Archive for February 2008

It’s All About Excelling Beyond Excellence!

February 29, 2008

Since this is website is about being empowered to Excel Beyond Excellence, here are some sayings on excellence by various thinkers and personalities. Have a look through and let’s contemplate on how being excellent can affect our lives and how we can further attain excellence ourselves.

Excellence encourages one about life generally; it shows the spiritual wealth of the world. — George Eliot

Excellence means when a man or woman asks of himself more than others do. — Jose Ortega Gasset

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. — Aristotle

Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude. — Ralph Marston

Excellence is a better teacher than mediocrity. The lessons of the ordinary are everywhere. Truly profound and original insights are to be found only in studying the exemplary. — Warren G. Bennis

Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way. — Booker T. Washington

There is no excellence without labor. One cannot dream oneself into either usefulness or happiness. — Liberty Hyde Bailey

Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better. — Pat Riley

Excellence is the unlimited ability to improve the quality of what you have to offer. — Rick Pitino

7 Vital Things You Must Keep In Mind When You Handle Difficult People

February 27, 2008

Today was another enriching day as I worked with the Consultants. During my full-day training on “Managing Difficult Clients”, the Consultants shared with me the various types of tough people that they encounter at the work place and in life. Plenty of real life examples emerged and we took the incidents into practice during the role-play. This is followed by their insightful sharing of what they have learnt.

In addition, I also share with them the proven ways to better manage these difficult people as well as the key points to remember.

1. It’s really about the power between both of you.

2. Sincerity and clarity of the relationship is important.

3. Use the pre-frame and set-up to your advantage.

4. You can install further set up within your conversation. This will keep your clients on track and within your intended scope of discussion.

5. Strive to pin-point the underlying issue and resolve them instead of reinforcing their negativity. Be forward looking instead of reliving the hurting memories.

6. Keep the clients rational towards issues rather than associating them to overwhelming emotions.

7. Avoid personalizing the issues by checking your language and comments.

As you embark on serving your clients, it is imperative that these pointers be employed as much as possible. In this way, you will be better positioned to attain positive results during your consultations.

May you Excel Beyond Excellence!

Proven Tips To Boost Your Public Speaking And Presentation Skills (Part 13)

February 26, 2008

Given the ability to speak, it is always wise for a human to improve and master his communication skills. This was exactly what my Toastmasters Club did tonight. We increased the opportunity for members to better improve their communication abilities.

The National University of Singapore Toastmasters Club had a parallel meeting today, implying that two meetings were running at the same time. Close coordination were needed, and the organizers did that without breaking into a sweat.

A key reason for tonight’s arrangement was to provide speaking slots for the overwhelming number of people who want to present their speech projects. The wide selection of speaking level ranged from the basic appetizer speech to the advanced application presentations. An in-depth learning opportunity for the audience indeed.

Tonight I was the Language Evaluator and I’ve noted how the Club’s overall language construction ability has improved. Many speakers had conscientiously crafted their phrases in addition to pronouncing accurately. A worthy effort for the Club, I must say!

As usual, I highlighted to the speakers some of the areas where tonight’s speeches could be improved and quality boosted:

1. If you want to encourage people to attempt something new, avoid spending too much time asking people to consider the dangers of it. Instead, share with us how we can better manage the negative aspects so that the experiences become positive. In this way, you will better achieve your intention to encourage us to take part in whatever is suggested.

2. Create a relation between different sets of numbers. Verbally, audience generally find it harder to visualize numbers. Therefore, it is not just rattling off numbers or figures, but the underlying significance of the numbers. Let us know why the numbers matter and how to make sense of them.

3. Avoid over-memorizing the speech to such an extend where it becomes too mechanical. Some speakers prefer to memorize while some others like to keep it more impromptu. No matter what your preferences are, the outcome of the speech should not appear too mechanized. Another caution to over-memorizing is the risk of forgetting a word or phrases that might render you unable to continue the lines. Find your balance between memorizing and being able to take into account the audience responses.

4. When you want to make your speech more entertaining, remember to grab the attention, build the anticipation and release the exasperation. In this way you can better draw your audience into your theme and your intention will be easier achieved.

These are excited speeches that I’ve heard tonight. And in my opinion, all the speakers deserve double rounds of applause. I’ve noted how they’ve improved over all these months and these shiny examples for the power of communication.

May all your speaking skills Excel Beyond Excellence!

What Separates The Top Performers From The Average Performers At Work? Key Differences Between The Excellors And The Average

February 24, 2008

During training and consultation for the upper management, the presidents, managers and directors often ask what makes a super-star staff different from a typical worker of the organization.

Having been analyzing, training and consulting at different companies, organizations and industries, I have discovered that there are indeed noticeable distinctions between the two genres of staff.

