by Common Council President Willie Hines
While our hearts and prayers go out to every family affected by the horrific massacre at a school in Connecticut, we owe it to them to work together as a nation and find ways to prevent something like this from ever happening again. Leaders like President Obama have put forward a vision for critical changes in which lawmakers from all political backgrounds should see the wisdom.
But locally, it seems Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke would rather divide than unite, would rather foster fear than inspire hope, and would rather ridicule the notion of peace instead of promoting it. His rambling diatribe on a “tea party” website this week, wherein he calls for posting armed guards in every school and describes the victims of last week’s shooting as “sheep,” should make every resident of the county uneasy.
I was appalled to see Sheriff Clarke’s over-the-top comments in print. His is the kind of toxic rhetoric that would further divide the nation, and he spews it simply to advance his own extreme political agenda.
This tragedy exposes gaping loopholes in our system of background checks, gun registration, training for firearms owners and requirements for the proper, secure storage of weapons. Mounting headlines involving assault weapons and high-capacity clips should serve as a wake-up call, not an opportunity to settle political scores.
I firmly believe our Constitution is a brilliant document and respect the need for protecting our Second Amendment right to bear arms. But most Americans understand that doesn’t mean unfettered access to weapons of mass destruction. They want to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, the mentally ill and those prone to violence. They reject the status quo of 10,000 gun deaths a year.
It’s time to get to work representing their interests, and Sheriff Clarke isn’t helping.
Have you always avoided speaking in public because you get so nervous?
by Black Enterprise
Have you always avoided speaking in public because you get so nervous? Here’s what you can do to conquer your fear.
For many people, there’s something uniquely frightening about talking in front of a group. Even people who are otherwise outgoing and confident can struggle with anxiety when asked to present or speak.
It may feel daunting to you now. But, public speaking is a skill—and with time and practice, your ability, comfort and confidence can grow.
Approaching the podium
Before your speech, get there early—and take some time to greet people. It may help you feel more at ease to see familiar faces in the crowd.
Most important, when it’s your time to speak, just be yourself. Don’t worry about being perfect. People tend to enjoy speakers who are genuine and human.
Besides, when you learn to accept yourself—and not feel as if you have to prove something to others—it can help address the root of your anxiety.
Here are some additional tips for taming stage fright:
- Remember why you’re there. Try to focus on your audience’s needs rather than your fears.
- Know your topic. Remind yourself that you are the expert people need to hear.
- Practice, practice, practice. You might enlist some supportive friends or family to hear your presentation before the big day.
- Visualize your success. See yourself in the setting — calm, prepared and carrying it off.
- Before you speak, do some deep breathing or other relaxation techniques to help calm your mind and body.
- Avoid caffeine and nicotine. Both are stimulants that can increase anxiety.
- During your talk, think of your audience as friends. Smile. Make eye contact.
- Try to be your most confident self — even if you’re not particularly feeling that way in the moment.
Remember, speaking in public can get easier. Be patient—and remind yourself that you’re developing a new skill.
By Arleen Fitzgerald, L.I.C.S.W., and Melanie Polk, M.M.Sc., R.D., F.A.D.A.
Content courtesy of UnitedHealthcare