How to Make the First Move!

It’s not what you know but who you know that makes the difference. – Anonymous

It isn’t just what you know, and it isn’t just who you know. It’s actually who you know, who knows you, and what you do for a living. -Bob Burg

I began noticing an interesting phenomenon a couple of years ago. Whenever I walked into a room half-full of people, those who had arrived with friends sat with their friends. Very often, they would be engaged in conversation. Nothing strange about that.

The interesting phenomenon was, those who had arrived by themselves, sat by themselves, and very often very far away from the next person. If there were enough seats available, they’d seat rows away from the next person. If there weren’t enough seats, they’d usually try to seat at least one seat away from the other person. Otherwise, they’d just seat down on whatever seat that was available. But still, most kept to themselves!

Do you see it?

Seldom does anybody make the first move to speak to anyone new!

Yet in the wake of the rise of email and instant message as predominant communication tools, the ability of a person to network and mingle effectively is a critical skill to anyone who wishes to stand out from the crowd. Research has shown that only 7% of a message is convey via words. The remaining 28% and 65% is conveyed via a person’s tone and body language.

So just imagine when all that your competitor is comfortable with is typing behind the anonymity and security of the monitor and screen name when you are actively networking and mingling with other people. By mastering the skills of networking and communication, you’re putting yourself in a much greater position in terms of credibilty and reliability!

Just think about how you much more you would be able to achieve if you were able to fully convey the remainder of 93% of your message to the intended recipient! Think about how much you’d be able to stand head and shoulders above your fiercest rivals!

Henry Ford once said that he became one of the world’s richest men, not because he was the smartest man around, but because he was able to find the smartest people to work for him! But how could he have done it if didn’t know how to network with people?

Now networking is critical. But it need not be difficult! In fact, it’s really easy – and there are a million and one people [I’m sure there are more!] who are just waiting out there to talk to someone as interesting as you! Now all you have to do is help them by learning how to make the first move! Better still, if you’re single, meet your dream date by making the first move!

It’s really easy!

Now here’s how to do it:

1) Be First to Say Hello!

By making the first move, you’re assuming a position of power. By making the first move, you’re effectively taking hold the ‘ball’ and throwing it into the other’s court. It’s an invitation from you that “you’ve given permission” to the other person to enter into a conversation – and start a new relationship!

Of course, the person could reject the invitation and return your invitation with indifference. But hey! It’s no big deal! As a matter a fact, it’s great! Now you don’t have to waste your time on that person and your time is freed to look for someone else who’s more interesting and of better character! Or maybe someone more attractive? [*winks*]

2) Awareness

Face it. Many times we enter parties or new settings with the frown of uncertainty. In many instances, many ‘first timers’ are afraid too! But that’s the good news! Recognising that most of the people who are there are as uncertain and afraid as you are means that they won’t bite.

In fact, recognising that most of the people are afraid and uncertain means that you’re now able to give them what they want – a helping hand to lift them out of their misery! How? Be friendly and talk to them! You won’t bite will you? (you had better not! *grins*)

3) Smile!

Now I’ve mentioned it, most of the time we’re wearing a frown of uncertainty on our faces. But there’s a problem. How does one react when he sees a frown? Heck! How would you react when you see a frown?

Do you feel warm and welcomed when you see a frown? Or does it really repel you from the wearer?

I believe for most of us, a frown is a general warning sign against approach. The effects of a frown is negative to whatever you’re trying to achieve. In fact, if you were a follower of the recent American Idol auditions, you would have realised that almost all of those who wore a frown to the auditions didn’t make it through! Conversely, almost all those who made it through wore a smile. I’m not saying they made it solely because they had nice smiles! All I’m saying is, smiles adds value to the overall package, and a frown deducts the value.

Smiling is signal of peace and friendship. It signals to the recipient that we pose no threat or harm to our opponents. Would you smile if you were ready to attack someone?

Smiling is an extremely useful tool to defuse tension and uncertainty! Especially in the social context, smiling is a simple but immensely beneficial tool to help break the ice and initiate new conversations and relationships!

There you have it! Three easy to use strategies on how to make the first move! Try it in business or when you’re interesting in knowing someone new! You never know when that person may become your next biggest client, or your next lifelong partner!

Try it!

What would your success story be?



