Archive for July 2008

5 Ways To Be AWARE And Remain Relevant To The Changes Around You

July 30, 2008

I was impressed by the turnout of the crowds. Today is the launch of “Step Out For Change” program of which I am the Course Developer and Lead Trainer. What I also noted were the various companies offering employment opportunities for the visitors as well as upgrading of skills and knowledge.

For the launch of this event, the organizers invited Mr Gan Kim Yong, the Acting Minister for Manpower and Advisor to Chua Chu Kang Grassroots Organizations as the Guest-of-Honour. At present was also Special Guest, Mdm Halimah Yacob, Deputy Secretary-General of National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) and Member of Parliament. As this is hosted by South West Community Development Council (CDC), the Mayor of South West District and Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Dr Amy Khor, was also there to officiate the event.

Following his tour of the exhibition venue and the program briefing, the Guest-of-Honor, Mr Gan, had a chat with me. In the midst of the conversation, I shared with him the key reasons why I designed the program in this manner and the underlying benefits it will bring to the program participants. We also had some quick mutual sharing on the upcoming trends that our society will soon experience.

As this is a nation-wide program for all women in Singapore, they are welcomed to benefit from Stepping Out and changing their lives for the better. After all, nothing remains the same and Singapore as a society is indeed evolving. One must hence be able to better grasp the opportunities as they unveil.

In line with coping with changing times, here are some ways you can become more AWARE in being relevant with the modernized world:

Be Alert to your surroundings

Work your plan conscientiously

Align with the right people.

Relearn your skills and learn new techniques.

Exercise for renewed energy

Theoretically Speaking… (Addressing The Theory-Concept Issue In Public Speaking)

July 29, 2008

In one of the comments from my public speaking article was a question regarding the application of theories. I’ve decided to answer it here as one of the postings so that more information can be included. You can find the actual comments to my postings here.

Question: What if you are talking about theoretical subjects that we cannot apply in our life?

Answer: This marks the difference between a public speech and an academic or theoretical lecture.

A public speech is thus designed to help the audience understand the concepts better. The focus is upon the audience. Therefore while the original “raw” information can be highly theoretical, the speaker therefore uses the various “tools and forms of public speaking” such as metaphors, examples, analogies, comparisons, etc to help audience relate and where possible, apply.

For example, let’s take it that the topic is about ‘Cohomological Physics As Contrasted to the Eilenberg-Moore spectral sequence and supported by the analysis of quasi-isomorphism ”. (If you can make sense of this topic in its theoretical terms, please let me know)

Since the background scope of this talk is primarily designed for the public, the speaker will have to first understand the type of audience he is speaking to. This information is then followed by adjusting and refining his materials to fit the comprehension level of the audience.

He might hence have to the different tools and forms as highlighted previously into his speech, to make it more ‘layman’ and ‘digestible’ to the masses.

What then does it imply about public speaking?

This implies that speaking is both an art and a science. It is thus a form and reflection of the creativity of the speaker. It then becomes a challenge for the speaker to make it relevant and turn the concepts, not matter how theoretical, academic or abstract, into something that work and make sense for his audience.

How To Become An Effective Leader In Extreme Situations?

July 28, 2008

The tireless leader faces different challenges every single day. These challenges and issues range from the most mundane to the most critical of circumstances. Nonetheless, decisions have to be made, stands have to be taken and actions are to be implemented. This happens no matter how crucial and urgent the situation is. It’s all in a day’s work for the most ferocious of leaders.

A report in Today’s paper presented an interesting and insightful article that reflected this topic: On how can a leader face the most extreme situations. Lyndon Rego, an Innovation Incubator Director, espouses this responsibility of the leader, that he must face it and work it out, sometimes with bold moves.

Here are the details of his report:

How To Become An Effective Leader In Extreme Situations?

CRISIS, as anyone who has been through one would know, forces people to think and behave in new ways. Extreme crisis exponentially ratchets up that response.

Crisis response requires both planning and improvising. Planning and preparation helps enable rapid coordinated action. At the same time, plans are always insufficient.

A plan is a starting point, but every situation will involve something unexpected. Your logic and imagination cannot factor in every contingency. People need the capacity to read and understand a situation and improvise their approach as the reality unfolds.

Taking into account some of the lessons learnt by those who have faced extreme crisis can better prepare you for such situations.

SySteMS fail

Infrastructure, technology, alert mechanisms and communication may fail or be insufficient. Processes fall apart, leaving you in unfamiliar territory. The failures may be brief or long-lasting, confined or extensive. Ongoing or systemic problems, while manageable in routine circumstances, may be a serious problem in a crisis.

tHe picture iS diStorted

No one has a complete picture of what is happening. People on the outside may have a sense of the big picture but may lack accurate, detailed and critical information from within the crisis zone. In contrast, people in the middle of the crisis see what is in front of them but may be cut off from what is taking place elsewhere.

tiMe iS coMpreSSed

Moving forward or tackling a part of the problem may be risky in the absence of solid information, but doing nothing is not a choice. As the crisis evolves beyond the immediate, the time pressure eases, only to be replaced by the complex demands of a protracted crisis or recovery.

autHority iS liMited

A crisis can easily trump existing structures of authority. Whoever is “in charge” is whoever is there. If organizational protocols require strict adherence to command structure and approvals, they may hinder rapid and effective responses.

new leaderSHip eMergeS

A crisis will generate previously unexpected and unknown leadership capabilities. Individuals will step up to rescue or respond. New organizations and networks rise to provide aid and assistance.

preparing to face criSiS

How does an organization prepare people to do what it takes during a crisis? What is it that allows people to do extraordinary, unexpected things that are outside of their experience and training? When it comes to facing a crisis it is about your people and your leadership. It is about organizational culture.

