Category Archives: Personal Development

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

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3 Tips to Boost Your Confidence


I cam across this video on Boosting Confidence by TED-Ed.

I must say they are simple and easy to understand, and I’ve personally used or adopted them when I was (and still am) learning about public speaking.

These are useful tips, as they are genuine principles that work.

The video takes slightly more than 4mins to complete, but will have significant impact on the way you approach learning, application and making decisions.

So check it out!

Also, join the public speaking and art of influence community in our Public Speaking & Art of Influence facebook group.

Learn more lessons, interact with my team and gain more insights into Public Speaking and The Art of Influence.

Five Important Things You Must have to SHINE on Stage


Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 5 seconds. Contains 819 words

If you’re wondering about the key qualities great speakers share, look no further.

Having spent over the last 10 years on stage, I’ve had the privilege of speaking to thousands of people over the years, via different mediums, at different functions and events… and taking notes on what worked and what didn’t. Continue reading Five Important Things You Must have to SHINE on Stage

Thoughts on Self-Definition


Be defined, not by the trophies in our cabinet, the money in our bank account; nor the clothes that we wear, or profession that we do.

But think and define ourselves as the person we are, for all the strengths and faults, quirks and abilities… the person you’re building – that is the bigger question, and the biggest challenge of our lives.

#thoughts

Basking in Strength and Wonder at being Vulnerable


Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 26 seconds. Contains 889 words

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I’ve been revisiting the concept of one’s “self-identity” recently, and came upon the concept of being in-sync in with one’s vulnerability – which sounds very much like a paradox, really.

Aren’t vulnerabilities bad? It makes me uncomfortable. (It does!)

Why would somebody want to be in-sync with their vulnerabilities?

As I began probing deeper, I realized that accepting, displaying and working with (not merely on) our vulnerabilities helps to open up a new world to us.

Our fears to approach what we deem as unlikely, impossible or even likely to fail, are acknowledged, are embraced – we say to our fears, “thank you very much, but I’d really like to try that out, in spite of failure, (hurt) and embarrassment…” We get out there and try them out anyway – and often surprise ourselves with we what we see and find: freedom and even exhilaration.

Continue reading Basking in Strength and Wonder at being Vulnerable

Five Important Lessons We Can Learn From Flappy Bird


This is old news. If you haven’t heard, an insanely addictive game going by the name of “Flappy Bird” swept through the world over the last year. Rumour has it that it garnered over 50 million downloads across both the App and Google Play stores. The game was so successful, that it began raking in $50,000 per day for its developer.

Yet early this week, its developer decided to pull the plug on it. News has it that the game became so popular… because it looked so simple, and yet was so difficult to play, made it exceedingly addictive to play.

I should know. I played it too – two days before it was taken down.

Since my acquaintance with the game, I’ve come across a wide array of people people who’ve celebrated as well as condemned it. I can see and appreciate both perspectives – and I refuse to be drawn into taking sides.

Why?

It’s because I see the value behind the game, and have drawn important life lessons from it. Here are my top five:

#1 Flappy Bird Teaches You the Value of Persistence

I’ll admit… the game has probably ‘stolen’ up to four hours of my life. On a late Saturday night out with my buds to catch a football match on TV – all it took was for one of us (okay… me) to download the game. Before we knew it, all the mobile devices had flappy bird on it… and we spent close to two hours on the game… and by game, I didn’t mean the football match.

For close to two hours, the five of us us strived to outdo each other in high scores department. There were moans, groans and lots of swearing each time ‘flappy’ died.

Did we give up?

No.

I’m no super high scorer, really. In fact, I’m not keen to get into triple digits just for the sake of it.

Instead, I recognize that through persistence and practice, we get better at some thing we put our minds to… and that makes a difference.

Lesson: Persistence matters.

Lesson #2: Practice is Only Half the Story

Instead, our scores got higher. The few of us who banded together even shared learning ‘secrets’ to outdo “the other”.

I’ll admit, my progress was really slow. But until my pair of buds decided to let me in on a little secret of theirs (they were the top two scorers) I was close to the bottom… constantly frustrated and annoyed by another irritating friend of mind.

One simple little tip later, I doubled my score and I became the annoying bugger baying for blood.

Lesson: Practice doesn’t make perfect if you don’t know what to do.

The same goes to the many things we aim to do in life. We can spend hours practicing… but until you know what to do, you might not be doing it right.

