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10 Quick Public Speaking Tips For Busy Entrepreneurs

As entrepreneurs, we need to give presentations regularly. We give sales presentations to potential clients. We deliver pitches to prospects. 

Imagine you have to deliver a presentation tomorrow. There's no time for research. You know the topic well and you have an outline. 

Don't worry. You can still deliver an effective presentation with confidence. Here are 10 public speaking tips you can apply immediately:

1. Open with a story

Stories help you engage the audience's emotions such as hope, love, fear, anger, and joy. When you engage the audience with emotions, they will resonate with what you say. 

2. Support each point with a story or case study

Here are two types of stories that deliver your message effectively: 

Your Personal Experiences. What experience has changed your life? It could be "the biggest mistake I've had in my business" or "my first sales experience." Anything relates to mistakes you've made and your first-time work. These stories make you human. Client Case Studies. Think about the results you've helped clients get. To prove my ability to help business leaders succeed, I can share how I helped a nervous business leader deliver the message effectively and confidently and have the impact he want on the audience. 3. Summarize your key points

People remember your closing the best. To recall their memory, do a quick recap. 

If my presentation is about inspiring action, I would summarize my points with, "How can we inspire people to take action? Number one, summarize your key points. Number two, have a clear call to action."

4. Have a clear call to action

No matter how great your presentation is, having no audience member take action is a waste of your time. 

Your audience may not know what to do after your presentation. Give them a clear action step. The action step can be as simple as, "Go to XYZ.com and download my free report."

5. Practice your presentation with video

The worst time to evaluate your presentation is when you're giving it. Practice your presentation and record it in video. You can use a smartphone or webcam. 

6. Watch the rehearsal video 

Write down what you like and don't like about the presentation, especially body language and use of voice. 

Watch the first three to five minutes of your video to get the big picture quickly. Also make sure you end strong.

7. Improve your presentation

Keep what you like and get rid of what you don't like. Like your high energy? Keep it. Hate your poor eye contact? Focus on improving your eye contact. Just speak to the audience like you're talking to friends.

8. Arrive early at the venue

Arrive 15 to 20 minutes early to where you'll deliver the presentation. Get comfortable with the stage, especially if you're never been there before. 

Test your equipment. Make sure the computer and projector is working. If you are playing video, check the sound. For big audiences, use a microphone. 

Practice your opening so you will gain more confidence and comfort.

9. Talk to your audience

Instead of presenting in front of a group of strangers, why not build relationships with your audience before speaking? You'll turn them from strangers into friends and feel more relaxed. 

10. Be in the moment 

Focusing on the audience is a proven method to improve confidence. Before stepping on stage, I focus on helping business leaders become successful and make a difference. 

Remember, it's not about you; it's about the audience.

Apply these ten public speaking tips and you'll deliver the presentation effectively and confidently.



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Episode 703: How To Hide A Million Dollars In Plain Sight

There are apartments in cities around the world, where the lights do not go on at night. The apartment is empty. And it's hard to tell who owns it or where the money to buy the apartment came from.

And that's because, some of that money is from questionable origins. If you have a lot of money to hide, you can park that cash in real estate. You hide the money in plain sight. You turn a fancy apartment into a giant piggy bank or secret vault.


On today's show, the international quest to try answer a simple question: Who owns Apartment 5B?

Music: "Fingernail Grit" and "Wolfman Rompin". Find us: Twitter / Facebook.



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The 6 Biggest Mistakes You'll Probably Make Raising Money

Jeremy Liddle believes entrepreneurs are changing the world and personally understands the challenges they experience.

The number one problem cited by young entrepreneurs is raising funds with Forbes reporting that an astonishing 90% of start-ups fail. 

A key element in raising funds is the power of your inner circle. Your network dictates your level of success in capital raising. Liddle says: "The better your networks the more likely you are to raise funds".

Failing an extensive network, an increasing number of start-ups are turning to the crowd funding market to capital raise. By 2025, the World Bank predicts that the crowd funding market will be worth $96 billion.

Equity crowd funding platforms such as Circle Up, Crowdcube, and Crowdfunder are making it easier for entrepreneurs to connect with investors. 

The Six Biggest Mistakes

Liddle is President for the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance and co-founder of Capital Pitch  - the world's first capital raising accelerator funding platform. His company uses experts and technology to accelerate the start-up investing process.

Like many entrepreneurs today, Liddle made these six exact mistakes when he failed to raise the series A round for his health food company, RioLife. 

The first three years were tough and at one point he was fighting off liquidators wondering how he would pay his bills. He did and went on to turn a profit of $150K in his fourth year before jumping to $2.4 million in his seventh year of operation. 

1. A High Valuation

Entrepreneurs invest a lot of money in fancy financial models that produce a net present value based on future cash flows that are often unrealistic and too high.

A valuation is based on future forecasting, comparables, and conditions within the economy. Basically, your business idea is only worth what investors are willing to pay.

In January 2016, The Wall Street Journal reported that start-up valuations fell to the lowest level since 2012 as investors become more wary.

This proves problematic as in the early stages, it is difficult to evaluate the true value of start-up's based on growth potential. Ideally, investors want to see growth within eighteen months of inception.

2. No Communication Strategy 

Entrepreneurs do not have a robust communication strategy validated by experts.

Liddle invested five thousand dollars for a sixty page information memorandum which was sent to potential investors. The issue was that there was no existing relationship so investors simply wouldn't read the documentation.

This led to Constantine Georgiou, the Chief Coach at Capital Pitch creating an investor centered design based on global research. Every piece of communication is from the investor's perspective whether it is a pitch deck, email, or executive summary.

3. Unsubstantiated Commercial Data 

Liddle is astounded at the number of start-ups that have less experience and sophistication than those entering the public market yet forego validation and testing of their commercial data from an expert.

Liddle claims that in the United States, 12% of successful unlisted private equity and early stage start-ups engage broker-dealers versus 100% of start-ups entering the public markets.

To simplify the process, Capital Pitch helps you create financial data that covers historical actuals, future projections with sound assumptions, pragmatic capital raising amounts and integrates the rational valuation with the sales and marketing plan.

4. Unorganized Data

Entrepreneurs time and time again make the mistake of mismanaging their data, which could lead to loss of a deal.

Once investors have your binding or non-binding term sheet, they may want additional documentation such as: intellectual property protection, employee data, or non-disclosure agreements.

To solve this issue, Capital Pitch provides impressive templates and guides along with a solid list of legal agreements and protection.

5. Inability To Source A Lead Investor

Entering into a market with zero momentum on your capital raise and without a lead investor, significantly increases the likelihood of failure. 

Figures from Seedrs an equity crowd funding platform from the UK proves why.

0% of target raised - fail 75% of the time 20% of target raised - succeed over 80% of the time 35% of target raised - succeed 100% of the time

Having access to an extensive network of investors is crucial as is one's ability to source a lead investor who trusts you, knows your terms and industry.

6. Limited Social Capital 

Think about how likely it is that an investor who has never met you before, listens to your pitch then feels immediate confidence and trust in you before writing you a check for anywhere between $25k to $100k. It often doesn't happen that way.

To quote from Liddle: "As an entrepreneur, if you do not have a network of investors, it is a 'death' sentence".  

