Archive for March 2008

7 Things You Can Do To Keep Your Career Running Well

March 16, 2008

1. Reorganize your work space and table for better efficiency.

2. Keep your resume updated.

3. Get in touch with past clients and service current accounts.

4. Be trained in essentials skills for your work.

5. Study the industry and market you are in.

6. Communicate well to your workplace relationships.

7. Add vibrancy to your overall life.

Practical Ways To Prevent “Burn Out” In Your Life

March 14, 2008

Over these years of my training and consultation, I’ve worked with many people who admit that there had been times where they were on the verge of breaking down and burning out. These feelings of pushing beyond limits usually stem from the pressures of life and the high demands of oneself.

Listed below are some of the practical things you can do to prevent burn out from happening:

1. You must first insist that maintaining balance in your life is a priority.

2. If things get too stressed up, talk it out. Share with a current friend, a respected, trusted person.

3. There are always hotlines you can call up if you want to share or discuss anonymously. Some people do prefer relating to a neutral party or a stranger on the other line.

4. Make a new friend. You can also gain new perspectives as you communicate with that acquaintance. However, have a positive friend instead of one with negative emotional burden.

5. Practice instant relaxation of your physical muscles. Simple movements of swinging, swaying or stretching will do wonders too.

6. For emotional aspects, visualize the fulfillment of positive goals and enriching environment. Meditate on calmer thoughts.

7. Insist on cutting down certain demanding factors in your life.

8. Remember what keeps you on track in life. Review through your inner motivations. Hold on to these keys and allowing them to inspire you.

9. Learn to let go of the small things. To take it further, letting go of past major trespasses is an even greater virtue.

10. Allow the media to help you take your mind off. A funny movie coupled with cheerily music always cheers a person up.

Do take time to run through these ways, applying them as soon as you can and as often as possible. You’ll find that renewed vigor will spur you towards Excelling Beyond Excellence!

Proven Tips To Boost Your Public Speaking And Presentation Skills (Part 15)

March 13, 2008

It always pays dividends to visit a Toastmasters Club. Tonight at the AIA Changi Toastmasters Club, not only was the meeting intense, the learning was also immense. There were so many different styles of presentation along with the varied project objectives. I’m sure the audience was captivated by the speeches, especially those that made full use of the body language and those that were designed to be entertaining.

After listening to the speeches, some of the public speaking tips I have shared include:

1. Avoid over-concentrating on one side of the stage. While speakers may somethings have a preference on the stage, its their responsibility to ensure the audience through the whole room are well catered for.

2. While detailed descriptions can be essential, a speaker should also emote and add his emotions into the speech. This will allow better engagement of the audience’s mind and the heart.

3. Remember your center of gravity. Avoid the swaying and pacing, instead have your posture become more grounding by visualizing that your feet are firmed planted onto the stage. This is not to say you cannot move when speaking, it’s to allow you to take firm steps and display a sense of impact.

4. Do understand that an informative speech can also be entertaining as well. It is in the appropriate peppering of puns, wit or interesting examples that your speech moves beyond a factual report.

Once again, everyone had benefited much from tonight’s meeting. It was truly an ideal place for anyone to Excel Beyond Excellence in their speeches!

A Twist Of Wit And Irony

March 12, 2008

When we look at life with a twist of irony, we discover a new paradigm. It is the ability to make sense of this perspective that give us further insights of life. From a more humorous and unique point, we call this… wit.

And there are the greats, who entertain us and impress us with their wit. Yet with every witty quote uttered, there is an irony behind. Some are satirical, some are meant to teach, others remain perceptive. The rest just aim to amuse.

In this article, I present to you some of their wittiness, often accompanied with an indication of the irony of life.

After all, who says living has to be so straightforward. Enjoy!

“Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you.” – C. G. Jung (1875-1961)

“To sit alone with my conscience will be judgment enough for me.” – Charles William Stubbs

“Speak the truth, but leave immediately after.” – Slovenian proverb

“If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?” – Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

“For there is nothing either good or bad, thinking makes it so.” – William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Hamlet, II.ii

“The longer I live the more I see that I am never wrong about anything, and that all the pains that I have so humbly taken to verify my notions have only wasted my time.” – George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

“The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.” – Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

“You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.” – Yogi Berra (1925-)

“It usually takes a long time to find a shorter way.” – Anonymous

“I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it by not dying.” – Woody Allen (1935-)

“No pressure, no diamonds.” – Mary Case

“The fellow that agrees with everything you say is either a fool or he is getting ready to skin you.” – Kin Hubbard

“Don’t let people drive you crazy when you know it’s in walking distance.” – Anonymous

“Happiness is good health and a bad memory.” – Ingrid Bergman (1917-1982)

Proven Tips To Boost Your Public Speaking And Presentation Skills (Part 14)

March 11, 2008

Back at my Toastmasters Club tonight was another session of exciting presentations. Serving as the Language Evaluator this evening, The National University of Singapore Toastmasters Club dished out 6 speech projects and there were lessons galore.

Nothing beats an intensive meeting filled with laughter and learning. I’m sure everyone walked away from the meeting much enriched and educated. Such is the power of Toastmasters with its proven program.

There were quite a number of sharing and evaluation. With so many speakers presenting their projects, there is a wealth of public speaking pointers to pick up.

Here are some of the key tips for tonight’s meeting:

1. When the room is big and the audiences are many, lift your props high enough so that all may see.

2. Prevent overloading your audience with too many abstract concepts. Keep them relevant to your theme instead of trying to cover too many grounds.

3. Generally, ‘colorful’ jokes make the audience feel uncomfortable, especially in formal occasions. However, artful teasing shows the class of the speaker.

4. Pay attention to the relevance of your examples. Do ensure your descriptions are within the scope where the audiences and their background can relate to.

Do start to take these pointers as you prepare and rehearse your next speech. I look forward to the various presentations in the coming meetings.

May you Excel Beyond Excellence!

How To Avoid Negative Cycles In Your Communication?

March 10, 2008

While we seek to communicate effectively, there are often distorted perceptions of what we view as truth or right. As a result of these ‘colored’ reality, conflict often result. A continuation of this miscommunication is likely to create a downward spiral of increased tension.

From the ‘Today’ newspaper report, Aslam Sardar, the managing director of a specialist training firm, shared on some of the ways to avoid negative cycles in the way we look at things and communicate with others:

Avoiding Negative Cycles
Negative cycles often develop out of our natural tendency to interpret feelings that simply aren’t there. We tend to respond in kind and this sets off a cycle that, by our own actions, creates exactly the result we fear most!

Here are four viewpoints best avoided if you don’t want to trigger negative cycles:

• Distorted reality viewpoint
We tend to assume that everyone sees things the way we do, even when we have a distorted view of the world. We also tend to regard our own views as right and views of those who disagree as wrong. We then view that person as unreasonable, thus setting the cycle of mistrust in motion.

• Validation viewpoint
We tend to let preconceived ideas color our judgment, even when presented with evidence that proves otherwise.

You could give two opposing sides the same information, but each will only be more convinced that they are right and the other party is wrong. Why? Because most people tend to read to seek validation and filter out those parts that don’t match their viewpoint.

• Accuser viewpoint
Be careful how you assign responsibility, as this can also trigger negative cycles. We tend to blame others rather than ourselves when things go wrong, especially when the blame for others’ mistakes is laid on us.

• Excuser viewpoint
Rather than accept blame when we do wrong, we tend to offer excuses to justify our behavior, looking for a scapegoat to blame. Such behavior causes animosity and adds to the negative cycle.

How You Can Be More Grounded And Attain Stability In Your Life

March 9, 2008

Balancing our work together with our personal lives is always the central focus of living. After all, would it truly be called living and success if one arrives at the top of a career pinnacle at the massive sacrifice of one’s family life? While issues are always open to debate, I believe getting balanced has more to trigger our thoughts and reflection of how we are to live our life and spend our time.