#3 It’s ‘Fun’ When You See it as a Challenge

I use open inverted commas here because I know some people will disagree.

I understand the game can be is incredibly frustrating. The curious question however, how did so many of us get addicted to it?

I believe the secret lies in seeing it as a challenge.

We believe that we can do it – and so we put our hearts, minds and souls into doing better each round.

The result (after many hours) is that there will be results – because we’ve invested time, effort and thought into it… and witnessing progress can be really gratifying and addictive.

Lesson: Our our personal development journey can be so so much more gratifying once we start looking at it as a challenging game.

#4 It You Get the Hang Of It After Awhile

I’m going to admit that I kept crashing into the pipes, I struggled to get pass the 10th point on several occasions (to put it nicely).

Looking back, I realized my rhythm was off and I struggled with my timing to ‘tap’. That’s, in comparison to how I approach the game now.

I realized I can easily get beyond the 30-40 mark now without actively thinking about when to tap. I’ve worked up a rhythm… a routine on when to tap so that I do not crash and navigate through the maze almost seamlessly.

Lesson: Like most skills in life, practice makes progress. Once you commit the process to the sub-conscious level, you don’t have to actively think about it any more… and that makes working the skill so much easier.

Think of how you learned to ride the bicycle, drive or swim – the process is similar.

# 5 It’s All About Focus 

Again, I’ve another admission: I struggled with my ability to focus my attention on the game when I first started. Mainly because there were so many things going through my mind.

Yet through consistent practice (trials, to be exact), the process took effective and my mind became conditioned with the routine. Like #4 – I don’t have to actively think about what I need to do any more, my hands get the job done, and I’m able to block out distractions that render me ineffective.

In a related article, I’ve read about how so many people have written extremely critical letters to the game creator blaming him for their addiction. I find it ironic… because (I feel that) the game has taught me how to cure my own addiction to distractions.

It’s for that reason I’m comfortable and able to put my phone down to pen this article.

Lesson: A key to getting things done is the ability to focus. The ability to “focus” is a skill – and by that definition it can be honed.

Don’t blame your addiction / inability to focus on somebody else. The buck stops with you.

Summary:

Too many people give up, not due to of a lack of knowledge, but due to a lack of commitment… due to a lack of belief – either in the outcome, or the effort they’re putting in.

The key however, is recognizing that time, thought and effort do pay off as long as we we’re willing to acknowledge the progress we’re making, and continue to push our boundaries.

The fact that we are willing to put up with such an incredibly frustrating game… and push our boundaries on it… is enough proof that as long as we put our minds to something, we can become better at it.

The same principle applies to confidence building, relationships and public speaking.

As the saying goes, it’s mind over matter. If you don’t mind it, it doesn’t matter.

6 Important Tips to Get the Most out of Business Networking


Image

We may well be into the 21st Century, but that old adage, “it’s not who you know, but who know’s you” continues ringing true.

In fact, some people (myself included) have gone further with, “it’s not who knows you, but who remembers you” that counts.

The Art of Successful Networking for both personal and professional success are still key components in our world today. Yet, it is still an area that many of us fall short of, mainly because a significant proportion of us operate behind the miracle and wonders of the computer, and that good teachers on the subject are far and few between.

Here then, is a list of 6 Tips on How to Get the Most out of Business Networking  
(Adapted from the Financial Post – Read the Original Article Here)

1. Commitment

Commit yourself to speaking to people you haven’t met, and avoid the comfort of just hanging around familiar faces.

Commit yourself too, to having quality conversations, and by that I mean finding out about what they do, how you can help them and vice versa.

2. Dress the Part

The business world is a big marketplace, but that doesn’t mean you should dress like you are actually at one.

The way you dress, reflects how much effort and consideration you’ve put into your personal and professional branding. A haphazard ‘put-together’ suggests you don’t care – and if you don’t why should others?

3. Be Professional

Being professional means applying a skill or practice in the course of work, and that takes effort – effort which goes over and beyond what you would normally do in the personal sphere.

Being professional, thus requires you to prepare the “tools of your trade” and doing everything which is necessary to get the job done and done well. This includes preparing your name cards (the crisp and nice ones), polishing your shoes, reading up on who might be attending the event, and what they might be interested in etc.

4. Seize the Initiative

Don’t rely on others to take the lead. Be first to break the ice; they are probably just as nervous as you are and are also there for a purpose.

