Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Have you heard of the NO - BRAND branding strategy?

Image

How do  people  experience a BRAND?

  • Name: The word or words used to identify the company, product, service, concept

  • Logo: The visual trademark that identifies the brand

  • Tagline or Catchphrase: "The Quicker Picker Upper" is associated with Bounty; "Can you hear me now" is an important part of the Verizon brand.

  • Shapes: The distinctive shape of the Coca-Cola bottle or the Volkswagen Beetle are trademarked elements of those brands.

  • Graphics: The dynamic ribbon is also a trademarked part of Coca-Cola's brand.

  • Color: Owens-Corning is the only brand of fiberglass insulation that can be pink.

  • Sounds: A unique tune or set of notes can "denote" a brand: NBC's chimes are one of the most famous examples.

  • Movement: Lamborghini has trademarked the upward motion of its car doors.

  • Smells: Scents, such as the rose-jasmine-musk of Chanel No. 5 is trademarked.

  • Taste: KFC has trademarked its special recipe of 11 herbs and spices for fried chicken.


Something else which is interesting... The NO-BRAND strategy...

Recently a number of companies have successfully pursued "no-brand" strategies by creating packaging that imitates generic brand simplicity. Examples include theJapanese company Muji, which means "No label" in English (from 無印良品 – "Mujirushi Ryohin" – literally, "No brand quality goods"), and the Florida company No-Ad Sunscreen. Although there is a distinct Muji brand, Muji products are not branded. This no-brand strategy means that little is spent on advertisement or classical marketing and Muji's success is attributed to the word-of-mouth, a simple shopping experience and the anti-brand movement.[22][23][24] "No brand" branding may be construed as a type of branding as the product is made conspicuous through the absence of a brand name. "Tapa Amarilla" or "Yellow Cap" in Venezuela during the 80s is another good example of no-brand strategy. It was simply recognized by the color of the cap of this cleaning products company.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

100 Best Companies to work for in 2011- From CNN

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/bestcompanies/2011/snapshots/1.html

Advertising Code in Singapore... Rules for how contraceptives should be portrayed

http://www.case.org.sg/downloads/asas/SCAP%202008.pdf

Some Interesting Snippets from the Article

CONTRACEPTIVES l (page 32)

6.7.1 There is no objection under the Code to the advertising of contraceptive methods, either in general or particular, provided a reference is made in appropriate cases to the fact that certain methods are available only on prescription.

6.7.2 The effectiveness or safety of particular methods in comparison with others should not be exaggerated.

6.7.3 Condom advertisements should also adhere to the following: (a) Should be in good taste (b) Should not promote promiscuity (c) May include pack shots provided they are not suggestive or offensive (d) Should not have erotic settings

(e) Should not include superlative claims

(f) Should focus on the protective function rather than the pleasure- enhancing aspect of condoms

 

SOCIAL VALUES  (Page 13)

(a) Downplaytheimportanceofpatriotismandnationalunity;

(b) Misinterpretnationalpoliciesandgoalsforthebenefitofanyindividual;

(c) DistorttheperceptionofSingaporeansandthequalityoflifeinSingapore;

(d) Distorttheperceptionsofcitizens’influenceinnationalissues;

(e) DiscreditorbederogatorytoSingaporeasademocraticcountryorinany other way.

 

MOTORING

1. Advertisements for motor vehicles, fuel or accessories should avoid portraying or referring to practices that encourage anti-social behaviour.

2. Advertisers should not portray speed in a way that might encourage motorists to drive irresponsibly or to break the law.

3. Vehicles should not be depicted in dangerous or unwise situations in a way that would encourage irresponsible driving. Their capabilities may be demonstrated on a track or circuit provided it is clearly not in use on a public highway.

4. Care should be taken in cinema advertisements and those in electronic media where the moving image may give the impression of exceptional speed. In all cases where vehicles are shown in normal driving circumstances on the public road they should be seen not to exceed speed limits.

5. When making environmental claims for their products, advertisers should conform with the Appendix on Environmental Claims.(Appendix L)

6. Prices quoted should correspond to the vehicles illustrated. For example, it is not acceptable to feature only a top-of-the-range model alongside the starting price for that range.