People who do not see their choices do not believe they have choices. They tend to respond automatically, blindly influenced by their circumstances and conditioning. Mindfulness, by helping us notice our impulses before we act, gives us the opportunity to decide whether to act and how to act. –Gil Fronsdal


Words of Wisdom by Zen teacher Mr Gil Fronsdal!

Very often, people often react to the circumstances. Think about the daily routines that you go through and how do you react to them. Have we ever really stopped to think about why we do things the way we do? And how do we react to people and the way they treat us? Do you realise that more often than not, we seem to have a fixed and predictable way of reacting to daily tasks and demands by people?

People are creatures of habit. Over time, most people have come to form a fixed routine and manner of doing things. The plus side of this behavioural trait is that it allows us to deal with most of our daily tasks with minimal fuss and allows us to function at a high level of efficiency and certainty.

The downside, however, is that we become too set and inflexible in our ways. The result is that we tend to overlook other better possibilities of resolving issues and run the risk of taking people for granted. Thus the popular stereotype saying “you can’t teach old dogs new tricks”!

However, being Mindful (or Aware as I like to say) of what we do and the choices available to us is a powerful remedy to inflexibility and inefficiency. It usually involves (1) questioning and then (2) understanding one’s actions and core motivations and the ultimate objective ; and lastly (3) a commitment to investigate the tried and tested.

No doubt, it’s going to take quite a bit of effort. But the rewards more than justify the efforts.

Try it!

What would your success story be?

Taking for Granted

If somebody knows another well, does that give him the right to take the other for granted?

Ie: If A “knows B well”, does that give B permission to take A for granted?

If B is friendly to other ‘new ppl’, but dares to be rude/unfriendly to those that he/she is closest to… then are we right to say that A is better off not being close to B?


I attended a talk today about love. During the talk, the facilitator shared with us how some spouses began taking their partners for granted by displaying certain traits that were less than positive – traits that we seldom seen when the couple were still dating. Very often, the justification these spouses gave was “But you know me! That’s the way I am!”

In the words of the facilitator, does “being friendly authorise one to become unfriendly?”. He noted that some spouses appear to become very hostile towards each other after years of marriage! The days of lovey-dovey and honey sweetness were far-few between, if not otherwise long gone!

Do you see the irony? A person is friendly in order to achieve a certain level of trust and proximity in a relationship. Then, as he gains the trust and proximity, he slackens off and becomes less than friendly/polite!

I think it’s a very big danger to take one’s foot off the pedal in a relationship. And that is regardless if it’s a romantic relationship, family, platonic or professional one. Things change! People change! And relationships have to be maintained in view of those changes in circumstances! Otherwise, like everything else, it is liable to becoming worn out… and runs the risks of allowing hostility to set in!

Taking things for granted is among some of the top reasons for failure in a person’s life. Guard against it. It’s ok to take a break once in awhile from all the hard work, but let it not become a habit!

Stage Fright? One key Practice to Success

I read a thing that speaking in front of a crowd is actually considered the number one fear of the average person. Number two was death. Number two. That means if you’re the average person, if you have to be at a funeral, you would rather be in the casket than doing the eulogy.”

— Jerry Seinfeld, “I’m Telling You for the Last Time” (1998)

Do you still remember the first time you made a public speech? Standing in front of the a curious crowd of 10 – no, maybe 40, watching a sea of wondering eyes, you were totally at ease. In fact, you were so comfortable that you delivered an amazing, heart rendering speech that won rapturous applause.

Did that happen to you? If it did, congratulations! You must have been blessed with the great art of Public Speaking! The bad news for most of us though, is that gift of public speaking does not come to all naturally.

The good news however, is that it is a skill, and like most other skills, it could be learnt!

Regardless of their standing in life, many people are crippled by the fear of public speaking due to early mishaps on the stage. Unprepared, unskilled and totally inexperienced, most negative experiences are formed early on in our lives during the most self-conscious stage of our life.

Someone once observed that, human nature is such that “when we have one experience, we try to avoid it for the rest of our lives”. It is our mind’s natural defence against pain! Sadly, our body’s natural aversion to pain is also the main cause of it as it is the factor that prevents us from improving and overcoming our fear at public speaking. How can we improve our skill and abilities, without practice? How does can a baby learn to walk, if all it has ever done in life is crawling? He/she has to fall a few times first!