There are multiple ways to establish relationships with investors, start by attending networking events, connecting via Linked In, ask business associates for introductions or find a suitable mentor.

The Idea Is To De-Risk

Investing in start-ups is a risky business for investors. Capital Pitch has created a unique six-step system with the aim of accomplishing three outcomes: 

1. Due diligence

2. Build investor confidence 

3. De-risk the investment

To accelerate your success to capital raise, start-ups can methodically work through this process which means you won't be in the 90% of start-ups that fail.



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O.J. Simpson Juror -- Evidence, Schmevidence ... We Thought Marcia Clark and Chris Darden Were Banging! (VIDEO)

Marcia Clark and Chris Darden blew the O.J. Simpson murder trial because jurors were more focused on whether they were doing the deed ... according to one infamous panel member. Michael Knox was juror #620 -- the guy featured on 'The…

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4 Takeaways From The Super Tuesday Exit Polls

It's the biggest voting night yet this year: voters went to the polls and caucus sites in 13 states tonight, with 1,460 delegates at stake. And while results are still coming in, it's already clear: it's a great night for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

And even across the wide array of 13 states — diverse and not, high-income and low-income, ideological and moderate — there are a few big trends that explain just what happened tonight.

1. Trump's support was broad

Which groups supported Trump? All sorts of them. He turned in solid performances in many Super Tuesday states among men, women, old, young, rich, poor.

Even in the areas where he was weaker, he tended to still be strong. Trump performed more poorly among college grads than he did among high-school grads, for example. In seven of eight states, he led by 18 points or more among high school grads. Among college grads, things were much closer. But when he lost, he never lost by much — among the first states to report their polls, the most he lost college grads by was 11 (in Virginia). And he led the next-closest contender by 17 points among college grads in Massachusetts.

One of his few, glaring weaknesses: He tended to do poorly among voters who want a candidate who "shares my values." However, he tends to dominate among voters who want someone who "tells it like it is," and he's also strong among those who want a candidate who can "bring change."

One other key point about Trump support: it's solid. He had heavy support among voters who decided whom to vote for more than a few days ago. Cruz and Rubio (and in a couple of cases, Kasich) tended to split the vote among the last-minute deciders.

2. The usual Democratic patterns held

There weren't a lot of polling surprises on the Democratic side: as in prior contests, Clinton's big strengths were nonwhite and older voters, as well as women. Sanders was strong among young, white, and men voters.

But Clinton was so strong in many states that even she won or nearly tied with Sanders even among his strong constituencies. (The one huge exception: Sanders' home state of Vermont, where he ran the demographic board.)

3. Republican voters were angry

In the first nine states' exit polls, between 84 and 95 percent of Republicans said they were "dissatisfied" or "angry" with the federal government. Though Trump didn't win this group in all of those states, he was always strong with them.

And it appears that this separates them from the Democrats. Only around 50 to 65 percent of Democratic voters said they were dissatisfied or angry (however, CNN only reports Democratic results on this question in six states).

4. Republicans and Democrats want very different things

This data (courtesy of ABC News) really sums up the night: in early exit polls, 84 percent of Democratic voters said they wanted a candidate with experience, and 14 percent said they wanted an outsider. Meanwhile, 40 percent of Republican voters wanted experience, compared to 50 percent who wanted an outsider.

And though Bernie Sanders is by no means inexperienced in politics, Clinton is the clear choice of Democratic voters who prioritize experience. Trump, meanwhile, is the quintessential outsider.

Given this stat, it's not at all a surprise that Clinton and Sanders had such strong nights.



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'In A Different Key' Traces History And Politics Of Autism

In the 1940s, a psychoanalytic approach to autism — "the refrigerator mother theory" — suggested that the condition was caused by bad parenting. Morgan McCloy/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Morgan McCloy/NPR

In the 1940s, a psychoanalytic approach to autism — "the refrigerator mother theory" — suggested that the condition was caused by bad parenting.

Morgan McCloy/NPR

In their book published this month, In a Different Key: The Story Of Autism, journalists John Donvan and Caren Zucker delve into the history of the good and bad intentions, sometimes wrong-headed science, and shifting definitions that can cloud our understanding of what has come to be called the autism spectrum.

In their Tuesday conversation with NPR's Robert Siegel, host of All Things Considered, Donvan and Zucker tell of a particularly dark period in the 1940s when psychiatrists blamed autistic behavior on "refrigerator mothers" — emotionally distant women who, supposedly, didn't love their children enough. "This was a very, very poisonous idea," says Donvan. And it wasn't the last flawed notion about autism's roots.

Highlights of the interview follow, edited for space and clarity.

Siegel: How would you define autism?

Zucker: Well it depends who you are actually because autism is now seen as a spectrum and the spectrum is so broad right now that there are people on one end of it that are severely, severely disabled and you can't help but call it a disability because people are literally injuring themselves — they can't communicate, they can't do things by themselves. On the other extreme end of the spectrum are people who can speak for themselves, they can manage their lives; they do not see autism as a disability but just as a different fabric in humanity.

In researching their book, Caren Zucker and John Donvan tracked down Donald Gray Triplett (center) the first person officially diagnosed with autism. Now in his 80s, Triplett has had a long, happy life, Donvan says, maybe partly because his hometown embraced him from the beginning as " 'odd, but really, really smart.' " Courtesy of Penguin Random House hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of Penguin Random House

In researching their book, Caren Zucker and John Donvan tracked down Donald Gray Triplett (center) the first person officially diagnosed with autism. Now in his 80s, Triplett has had a long, happy life, Donvan says, maybe partly because his hometown embraced him from the beginning as " 'odd, but really, really smart.' "

Courtesy of Penguin Random House

Donvan: Because this condition is not one that has a biological marker, you cannot identify autism by a cheek swab or a blood test, but you identify it by looking at people's behaviors. That has allowed, over decades, for so many various interpretations of those key traits that the definition itself has moved again and again.

Siegel: The book describes how autism was first diagnosed, how it was named and explained. I want you to describe this: For years, there was a psycho-analytic approach that dominated the understanding of autism and the cause was really held to be bad parenting.

Donvan: It was called the refrigerator mother theory, and the idea was that children were somehow insulted – psychologically insulted — by their mothers who, for some reason, signaled that they didn't love their children enough. And, as a defense mechanism, the children were said to have withdrawn into their own world. So this was a very, very poisonous idea.

Siegel: Much of the story of autism is frankly about parents and about what parents have done to bring attention to the condition of their children — very often for the good. [But] sometimes — in the case of advocating a vaccine theory as the cause of autism — not for the good.

Zucker: Well, in our book, we really see the parent as unsung heroes. They literally change the world for children with autism. I mean, parents were told to put their children into institutions, and that was what the norm was 50 years ago. And they opened up the schools for them. [Before parents insisted on a change in policy] the schools were allowed to not have children with autism in them. So without parents, we wouldn't be anywhere near where we are today.

Siegel: On the other hand, parents did lend their voices to, well, to the vaccine theory. And the fact that there are many voices saying something doesn't make it scientifically true.

