Category Archives: Hope & Inspiration

Building Confidence with Competence

It took me a long time overcome and manage my fears. Yes, I do this for a living, and I still get butterflies in my stomach. The difference between me now and when I first started, is I’ve managed to get those butterflies to really calm down.

How did I do it?

I subscribe to the mantra that Confidence comes from Competence. Naturally, experience helps too.

The key is, with experience and competence, I’ve managed to create a structured system on how to start and deliver, and reduce the uncertainty I face when I’m on stage.

Certainty is key to confidence. If you’re not sure about what to expect, then you’ll naturally be scared (of the unknown).

So, the best way to learn, in my opinion, is to not only learn about what works, but also to put it into practice.

That’s because, the more you experience it, the more you internalize it – and you realize that it’s really not so bad at all.

PS: I won over 25 Public Speaking Awards in the first 5 years of my public speaking journey. The skill is always work in progress. It doesn’t mean that you have to be perfect when you start. Neither should you deem yourself as terrible and hopeless if you can’t speak.

We’ve all got to start somewhere. The sooner we start, the better!

‪#‎publicspeaking‬ ‪#‎fear‬ ‪#‎uncertainty‬ ‪#‎confidence‬ ‪#‎experience‬

Communication Beyond Affection

Family - Courtesy of job_earth (Flickr)

For those of you (Singaporeans) who have had the luxury and opportunity to tune in to the local television network lately, you may have noticed a new family campaign going on.

The campaign – more specifically the video – aims to strengthen family bonds and encourage the spirit of filial piety amongst the generation that grew up with the internet and culture of individualism.

Whether intentional or note, the video has sparked quite a debate about the issue of the individual wants vs family needs, the values of the young vs the old, and the issue of ‘reason’ versus ‘

Essentially, it highlights the different perspectives embraced by different generations and challenges the viewer to think and question deeper about family and how an individual reacts / should react in relation to an elder.

Curious to know what the fuss is all about?

Here’s the video:
Continue reading Communication Beyond Affection

Susan Boyle: A Story of Talent, Persistance and Belief

Who is Susan Boyle?
Who is Susan Boyle?

If I’ve said it once, I’ve must have said it a thousand times: our mindset is fundamental to our success and failure.

Wouldn’t you agree?

Our mindsets pave the way for us to move forward, allows us to pursue opportunities and open up new doors to progress… and overcome adversity and challenges.

Talent, skill and ability are irrelevant if one does not have the right attitude and mindset…

Never mind that one may harbor false hopes and misplaced beliefs every now and then – making mistakes is just another way of learning. But it’s my assertion and belief that you’ll never know until you do attempt it.

It takes courage, definitely. But you’ll be surprised what gems or golden opportunities you might uncover because you dared to venture into places that others fear to thread.

And there’s no simply no stopping you when your talent and abilities meet the opportunity.

This lady in the following video offers such a case in point. She’s almost half a century old, unemployed, and has never had the opportunity to pursue her dream of singing. And as compared to the divas that grace the stages in the modern entertainment industry… she is by far less endowed.

She is Susan Boyle – a singer-wannabe who made her an appearance on stage during the talent show Britain’s Got Talent. She was asked to share her dream – she replied: to be like Elaine Paige, a famous English singer and actress.

The judges were unconvinced. The audience laughed. Some smirked. Too many wannabes had come, boasted and failed.

Would she be another William Hung who had truly believed that in what he had to give? Let’s find out: Continue reading Susan Boyle: A Story of Talent, Persistance and Belief

How to Establish Connection and Engage Your Audience like Barack Obama?

Photo: Courtesy of Mikie Bones

I’ve been following the American election race for awhile now – not for the politics, but really for the opportunity of studying the quality of speeches and strategies used by the Presidential Nominees in their during their delivery and debates. Fully aware that I’m running the risk of sounding prejudiced, I must say that Barak Obama’s speeches has so far been top-notch and his manner of delivery has been both exact and

In most cases, I think he has done a fantastic job in revving and inspiring the crowd before carrying them on-board the “Obama-Express”. His meteoric rise has not come by accident though – and I’m not surprised – I credit a large part of his success to his ability to relate, connect and engage his audience. Not only has he been able to inspire and project credibility – he has also been able to entertain and speak with humility and sincerity.

But here’s the best part of listening to his speeches: I’ve been doing my research, and I’ve identified several strategies that you and I can learn to enhance our delivery skills. It’ll probably take some getting used to, but it’s really simple to learn. All you have to do is focused is focused on ONE small word to create a BIG.

Interested to know what’s it? Well, check out the video below and read the analysis! Continue reading How to Establish Connection and Engage Your Audience like Barack Obama?

Time and Effort Does Make a Difference

I used to laugh at him when I heard him speak in school – because he didn’t know how to.