Most people are averse to public speaking, not because they are afraid of public speaking itself, but more because of the idea of being judged. Most people have no problem speaking less formally around a table, seated down or goofing around friends. Yet when placed in front of the a lectern or on stage under the gaze of a hall full of watchfull eyes, even some of the bravest souls freeze.

A salesman who overcame the fear of public speaking once shared that the best way to overcome fear of public speaking is to “not think about yourself”. I spoke about that too about utilising the Power of Focus, in my entry on Managing Fear.

More importantly, however, in my opinion, there really are only 3 ways to best overcome the fear of public speaking – they are: PRACTICE, PRACTICE and PRACTICE!

There’re no shortcuts really. Principles and strategies are only principles and strategies. The key ingredient however, are putting them into action, understanding and mastering them. Nobody learnt how to swim simply by reading a book. Even Edison needed to fail over 9000 times in order for him to succeed once. What’s more us?

Now having said that, it’s important to have a suitable platform for practice and constructive feedback. As such, I’d highly encourage anybody who wishes to improve themselves in the area of public speaking and communication to join the Toastmasters International.

Personally, I’ve made tremendous progress in the area of public speaking with the help of the organisation’s system and support. And if it’s worked for me, and hundreds of thousands of others worldwide, I’m pretty sure it can help you too! Click on the link to find out more!

Remember! Practice makes perfect!

What would you your success story be?

Constant Communication

I just returned home from running an errand, but there were 2 events that caught my attention. One happened on the bus. Another happened in a supermarket. Both involved 2 young girls and an adult.

The my first observation on a bus was when a lady and her two young daughters boarded the bus. The daughters were very well behaved and spoke softly when they needed to talk. More importantly, they were very willing to share with their mother, to the extent that they enquired what was the meaning of pointing the various fingers on one’s hand [yes… that includes the middle one!]

The mother’s reaction? She was patient at listening and offered her piece in an equally soft, calm and lovely manner. All the while, her gaze was fixated on her daughters while they spoke. No wondering eyes. No indifferent stares at the other passengers. Only a warm smile and patient heart.

Fast forward to the supermarket. There was once again, two young girls and another mother. This time round however, the young girls were shouting and relatively boorish as they went down the aisles looking for items that their mother needed. And what did the mother do? Instead of correcting them, she shouted her orders to her two young kids too.

It’s intriguing isn’t it? Both events involved the same mix of people. And yet there were such distinct results! What does this tell us?

Some would argue that children learn what they need from schools, from their teachers. However, I believe that children learn the most from their parents. Children see and learn from what they experience. If it’s ok for their parents, then why can’t it be for them?

Some parents would argue again that they know their behaviour is bad, and that their children should do better. But hey… if it’s hard for the parent, what’s more for the kid?

Education begins at home, and continues at home. Schools and teachers will come and go, but parents are the ones that stay the longest, and have the biggest influence in their children’s life. It’s important to note then, that whatever you do and say, your children will be looking and learning. Every word spoken and action done, whether consciously or not, you are constantly communicating ‘educational’ messages to your children.

Therefore, always seek to set a good example for your children!

Trust in Relationships

An cohesive family unit is an effective one.

It all begins with the husband and wife – partners of a marriage.

A strong relationship between both parties fosters harmony and stability. Like all relationships, it’s strength is built on trust. The one thing that differs in a romantic relationship and one of platonic friendship, is merely the level of intimacy shared by both parties.

A strong relationship which fosters harmony and stability has a higher chance of withstanding the knocks of time and trials of life. It is difficult to achieve that, but definitely more rewarding than relationships with partners who compromise trust.

A strong relationship between the mother and father also serve as a reliable base for children to learn and grow. It is secure and nurturing, and therefore allows children to experiment without the fear of irrevocable failure, with the assurance and presence of his/her parents.

The best school or best teacher? Where should a child go to learn best? At home. A child primarily draws his/her inspiration from his/her parents. The the ability of a child to learn increases almost geometrically when he/she learns from parents who share strong and sturdy relationships as compared to a children who benefit arithmatically from the ‘normal’ relationships. Research has show than children who come from dysfunctional families are very much more likely to get themselves into dysfunctional relationships later on life too. Real education starts at home. It is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, primary source of influence in a person’s life.