Donvan: Absolutely not. The story of autism has very often been the story of bad science, many, many times. In the case of the vaccine issue, yes, 15 years ago, when the question had not been investigated, it made sense to ask it; it was not a ridiculous question. But it was asked; it was answered, and the science settled it. Vaccines don't cause autism.

Siegel: By the year 2000, the rise in the number of autism diagnoses became the subject of congressional concern. In hearings that year, Congressman Dan Burton of Indiana said, "The rates of autism have escalated dramatically in the last few years. What used to be considered a rare disorder has become a near-epidemic." Has there been an autism epidemic?

Donvan: The truth is that we don't really know whether there has been an epidemic. And I know that sounds strange to people, because they hear so much more about autism now than they ever have before, but what we think is that there has been an explosion in autism diagnoses which is different from there being more autism. We started looking for autism, so found it. Also at the same time, what we call autism became a much, much broader spectrum, and the definition kept changing over time.

Siegel: Toward the very end of your book, you acknowledge the "neurodiversity movement." These would be people who are on the spectrum and who say, "Look, this isn't an illness. We don't want to be cured. This is a different way of being wired, a different way of your brain working." And there's an exchange between an activist of that sort with a mother whose son has autism. Describe what goes on between them.

Donvan: It's a conversation between Ari Ne'eman, who is a very, very prominent and successful activist for the concept of Neurodiversity. And Ari Ne'eman, whom we have a lot of respect for, has been very, very successful in promulgating the idea that people with autism should be accepted as they are. And he had a conversation with a mother named Liz Bell. Liz Bell is the mother of a young man named Tyler. In his mom's opinion, Tyler's experience of autism is very, very limiting in his life and his ability to dress himself, to shave himself, to feed himself, to go out the front door by himself and not run into traffic. And these are two very, very different views of what autism represents that come down to the fact that the spectrum is so broad that there is room for an Ari Ne'eman on it and there is room for a Tyler Bell on it. And the basic disagreement between them is whether autism is something that should be cured; whether the traits that limit Tyler's ability to be independent in life should be treated to make those traits go away. On one side, Ari is saying that it's suppressing who he actually is and his identity; on the other side is Tyler's mother saying that to treat him, and even cure him, of his autism would be to liberate who he is.

Siegel: But it does pose a question: Since there is no biological test — as you say, "no cheek swab that defines someone's condition as being autism" — are we really clear that Ari and Tyler have the same condition, and that we should group them together on this spectrum? Or does the spectrum inevitably include everybody in the world?

Donvan: Boy, that is the question of the moment in the autism conversation. How big is the umbrella under which we want to include people who have autistic traits? We don't look at the spectrum concept as necessarily the last word. We may end up splitting the spectrum again into different parts. And this tension between lumping together or splitting apart has been repeated again and again through the history of autism. We happen to be in what's called in the field a "Lumper Moment" in that the spectrum idea is dominant, popular — it makes a lot of sense to a lot of people.

Siegel: Caren Zucker, is it any easier to be the parent of someone with autism today than it was, say, 15 or 20 years ago?

Zucker: Absolutely. I have a 21-year-old son [with autism], and when I was trying to get services for my son, I was making it up, or I was on a list for 300 people to try to get into a program that could actually help him. And if you look back at how far we've come in 15 years, it's remarkable in terms of awareness, in terms of education. We have figured out what to do, to a very large extent, with the kids. But we have not gotten to the adults. And part of that is because adults weren't around, you know, 50 years ago — they were mostly in institutions. So that's really the heart of where we're also trying to go with our book — for people to see, "Look how far we've come. Look at what these parents and advocates have done. But look how far we still have to go."



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The DNA of Disruption: How to disrupt an industry in 3 steps

Disruption is what every entrepreneur hopes for when they start a business. This hope doesn't only stem to create a viable business, but to make severe impact on their customers, and the world around them.

Take a business that disrupted the taxi industry; Uber. They took the concerns with the traditional taxi model, empowered people that had cars to become chauffeurs for others, and eliminated the entire need of taxis altogether.

A site that is the definition of disruption is Everipedia. I spoke to cofounder Mahbod Moghadam, formerly Cofounder of Rap Genius (aka "Genius") about how Everipedia is disrupting Wikipedia, and the process he uses to disrupt any industry.

1. Find a pain in a system

Like most industries, there is usually one glaring issue, and concern that customers, or people that work specifically with a business or organization experience.

For example, with Wikipedia, around a thousand articles get deleted every week. And yet, even with its relatively small number of pages, Alexa deems Wikipedia the 7th-largest site in the world. So instead, with Everipedia, you can make an article about anything or anyone, and the format is simple enough that you can add information from your phone.

Similarly, Wikipedia has no social element to their pages, versus Everipedia has implemented social features that allow, for example, celebrities to share and interact with fans.

Thirdly, contributing to Wikipedia doesn't attach any goal or purpose, versus Everipedia takes the IQ points for contributing to Everipedia, and the plan is for IQ to someday be interchangeable for equity in the site. Contributors who put up a lot of college-related pages can be appointed "Campus Representatives".

Lastly, Everipedia's philosophical difference from Wikipedia of taking citations from anywhere bring a unique feel to the Everipedia. For Moghadam, these are the immediate problems, and need for a viable solution.

2. Get feedback on the pain

When Moghadam started using Wikipedia, he learned very quickly that the people that use Wikipedia are very peculiar: most of the dedicated editors are white, single males. Similarly, he began to reach out to other peers that tried using Wikipedia to learn more about what success and failures they had with the product.

To get heavily involved in Wikipedia, you need to know "wiki markup" which is kind of like a coding language. This results in a lot of consistent, often bigoted biases in the content Wikipedia deems notable. There aren't many dedicated contributors to Wikipedia, so a small group is in control. It's hard for "outsiders" to get involved, especially because the site is difficult to use.

Another great tip when you are getting iterative feedback on the pain and product is to keep it simple for your consumers. One of my all time favorite examples of keeping it simple is WhatsApp, which was acquired by Facebook for $19 billion dollars. A simple concept, with the KISS (keep it simple stupid) concept clear.

For Everipedia, the biggest difference between Everipedia and Wikipedia, is similarity to popular products, such as Facebook.

 Wikipedia was built in 1999 and it hasn't changed much. Everipedia is new, it feels the same way Facebook feels. This adds an element of stickiness for consumers, which allows them to adopt to products quicker.

3. Implement the solution and iterate

Once you have discovered a major pain that people have, and received feedback on the pain and the potential solutions, the importance is to push a simple product that people can give you feedback on, and continue the iterative process.

For Moghadam, he quickly launched the site after receiving iterative feedback from his prospective users, and to this date, is receiving astronomical growth.

How will you disrupt an industry? 



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Score big with these favorite Super Bowl snacks

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By Hilary Meyer, January 6, 2016 - 12:18pm


During the Super Bowl, while my husband is in front of the television yelling about bad play calls, I’ll be in the kitchen enjoying some of my favorite Super Bowl recipes. I’m going to make chips and dips, onion rings, jalapeño poppers and chicken wings just to name a few. Some of our recipes for these favorite snacks use an easy, mess free oven-fry technique that gives food a crispy golden crust and moist interior. It tastes like fried food, but it’s better for you. Score!