But today – I’m impressed

It’s been close to 5 years since we last met in school. We’d been to the same schools for close to 6 years. Although we’d been in different classes, we were aware of each others’ presence – mostly because of our small cohort sizes. But she heard me speak – in public – mainly because of the time when I was tasked to appeal to the entire school – on stage – for donations for the less privileged.

She laughed at me. Or so she said.

I can’t remember – I can’t even remember what I said! I was that nervous. And I’m glad I survived that experience relatively unscathed. That’ll probably explain why I can’t remember a single thing now – because I was more interested in getting down the podium than on my message!

Speaking of stage fright!

Yet, 4 years on things things have changed.

No longer was the laughter the reaction of ridicule – it was the result of the execution of the game plan. The applause was given then not because I was about to leave the stage – but because I’d been on stage… and I noted then the vast difference that time and effort in training makes.

* * *

Ever wondered if the time and effort you put into an activity is worth it? I have. All the time!

Yet, I think every venture requires a little bit of faith and a lot of perseverance: faith to take the first step and both to help you pull through when times are tough.

For everyone who struggled or are struggling in various stages in life, or are in the process of taming those dragons in your public speaking adventure, remember this:

Your investment of time and effort is worth it!

And in the words of the 1999 World Champion of Public Speaking, Craig Valentine puts it: The very people who put you down, will be amongst the first to pat you on your back when you make it.

Keep the faith. Your time and effort will be worth it.

You Make a Difference!

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Margaret Mead

We go about doing many things in life. Sometimes, we get so used to doing certain things and being so comfortable with certain people that we start taking them for granted – and forget about the differences they make in our lives.

A friend of mine hadn’t. She found this beautiful email in her inbox one day, and she took the time to send it to me, as a way of thanking me for a difference in her life.

This was the story (in video form), she sent me:

I think the story’s an enlightening read, simply because it highlights how one seemingly small action, and a seemingly minuscule initiative could snowball and impact someone’s life in ways that we could never imagine.

One of the biggest ironies in life, and idiosyncrasies of Man has always been how we seem hope and seek to be make a difference, and yet forget about the seemingly simple and easily doable gestures which can really make a big difference in the lives of other people.

You don’t have to be a star or celebrity to effect change, really. All you need is a willingness to express appreciation and the initiative take the first step. After all, you don’t have to be “great”, to be great!

Be great by making a difference! Spread the joy now by sharing with them this video or this post. Or if you really want to get the pictures for your email, you may get them below! Otherwise (if you can wait) you can send me a mail and I’ll forward them to you! It might take awhile, but I’ll do my best!

Make someone smile today! Make a difference by telling them how they’ve made a difference in your life, today!

Don’t wait! Make a difference, today!

Continue reading You Make a Difference!

Mom’s Lesson #7 – Love + Sacrifce

I could still remember the days. It was dark, cold, and I was sweaty. My bed was soaked with perspiration and the room was warm and stuffy. More often than not, I’d be running a temperature, and I’d be feeling miserable. There, as I tossed, turned and drifted in shallow sleep, the ceilings lights were flicked on.

Then as I lay there in misery, a calm and soothing voice would rouse me from my hollowed sleep, saying, “It’s time to have your medicine, boy”.

A spoonful of cough mixture, a handful of tablets, and a glass of water were the normal concoction of ‘potions’ that often greet me in the dead of night. Slowly, gently, they were fed into my hands, for me to toss into my mouth, before I wade back to dream… at 3am in the morning.

At 5 years old, I didn’t know it but my Mom was teaching me the biggest lesson of my life. Continue reading Mom’s Lesson #7 – Love + Sacrifce

Mom’s Lesson #6 – Go Forth, and Explore! As Long as It’s Good for You

Those of you who read my earlier post would have realised by now that I’m not one who really fancies studying. One of the reasons for my disinterest really has got to do with the standards set my brother, really. After a few years of trying, and the with the lure of Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Command and Conquer, I eventually succumbed to the temptations of procrastination, recreation and procrastination. Things weren’t very rosy back then.

Yet, whatever I lacked academically, I’d excelled activitically (is there even such a word?!). Yet, through it all, my mom never stopped me from pursuing and exploring my interest and activities which she thought would do me good. Continue reading Mom’s Lesson #6 – Go Forth, and Explore! As Long as It’s Good for You

Mom’s Lesson #4 – Just a Little Bit More

Children can be unbelievably hard to coax at times. When this happens, my mother does not necessarily need to resort to the sort of “penalties” to discipline us and get us to conform. Yet, neither will she allow us to have our way when my siblings and I refuse to follow through with the some simple tasks in life Continue reading Mom’s Lesson #4 – Just a Little Bit More

Put Your Glass Down!

A professor began his class by holding up a glass with some water in it.

He held it up for all to see; asked the students,’ How much do you think this glass weighs?’