A strong a sturdy relationship is one that’s healthy. It is one that is built on trust. Trust does not seek to hurt. It seeks to protect, and serve. It seeks to love. There’s hope in love.

The following’s a way to develope and build trust in relationships:

Be competent
Be good at what you do, if not better. Being good at something increases your reliability in other people’s eyes.

Be responsible Take responsibility of your actions, especially your mistakes and change them!

Be sensitive
Be aware of the feelings of the other person.

Be respectful
Know and UNDERSTAND what are the things that a person places importance on. Seek to place equal importance on them. Do not belittle them.

Be Honest
Do not lie! Lying compromises one’s integrity and trustworthiness. It erodes your reliability. Don’t even think of telling a white lie!

Temper honesty with a little kindness. Look at the positives of the situation and deliver them. Avoid being too judgemental!

Communicate your ideas and concerns to the people that you care. Don’t criticise or condemn OTHERS! Doing that will only put others at a defensive and nothing can be done when a wall has been put up. FOCUS on the issues that are you are concerned with and how do they make you feel. ie: what do they mean to you. Do not be afraid to elaborate.

Share your ideas and feelings. Daring to expose your vulnerability to others show how much you trust them, and they would be honoured to see that you’re bestowing them with that priviledge. [Of course, where it comes to really sensitive stuff, do share only with people whom you really can trust!]

Also, dare to share your ideas and thoughts to those around you. Dare to make a difference and help with the progress of work projects and or discussions of interest during meetings. You’ll never know if you mention something of immense value or support from someone who share a similar perspective! Having common ideas/perspectives build trust too!

The list above are merely some of the ways one may seek to strengthen trust, and is by no means exhaustive! I will share more when inspiration strikes!

A Purposeful Life

John’s eyes were intensely fixated on the computer screen. His mind focused on navigating his virtual character through a labyrinth of mazes, fighting mythical creatures, orgres and undead knights. John’s character goes aggressively in search of monsters to slay. As he does, his character gains experience gets promoted to the next ‘level’. Level 5, 23, 36, 65… John spends his day in front of the computer screen, and nights after nights awake to help his character “gain experience”.

The cycle dies hard.

Everyday, millions of gamers are hooked on games and missions in virtual reality. To these people, these games are ‘fun’, and more often than not, gamers often find themselves hooked in front of the computer focused on relentless chasing virtual goals and objectives. Yet, have you ever wondered why these ‘focused’ people are finding it hard to exert the same amount of enthusiasm in their daily lives in school and work?

What exactly consitutes ‘fun’ to us? What excites us? What exactly is that ‘element’ which hooks us and leaves us begging for more?

The answer is – Purpose

Having a sense of purpose gives us hope and a sense of direction. And then there’s the excitement of chasing the quests (goals) of our lives. When one realises his purpose or goals in life, each day becomes an adventure waiting to be realised. There are monsters (challenges) to be tackled and experience to be gained.

However, the difference between the rewards of virtual experience and that of reality, is that with the latter, exhilaration and results are real, and unique only to you. Most importantly, that adventure is yours and yours alone – and not something that a million others can emulate.

Flattery VS Sincere Appreciation

“Is it ok if we lied to protect the feelings of the other person? Or should we just tell the truth and hurt?”

How would you react when someone asks your opinion about a new a shirt which you find totally disgusting? Or how about that new hairstyle which, in your opinion, is suited better on a mop than on crop of a head?

Most people lie to save themselves from potentially awkward positions or problems. However, more prevalent in our daily lives are we confronted with the question on whether we should let others in on the brutal truth or to save ourselves from hurting another person’s feelings, especially if he/she comes with you in high spirits!

Faced with the above situation, there is a tendency for us to choose and rationalize the ‘white lie’. Unfortunately, the problem with lying is that we often require another lie to cover up the previous one. Secondly, by building up ‘untruths’, we also compromise our integrity and put our trustworthiness at risk, among other things. These three reasons alone are sufficient at putting you at unease. The long term effects are far worse, as constant lying not only blurs how trustworthy you are to others, but more importantly how trustworthy are you to yourself. Seriously, does it really feel to go through your days constantly doubting yourself and every decision you make, every minute and every second of your life? Personally, I’m not really keen on that prospect. And I’m pretty sure most of you aren’t either.