Another successful run of “Work-Life Skills for Individual and Organizational Benefits” over the last two days was another proof of our innate desire to possess better grip of our lives. With better balance comes with better quality of living. This in turn results in improved relationships with our loved ones and community. And this ultimately stretches us towards attainment in the higher purposes of our existence.

To attain a greater pursue, we often have to begin with our internal foundations. If we can be more grounded within ourselves, then challenges of life will have much lesser negativity unto us.

Here are some pointers to help you stay grounded and attain that stability in your life:

1. See the events and situation as the way they are. Instead of being overwhelmed by them, strive to decipher the underlying meaning to these happenings.

2. Schedule time for self-reflection. Many often run through their lives without knowing the rationale or if they are progressing. Self-reflection thus has become a rare exercise.

3. Seek a higher purpose and fulfillment of life. Ask yourself for a determination of your life’s purpose and find out what truly makes your life fulfilled.

4. Map out a workable plan toward whatever makes you more satisfied with life. Now this is an exercise that only you are your best guide in this. Plan it out and ensure that you are satisfied and have contentment in the execution of it.

5. Talk to a Mentor. Nothing beats a lively conversation with another like-minded individual. What’s more, a discussion of your life’s direction with someone whom you really respect and wish to learn from will make it all the most meaningful. It’ll help you to fine-tune your areas of progress.

6. Get clarity and get a grip. While in life, issues are complicated, it is often those who can see things clearly that emerges triumph.

7. Listen to your Heart, merge with your Mind, and integrate within your Soul. I’ve always suggest this to many participants. I called this the “Pyramid of Personal Balance”. Allowing your heart, mind and soul to function in oneness gets you the balance that people often seek. The congruence must be there, in your words, your thoughts, and action.

Do strive to apply these pointers as much as you can. You’ll soon start to experience a different perspective to how you want your life to be.

And with a renewed faith and persistent progress, your life will Excel Beyond Excellence!

Make Each Day Part Of Your Masterpiece Of Success

March 6, 2008

It’s always a joy listening to an inspirational speech about success. To me, this is paradigm reinforcement and a renewal of my life’s purpose. A few days ago at the National University of Singapore Toastmasters Club, Nah Wen Bin presented his project on the Masterpiece of Success.

I found his sharing useful for our reflection, comprehension and application. Hence, with his permission, I post his speech here for your learning pleasure:

Make each day part of your masterpiece of success

How does one define daily success? If you were told to rate today on a scale of one to ten, with ten being a perfect day, would you even know how to score it? Upon on what would u base your rating on? Would you define a good day based on how you feel? Or how many items that you’ve accomplished today? Or would u score your day based on how much time u spent with someone that you love? How would you define success for today?

Good evening club president, fellow toastmasters. The objective of my speech today is to convince you that success can be achieved from simple steps performed daily and the ingredients needed to create this daily success.

Everyone wants to have a good day, but not everybody knows what a good day looks like. How do u win today? How do u make today a great day instead of one that falls to pieces. Here is the missing piece. The secret of your success is determined by your daily agenda. You’ll never change your life until you change something u do daily. Everyday of your life is merely preparation for the next. What u become is the result of what u do today. So, make each day your masterpiece.

All too often we get distracted by what is outside our control. You can’t do anything about yesterday; the door to the past has been shut and the key thrown away. U can do nothing about tomorrow, it is yet to come. However, tomorrow is in large part determined by what you do today, so make each day your masterpiece. By applying yourself to the task to become a little better each day over a long period of time, you will become a lot better.     The question is how?

What does it take? I believe there are 2 ingredients to make each day a masterpiece. Good decisions and good discipline. One is goal setting while the other is goal getting. Each cannot reach its full potential without the other.