5. It’s Not Over Even After Its Over

A big mistake most people make at the end of a networking event, is thinking that it’s over after everybody’s gone home.

It’s not.

That people have gone home means that your work has entered the second phase of “staying in touch”. When the dust’s settling, that’s when you get the breeze going by keeping in touch and reminding them you are keeping them in mind (preferably with ways to help them in whatever ways necessary).

In a subtle way, it is also an indirect way of reminding them to keep a look out for opportunities for you.

Regardless, it’s still a great way to have them remember you – and that’s important, isn’t it?

6. Stay Visible

Join a networking/professional group or volunteer your services. Whatever it may be, the key point here is that you should be able to meet new people, show others what you are capable and continuously apply Tips 1-5.

Offer to speak at events, or publish articles; position yourself as the “go-to” person in your industry.

At the end of the day, it’s more important about who knows (and remembers) you, than who you know, is it not?

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Do you have any other tips where it comes to Networking? Share it in the comments section below!

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The 10 Reasons Why No One Knows What They’re Doing in Their 20s


Where are you heading?

 

I came across this interesting post, whilst randomly surfing for interesting articles (which is a good thing) to read.

I must say, having started my career in my early 20s, that I found the list highly relatable and that I agree it to a large extent.

Points 1, 6, 7, 9 and 10 will probably get the biggest YES! from me, seeing that they were the main things I made a conscious effort to go against.

I do however, find points 2 and points 10 a little big oxymoronic, since the latter could be seen as an attempt by the “junkie” to live in the present, and I do wish that I can be more present as I go about fighting for the things I want in life.

Still, it makes for interesting reading. Tell me what you think about the 10 Reasons.

Which ones do agree with and why? Share your thoughts in the comments column below.

Continue reading The 10 Reasons Why No One Knows What They’re Doing in Their 20s

The Power of Storytelling: 10 Reasons Why Stories Are Such Powerful Tools


We’ve heard a lot about it. Speakers use it. Politicians love it… But Storytellers started it.

What exactly endears an audience to stories? And what makes it such a powerful communication and learning tool that has stood the test of time?

Here are 10 Reasons Why Storytelling is Such a Powerful & Effective Learning Tool.

Continue reading The Power of Storytelling: 10 Reasons Why Stories Are Such Powerful Tools

Shaping Your World With Your Body Language!


Still curious about what you can learn from and do with body language ?

Let Amy Cuddy share you insights on body language and how, when you change the way you hold your body, you change the way you influence your behavior and surroundings.

You can read the transcript here.

Learn it, do it.

Get out there, share and make a difference!

Upcoming Workshop: The Public Speaking Secrets of Steve Jobs and Barack Obama


http://stevejobsobama.eventbrite.com/

I’m proud to announce, that after MONTHS of preparations, we’re finally ready to bring to you our latest public education workshop on the Public Speaking Secrets of Steve Jobs and Barack Obama!

After spending hundreds of hours reviewing some of the best speeches presented by this two maestros on stage, we’ve distilled several key lessons that you can take away in the span of three hours.

Yes, THREE HOURS!

Our research team has worked round the clock to review and distill hundreds of hours worth of research and lessons into 3 power-packed hours for your educational benefit.

And if you’re wondering if it’s all talk and no play… I can assure that cannot be further from the truth.

Included in this workshop (repeat, WORKSHOP!) will be opportunities for you to practice, share and network with other like-minded, positive individuals.

Your investment, if you’re coming alone (why!?) would be a mere S$50/-.

That’s $10/- per skill!

But I’m going to throw in some sweeteners for you. Come with a friend (or friends!) and we’ll give you 20% off each ticket. That’s $40/- per person if you come with your friends!

Good deal?

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Nah… I cannot help it. Let’s get the party started. For those of you who are really keen, and ready to take advantage (of me), I’ll be throwing in an early registration promotion. Sign up now with a friend and enjoy each ticket at $25/- only.

You heard me right: $25/- only!

That’s 50% off the original price!

All to reward your enthusiasm and for being proactive when it comes to learning.

To register, simply click on the following link:

http://stevejobsobama.eventbrite.com/

Select the respective ticketing options, register with participant details and you’re set.

It’s that simple!

So what are you waiting for?

Register for the workshop today!