Since this is a rather common questions being posted, I would like to shed some light in this article on the key differences between those who excel beyond excellence, The Excellors, and the rest of the average employee.

The top differences are as follows: (Excellors vs the Average performer)

1. Having the attitude of being a top performer vs the attitude of an order taker

2. Commitment to work excellence vs working the minimal needed

3. Possesses Values integration with the companies vs values clashing with organizations

4. Having a far-sighted vision beyond the pay vs working just for the pay

5. Having the Humility to learn and reflect vs habitual ignorance and arrogance

6. Willingness to Turning mistakes into improvements vs avoidance to fail and tendency to blame and complain

7. Take Self responsibility vs company’s and other’s problem

8. Takes calculated Risk taker vs risk adverse and total risk avoidance

9. A Positive Relationship builder with Boss, Colleagues and Clients (BCC) vs talking to others outside of social group only if left with no choice

10. Emotionally and mentally strong vs mood sensitive and easily environmentally influenced

11. Possess Clarity of career goals vs just work for the moment and see what happens

12. He is an Energizer vs an energy and emotional depleter

13. He helps improve the organization to Excel Beyond Excellence!

Proven Tips To Boost Your Public Speaking And Presentation Skills (Part 12)

February 23, 2008

I was a judge at a Pre-University speech contest today. It was executed ‘Idol’ style where every judge will provide some comments to the speakers immediately after they had spoken.

Here are some of the suggestions I’ve shared with the contestants:

1. Learn to explore and maximize the impact of your prop.

2. Pause for effect if you intend to make a point and for punch line, especially if you are making a joke.

3. Allow the message or sub-point to sink in first before moving to your next point.

Top Reasons Why Negotiations, Sales And Deals Fail

February 22, 2008

Over these last two days was another intensive and highly interactive training on “Effective Negotiation Skills”. The participants came from a wide variety of industries and represent different organizations. We get to hear their view points and they also get to practice the many strategies taught.

One of the areas covered also included the reasons behind the failings of negotiations, selling process and deals making. To add on, here are some of the reasons:

1. A lack of rapport and trust.

2. A lack of sincerity and integrity

3. The thinking was win-lose instead of win-win.

4. There was a clash of values.

5. Did not communicate well with each other.

6. Poor employment of negotiation tactics and overall strategy.

7. Lack of awareness and display of insensitivity.

What You Must Understand To Better Manage Your Time And Run Your Life

February 20, 2008

The desire to manage our time and our life better does not come from the external forces. While we can be triggered by what is outside of us, the true want to run our lives for the better must be internally motivated. This is part of what we had also discussed at today’s “Time Management” training for a major statutory agency.

We further know it’s most prudent and economical to treat our limited time with respect. Hence, to better manage time and ultimately our life, here are some important understandings you ought to know:

1. Know that every moment you spend and what you spend doing has some value in it. The sooner you can derive a real worth to your time, the more you will realize its true cost on your terms. Some of these numbers might even surprise you.

2. Learn to make a call on your priorities. While different tasks and demands do emerge during the course of our daily living, they ought to be treated with varying degree of importance and urgency. Being able to make quick decisions to what is truly important (or prioritizing) will help you to better move things along, rather than to stagnant and hesitate.

3. Focus on getting progress instead of getting busy. Just being busy does not imply progress is made for your life. It can end up as a routine repetition of hovering on the same ground—busying doing the same things over and over again without getting any closer to your goals. Critically reflect and reevaluate what you have been doing every single day.  Then make sure your actions bring you progress toward what you want instead of mere numerous robotic tasks.

As you manage what is scarce, you will begin to appreciate the need to treasure time and life well. Give it a better worth by tagging your dreams to it.

Apply these understanding competently and your life will Excel Beyond Excellence!

Proven Tips To Boost Your Public Speaking And Presentation Skills (Part 11)

February 19, 2008

When true friends gather, there is no sadness but warming of the hearts. I found this to be extremely true tonight as I visited the Singapore Nurses Toastmasters Club. Being the Language Evaluator of the meeting, I paid special attention to their pronunciation as well as the usage of words and phrases. But it was more than that. It was a chance to catch up with friends from the Club.

I first visited this Club more than eight years ago and got to work closely with its members when I served as their Area Governor. Even as the Division Governor later on, they were also one of the most supportive and participative Clubs around.

They are always extending their warm welcome to guests with a big smile. Not to mention their regular home cooked food and self-prepared cakes. Hence, I’ve always enjoyed visiting the Singapore Nurses. (I also call it the safest place because you always have a group of healthcare professionals to take care of you in case of emergency.)

In addition to my language evaluation, I have also added some sharing with regard to improving the basic and advanced project speeches for the meeting:

1. Keep your speech to about 2, 3 or 4 items or points for the timing allocated. A speech is not a list of items. Avoid regurgitating off 11 items which the audience will find it difficult to remember anyway. A speech contains organized information that are memorable, examples that mean something and most importantly the heart and soul of you, the speaker.