What’s your favorite Super Bowl Snack? Share your comment and take our poll!

Here are recipes for chips and dips and other favorite Super Bowl recipes that won’t sack your diet:

Chips and Dips: Get recipes for everyone’s favorite football snacks: chips and dip. Keep tight ends tight with our lower-fat, warm and gooey Chile Can Queso dip and zesty baked Chile-Lime Tortilla Chips. Creamy Spinach dip always scores a touchdown—and everyone will love scooping it up with homemade Garlic & Herb Pita Chips. You’ll love the rich flavor of our French Onion Dip made with real onions—especially when served with the crunchiest-ever Microwave Potato Chips.

Onion Rings We couldn’t get enough of these crunchy onion rings in the EatingWell Test Kitchen. Try any seasoning blend that you have on hand to add flavor to the breading or substitute 1 teaspoon salt instead. Seasoned whole-wheat breadcrumbs are available in some supermarkets and natural-foods stores. If you can find them, try them in place of the plain breadcrumbs and seasoning blend.

Boneless Buffalo Wings These crispy chicken “wings,” made with boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders, stay crispy with only a light coating of oil—no deep-frying needed. Serve as an appetizer or try them for dinner with crunchy vegetables and dip on the side. Watch How to Make Our Healthier Chicken Wings!

Chocolate Crunch It wasn’t in our poll as an option, but several EatingWell.com visitors wrote in that they love eating the crunchy cereal mix. Our addictive sweet-salty version of the snack coats wheat cereal, pretzels and almonds coated in bittersweet chocolate. Mmmm.

Black Bean Nacho Pizza This recipe combines two favorite Super Bowl eats: nachos and pizza. Break out the napkins! This pie is an over-the-top, vegetarian concoction with black-bean spread, Jack cheese, tomatoes, scallions, olives and pickled jalapenos; it's part nacho, part pizza. For an even more decadent treat, serve with low-fat sour cream.

Jalapeño Poppers Spicy peppers get a cooldown from the creamy bean-and-cheese filling in our healthier version of jalapeno poppers.

Southwestern Layered Bean Dip Plenty of black beans, salsa and chopped fresh vegetables mean a healthy amount of dietary fiber in this Tex-Mex layered dip. We use reduced-fat sour cream along with full-fat (and full-flavored) cheese to make the dip lighter without compromising great taste. Be sure to have lots of baked tortilla chips on hand when you serve it.


What do you like to eat when you watch the Super Bowl? Tell us what you think below.

TAGS: Hilary Meyer, Food Blog




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'Oh, Bring Us Some ... ' Wait. What Is Figgy Pudding?

"Figgy pudding" is a traditional Christmas desserts that normally contains no figs — and isn't what Americans usually mean by "pudding." Edward Shaw/iStockphoto hide caption

toggle caption Edward Shaw/iStockphoto

"Figgy pudding" is a traditional Christmas desserts that normally contains no figs — and isn't what Americans usually mean by "pudding."

Edward Shaw/iStockphoto

This holiday season, one popular Christmas carol has been raising some questions here at NPR headquarters. Namely:

"Oh, bring us some figgy pudding, oh, bring us some figgy pudding, oh — "

Wait. What is figgy pudding?

First of all, it's "absolutely delicious," says Debbie Waugh, who recently served the dish at a tea at the Historic Green Spring House in Alexandria, Va.

Figgy pudding — also known as plum pudding or Christmas pudding — is a staple of the British Christmas table, she says.

"I resembles something like a cannonball, and it maybe feels a bit like a cannonball when it hits your stomach, but it's tradition and we love it," Waugh tells NPR's Michel Martin.

And despite its moniker, the dessert features neither figs nor plums.

"The 'plum' was a pre-Victorian generic term for any type of dried fruit, but most specifically, raisins," Waugh explains. " 'Figgy' — certainly at some time figs would have been incorporated into Christmas pudding recipes, but today, not traditionally."

It's also a pudding in the British sense, meaning dessert — not the creamy, custardy dish most Americans associate with the word. It's a steamed cake full of with raisins, currants and brandy.

The traditions around the figgy pudding carry a lot of Christian symbolism, Waugh says. The classic dish had 13 ingredients — "representing Christ and the 12 apostles," she says — and was served with a sprig of holly on top, standing in for the crown of thorns

"And, of course, the most important part of the Christmas pudding tradition: We set it on fire," Waugh says. "We pour a bit of brandy over it and set it aflame to great applause." That particular tradition represents the passion of Christ, she says.

When NPR asked if Waugh could make one and let our staffers watch, she was blunt: "Not on your life!"

"Few people nowadays make their own from scratch," she says. "It's a very time-consuming, labor-intensive operation. We're already a bit too late, anyway, to make a Christmas pudding, because you should have begun it on the last Sunday before Advent ... five weeks before Christmas."

Letting the pudding age allows the alcohol to draw out more flavors, Waugh says.

"You could make your pudding on Christmas Eve and I'm sure it would be just fine, but much better to start well ahead."

Ah well. If you're OK with a "just fine" version — or want to sample a figgy pudding in late January — Waugh did agree to share her recipe.

Christmas/Plum/Figgy Pudding Recipe

Serves 8-10

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 8 hours

Ideal aging time: 4-5 weeks

Ingredients

9 oz. brown sugar

9 oz. suet (raw beef or mutton fat)

14 oz. golden raisins

14 oz. raisins

9 oz. currants

5 oz. chopped candied orange peel

5 oz. plain flour

5 oz. white or brown breadcrumbs

Grated zest of one lemon

5 eggs, beaten

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. mixed spice

1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

Pinch of salt

1/4 pint [1/2 cup] brandy

Directions

Place all dry ingredients into large bowl and mix well. Stir in the eggs and brandy. Grease a 2-liter/4-pint pudding basin, then pour in the mixture. [Editor's note: If you don't have a pudding basin, also known as a steam bowl, a heat-proof metal or pyrex mixing bowl can stand in. Make sure it has a lip at the top, so your string will stay in place.] Place a circle of baking parchment and a circle of foil over the top of the basin and tie securely with string. Put the basin into a large steamer of boiling water and cover with a lid. [Editor's note: If you don't have a steamer, you can use a large pot. Place a trivet or a small inverted plate at the bottom to raise your pudding basin up from the bottom of the pot]. Boil for 5-6 hours. Top up the water as necessary so the pot doesn't boil dry. Allow pudding to cool. Refresh parchment and foil covers and re-tie. Store in a cool, dry place for 4-5 weeks until Christmas Day (You can get away with preparing it on Christmas Eve, though.) Steam pudding again for 1-2 hours immediately before serving. Place on table, douse with brandy and set aflame!


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Certain factors may help identify patients for surgical procedure for obstructive sleep apnea

Patients with more severe obstructive sleep apnea are more likely to receive greater benefit from the surgical procedure known as maxillomandibular advancement, according to a study published online by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Maxillomandibular advancement (MMA) is an invasive yet potentially effective surgical option in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) for patients who have difficulty tolerating continuous positive airway pressure. Maxillomandibular advancement achieves enlargement of the upper airway by physically expanding the facial skeletal framework. Assessment of whether any preoperative factors could be consistently associated with postoperative outcomes could help to shape patient selection criteria and to counsel patients regarding their chances to achieve a significant improvement with MMA, according to background information in the article.