7. Safety claims should not exaggerate the benefit to consumers. Advertisers should not make absolute claims about safety unless they hold evidence to support them

 

Thursday, 22 December 2011

You cannot imagine how much I want to work with this Organisation!

http://www.kraftfoodscompany.com/assets/pdf/kraft_foods_fact_sheet.pdf

Here are their Corporate Values...

Inspire trust

Act like owners

Keep it simple

Are open and inclusive

Tell it like it is

Lead from the head and the heart

Discuss, decide, deliver

I have always loved chocolates. It will truly be Charlie's Chocolate Factory!!

Friday, 14 October 2011

Appreciative Inquiry Techniques and Templates

Over the years of having spoken to and interviewed a large number of professionals as part of the research work I do before providing solutions, I have found the 5D system of Appreciative Inquiry a very powerful tool. 


AI is both a tool and a philoshopy. 


I have copied this from wikipedia (Link to wikipedia)

The following table illustrates how AI supporters describe some of the distinctions between Appreciative Inquiry and approaches to organisational development not based on what they call positive potential[7]:
Problem SolvingAppreciative inquiry
Felt need, identification of problem(s)Appreciating, valuing the Best of What Is
Analysis of CausesEnvisioning what might be
Analysis of possible solutionsEngaging in dialogue about what should be
Action Planning (treatment)Innovating, what will be
Appreciative Inquiry attempts to use ways of asking questions and envisioning the future in-order to foster positive relationships and build on the present potential of a given person, organisation or situation. Applied research has demonstrated that this method can enhance an organisation's internal capacity for collaboration and change.[8] Appreciative Inquiry utilises a cycle of 4 processes, which focuses on what it calls:
  1. DEFINE - Finding a positive view on the situation (Instead of defining it as a LOW budget, look at it as an opportunity to find value for money,  innovative solutions.) 
  2. DISCOVER: The identification of organizational processes that work well.
  3. DREAM: The envisioning of processes that would work well in the future.
  4. DESIGN: Planning and prioritizing processes that would work well.
  5.  DELIVER: The implementation (execution) of the proposed design.[9]
The basic idea is then to build - or rebuild - organisations around what works, rather than trying to fix what doesn't. AI practitioners endeavour to be convey this approach as the opposite of problem-solving, with a positive focus on how to increase exceptional performance instead of reactive remediation of skills and practices. AI assumes that this line of reasoning is motivational because organisational development work does not stop when a particular problem is solved but leads to continuous improvement. The method draws from stories of success in an attempt to create meaning.

In my websearch, i came across a fantastic site which has collated all the various types of positive questions we can use in various situations. 

I hope this entry helps you in your journey of becoming a stronger leader and a more empowered individual. 

Make today a GREAT DAY! 



Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Toastmasters Helps you with Public Speaking

Hi Guys,
Wrote this article for the Grassroots Club Magazine.
If you are keen in visiting a Toastmasters club please do consider the club I am with
https://www.facebook.com/GrassrootsToastmasters


How it all began?
One evening, while I was having my dinner in front of the television, my beloved father returned home with a piece of paper that changed my life. It was an application for a Toastmasters Club. I was 19 years old at that time and thought to myself , “That is a peculiar name for a club.” So I asked my father, “What is it about?” and he in his usual inspiring tone he said, “Public speaking!”

That was over 10 years ago. My journey in Toastmasters has been an wonderful adventure filled with great mentors and powerful moments of stretching my skills in public speaking. The Toastmasters program is a systematic self paced package which allows any person above the age of 18 to improve the finer points of communication and leadership

 By being a Toastmaster I have benefitted in three specific areas.

1.     Social Skills- At every meeting I get an opportunity to introduce myself to others and have learnt to be more extroverted. I became increasingly comfortable in striking up a conversation with new people.

2.     Listening Skills.- During the meeting I got a chance to take up different appointments such as Ah Counter (which is a role where we must listen for words like ah, emm, you know or any other words a speaker uses to fill up their sentences but the words don’t contribute meaning), Language Evaluator where I got to listen to the good use of words, sentences, grammar and pick up language flaws. I realized how much concentration goes into actively listening. Today I do believe I am able to listen deeply due my Toastmaters training.

3.     Creativity Skills- A speaker’s job is to breathe life into a message. To animate the abstract ideas. To evoke the emotions, to paint powerful pictures, to allow the audience to really reflect. By following the Toastmasters manual I was able to stretch myself into presenting my ideas in differing ways. I keenly picked up some great styles from other good speakers and was able to test them out.