2. Minimize the reliance of a written script. You need to be able to speak the phrases without constantly referring to your notes .As beautiful and poetic are your words may be, you will still lose effectiveness in speaking if you find yourself having to read them off a card. It’s, after all, public speaking, not public reading. One of the ways is to only memorize the main points while another is to rehearse until it makes sense to you in mind.

3. If you are conducting a demonstration, make it easy for audience to follow your act and understand the concepts behind. Do leave sufficient time to explain the complex information and result of the experiment. Allow your conclusion to highlight the importance of your message linking it to your demonstration.

I thoroughly enjoyed the speeches. They are rather informative and provided plenty of health and wellness tips. Thank you for your sharing.

Best wishes to all the speakers and may you continue to Excel Beyond Excellence!

7 Ways To Excel In Your Career And In Your Organization

February 17, 2008

A new week begins and new events unfold. As you prepare and gear yourself for the week that comes, what are some of the things that are going through your mind? One of the things that you might want to remember is that your work can actually help you further your career.

Applying the following ways will keep you on the exact road in your strive to excel:

1. Understand the culture, objectives, values and priorities of the company.
The foundation of an organization is built on its culture and objectives. The management will in turn set out the objectives to achieve. As a result, the values and priorities of your organization will emerge. Understanding all these elements will allow you to better move within your organization and focus on things that truly matter.

2. Be proactive at work and in contributing.
When you are able to contribute more, you become more of a shinning star at work. After all, you are paid to deliver quality. Being proactive in whatever you do hence puts you in good stead to be positively considered to promotion.

3. Discover how your boss prefers to communicate.
Every boss has his own preference of pass order, relating messages or getting feedback. Some are more comfortable via email while others might prefer a face-to-face discussion. I’ve even know of some bosses who communicates most of the time by using short messages service, SMS. Hence communicate with your boss based on his prefer style. You will find it easier to work with him this way. If you are unsure, observe and ask him with subtleness.

4. Your positive attitude at work does help a lot.
Cliché as it sounds, this remains true. Having that positive energy is often like a bright spark in the gloomy serious atmosphere. People are drawn closer to find out what makes you tick.

5. Let your boss know that you are constantly upgrading yourself.
This shows that you truly want to learn and desire to improve yourself and become more competent than before. With every new skill you acquire, you are presented with new ways to demonstrate them. Which organization doesn’t want a staff that knows many things and can get things going?

6. Build healthy working relationship with your Boss, Colleagues and Clients (BCC).
Relationships are extremely essential to get work done. A negative one will only serve to stall the job process, reducing its functionality and add to workplace politics. When you have a happy relationship with others, you get work done easier, with increased satisfaction and productivity.

7. Know your talents and apply them to your work where possible.
Understand your organization and thinking through how can you apply your talents. Let your boss know where your talents are applicable. Chart your career and let your talents take you through.

It’s ultimately a professional’s intend to grow and strive well in his career. Add these pointers into your daily work and you will have set in motion a cycle of distinction.

May you Excel Beyond Excellence!

The Essentials Of Talking To Difficult People

February 16, 2008

Most of us will encounter difficult people as we go about our daily work. Hence it is extremely crucial to know such skills of people relationship. On Friday yesterday, I was training the Consultants on “Managing Difficult Clients”. There were plenty of truly insightful sharing and lots of discussions were made.

In the workshop, I could sense the genuine concern and commitment of the participants as they share how they interact with their own clients. Their strong desire in learning to improve their working with people is indeed highly commendable.

1. Centre yourself first before you communicate with them. You have to be calmer and your mindset has to be more stable when speaking with the person.

2. Remember that you are allowed to assert yourself with a balanced degree. A caution to note is: never let the aggressiveness overwhelm you… or else you’ll become another difficult person. This might aggravate the whole communication. Knowing how to assert rightly is thus vital.

3. Discover the underlying reasons for them being difficult and address them. It is not always apparent or specific as to why a particular person is difficult. Such reasons are hence represented by an overly raised voice, a whiny weep or other awkward reaction. You will find it most helpful to address these issues as precisely as possible.

4. Provide a viable alternate solution to what they want. Certain difficult personality appears because that person wants something but is denied of having it. Hence, the emergence of such behavior becomes a coping strategy in an attempt to vent and to obtain whatever they are looking for. Should you not be able to give them, provide the person with other options. That will at least increase the likelihood of an improved behavior.

A recognizable fact remains that it’s never an easy task to work or talk to difficult people. Hence, regular practice or simulation will prove to be most useful. Such skills are usually not acquired overnight. Learn to develop your people handling skills with experience over time.

In this way, your relationships will Excel Beyond Excellence!