landscaping doesn't just involve the ground you walk on; also included are the items you use as extras to the overall look. Outdoor furniture is one such extra that you don't necessarily need but can look quite attractive if done correctly. Staging is important with outdoor furniture. Old, broken-down pieces will only look like more work to the potential buyer. A few comfortable chairs, a bench, or a table with an umbrella really go a long way to improving your outdoor aesthetics.

A good tip for deciding on curb appeal items is to decide what you personally would want to see as a part of a welcoming home's exterior. You don't need to go overboard, but a little bit of forethought could net you quite a lot of extra cash in the sale.

Unfortunately, giving back can sometimes go haywire. If you're ready to make a donation, first consider common mistakes made when giving back.

Many people strive to support their community by donating their time or their money. When you find a meaningful cause, you might be quick to cut a donation check. Though it's admirable to be quick to act charitably, you should be wary of several common mistakes made when giving to charity. Being mindful of these mistakes and learning tips for making informed charitable choices can help you make the most out of your generous check.

Acting Quickly Out of Emotion

Mission statements are meant to be compelling. If you're an emotionally driven individual, it's natural to pull out your wallet at the sight of a sad puppy on TV or when informed about food insecurity over the phone. Unfortunately, not all charities are as effective or official as they may seem.

Take your passion for helping others one step further by making sure your chosen charity is legit. Speaking with a representative, reviewing their website and social media accounts, and looking at testaments online can give you a better idea of whether the organization is worth your donation.

Forgetting to Keep Record of the Donation

Don't forget that you can reap some financial perks from giving back! With the proper documentation of your donation, you can acquire a better tax deductible.

If you donate more than $12,400 as a single filer or $24,800 as one of two joint filers, you're eligible to deduct that amount from your taxes. So, when a charity asks if you'd like a receipt of donation, always answer yes.

Donating Unusable Materials

Most charities can utilize a monetary donation—it's the physical donations that usually cause some issues. Providing a local nonprofit with irrelevant materials or gifting them with unusable products are surprisingly common mistakes made when giving to charity.

Always check your intended charity's website for a list of things they do and do not accept. The majority of places will provide a guideline to donating or offer contact information to clarify any questions.

Strictly Giving at Year's End

As more and more people get into the holiday spirit at the end of the year, nonprofit organizations see an influx of donations. While it's great to spread holiday cheer via a monetary donation, it's important to keep that spirit going year-round.

With regular donations, charities can more effectively allocate their annual budget. Setting up an automatic monthly donation with the charity of your choosing can maximize your impact. You can account for a monthly donation by foregoing a costly coffee every once in a while.

Knowing how much you should spend on home maintenance each year is hard to figure out and may be preventing you from buying your first home. The types of costs you'll incur depend on the house you buy and its location. The one certainty is that you should start saving now. Read on to figure out how much to start setting aside based on the home you own.

The Age of Your House

Consider several factors when budgeting for home repairs. If you've purchased a new home, your house likely won't require as much maintenance for a few years. Homes built 20 or more years ago are likely to require more maintenance, including replacing and keeping your windows clean. Further, depending on your home's location, weather can cause additional strain over time, so you may need to budget for more repairs.

The One-Percent Rule

An easy way to budget for home repairs is to follow the one-percent rule. Set aside one percent of your home's purchase price each year to cover maintenance costs. For instance, if you paid $200,000 for your home, you would set aside $2,000 each year. This plan is not foolproof. If you bought your home for a good deal during a buyer's market, your home could require more repairs than you've budgeted for.

The Square-Foot Rule

Easy to calculate, you can also budget for home maintenance by saving one dollar for every square foot of your home. This pricing method is more consistent than pricing it by how much you paid because the rate relies on the objective size of your home. Unfortunately, it does not consider inflation for the area where you live, so make sure you also budget for increased taxes and labor costs if you live in or near a city.

The Mix and Match Method

Since there is no infallible rule for how much you should spend on home maintenance, you can combine both methods to get an idea for a budget. Average your results from the square-foot rule and the one-percent rule to arrive at a budget that works for you. You should also increase your savings by 10 percent for each risk factor that affects your home, such as weather and age.

Holding on to savings is easier in theory than practice. Once you know how much you should spend on home maintenance, you'll know what to aim for and be more prepared for an emergency. If you are having trouble securing funds for home repairs, consider taking out a home equity loan, borrowing money from friends or family, or applying for funds through a home repair program through your local government for low-income individuals.