So here’s the good news: The truth need not hurt! And I’m here to show you today how it’s done. It’s a technique I call: Sincere Appreciation.

Ingredients needed:

1) Tact
2) Wllingness to see the positive side of things
3) Sincerity!

Most people confuse honesty with “brutal honesty”. There is a difference between the following:

1) “I can’t believe you spent $99 on that new shirt! I think it’s totally disgusting” ;

2) “You bought a new shirt? WOW [Yucks!] I think it looks [disgusting] great on you!” and;

3) “I see you’ve bought a new shirt! It looks expensive! But I somehow I think that green one which you wore to work the other day looks better on you!”

Can you see the difference? The first one was brutal honesty. It was said without regard for the recipient’s feelings. The problem with it is that it hurt’s the recipient’s feelings… and nobody likes to be hurt. Do you?

The second one was flattery. It was said just to make the recipient feel good ONLY! The problem with it is that, besides incorporating the problems of lying which were discussed earlier, those words really reflect the lack of substance of the flatterer [EMPTY WORDS!]… it’s only a matter of time before the flatterer will be exposed by the truth. As the saying goes, “one may fool some people some of the time, but one cannot fool everybody all of the time.” Imagine how flat one would look when 99 people tell the truth, and only 1 person told the lie. Who loses?

Now the third reaction was one crafted out of love. It’s one that embraces the truth and tempers it with kindness and regard for the recipients’ feelings. It displays a willingness to see the truth and positives: the extravagent price of the new shirt, and honest preference for an older alternative, both of which are really compliments to the owner’s wealth and taste respectively! In any case, both the opinion provider and the owner are able to revel in the joy and avoid any potential hurt and awkwardness of the truth.

Thus in using the technique of Sincere Appreciation, there’s a higher tendency for all parties to come out winners!

Try it! And let me know how it goes!

24 things we wish we could say at work

1. How about never? Is never good for you?

2. I see you’ve set aside a special time to humiliate yourself in public

3. I’ll try to be nice if you try to be smarter

4. I’m out of my mind – feel free to leave a message

5. I can see your point, but that doesn’t mean I care

6. I like you. You remind me of myself when I was young and stupid

7. You are validating my inherent mistrusts of strangers

8. I am already visualising duct tape over your mouth

9. I will always cherish the original misconceptions I had about oyu

10. Thank you, we are all pleasantly challenged by your input

11. The fact that no one understands you doesn’t make you an artist

12. Any connection between your reality and ours is completely coincidental

13. I’m not being rude. You’re just insignificant

14. It’s a thankless job, but I have a lot of Karma to burn off.

15. Yes, I am an agent of Satan, but my duties are larely ceremonial.

16. No, my powers can only be used for good.

17. Do I look like a people person?

18. You… Off my planet!

19. Errors have been made, who should I blame?

20. Whatever look you were trying for, you missed.

21. Shhhh. I’m trying to imagine you as interesting

22. Too many freaks, not enough circuses.

23. If I throw a stick, will you leave?

24. Sarcasm is one of the many services we offer here.

Managing Fear – (Part 3) – Taming the Dragon!

Having understood the role of fear, the next step effective management of fear is… to do it! But how?

Simple! In three easy steps…

1) What are YOU afraid of?

Having understood the role of fear in PEOPLE’S lives, what role does fear play in YOUR life? I.e.: what does fear protect you from? As a guide, (take out a pen and pencil) consider the following questions:

i) What am I afraid of?
ii) Why am I afraid of it?
iii) How do I react when it’s around?

2) Risk Management

Fear’s role is to shield us from harm; not to paralyse us. Understanding that principle, let’s examine the following questions

iv) Is fear limiting my performance? What would I do I weren’t afraid?
v) What are the likely pitfalls I’ll have to avoid along the way to my goals?
vi) What do I have to do or get along the way to achieve my targets?

3) Power of Focus

Great! We’re at the final and most crucial stage now!

In revisiting of emotions as close to our heart as fear is not an easy task to do. In many instances, it’s very natural to feel pangs of discomfort when revisiting these emotions and past decisions. IT’S NATURAL! But we shouldn’t be stopping now, at least not when we’ve come so far!