Organizations and individuals will be better equipped for crisis (and daily operations) when executives and managers act and speak in ways that:

1. Forge relationships. Personal connections and good relationships are literally lifesavers in a crisis. Build quality relationships with a broad base of stakeholders before a crisis. Make it a priority to behave in ways that build trust in you and in the organization. Show respect for others and demand others to behave in ways that show respect, too.

2. Develop flexibility. Build a culture of flexibility and adaptability. Emphasize action-taking and good judgment.

3. Encourage courage. Show you are willing to stand up for the courage of your convictions.

4. Support risk-taking. People make mistakes; they will make mistakes during a crisis, too. Establish a culture that supports good-faith risk taking. When people act with integrity for the organization and the mission, the need to know they will not be penalized or made scapegoats.

5. Enable empowerment. Insist that local leaders make decisions based on the situations they face. Educate them and support them along the way. You cannot hold on to authority when times are good and then assume people will be empowered in a crisis.

The 5 Essential Abilities You Must Have To Manage Negativity In Your Interactions and Relationships

July 27, 2008

Today was the first day of the Befrienders’ Course. We’ve covered the key essentials and the know-how of being a Befriender. On the next Sunday, I will be conducting the second day of this training where I will show them how to interact well with their clients, creating positive outcomes for themselves and others.

The overall purpose of this course is to equip these Befrienders with the essential skills to better relate with their assigned families. These families have multiple issues and are in lesser privileged situations. It’s becomes imperative that the Befrienders are oriented to cater to the differing demands of these families.

Hence here are the abilities you must have to better manage the negative situations.

1. Have powerful mental states to remain assertive and influential

2. Use optimism to handle pessimism artfully.

3. Create humor to connect and draw people closer.

4. Display appreciation and acknowledgement of who they are.

5. Be resourceful to provide aid when needed.

5 Ways To Be More Comfortable At Using Visual Aids In Your Presentations

July 26, 2008

1. Switch on your computer and set up your PowerPoint slides before the Master of Ceremony introduces you, not after the introduction.

2. Remember to clean the air filter of the projector prior to using it. Otherwise the distracting reminder will be flashed unto the screen for all to see.

3. Stretch your speaking ability by having a physical prop as an extension instead of merely relying on the slides.

4. Avoid merely reading from the massive words on the slides; do add in areas not covered by your slides to make your presentation more purposeful.

5. Should you be reading, avoid the “rolling tongue” syndrome; the tendency to keep rolling and droning on and on as if you are reading a book. No matter what it’s still a speech. A talk is meant for you to talk to your audience.

Proven Tips To Boost Your Public Speaking And Presentation Skills (Part 28)

July 25, 2008

After my relationship coaching session yesterday, I rushed down to Raffles Place in order to attend another Toastmaster Club meeting. I was invited some time ago to be their Language Evaluator for the evening. As this was the first meeting of the new term for The Open Alumni Toastmasters Club, they had the installation of their new Executive Committee.

The program was rather intensive with an installation, a number of addresses in addition to the series of project presentation and evaluations. What I also liked about the meeting was the warm and friendly atmosphere with friends of the Club members lending their support to the event.

After the speech presentations, I highlighted to some of them how their projects can be better. Here are some of the tips that will work for their speeches:

1. When you are speaking on social issues, help us link it to our point of view and from our “version of the world”. Throughout your speech, establish and reestablish the grounds on why we should also take an interested stand like you and why we must be concerned about it.

2. If you are attempting to persuade the audience, remember that your passion counts. It’s not just mere recitations of memorized and scripted sentences.

3. While starting with a familiar quote is useful, you should also create the link to the main theme of the speech. Make the connection between the quote and your speech content clear instead of leaving the audience to sort it out within themselves.

It’s always a delightful experience listening to the speakers demonstrate their efforts in speech making. Whenever they have shown improvement, it reinforces the worth cause of constant self-development.

This becomes another purposeful step towards Excelling Beyond Excellence!

How To Powerfully Groom Your Mind To Build Quality Relationships In Your Life? Discover The 5 Ways To Improve Your Relationships

July 24, 2008

I was conducting a Private Relationship Coaching session with a client today when we discussed on various issues of building meaningful relationships. In order to make certain relationships that you have worthwhile, you have to put in effort. Merely leaving your valued relationships to chance won’t do; that’s like throwing mud on the wall and see what sticks.

However that will imply that certain things within you and your paradigms about relationships have to change first, in order to make it a quality one. This also signifies that you have to re-examine yourself for the way to work out your interaction with others, especially your loved ones.

In order to make your relationship work with quality, you have to groom your mind. Condition it well in these manners:

1. Be more open, respectful and receptive of other’s opinions, behaviors and values.

2. Seek regular mutual improvement and better character development between your partner and you.

3. Have fun and enjoyment in your relationship

4. Think out of the box to add variety and creativity in your life.

5. See the positives of the relationship and take the leanings out of every encounter you have with people.

It’s when you integrate these grooming techniques that you start to develop a more empowered paradigm in your relationships. Attention to how your relationships are build, consider that you have to the one to change for the better first. In this way, the quality of your relationships will be able to Excel Beyond Excellence!