For more information on the programme, simply click on the event poster and scroll through the posters. Alternatively, you may reach me by mail at gary@garyguwe.com or gary@speak-ventures.com. Drop me a mail at either address and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Here’s looking forward to meeting you soon!

Best Regards,

Gary G

Are You an Influential Communicator?


Presentation Maestro

One of the few people that consistently come to mind, when I ask participants at my workshop who they thought was a great speaker, would be the late Steve Jobs. Make no mistake about it, hate him or love him, he did set the stages he graced alight and abuzz whenever he took to it.

Many people wondered if it was just the “Mac” factor, the undeniable success brought forth by line of sexy and elegant gadgets that Apple has come to be known for.

Or was there more?

Continue reading Are You an Influential Communicator?

Singapore By-Election Aftermath: 5 Communication Tips for Campaigning Candidates


Hougang By-Election, Politics Singapore
Photo taken off Channel News Asia

Those of you residing in Singapore would probably know the story. It was a breathtaking two weeks of hustings with a local by-election in the electoral division of Hougang. For quite an extended period, the Opposition Workers Party seemed to be on its back foot as talks of party disunity, indiscipline and issues of integrity dominated the headlines.

Political observers, initially in unison in their analysis that despite it being the opposition’s stronghold, a number of voters could be swayed to support the ruling party, due in part of reasons why the by-election was called for in the first place. Yet, as allegations and issues surrounding the opposition party and its members surfaced, the ruling party seemed to jump on unto the bandwagon to amplify the issues in a bid to whip and collect political advantage.

Unsurprising I would say. It’s politics. It’s a game of one-upsmanship. Why let your opponents go, when you can use the opportunity to show the world, the audience – your voters – that your opponents are not up to the mark? That their quality, or or abilities are not up to par, or even their arguments and proposals are fundamentally flawed?

Unfortunately, what seemed to be a natural, political move, seems to have backfired, again, and the electorate returned the constituency to the opposition, margin of 62.09% to 37.91% of the total number of eligible votes.

Political commentators responded in their analysts, that the ruling PAP should’ve and could’ve narrowed down the margin… but the PAP’s constant harping on integrity issues and their attempts to pull down their opponents suggested that the ruling party “hadn’t learned their lesson” since the last General Elections.

Now I’m no political whiz, and my interest lies more in my country’s future than in political affiliations (i.e, I will vote for the best candidates available to me, after careful analysis of what they both stand for, and not necessarily along party lines).

However, based on my analysis as a speech coach and speaking strategist, it is my view that the old method of mudslinging at campaigns is over. Personality attacks simply do not work anymore, and whilst enough noise may still be generated from a sizable electorate in larger countries, the truth is that positive personalities… people who are likable are tend to draw crowds towards them and their ideas like moths to a flame.

The point in contention here isn’t just about content. You can give the best speech in the world… but nobody will buy it if they don’t trust you, and if they don’t trust you, they won’t like you, and if they don’t like you, they won’t buy you or buy from you.

Nobody cares about how much you know, until they know how much you care – John C. Maxwell

It’s not only a battle of minds, for minds, but also a battle for hearts.

I’ll be the first to acknowledge, that Continue reading Singapore By-Election Aftermath: 5 Communication Tips for Campaigning Candidates

Why You Must Speak!


Ideas are a matter of taste. What is a good idea to some is a bad idea or boring to others.

A good idea is a clever solution to a problem – one I have never seen before.

But if an idea is not taken up and used as a solution to a problem, it has no value.

It becomes a non-idea.

Lying in a drawer, it is useless.

Worse than useless, it’s a complete waste of space.

Ideas have to be applied before they can be recognized as good ideas.

Even a bad idea executed is better than a good idea undone.

The longer it is used, the better the idea is considered to be.

That is why the wheel is considered the best idea ever!

– A page out of Paul Arden’s book

What does this have got to do with Public Speaking you say?

Lots.

Continue reading Why You Must Speak!

The One Rule You Must Know If You Want to Be A Better Speaker


Too many people spend too much time trying to perfect something before they actually do it. Instead of waiting for perfection, run with what you go, and fix it along the way…

– Paul Arden – International Best Selling Writer

Many a times, many people think themselves to death when they think about public speaking. They shudder when they think about what other people might think of them on stag. They cringe and cry, paralyzed by over analyzing the situation. Then they give up – running away is always easier.

So much for learning a skill! Continue reading The One Rule You Must Know If You Want to Be A Better Speaker