I was once told that one of the best ways to overcome the powerful effects of fear is to overwhelm it with something even stronger – Desire. Having understood how fear is limiting us in our pursuit of our goals and a better life, it’s time to ask ourselves, what is it exactly that we want – and WHY do we want them. Think about all the great things that you could do when you’ve broken through the fear barrier, the feelings of immense gratification and joy for having successfully navigated through the various challenges to attaining your goal!

The key here now, is to FOCUS on your strengths and what you can do with them rather than what you can’t. FOCUS on the pleasures of attaining your goals and how to get it by navigating through the risks and not running away from it!

FOCUS, on the things that matter.

Try it! And tell me how it works!

Related Posts: 10 Tips to Overcome Stage Fright

Managing Fear – (Part 2) – Awareness!

As promised, this is part 2 of my “Managing Fear” series. Read on!

Everyone encounters Fear. It doesn’t matter if you’re a 5-year-old child afraid of a cockroach or a 50-year-old person who’s nervous about speaking in front of a capacity crowd. Or a competent young man stuttering *grins* in front of an extremely attractive woman. Everybody, regardless of age, gender and ethnicity has to battle against the paralysis of Fear. Hey, don’t you wish it would just go away?


Despite the negative connotations that are attached to it and it’s tendency to choke us or make us feel inadequate, Fear can be a powerful ally in our quest to self-improvement and achieving our goals! Here’s why:

1) “Without Fear there can be no Courage”. Eric, a good friend of mine shared this with me after he had caught the movie Eragon. How true! Imagine if everything in life were available to you without work or cost. How’d it feel? Well, you might marvel at it for awhile (for some of you), but seriously, think about how boring it would be after a month, a year, a decade or so having everything that you wished for. BORING! The bottom-line here is this – there can be no value without cost. And to be able to overcome Fear is something that makes life interesting, and worth living!

2) Fear of pain drives us to avoid it! There are really two forces behind each and every human decision – conscious or not – and that is Pain and Pleasure. More specifically, it’s the persons’ need to avoid pain and desire to attain pleasure. It is exactly the Fear of failure or pain that motivates us to succeed!

3) Lastly, for the most important reason: Fear is the body’s natural reaction to protecting us from harm! Imagine if you were standing at the edge of a cliff, and felt no Fear whatsoever about leaping without a parachute. What do you think are the chances of you trying to do a Superman? Pretty high I’d say! But it’s the presence of Fear that saves us from doing something silly like leaping off without restraint!

Now the reason why I’m saying all these is to help you gain awareness and put things into perspective. Personally, I feel that all our emotions serve a purpose and some of them can be very powerful tools too! And being aware of them, their purpose and their role/ability to influence our actions is the first step to helping us deal with them. And in the case of Fear, overcome it and/or work with it for the betterment of ourselves.

In the next segment, I shall share with everyone some strategies on how to better understand our personal Fears and tips on how to overcome our Fears for greater performance!

Stay tuned!

Managing Fear – (Part 1) An Introduction

Ever met someone highly attractive, yet hesitated to make the first move? Or how about the last time you felt both anticipation and dread sweeping through your body prior to that big presentation?

People react differently to fear. Whether it occurs in the personal setting or in the public arena, the existence of fear and the need to manage it for optimum performance is a very real need and poses a great challenge to almost everyone.

When it comes to handling fear, some have tried seeking professional help while others have sought alternative approaches in religion and meditation. But regardless of the means, the good news is this – fear can be managed… Yes! It’s true!

In this three part series, I’ll be sharing with everyone powerful techniques on how one can avoid the pain of fear and strategies on how to become more assured and confident in the area of communication and personal growth.

While the key idea here is to share with everyone tips and strategies to facilitate self-growth, it should be noted that the aim of the post is not to provide a silver bullet to ALL of life’s problems and troubles. Rather, it is my wish to be able to share with individuals, useful tips, strategies and insights – tools that empower the individual in the face of challenges that come with life. After all growth isn’t all about pain, it’s about enjoying the fruits of our labour too!

So, what better way to kick off my self-improvement blog than with the universal topic of “Fear”?

Stay tuned!

Hello world!

Hey hi!

Welcome to my latest creation! The purpose of this blog is to share with everyone useful and empowering insights in the area of Communication, Inter-personal Relationships as well as general guides for Self-improvement.

Feel free to browse around and drop me some feedback/comments on the materials, presentation of the website and/or what you would like to see more of on this website.



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