Speech Contests set my heart ablaze!
When I was in Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary and  Nanyang JC I took part in many speech and debating contest so you can imagine how excited I was when  I learnt that there were many contests held in Toastmasters. I asked my mentor which was the hardest one to compete in and he shared with me that it was the International Speech Contest and when I heard that I told myself that I take part in it. I was amazed by the World Championship speeches and often watched them a few dozen times and memorized their sentences. Later I learnt that this method is called  “Modelling”


This year in August 2011, I will be representing Singapore and Thailand in Las Vegas. Here are some ideas I picked up  over the years of competing.

HOW TO IMPROVE in PUBLIC SPEAKING ?

1.     1. You are taking the audience on a journey. Be clear of the destination. What do you want the audience to feel at the end of the day? What do you want them to do? Build the content around this idea of where is end point.

2.     2. Have Variety –People get bored quickly if we keep the same tone of voice, body language or even the same length of sentences. Keep it moving. Change this up. Keep the audience in suspense instead of creating too much predictability.
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3.     3. PAUSE! – In 2006 when I did not take home any trophies at the International Contest I asked many people why? I realized it was because I did not pause sufficiently to allow my audience to feel my ideas. So give your audience time to really take in what you are saying.
Overall I am still find being a Toastmaster a fruitful endeavor because I am able to apply many of the wonderful skills I have honed by being in the program to my work as both as a Leader and a Facilitator for Organisational Development.



Friday, 8 July 2011

Parenting Congress 2011

Parenting Congress 2011 SLIDES


Dear Parents, 
Please click on the link above to download the slides from the talk. These are three books I strongly recommend all parents to buy and read. Please free to leave your comments and questions on this blog. 




Monday, 4 July 2011

Primary Modes by Naomi Stephan. Ph.d

Was doing some research in the area of finding your purpose in life and came across this idea called PRIMARY MODES. I love looking at different types of psychometric instruments and find uses for them. Years ago I did my Myers Briggs Type Indicator certification and got exposed to JUNGIAN dichotomies which have been pretty useful to me and the people I share it with.
The four categories suggested in the Primary Modes is to help people do some clarifications about what they really enjoy in life. The survey is available in Naomi's book.  The amazon book link is by the below. I will come back to this post to add more information so keep a look out. 

Probability is that we have a bit of all four, however the key idea to hold in the mind is to consider which one of the four you enjoy the MOST? The one which feels most natural.

There are 4 types of Modes. (Doer, Motivator, Stabilizer, Analyzer).

DOER
Get things done fast
Enjoy challenge, risk, obstacles
Thrive on Conflict
Rarely mix emotions with tasks
Can’t really wait
NEED : Fast deadlines, heavy responsibility,
HOW to IMPROVE?
Incubate Ideas
Weigh Evidence more carefully
Listen to the advice of others
Inject more warmth and feeling into your relationships with others

MOTIVATOR

Witty, Fast Thinking
Rally People “Pied Piper”
Pleasant, Friendly, Charming
Harbour Hurt for long period
NEED : Harmony, approval, Avoid Conflict


How to Improve?
Check Impulsive Behaviour
Avoid manipulating with emotions
Organise your priorities
Work on completing what you start

STABILIZER

Cool, Calm, Collected
Sincere, Loyal, Cooperative
Team Players
Do not like to rock the boat
Routine based
NEED :Harmony, approval, Avoid Conflict

How to Improve?

Take the Initiative
Say no more often
Work on Flexibility
Learn to face Conflict and Criticism

ANALYZER

Careful approach to life
Deliver Quality
Doing things right (watchdogs)
Organised and collects facts
NEED :Patient, accurate and investigative work. Quality is high

How to Improve?

Learn to make decisions faster and stick with them
Learn to stop gathering information
Avoid a rigid approach to life
Be willing to take more risks

I am still working thru this book and will share more thoughts and useful ideas as and when I spot them.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

5 Ideas to Win a Toastmasters Speech Contest



I wrote this article for the District Newsletter and thought it would be useful for everyone out there preparing for a motivational speech or speech contest 

Personally I have been at the District Contest 3 times  and represented the region in the San Antonio and Washington DC Toastmasters Contests in 2002 and 2006. This year I am going to Las Vegas in August to give it another shot.  I do hope my humble ideas will give  your speech an added umph! 