’50gms!’ …. ‘100gms!’ ……’125gms’ ……the students answered.

‘I really don’t know unless I weigh it,’ said the professor,’but, my question is: What would happen if I held it up like this for a few minutes?’ Continue reading Put Your Glass Down!

Good is Never Good Enough – Mrs Fields

Many of you would have heard about Mrs Fields. I think many more of you would have tasted her cookies instead! Yet, I don’t think many of you would know that she’s a classical Toastmasters success story!

Here it is: Continue reading Good is Never Good Enough – Mrs Fields

Life is Like Driving

Life can only be lived looking forward,
and understood by looking backward.

Life is pretty much like driving. We’re allowed to look back once in a while through the side and rear view mirrors. Yet, in order to navigate safely through traffic, to reach our destination, we have got to keep our eyes peeled on the road ahead.

There are also many things in life that are out of our control. Our progress may even be slowed by obstacles (ie traffic lights) at times. Hey we may even have to contend with the occasional inconsiderate driver! Hey, it’s people like these are the people around us that life “interesting”, don’t they?

We all know that we are powerless to stop these negative externalities. Like it or not, they will happen from time to time. What we can do, however, is to continue on our journey as best as we can. Safely and competently. Perhaps, creating some positive externalities for others in the process even?

Life can only be lived looking forward.

Let us all look forward to tomorrow, face the challenges that come our way with courage and confidence!

Challenge yourself to speak! Live your dreams and passion!

And may we all look back on our lives with admiration and satisfaction when it’s time for us, to stop our engine.

Live with passion!

Maybe Someday…

Maybe Someday, you’ll start living every day true to the best that is within you and seriously pursue your most treasured dreams.

Maybe Someday, you’ll stop holding back and live the richness of every moment and show the world who you really are.

Maybe Someday, you’ll explore the best of those possibilities that you know in your heart are there.

Maybe Someday, you’ll see how truly beautiful life can be and understand that nothing can hold you back

Maybe Someday, you’ll wake up, see how useless most of your worries have been and stope letting others hold you back.

Maybe Someday, you’ll decide that your life cannot wait any longer and you’ll wonder why you ever waited so long to start living.

Maybe Someday, you’ll decide to go for it.

Maybe Someday, is coming.

Maybe Someday, is here.

Maybe Someday, is today!

* * *

I came across this poem whilst randomly browsing in the bookstore. I found it beautifully written… and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it too!

And then, perhaps someday, you’ll do something about it?

A Heart to Learn to Love…

A heart to learn to love, and to love to learn. (Because there) are so many things in life to love and appreciate

I came across this quote while blog surfing (randomly of course!) and found it beautifully written by the author.

A heart to learn to love and love to learn… piques my imagination and belief in the need for appreciation in life, yet more importantly before we could fully appreciate, to learn how to appreciate the common blessings which we’ve all come to take for granted.

Appreciation is a beautiful concept that allows one to see the sun and sight of beauty, rather than the ugly and weak. It’s not really about covering up or sweeping one’s weaknesses under the carpet, but the willingness to see light in the event of darkness.

Nobody’s perfect. We’ve all our own shortcomings. Yet, are we all going to harp at each others’ weaknesses and inabilities, or rejoice at our individual strengths and uniqueness?

Which one makes you happier?

Which one makes life worth living?

What can one do by focusing on one’s weaknesses…?

I think the choice is clear.

Have a heart to learn to love, and love to learn… and appreciate.

Related Posts: Flattery VS Sincere Appreciation

It Just Keeps Getting Easier!

In an earlier post, I shared about how We Can Only Get Better! In today’s post, I’d just like share some of my thoughts and reflections I gathered from my latest public speaking adventure to reiterate once again how a particular task can only get easier after the initial trials!

I was Emcee-ing at the NUS Political Science Society’s Social Night Dinner! And though I’m still relatively new at Professional Emcee-ing since my maiden attempt at the NUS Toastmasters Club Speechcraft Workshop ,things were much easier tonight as compared to when I first began as a professional Master of Ceremonies!

Granted it, I’ve been a speaker and trainer for awhile. Yet, entertaining a group is pretty much a different ball game altogether from educating or informing a crowd! And the skills required to make people laugh and have them participate have to be learnt, practised and improved upon!

The point is, we do get better, and we can only get better if we stay the course and concentrate on becoming better communicators!

I’ve witnessed too many cases of people giving up before they even realised what went wronged and gave up on giving themselves the opportunity for change and improvement! Personally, I feel that it’s a great pity for someone to give up on opportunity of what could be and ability that has yet to materialise! It’s like throwing away a winning lottery ticket prior to the eventual revealing of the results: the winner will never know that he won… and he will never be able to claim his prize.

Winners never Quit.
Quitters never Win!

Stay the course! Be the change! Your life is in your hands!