Soroush Zaghi, M.D., of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis that included 45 studies with individual data for 518 patients/interventions. Patients in the studies had undergone MMA as treatment for OSA. Among patients for whom data were available, 197 of 268 (74 percent) had undergone prior surgery for OSA. The researchers analyzed the changes in the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) and respiratory disturbance index (RDI) (measures of the severity of OSA) after MMA.

The authors found that MMA is associated with substantial improvements to AHI and RDI. Among 518 patients, 512 experienced improvement in outcomes. Patients with less severe measures of OSA experience a smaller magnitude of change in AHI or RDI postoperatively, but they have the highest chance of achieving surgical success and cure. The average reduction for AHI and RDI outcomes was 80 percent and 65 percent, respectively. Patients with high residual RDI and AHI scores (despite prior surgical procedures) were highly likely to benefit from management of OSA by means of MMA.

"Maxillomandibular advancement is a highly effective treatment for OSA," the researchers write. "Those patients with the most severe measures of OSA tend to benefit to the greatest degree."

"Future studies will provide additional insights to help optimize patient selection for this treatment option."



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Countdown to the Holidays -- Keeping Yourself Stress-Free!

Anyone who knows me will tell you that, around this time of year, something magic happens to me. There's an extra spring in my step. I laugh especially hard. And if you listen closely, sometimes you'll hear me humming...Christmas carols!

I've always loved the holidays; it's a passion that dates back to my childhood. The moment the calendar flipped to October 31, life got really fun. Trick-or-treating in our neighborhood -- Beverly Hills -- was always a blast, because the grown-ups who answered the door were people you saw on movie screens, like Robert Young and Bing Crosby. When November rolled around, our house began to sparkle -- literally -- and the way my mom set the Thanksgiving dinner table looked like something you'd see in Good Housekeeping. And Christmas? Wow. Dad decorated our lawn with the most beautiful Nativity scene in the neighborhood -- with intricately hand-carved figurines, and "Silent Night" piped in softly in the background. People came from miles around to see that crèche, and that set the mood for the celebrations that would follow.

But that was then and this is now. The world moves a lot faster these days, especially during the holidays, when the non-stop activity can make your home feel more like Grand Central Station that the warm hearth of yesteryear. Chaos rules the day.

But there's something you can do about it. After all, holiday stress is a lot like a seasonal cold: it's inevitable that you'll catch it, but there are steps you can take to get through the worst of it quickly and start breathing easy again. Here are five tips from Dr. Marlo:

Start your shopping early. (Like now!)
Ninety percent of holiday madness is due to our crammed schedules. By the time Thanksgiving approaches, most of us are overbooked, underprepared and running out of time. So don't wait for the arrival of the Mall Santas to begin your Christmas shopping -- start now! Keep a gift list next to your computer, and knock off one new present every day. (As we all know, there's virtually nothing you can't buy online!) Then save your weekends for a casual, no-stress trip to the mall, just to round out your list. For extra credit, keep a few rolls of holiday paper nearby and wrap the gifts as they arrive. On December 24th, you may be the only one in the house with your feet up, watching TV!

Create a festive environment.
The ancient Chinese weren't messing around when they came up with feng shui -- the philosophical practice of creating an environment that is in harmony with our inner selves. Some of my friends rib me that, during the holidays, my home can look like the set of a Christmas TV special -- smartly decorated tree here, twinkly lights there, carols streaming through the sound system. But isn't that better than walking into the kitchen in the morning to the same old sink-load of dirty dishes? That we get the other 11 months a year! So set up your tree a little earlier this season, hang some tinsel on your stairway banister, dust off that old John Denver Christmas record and turn up the volume. You'll be surprised how easily the stress melts away.

Prioritize.
Now matter how hard we try -- or what higher power we lobby -- we will never get that 36-hour day most of us need to meet our obligations. And the holidays are the hardest time of all to untangle our knotty schedules, as deadlines and errands run smack into holiday parties and family gatherings. So we need to be selective. Could completing that big project at the office help sweeten your Christmas bonus? Then skip that cocktail party (where you won't know anybody anyway) and burn the midnight oil at your desk. Will meeting your visiting college roommate for dinner renourish your soul better than cleaning out the garage (which can easily wait until tomorrow)? Then give yourself a treat and go have fun with your old pal. You'll know you made the right decision when you feel your pulse drop and your spirits lift. Give it a try!

Watch what you eat!
It's easy to lose grip on your healthy-eating habits once Christmas sweets start arriving in the mail (especially Aunt Harriet's famous fruitcake) and the mid-day noshing begins. But that doesn't mean you have to say goodbye to between-meals snacks -- just pick the right ones. According to EverydayHealth, you can eat right and reduce stress with a diet that includes: healthy carbs (a small bowl of pasta, sweet potatoes, whole-grains), which include seratonins that boost your mood and reduce your stress; avocados, which teem with omega-3 fatty acids that calm anxiety; a handful of nuts (almonds, pistachios, walnuts), whose B vitamins take the edge off your tension; and my favorite one of all -- a modest piece dark chocolate, which is rich in antioxidants and, of course, always a pleasure to eat.

Give back.
I wouldn't be me if I didn't remind you that the holidays are the perfect time to remember those who need our help. This year marks the 12th anniversary of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital's Thanks and Giving program, an annual awareness and fundraising campaign that asks holiday shoppers across the country to give thanks for the healthy kids in your life, and to give to those who are not. As National Outreach Director for St. Jude -- which my father, Danny Thomas, founded in 1962 -- I can tell you firsthand the enormous impact your generosity has on these gravely ill children and their families -- especially during the holidays. And there are so many ways you can participate in the program -- by adding a donation to your store purchases (shop where you see our St. Jude logo -- we have over 70 great partners!), by donating online, or by buying our special line of St. Jude holiday gifts at www.stjude.org.

And that support is invaluable. When my father first opened the doors to the hospital, he made a promise that no family would ever pay St. Jude for anything -- not for treatment, or travel or housing or food -- because we believe that all a family should worry about is helping their child live. I'm proud to say that, with your help, we continue to stand by that promise today.

On Monday, November 23, I will be appearing on AOL's "Build" with Chairman and CEO, Tim Armstrong, and a St. Jude patient to talk all about the program, and I hope you'll tune in. In the meantime, here's to another joyous holiday season -- without the stress!

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.











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Cognition and sex differences in circadian rhythms

Shifted sleep-wake cycles might differently influence brain function in men and women, according to a study.

Circadian rhythms affect brain function via the sleep-wake cycle, but whether the effects differ between men and women is unknown. Derk-Jan Dijk and colleagues compared the effects of circadian phase and sleep-wake cycles on the performance of men and women in several cognitive tasks.

During a 10-day sleep protocol, the sleep-wake cycles of 16 men and 18 women were rescheduled to a 28-hour day. With no external daylight or time cues, the brain's 24-hour clock desynchronized from the sleep-wake schedule, similar to the effect observed during shiftwork. Every 3 hours when participants were awake, the authors administered subjective assessments, such as reported sleepiness, and objective cognitive performance tests, including attention and motor control.

