Category Archives: Public Speaking

Get Your Copy: Twenty-Six Power Speaking Tips to Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking


Twenty Six Power Speaking Tips to Help You Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking

It’s here!

My first ebook on public speaking is out!

And what better way to start, than sharing my insights and experience on overcoming the #1 fear people face?

This is a simple, easy-to-read resource that addresses several myths relating to speaking with confidence, and how to develop long-lasting confidence by addressing both mindset and technical issues.

It’s a no-nonsense resource; I wanted it to be helpful and straight to the point.

And for a limited time, I’d like to offer it to you for free.

All I ask, is for you to drop me comment about what you think about it in the comments tab below, and what else you’d like me to write about.

To find out more about the eBook, or where to download it, simply click here or on the image.

Also, join our community on our facebook group page at www.facebook.com/groups/superinfluence to network with other reads, and have your questions addressed by my coaches!

Happy learning! Talk soon!

Advertisements

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

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.

Audience Management 101 for Emcees


Any stage act or performance will involve an audience. That’s the whole point of the act. Performers know this, and a lot of them react to the audience when they are on stage.

For example, in a dance routine, the dancers cannot move out of their formation to interact with the audience. However, the choreographer usually plans the dance to have certain ‘wow’ points that are most likely to get a reaction from the audience, or at least keep the audience engaged.

Still, wondering how the audience reacts on stage makes a lot of performers nervous. They cannot break the fourth wall to interact with the audience directly. And truth be told, the audience can react in totally unexpected ways – this includes total silence.

That’s where you, the emcee, come in. As the person with the ability to interact with the audience directly, it is your job to manage the audience for the entire event.

You control the audience, not the other way around

Continue reading Audience Management 101 for Emcees

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

Effective Emceeing: Don’t be an Awesome Parrot on Stage


Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 54 seconds. Contains 580 words

As an audience member, have you ever heard an emcee on stage introduce or close an act by describing it as “Awesome”?

That dance performance was … Awesome!

Up next we will have an act that is simply … Awesome!

That accounting presentation was so … Awesome!

Based on these, it seems like everything is “Everything Is Awesome”.

‘Awesome’ is an awesome word, and there is nothing inherently wrong with it. However, people have a tendency to keep using it over and over on stage. It boggles the mind, that of all the words in the world, people choose to use ‘awesome’ as the word to repeat. Maybe it rolls off the tongue better, or maybe it seems to be more impressive than just a simple ‘good’ or ‘great’. Either way, the “one-word-to-describe-it-all” problem is still the same, and it is most definitely not awesome.

The problems of the parrot

Among my group of emcee friends, we’ve begun referring to people who use the word ‘awesome’ to describe everything,  as “Awesome Parrots.” It’s a nice nickname (it sounds awesome!), but it’s also something you want to avoid being.

Continue reading Effective Emceeing: Don’t be an Awesome Parrot on Stage

Basking in Strength and Wonder at being Vulnerable


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

————————

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

Misses and Hits: Lessons from Singapore’s YPAP Video


Editors Note:
This post is written entirely for learning purposes. Any sarcasm and cynical comments found herein are included for entertainment purposes, and not meant to offend.

[C’mon… give me a break I head to go through the video 5 times!]

Click here to launch the video

===========================================

[5 minutes 46 seconds, if you average 3 words per second]

ypap pic

 

 

By now, if you live in Singapore, or have friends who are Singaporeans – you would have heard about the latest video controversy making its round on the internet.

I was asked by a local news paper, The New Paper to give my views on the video and the reasons for the reception it received.

Here’s my take on the misses and hits, and what we can learn from it.

MISSES:

1) Robotic “Personalities” 

Go through the first 40 seconds of the video, and you’ll see bodies people largely standing still. Even for people who speak, their gestures and mannerisms appear largely controlled.

Having worked in front of the camera, I’m aware of the need to minimize distracting mannerisms.

Unfortunately, minimizing mannerisms in this case has swung to the other extreme, causing a number of people in the video to appear contrived and “emotionless”.

What really stood out for me, is how one person, apart from his/her voice, speaks and sounds almost the same as the other person – how’s that for personality and personalization? 