The first ingredient of success—making good decisions—has no real value without the second, which is practicing daily discipline. Let’s take an example close to our hearts, public speaking. Each of us desires to improve our public speaking skills, which prompted us to make the good decision of joining a toastmasters club. However, this good decision would come to naught if we did not practice the daily discipline of practicing our speeches and regularly attending our chapter meetings.

Look at our society for further examples. Everyone wants to be thin, but nobody wants to diet. Everyone wants to live long, but few will exercise. Everybody wants money, yet seldom will anybody budget or control their spending. Thus, I hope that I have convinced you that making good decisions is nothing unless it is accompanied by daily discipline. This brings me to my second point; practicing daily discipline.

Most people want to avoid pain, and the practice of discipline is usually painful. Take the example of exercise for instance; we all know that exercise is a good decision. Yet few people have the daily discipline to follow through with it. We fear the pain of self discipline, in the case of exercise; it is the pain of working out for half an hour.

What we fail to realise is that there are two kinds of pain: the pain of self-discipline and the pain of regret. We avoid the pain of self-discipline because it confronts us every day. Meanwhile, the pain of regret goes unnoticed for days, months, and even years, but when it comes, it marks us with the profoundest disappointment. Successful people conquer their feelings of instant gratification and form habits of daily discipline. They realize that the pain of self-discipline is momentary, while its payoff yields long-lasting rewards. If you conquer the initial pain of that half an hour of exercise, you’ll feel good about yourself the whole day. That’s 12 hours of satisfaction for half an hour’s work. And if you keep it up in the long run, you’ll receive the long term payoff of having good health.

Thus, you can begin to build a better life by determining to make good decisions, and following through on them with daily discipline.  Only then little by little, step by step, will you be able to make each day part of your masterpiece of success.

How To Better Diffuse Verbal Criticisms?

March 5, 2008

At yesterday’s NUS Toastmasters Club Annual General Meeting and Election, I’ve had the pleasure of evaluating another Advanced project. This time round, the presentation and role play demonstrated were about “Diffusing Verbal Criticisms”. It was definitely something on familiar grounds because I often conduct training courses on similar topics.

To further extend on how to diffuse verbal criticisms, I added on some real-life solutions:

1. Surface Concerns versus Deep Issues. You’ve got to not just touch on what appears to be superficial but discover the deep seated concerns within a person. An outburst of harsh words or emotional breakdown is often an accumulation of much deeper issues and matters over a period of time. You have to address that with the person to attain closure.

2. Short term postponement versus Long term closure. We often find that it’s so much easier to waive the criticisms off by giving an “instant excuse”. While that may work for that moment, it’s usually a temporal postponement of the “problem”. When similar events occur again, it’s back to Round One of the fight. Strive to create a closure by seeking mutual agreement and action that both can take.

3. Mannerisms matter most. People react in return to how you respond to them. A hush-hush behavior will tend to make it seem condescending to them. Practice genuine concern over the others.

7 Ways To Gain Even More Advantages In Your Interviews

March 3, 2008

Over the last two days, Saturday and Sunday, I was busy conducting another run of the “Sayang Kerja, Sayang Keluarga” (SK2) (Love Your Work, Love Your Family) workshop. One of the major topics in the training was Interviewing Skills and how to excel in it. I’ve always enjoyed it whenever the participants acquire the various skills and tactics to become better in their interview.

Here are more ways to help you gain more advantages in your interview sessons:

1. Prepare yourself by understanding the company and its business before attending the interview.

2. Psych yourself up before you go in for the interview. Your mental set-up is extremely crucial.

3. Your first impression counts a lot so make sure your dressing, your body language and your mannerisms are tops.

4. Some questions are teasers and testers, and some are trappers. Learn to identify them and be tactful in answering them.

5. Highlight how you can contribute positively to the company in your replies.

6. Provide confident eye contact throughout the interview session.

7. Show that you are well prepared and are in tandem with the company’s direction of progress.