In both men and women, the effects of circadian phase and awake time were generally stronger for subjective assessments than for performance in objective tests. The circadian effect on cognition, however, was larger in women than in men, such that women were more impaired during the early morning hours for certain tasks.

While many factors affect sleep and cognition, the findings provide insight into factors that may contribute to cognitive differences, and future studies should use tests designed to account for any existing baseline differences in task performance between the sexes, according to the authors.

ARTICLE #15-21637: "Sex differences in the circadian regulation of sleep and waking cognition in humans," by Nayantara Santhi et al. To be published in PNAS the week of April 18.



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O.J. Simpson Juror -- Evidence, Schmevidence ... We Thought Marcia Clark and Chris Darden Were Banging! (VIDEO)

Marcia Clark and Chris Darden blew the O.J. Simpson murder trial because jurors were more focused on whether they were doing the deed ... according to one infamous panel member. Michael Knox was juror #620 -- the guy featured on 'The…

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Miesha Tate -- Ronda Wants to Get Knocked Up ... I'll Knock Her Out (VIDEO)

Miesha Tate is questioning Ronda Rousey's focus -- saying Ronda's more worried about having babies than fighting ... and it's going to hurt her when they step in the octagon.  Tate joined the guys on "TMZ Sports" (airs tonight on FS1) -- when…

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Zika virus linked to babies born with microcephaly

CNN's Shasta Darlington travels to the northeastern city of Recife, Brazil, considered ground zero of the Zika pandemic.



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How These 4 Companies Used Content to Generate Leads

Many businesses have realized that content is a great way to turn web traffic into leads, but some of them took longer to get there than others. I spoke to a handful of companies, and they shared their successes and their challenges.

(Note: If you want to share how your own company uses content to generate leads, create brand awareness or thought leadership, reply in the comments below and maybe we can feature your company in a future column.)

1. The Dealstruck marketing department adheres to a "fail quickly" methodology when working on any type of marketing campaign. "Of the many successes (and even more failures) we've seen, content marketing continues to perform very well in a variety of ways," says Candace Klein, chief strategy officer.

Klein believes that content marketing now meets at an intersection of multiple mediums--SEO, public relations, and social marketing. All true. In fact, the old ways of PR are currently experiencing a renaissance as inbound marketing becomes a more prevalent way for businesses to attract customers.

Klein outlined a few of their successful and unsuccessful content marketing efforts:

Ongoing offerings: "We published an ongoing series of eBooks on the business lending process, which have resulted in organic and direct traffic, as well as opportunities in the press," she says. White papers can serve a similar function-show off your thought leadership and use it as a lead-gen tool.

Tent-pole content: "We create of ongoing infographics (some successful, some not) that detail the business lending landscape, and also highlight holidays and other important public events to increase engagement."

Inbound links: "We capture inbound links from 3rd party sites to support our long term SEO goals, all originating from highly authoritative articles from thought leaders at Dealstruck," she says.

 

2. For Healthy.co.id, blogging has been a key part of the growth of the company. "About half of our organic traffic to the website is due to our blog," says co-founder Christian Sculthorp.

His team turns readers into subscribers by capturing their email address on the blog posts. "We also add links to our category and product pages within the articles."

What they learned: "We try to write helpful articles that are based around the products that we sell so every post is relevant and that results in a pretty high conversion rate."

The mistake they made: "Not giving blog readers a CTA earlier on. When we started out we were just writing posts without really thinking about how they would turn in to customers. If I were to do it over, we'd have clear CTAs from the get-go."

 

3. One topic that Formstack wanted to tackle and share expert opinion on was the "7 Skills New Marketers Need to Succeed." While a bylined article or blog can stand on its own, there was no doubt that a visually-compelling infographic, shared with the press and promoted through social channels, including some savvy LinkedIn tactics, would provide more bang for the buck.

"Over a three-month period, the '7 Skills New Marketers Need to Succeed' infographic campaign earned us 32 pieces of media coverage," says Chris Lucas, VP of marketing. "This volume of media coverage greatly increased our share of voice online and increased our organic traffic throughout the duration of the campaign."

Lesson learned: Take your blog post material and find ways to transform it into an infographic.

 

4. As a financial advisor, Devin Carroll struggled for years to get noticed. He describes himself as one of many in an ocean of sameness. "I knew I had expertise in Social Security, but just saying so wasn't enough," he says.

Carroll didn't start to earn any recognition for his expertise until he started giving information away.

He began dispensing actionable and solid advice on his blog, Social Security Intelligence. "As a result of this 'free' information, I started to get noticed," he says. "Podcast and radio interviews started happening, CPA speaking engagements and other previously unreachable opportunities started coming my way."

Advice? "Give your best stuff away. Don't hold back good content."

Thinking through the math: "I think that of 1% (.5%) of the people who read my blog may eventually need my products or services and will become customers. So, if I have 1,000 readers on my blog in any one month I should have 5 good prospective customers. That's awful! I could probably do better by cold calling out of the phone book or with a simple yellow page ad. Somehow, I have to reach more people."

The key?

"More free content!" says Carroll. "The same numbers at 10,000 readers = 50 prospective clients. At 50,000 monthly readers I should have 250. The incredible thing about prospecting in this manner is that the same amount of work that gets me in front of 5 prospective customers has the potential to get me in front of 250!"



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7 Secrets to Starting a New Habit--and Making It Stick

You want to make changes to your fitness, work habits, career or other aspects of your life in 2016. You know that the best way to make life changes is by changing your habits. Habit is an incredibly powerful force that dictates much of how we live our lives. But eliminating old habits is almost impossible, and creating new ones is almost as hard. You know because you've tried and failed. Multiple times.

According to Dr. Jason Selk, you've fallen victim to "fight-thrus." Selk is an executive coach who was formerly the St. Louis Cardinals' director of mental training--during which time the team won two World Series. He's the author of Organize Tomorrow Today: 8 Ways to Retrain Your Mind. 

Most habit formation begins with a triggering incident, Selk says. For instance, you feel out of shape, you attend a workshop on the benefits of fitness, and you decide to work out every day. You start out with a run on the first day, afterward you feel great, and you're confident that this will be your new routine. But on the third day, the weather turns rainy and it's a battle to get yourself out the door.

"At some point, obstacles will test your resolve and you'll have to decide if you're going to take the easy route--as most people do--and stop the routine, or go forward and win your fight-thru," Selk says. "Fight-thru is where your initial confidence morphs into the realization that winning is going to be harder than you ​thought. You need to be able to win two or three fight-thru battles with yourself to reach the point where a habit becomes second nature."

How do you win those fight-thrus? Here's Selk's advice:

1. Ritualize your new habit.

Do this by putting your new habit on your schedule, at the same time every day or week. "If the habit is taking a thirty-minute run every day, block it out on the calendar for the same time and make it nonnegotiable," Selk says. "This takes most of the thinking out of it. You're almost automating the process."

2. Recognize fight-thrus when you encounter them. 

When it's day three of your new running habit and you're debating with yourself whether to go out in the rain, begin by recognizing what's happening, Selk says. When this happens, learn to say to yourself: "I've entered a fight-thru."