IDEA ONE: WHY take PART?
Taking part in contests requires a lot of time investment and a heart that can take rapid palpitations. It gives you an opportunity to think about what you would like to say. It provides you with a great reason to ponder about your significant moments in life. I have found that taking part in contests also evokes the hidden philosopher within all of us.
The aim of taking part in Contest I believe is to improve our speech crafting techniques. I have learnt more from the contests I did not place as Champion. So take a deep breathe and remember the core reason for committing to a Speech Contest is to IMPROVE in the different aspects of delivering a message to your audience.
Write down some of your personal goals for taking part. How much time are you willing to allocate towards the preparation? When will your first draft be out? How many times do you intend to practice?

IDEA TWO: Speech Content
The message of the speech has to be an uplifting one. The questions I normally I ask myself to guide myself in choosing the speeches are
1.      What would serve as a good reminder for people to help them relook at some important aspects of living as a healthy human being? (It’s useful to refer to some motivational books and positive psychology books for ideas)
2.      What are some events that have shaped my life? (I generally keep a journal about my life and so far I have collected about 12 of them. I use these journals as a source of inspiration in my preparation work)
3.      What are some things my heart warms or races to? (Things that get my blood boiling or softened are things that I am concerned about. It gives me a clue as to what is important to me. I have found that speaking about things that I am passionate about is a lot easier than coming across as being “intelligent”)

IDEA THREE: Writing the Speech
I agree when Issac Newton said, “If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants” because I have learnt from many masters from different times, places and disciplines to have developed my speech writing techniques. Here are a few of my favourite strategies.
1.      Sentences must be sound “nice”. Vowels create more air and consonants give our words crispness. For example, “My father’s face blossomed in happiness” Read this sentence aloud and you will notice that many of the words can be pulled to create an almost lyrical effect. Now pretend you are singing this song like a love ballad.  Here is another sentence but this time focus on the consonants, “FoCus your MinD on THe GReaT THings you haVe in your LiFe.” I purposely made certain words into CAPS format to help you emphasise them. This makes your speech saturated with liveliness.
2.      Sights, Sounds and Sensations. A winning speech immerses the audience into a world you are building. Consider this sentence, “The high pitched honking from the frustrated lorry drivers mingled with the nauseating smell of hot diesel fumes. As the sweat trickled down our t-shirts from no where a speeding motorcyclist who was trying to whizz past our car and accidently hit our side view mirror with great force and crashed!” Definitely this sentence can be improved but the basic idea here is to engage your listeners’ imagination.
3.      Use Poetic devices sparingly. My all time favourites are alliteration and the power of three. Do google these words to learn more.

IDEA FOUR: 100 Percent during Rehearsals
My Band instructor often reminded us that if you give less than a 100 percent during the rehersals then your actual performance will also sound like you are still rehearsing. You must prepare your body and mind for the real thing. This is one area I do like a maniac. I often rehearse at least 40 to 100 times before a contest. For those of you who have seen my contest videos, you might think that what you are watching is a about natural talent but that is far from the truth. I recommend all contestants to really concentrate during rehearsals and be willing to edit your speech if it does not seem right.  On the Contest day arrive as early as possible to use the stage and get yourself absolutely familarised with the every square inch. My advise on rehearsals: REHEARSE TILL everyone things you have gone BONKERS!

IDEA FIVE: Grooming
                  The last idea is a simple but effective one. When you are up on stage looking professional adds to your appeal. Here are some things to consider shine your shoes, get a suit that fits well, neat hairstyle, shaven look for the guys. During the rehearsals wear everything you plan to use on the actual contest including your shoes so that you can get comfortable in them. If the contest venue has stage lighting use some powder on your face to reduce the shine . Ramesh’s biggest contest preparation secret? I wear two socks during contest to prevent my feet from getting cold. J Grooming helps in your mental preparation. Plan for your next contest adventure! GO FOR YOUR DREAMS!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Emotional Intelligence for Organisational Excellence 22nd/23rd June '11

GOALS
Please do share what are some of the goals you have set for yourself as part of the continual growth after this program. It must be carried out daily for the next 30 days. Be specific. Be committed.

PERSONAL STORY
Do share your personal story and how it taught you some lessons to become stronger as a person.Your sharing will certainly encourage many people.
You may never know who will read this blog and you might just touch them with your words.

FAVOUR
i would also like to find out more about which ideas you liked and you connected with most. This will help me improve the course.