What could’ve been better: Variation in tone, pace and hand gestures would’ve broken the seeming monotony of “robotic personalities”. They key is to present one’s personality and energy.  

 

2) Synchronized Movement: An Irony of  Preparation

This is probably a sad irony of preparation. Where an audience demands sincerity and connection with the people who may eventually be their leaders, synchronized gestures throughout the video (ie, at 0:26s) suggests a rehearsed attempt and hardly suggests that actions from the activists (pardon the pun) “came from the bottom of the heart”.

Even the following segment by the West Coast Region YP, an apparent attempt at presenting a united front – backfired, when the actions appeared overly orchestrated.

Tanjong Pagar Region YP (3:44) upped the ante with their segment with an even more uniformed recital of what they wanted to say and with their eyes all over the place except the camera.

Eyes at the camera, please?
Eyes at the camera, please?

What could’ve been better:  Have close ups of individual activists from within the group, present shortened, specific segments. So everybody gets air time, but there’s less “group” coordination required for the recital.

It’s also perfectly fine to look at the camera to simulate eye contact with the audience.

By the way, having one’s eyes moving systematically, from left to right gives people the perception that you’re reading off a script/teleprompter and not speaking from the heart… so doing that is also highly discouraged.

ypap pic 2

It’s hard to convince people that you truly believe in and care for something, when the delivery appears to be devoid of emotion, scripted and prepared.

 

3) Language: Can you Connect with the Common Man?

I noted a couple of instances, when the words used by the presenters weren’t naturally relatable to or immediately understandable by the man on the street.

In short, we don’t use them as part of of our daily conversations.

Take for example the segment presented by Holland-Bukit Timah Region, where it was said, “We must continue to be responsive to the ever-changing social, political and economic environment, by distributing resources in a caring manner, and balancing  market forces and government intervention for Singaporeans to better cope with living expenses.

That’s a lot of big words there.

Instead of that, how about, “We must continue to be sensitive to the needs of Singaporeans – by sharing with them the fruits of the country’s labour and help them with the costs and challenges of living.
(I don’t like the word “challenging” here… but hey, I came this at the top of my head and it’s still better than the original version, no?)

Then there are  terms that even I find confusing… such as East Coast Region YP’s “Diversity in Social Mindset” – I understood the explanation that came after the term… but I did find myself scratching my head wondering why that can’t be replaced with the phrase “Having more members from more diverse backgrounds” (… other than doctors, lawyers, etc).

If only the other YP branches heeded the advice of Choa Chu Kang Region YP, who called for communication to be simple, concise and easy to understand…

 

===============================================

Okay, now that I’m done with the misses… let’s consider the hits.

Content: Pretty sound there – there’re no surprises here. Every thing is spic and span and no controversy erupted over a message that could’ve been misconstrued etc. At least the PAP doesn’t have to be embarrassed by a message.

Party Discipline: Say what you like, the teams still pulled together to deliver a consistent message/direction is still commendable. Achieving that by itself is a feat, considering the massive machinery that is the PAP.

A for Effort and Putting Yourself Out There: Trying to be ‘natural’ and coordinated… you’ve got to say, the people tried and they’re really NOT actors!

It would be great if the speakers could achieve the level of unconscious competency in the area of public speaking, communication and connecting with their audience.

Hey guys… just in case you’re wondering where you can learn that, I know of a coach who does a great job at helping people with that! *winks*

===============================================

Summary:

To be fair, I truly believe getting the different branches to send in a “proper” video for compilation is a mammoth task.

The PAP, known more for its discipline accuracy (think engineers and lawyers) and assuming the role of the ruling party would naturally place greater emphasis on the content of its message.

Still, try as they like, the call for people to focus on intention and the message is expected… but will very likely fall on deaf ears.

After all, people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

Therefore, although I believe that there exists real concern (and passion) hidden under the cloak of nervousness and unrefined performance, the art of communication and connecting with the audience is a skill the PAP needs to work on, if they wish to really soften the blow of their (hard) policies and move the audience into believing that they know what’s best.

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.

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?

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

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