How will this help? "This is like taking the blindfold off before the fight begins," he explains. "Now you know what you're fighting." Every fight-thru you win makes winning the next one easier, he says. The reverse is also true: Every fight-thru you lose makes it easier to give in next time.

3. Ask yourself two questions.

Now that you know what you're up against, you can coach yourself through the fight-thru by asking yourself two questions: "How will I feel if I win the fight-thru? And how will I feel if I lose it?"

"You're now bringing emotion into the equation, which promotes action," Selk says. "If in your mind you win, you may feel like a champion. If you lose, you'll probably experience negative emotions that come with underperforming. Negative or positive, these emotions are powerful motivators to help you win the fight."

4. Visualize your future life.

Spend 30 seconds thinking in detail about how your life will be different in five years if you consistently win the fight-thrus and form a new habit, Selk says. "Be honest with yourself, and let yourself feel the benefits of constantly winning the fight."

Then, do the same thing in the other direction. Spend 30 seconds thinking about your future life if you consistently lose the fight-thrus and stick with the status quo. "It's your choice," Selk says.

5. Don't get hung up on results.

Let's say you've been winning your fight-thrus for a while and you have successfully formed a new habit. Congratulations! But just because the habit is there doesn't mean it can't fall apart, so you must stay vigilant to protect it.

One common setback is when the new habit doesn't immediately deliver the results you were hoping for. "It's easy to slip into a negative mindset," Selk says. "'Why do I bother? It doesn't matter what I do.'" When this happens, you have met the Discouragement Monster, he says. "It's so dangerous because it saps your willingness to keep trying. Keep trying anyway; you will win."

6. Don't let disruption ruin your progress. 

Millions of people start diet and exercise routines in summer and they work for several months, Selk says. Then Thanksgiving arrives, followed by Christmas and the inevitable Christmas parties. "By January, you're back where you were in June," he says. 

The answer is to be vigilant, and avoid breaking your new habit whenever you can. "Any break in your routine, will disrupt the positive habits that brought you success," he says. "Be careful to protect your routine." 

7. Don't be seduced by success.

Tell me if this sounds familiar: You decide to get in shape by running every day. Then you hear about a 5k or 10k in your neighborhood, and you decide to enter. You keep up your running routine until the day of the race, which you successfully complete in a respectable time. You're thrilled--and then you stop running.

"Maybe the most dangerous trap comes when you have great success," Selk says. "You've won the fight-thrus, you've changed your pattern, and now you're feeling great. It's human nature to think, 'Hey, I've got this licked. Now I don't have to work as hard.'"

In other words, you've been seduced by success. "Recognizing seduction is an important part of avoiding it," he says. "Anytime you catch yourself saying, 'I can't do my tasks today because . . . ' or, 'I don't need to do my activities today because . . . ,' you know you're entering the seduction zone. You can see that you're backsliding."

What do you do? Work a little harder for a little longer, he says. "Ten more sit-ups, another lap, or three more bench presses will reinforce in your mind your ability to win fight-thrus," he says. "Just as physical training makes your body strong, perseverance and willingness to fight through obstacles will make you mentally strong." 

Stick with these steps, he adds. Before you know it, you'll have created a new, winning habit.



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This Simple Morning Ritual Primes Your Brain for Success

Want this year to be the year you finally achieve some of your biggest goals? It can be--if you get your unconscious mind on board. That advice comes from May McCarthy, serial entrepreneur, angel investor, and author of The Path to Wealth. 

"Good leaders know that for a company to run successfully, managers must set specific, measurable goals and act on any opportunities presented to achieve them," she explains. "However, just setting the goals is not enough; holding regular planning sessions and reviewing goals is vital for success. The same is true for individual success. Attaining your goals requires identifying clear, specific and tangible goals and consistently focusing our attention and intention on them."

Once you've established your goals, she says, it's just as important to schedule regular (she recommends daily) planning meetings with yourself. This helps you not only review your path toward your goals so far and plan next steps, it also implants those goals and plans in your unconscious mind, giving you a very powerful ally.

Ready to give it a try? Here's what to do:

1. Put yourself on your calendar. 

"Treat your morning meeting with your inner self seriously," McCarthy advises. Begin by choosing a space that's free of distractions. Make sure you have the materials you'll need: an uplifting book that describes others' successes achieving their goals, and a pen and notebook. 

2. Read something that inspires you.

Spend the first five minutes of your "meeting" reading something that inspires you. "As you read about the success of others, your mind will look for ways to make those kinds of successes familiar and normal for you," McCarthy says.

3. Write a gratitude letter.

Spend the next 10 minutes writing a gratitude letter. "Be grateful for the good things already in your life, as well as the things you hope to have soon," McCarthy says. "Psychologists agree that gratitude and happiness help you to be more focused and able to solve problems."

To get your unconscious mind on board, she says, "Express gratitude for what you have and also what you want as though you have already received it." Giving thanks for what you don't yet have creates cognitive dissonance. Your unconscious mind will seek to resolve that dissonance by looking for ways to make your goal come true, thus making your statement a reality.

4. Read your gratitude letter out loud. 

This may seem awkward and embarrassing, even if you're by yourself, but give it a try anyway. "Studies have shown that when we read something out loud, we anchor it into our unconscious, which will help us to notice more possibilities to make our statements true," McCarthy says.

5. Visualize reaching your goals.

Spend up to five minutes with your eyes closed imagining your goals achieved. What will that look like and feel like? Who will be there with you? 

"Olympic athletes use this technique as part of their training," McCarthy says. "They see themselves making the shot, winning the competition, celebrating with teammates and family. If you want to win and achieve your goals, see yourself doing so first."

6. Now, listen to your unconscious mind.

Finishing these five steps should take between 20 and 25 minutes. Once you've done them, go ahead and start your day, McCarthy says. "Your unconscious mind will begin to do its job."

Often, that job will take the form of intuitions and hunches that you can't necessarily explain. Be on the lookout for those intuitions, and for unexpected leads and opportunities, McCarthy advises. That might mean calling someone whose name comes to mind out of the blue, or following a spontaneous urge to go somewhere that wasn't in your plans. Once, she says, she followed a gut instinct and drove 15 minutes out of her way. She wound up running into a potential customer, an encounter that later resulted in a contract worth more than $400,000.

"Some of these might not seem to make sense," she says. "But as Steve Jobs said, 'Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.'"



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WATCH: Drone Falls From Sky, Narrowly Misses Skier In Slalom Competition

A camera-carrying drone crashed into the ground Tuesday just behind speeding Austrian skier Marcel Hirscher as he competed in a World Cup slalom event.

Hirscher, who finished second, didn't seem to notice during the race, which took place in Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. He said afterward, according to ESPN, "This is horrible. This can never happen again. This can be a serious injury."

Later he tweeted a photo of a screenshot showing the close call with the caption, "Heavy air traffic in Italy."

This isn't the first time this year a drone has interrupted a sporting event.

In September, a student flew a drone over the University of Kentucky's packed football stadium and crashed it into the stands. No one was injured. Just a few days before that, a New York City teacher was arrested for flying a drone into a stadium during a tennis match at the U.S. Open.