REFRESHER
1. Become mindful of your activities. Take time to notice what is going on.
2. Breathe more deeply
3. Do your Grounding Exercises (if possible in nature with no shoes)
4. Sing out loud.
5. Do some Journalling to clarify your mind.
6. Observe what is triggering you at an emotional level.
7. Move the energy safely
8. Laugh more. Release endorphins
9. Awareness is the 1st Step to Change
10. Respect the force and Move the Force
11. Don't get sucked in other people's drama.
12. Smile more.
13. Take a risk and interact with other people.
14. Focus on positive words and thoughts more often.
15. Drink more water. Remember the Emoto experiments.
16. F.G.I.O


Here is your group picture guys
EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE FOR ORGANISATIONAL EXCELLENCE 22/23 June '11


Cheers!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Book Recommendations for Inner Arts Students

Dear Students from the Inner Arts and Rejuvenation Class. I pray you are well when you are reading this. ?Here are some books you may want to consider for your future development. Many of these texts have guided me in my personal journey to becoming a better person. Every day is a new day and its an opportunity to make new decisions. It has been my privilege  in meeting all of you. Please do let me know if there is any other resources you would like to help you in your journey.

This is a 2 day workshop which is aimed at helping adults understand the different levels of human consciousness. Its a self reflection and personal development journey. If you would like to bring this program to your organisation please  drop a  mail at ramesh@akltg.com or candylim@akltg.com
INNER ARTS AND REJUVENATION CLASS  (NUS) JUNE 2011
photograph by Candy Lim. Shot on Canon.
Love Ram.





























Friday, 10 June 2011

Tamil Television Interview and SHORT FILM CANHOPE

Check out this great MSN video: Episode 22



Canhope from Mohamed Yahssir on Vimeo.

Featured on Vasantham together with my Pal Yahssir!

Hi Guys,

This video link features about 4 mins worth of interview from Yahssir and myself. Am grateful for Yahssir's faith in my ability to contribute towards his meaningful humanistic films. Will probably blog more about film making in the future. Below I have recommended my favorite book on script writing.  The title is STORY. Its by ROBERY MCKEE. A SUPER DUPER  useful for film script writing, essay writing. I am planning to go for Robert's training program. If anybody else is keen lemme know.


 FOR THE TELEVISION INTERVIEW :  Click here :  Featured on Vasantham TAMIL interview


<a href='http://video.xin.msn.com/watch/video/episode-22/1tn14nqhy?src=v5%3Ashare%3Av5%3Ashare%3Apermalink%3A%3A&from=sharepermalink-v5%3Ashare%3Apermalink' target='_new' title='Episode 22' >Video: Episode 22</a>

And the short film is here: Click this  CAN HOPE
Its in Tamil with English subtitles.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

District 80 Toastmasters International Speech Contest Experience Part 2

"Excuse me... which way to the white marque? The toastmasters event?" I asked a well built Malay guy who works at SRC(Singapore Recreation Club). A quick pause, " Err.. you can actually walk thru this door and go straight." he responded cheerfully. SRC. They have some real standards in making visitors feel welcomed and welcomed I certainly did feel. 

 Lugging the heavy drum while not  crumpling my jacket and not breaking into a sweat was a challenge.I was panting mildly. (note to brain: EXERCISE)  
First face of the day : DAYAL KHEMLANI! The former district 51 Humour Champion who inspired me with his uncanny wit  and imbeccable comic timing.He welcomed me with open arms and we started bantering about different things. I quickly approached the stage. I needed to get on it to feel the space. 

Two of my fellow contestants Shuzhen and Pakpoom were also doing their rehearsals. We exchanged greetings and started rehearsing.


I really liked the place. Brightness spread out thru the venue. There was something airy about the place.   It was the first time for me to take part in a speech contest in such a relaxed environment. I had a good feeling. But the fear was slowly creeping on me. 

I know I am insane. I changed the sequence of my presentation at 5.30 in the morning. (read my earlier posts) I decided to take a risk (what's new...) and go with a completely different and dramatic opening. All my years of training in Debates really did kick in. The ability to be impromptu and follow through with conviction. I told myself, as long I had fun and left the audience with a message which I felt was pertinent, I have accomplished what I set to do. The mission was to lock in every finer aspects of my stage blocking, movements and tempo. 

