Public speaking, blind dates, and if you’re really unlucky, even a zombie apocalypse… whatever life throws at you, it pays to be prepared. Learn to laugh in the face of adversity with Lonely Planet’s How to Survive Anything.
How to survive…
A BLIND DATE
Blind dates can be nerve-wracking, exhilarating, cringeworthy, magical, or all of the above. Happily there are a few things you can do to prevent it from being a total disaster.
1 The first rule of blind-dating club is to not judge a person before you get the chance to actually judge them. Let’s be honest, the days of the fully blind date are over. You’ve Google-stalked each other at least once pre that awkward first meeting, so act surprised, yeah?
2 Keep your phone away. A study from the University of Essex shows just the act of putting a mobile on the table between you and a partner negatively impacts on the quality of the conversation.
3 Even if they’re not your type, play nice. They might have friends who are…
Unlearn the ‘rules’ of public speaking. Authenticity is more important than anything else and rules can make you act unnaturally. You want to seem like an expert in whatever you’re talking about, not a pro at public speaking.
1 Video yourself. But do not critique every detail – use film to spot the most obvious issues, like the overuse of filler words such as ‘um’ or ‘like’, or to catch distracting hand gestures. Or try it out on a small audience of friends. Get them to ask you difficult questions afterwards.
2 Dress the part. For formality and authority, don a suit; if you want your presentation to have a more free-form feel, dress more casually. Most importantly, wear something that helps your audience relate to you.
3 Nail the first 10 minutes. Nervousness usually subsides after the first few minutes, so spend most of your prep time practising the beginning of your talk. Or kick it off in a way that helps you relax, such as by asking questions, doing a physical demonstration or telling a story.
A ZOMBIE ATTACK
Flesh-eating, brain-dead and highly infectious, zombies can ruin your day. They infect through any exchange of fluids, so protection is key.
1 Get some body armour. Chain mail is ideal but hard to find. Look for chainsaw-rated gear at your local DIY store. Underneath, wear an all-in-one protective suit and get a good dust mask and goggles.
2 If you are bitten, immediately tourniquet the limb tightly. Encourage it to bleed by keeping it low and very warm, to discourage clotting. If the flesh looks as though it has been infected, amputate immediately.
3 Once the epidemic infects 30 per cent of the population it will be unstoppable, but if it is biological (rather than supernatural) you can wait it out. Basic maths tells us that a sedentary, unfed 80kg (175lb) zombie will waste away to a pile of bones and skin after 150 days. Stockpile enough supplies for five or six months, and stay indoors.
A JOB INTERVIEW
After months of searching, you’ve finally found a job you want and have made it through to the interview stage. Bravo. Now comes the tricky part – you have to sell yourself, without appearing to be a sell-out.
1 Do your research and find out about the company you are hoping to join, and be ready to explain why you want to work there and what you can bring to the table.
2 Sell the story of yourself. The new style of interviewing is to ask candidates to talk about examples of tricky situations they handled well. Prepare for this by having real-life anecdotes ready, but perhaps keep quiet about that time you got drunk and insulted your boss…
3 Don’t bring up money until there’s a good chance you have the job in the bag, or the door opens to discuss a start date. Even then, first enquire about your exact responsibilities and with whom you will be working. One tactic for figuring out where you stand is to ask what the range of salaries is for others in your position.
A WARDROBE MALFUNCTION
Whether it’s splitting your skirt on the day of a job interview, missing your mouth and tipping coffee down your front or getting your zip stuck at half mast, there is nothing more painful both socially and physically than a full-blown wardrobe mishap. Thankfully, we’re here to help.
1 Do a test run. It is advisable to work out if your chosen get-up can stand the stresses of the day before you leave the house. Do a lunge, a squat, cross and un-cross your legs and test the zip. Prevention is as good as a cure, and all that.
2 Halfway to that meeting and realised you’ve still got the price stickers on the bottom of your new shoes? Don’t waste time trying to pick them off. Grab a permanent felt-tipped pen and colour them in so they don’t show.
3 Soda water removes stains better than warm or cold tap water. Never rub. Only ever blot. Also, breathe. Clothes can sense panic like dogs can.