While those incidents were ultimately harmless, drone usage is becoming increasingly problematic. Last year a drone incident sparked a riot at a soccer game between Serbia and Albania. In that instance, a drone carrying an Albanian nationalist banner landed on the field, fanning ethnic and nationalist tensions and provoking a fight between both the players and people in the stands.

And incidents are not limited to sporting events. As NPR reported earlier this month, a new study showed there were more than 300 incidents of "close encounters" between drones and manned aircraft in U.S. airspace in less than two years.

The Federal Aviation Administration has grappled with how to regulate drones. It has a series of rules based on whether the drone is for governmental, civil or recreational use.

Under the governmental use umbrella, law enforcement agencies are allowed to employ drones. This year, North Dakota became the first state to legalize armed drone use by police. As NPR reported at the time, the drones can be equipped with tear gas, rubber bullets, beanbags, pepper spray and Tasers. Meanwhile, police in Tokyo launched a drone designed to capture other drones.



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Scientists discover link between sleep gene and blood cancer risk

A group of Argentinian researchers have conducted a study to assess the relationship between the polymorphism of the human clock gene and the risk of getting blood cancer.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the human body consists of circadian clock genes, or simply known as an internal body clock, which regulates the way the body works each day. The word "circadian" originates from the Latin words meaning "about a day".

The main function of the circadian system is to keep us in sync with the 24-hour-day cycle. Any disruption of the circadian biological clock may trigger a huge range of health problems such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and even early mortality, according to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

The Argentinian researchers, led by Dr. María Belén Cerliani from the Laboratory of Cytogenetics and Mutagenesis, La Plata, Argentina, carried out a study to assess the association between PER3 polymorphism and onco-hematological diseases, and analyze whether this variant has an impact on patient's functionality.

PER3 is a protein coding gene that is a part of the mechanism involved in the circadian clock, according to the human gene database GeneCards. It plays a role in modulating sleep homeostasis in humans.

More relevant to this research is the fact that PER3 and its length polymorphism may have a role in the formation of tumors since clock genes are the main regulators of cell cycle and DNA repair pathways, according to the Argentinian research team.

"We conducted a case-control study in 125 patients with onco-hematological diseases and 310 controls. PER3 allelic variants were detected by PCR. A questionnaire was used to obtain sociodemographic data and information about patient's habits and functionality," stated Dr. Cerliani and her team.

The questionnaire allowed them to obtain information about the patients, such as changes in weight, changes in appetite, changes in humor, presence of physical/mental fatigue and difficulty sleeping. Any allelic variations - i.e., differences in DNA sequencing - in PER3 gene was then detected using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using the suitable primers.

Among interesting findings of this study is that women showed lower risk of disease compared to men and higher levels of education were significantly associated with an increased risk.

"Behavior variables such as fatigue, difficulty sleeping, waking up several times at night, or changes in appetite or weight did not associate with hematological cancer. This is probably because the study was hospital-based and more than 75% of the control patients were taking medication at the time of the interview. However, "feeling positive or negative changes in humor" was significantly associated with onco-hematological diseases," explained the researchers.

Based on the study conducted, the variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) polymorphism (in which repeated copies of DNA sequence lie next to one another on a chromosome) of PER3 increased the risk of onco-hematological diseases by 39%, although the result was not significant.

When the researchers analyzed the distribution of PER3 genotypes among controls and cases, they found that cancer patients with the 4/5 genotype (or heterozygous, i.e., referring to a pair of genes that are different from each other) or 5/5 genotype (homozygous, i.e., a pair of genes that are the same) had greater fatigue on awakening.

"Our results suggest that cancer patients with 4/5 or 5/5 genotype may suffer fatigue more intensely, since they combine circadian disruption from the pathology itself with an increased susceptibility to sleep deprivation due to PER3 genotype,"explained the study.

The data points obtained show that the VNTR of PER3 may be a significant marker for individual differences in sleep. It may also be a marker for susceptibility to sleep disruption and disruption of the circadian phase.

"All these data show that the VNTR of PER3 may have a role in the risk of leukemia, and it may be a significant marker for individual differences in sleep, vulnerability to sleep disruption and circadian phase misalignment. The investigations aimed at elucidating the molecular connection between circadian genes and carcinogenesis will be helpful in identifying individuals at a higher risk or more susceptible to circadian disruption. It is worth to note that circadian disruption may decrease the physiological defenses against the tumor," concluded Dr. Cerliani and her team.

The team has published their results in the December 2015 issue of the journal of Advances in Modern Oncology Research.



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10 Quick Public Speaking Tips For Busy Entrepreneurs

As entrepreneurs, we need to give presentations regularly. We give sales presentations to potential clients. We deliver pitches to prospects. 

Imagine you have to deliver a presentation tomorrow. There's no time for research. You know the topic well and you have an outline. 

Don't worry. You can still deliver an effective presentation with confidence. Here are 10 public speaking tips you can apply immediately:

1. Open with a story

Stories help you engage the audience's emotions such as hope, love, fear, anger, and joy. When you engage the audience with emotions, they will resonate with what you say. 

2. Support each point with a story or case study

Here are two types of stories that deliver your message effectively: 

Your Personal Experiences. What experience has changed your life? It could be "the biggest mistake I've had in my business" or "my first sales experience." Anything relates to mistakes you've made and your first-time work. These stories make you human. Client Case Studies. Think about the results you've helped clients get. To prove my ability to help business leaders succeed, I can share how I helped a nervous business leader deliver the message effectively and confidently and have the impact he want on the audience. 3. Summarize your key points

People remember your closing the best. To recall their memory, do a quick recap. 

If my presentation is about inspiring action, I would summarize my points with, "How can we inspire people to take action? Number one, summarize your key points. Number two, have a clear call to action."

4. Have a clear call to action

No matter how great your presentation is, having no audience member take action is a waste of your time. 

Your audience may not know what to do after your presentation. Give them a clear action step. The action step can be as simple as, "Go to XYZ.com and download my free report."

5. Practice your presentation with video

The worst time to evaluate your presentation is when you're giving it. Practice your presentation and record it in video. You can use a smartphone or webcam. 

6. Watch the rehearsal video 

Write down what you like and don't like about the presentation, especially body language and use of voice. 

Watch the first three to five minutes of your video to get the big picture quickly. Also make sure you end strong.

7. Improve your presentation

Keep what you like and get rid of what you don't like. Like your high energy? Keep it. Hate your poor eye contact? Focus on improving your eye contact. Just speak to the audience like you're talking to friends.

8. Arrive early at the venue

Arrive 15 to 20 minutes early to where you'll deliver the presentation. Get comfortable with the stage, especially if you're never been there before. 

Test your equipment. Make sure the computer and projector is working. If you are playing video, check the sound. For big audiences, use a microphone. 

Practice your opening so you will gain more confidence and comfort.

9. Talk to your audience

Instead of presenting in front of a group of strangers, why not build relationships with your audience before speaking? You'll turn them from strangers into friends and feel more relaxed. 

10. Be in the moment 

Focusing on the audience is a proven method to improve confidence. Before stepping on stage, I focus on helping business leaders become successful and make a difference. 

Remember, it's not about you; it's about the audience.

Apply these ten public speaking tips and you'll deliver the presentation effectively and confidently.



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