"Ramesh, remember don't go over time!" That is often the advise I have been given my club members. The  sharp blade of overtime has come near my neck one too many times.. 7mins and 28 secs... Woah... What  a thrill. Today, I instructed myself "Keep it short! Keep it tight!" 

I rehearsed various parts of my speech close to 30 times. To create some muscle memory so that my body will move with fluency. I am a highly animated creature the moment I hit the stage. That power has to be harnessed and channeled so that the audience can experience something meaningful. I was more or less ready and then... 


"Are we going to get to check the sound? " asked one of my fellow contestants. The sound console was still snuggly wrapped up. Time? 7.50am. Contest starts at 8.30am. Tick tock tick tock. Oh no... I remember one of the years whilst competing my microphone went dead on me. It totally killed my speech. Every aspect of a contest counts. The moment there  is a laspse in something the Audience will get unsettled. The speaker then has to do some recovery to get them back into intended  mental and emotional space. Lost of time. This time my trepidation started tapping me on my mind. "What if... the microphone is lousy? What if it breaks down half way? What if I have to use a Hand Held??? Argh..." I had not anticipated this aspect. 

"Deep breathes. Deep breathes... All is well. All is well." The sound guy arrived. Booted up everything in a jiffy but the moment he switched on the lapel microphone, an eerie annoying feedback emanated from the huge black speakers. My nightmares about lousy sound seemed to be coming real. My heart sank. 

"Bro.. how come so much feedback ah? " I asked in my politest tone so as not to aggravate the already stressed sound crew. "This lapel mic very sensitive la. That's why should use the headset" replied the cool sound guy while waving his hand towards to the table behind. HEADSET. You know what that means? It goes on your head. I will look like Britney Spears in Concert. At first there was a resistance in my heart. I was rejecting a solution because its not something I had factored in. My brain whizzed around thinking about the implications. Will the audience be able to take the speaker seriously or will it look out of place? 

Either go up with a lapel mic that is manic or a head set that looks odd. Sound. Sound.Sound. Heave. 
Just go with the Head Set. Its a done deal. No more time to reconsider. 



The crowds started pouring in. All my fellow contestants were in the ZONE. Mentally visualising their speeches. I was warming up my face and lips so the words will flow easily. 

A simple speech. This contest was a huge stretch for me. Unlike my previous contests where the norm was to  poke fun at the other speakers, crack frivolous jokes and to resort to blatant asking for the prize, I was a reformed Toastmaster. 
No more old tactics. It's a fresh approach. It was a mighty gamble. 


"Ramesh Muthusamy, Speech Title, Speech title, Ramesh Muthusamy" The announcement was made. Just as was start, the Contest chair approached me to shake my hands! Opps. Did not anticipate that as well. So I decided in the moment to continue with my opening and leave him standing there for a few seconds and after I had finished my opener, I darted towards him to complete the handshake. The Audience reacted. Laughter ripped across. Whew! Everything happens for a reason. 

BOOM BOOM BOOM... I was moving. The words were flying. My mouth went dry in excitement. Another opps.... I forgot a transition paragraph. Argh... Keep talking. Keep Talking!! Ah.. caught my train of thought again. Green light turns Amber. I had hit my 6th Minute. One more story to tell.... the powerfully emotional one... HOw HOW HOW? 

Decide time. If I told the story I will rush. If I rush it will lose its impact. I might go over time. 
"Ramesh Muthusamy! Land this plane now! " 

I think I have a fairly decent job. I think it should be ok to conclude. So in a flash, I started for my conclusion. But because its not the actually conclusion I had rehearsed I had to modify one on the fly. 

Boom Boom Bang~ "Mr Contest Chair! " Heart pounding faster and faster.... I am done. Its over. Its over. All the writing, rewriting, self doubting, rehearsing can take a break for a while. Maybe a long while depending on the contest results. If I win its Vegas baby! If I don't I will be blogging about the importance of learning from taking part. Either way its been 10 years for me in the International Speech Contest circuit. I was ready for the results.

The rest of the contestants brought their best games to the table. I asked my father, " My speech, how? " 
He hesistated.... ARGH.... he paused. Smiled. And said, "It was ok..." I heard the  knelling for my speech. He really liked David's speech. Personally, I loved the tone of David's voice. It was commanding and soulful. His speech had more meaning. I thought I was done for. 

As you grow older I think we develop a comforting voice in our heads which often kicks in to comfort us. "Its ok. It's not that you are lousy... They are just better..." This is my usual strategy after a contest while waiting for the results. I assume I did not place in the contest. Maybe after my 2006 contest in Washington D.C. where I was over anxious in winning and subsequently feeling depressed for a period because of the lost, I developed a protective mechanism to prevent massive pain. 

I chuckled inside my head thinking about how much tension I was experiencing... 

Fast forward. Results Time... The Mandarin and English contest winners were being announced at the same time. Something refreshing. Head spinning. Heart Pounding. Father and Brother seated next to me. Friends who have come to support and are the edge of their seats.... People looking in my direction while energetically showing me thumbs up. "You better win mate! I have 10 dollars on you" said a Toastmaster said... 

Boom Boom BAM! By the grace of the heavens and the Mercy of the Judges I placed first. 
The feeling that was overflowing in my heart at that time was gratefulness. I was and am truly grateful for all the love from the Toastmasters community. I have gained so much in terms of learning how to speak better, Thinking more creatively and most importantly for connecting with my authentic self. 

The day was awesome. I got a chance to hold the hands of one of my speaking Heros Mr.Mark Hunter. 
He gave me some powerful feedback as to how I can improve. I am soaking it all in. The dust of the District contest is settling. Now I hear the distant call of the Semi Finals. Las Vegas here I come! 
Me with the World Champion of Public Speaking 2009
Mark Hunter!!! 





































If you like this post please do leave me some comments. I also attach some useful resources from amazon in my posts. Please do take a look. Ty. 

THE PRESENTATION SENSATION is a MUST read. One of the books that has greatly influenced me. 

Monday, 30 May 2011

Body Language Zones - Educational Video

Hi Guys,
This is a short educational session i did for my company as part of our outreach program. This is something I formulated after doing public speaking for many years. I hope you can use some of these ideas to add value to your speaking whether be in a professional or social setting.

Please do let me know if you like the video and what other things you would like to learn. Here are a few more resources which I think are important if you want to speak better.
Here are some of my fav books on this topic. MUST reads.


Sunday, 29 May 2011

District 80 Toastmasters International Speech Contest Experience Part 1

6.30 am. The time of the contest was creeping up on me. Twas time for my epic journey towards the Singapore Recreation Club.
My mother was trying to get a Taxi booking for me because she thought it would be better if I did not drive to the contest venue. After several minutes I finally got the booking through my Iphone. The confirmation note said  7-9 mins for the taxi to arrive below my apartment.

Having no sleep for 30 hours had put me in a hyper active zone. My brain was busy with a Buzz. My mother helped me carry my props (djembe) to the taxi.


But I sensed something was wrong when I got a quick glimpse of the taxi driver. His deeply furrowed foreheard, the tight muscles around his eyes and his thin purse lips. His aura screamed,"I AM PISSED!"
A voice in my head.  " Oh no... what a way to start the morning"

With my things loaded into the drunk, I bid my mother a temporary farewell and got into the warm TAXI that smelt like the the inside of an ash tray. Argh.

Beads of sweat began emerging from my forehead. I loosen my tie and gave the address of where I wanted to go. He, the disgruntled driver barked at me, "Where this place?" Gulp.

"Its near the raffles city shopping centre one uncle. err... near the padang you know.."

I could have just raised my voice in retaliation but I told myself this was happening for me to cultivate my patience. I do my best to be a practitioner of what I say. I reminded myself that I must do something to pour some sweet mirth back into this frail looking, wrinkled unhappy man.

I made some small talk and remained as cordial as possible to improve his mood. The temperature was still below my expectations. Before I opened my mouth to tell the uncle to "make the air con stronger" I looked at the air conditioning controls. It was all set to the lowest point with the fan speed at its highest. Even if I asked him to make it colder there was nothing he could have done...

I keep grounding myself back to the idea that at the Soul level there is no separations. And you know surprisingly he did become nicer to me. Oh Oh oh ... I forgot to tell you why he was upset in the first place. I got my first clue when he said,"your number is 00000000 is it? " to which before I could reply he continued, "Call you 5 times never pick up." Ah.... a moment of truth. He was frustrated because he had been waiting for me and was unable to reach me.

Disappointments.
Drives all of us crazy doesn't it ?

I did try to glance through my speech structure a few times. Nervous ? Oh no. not at all..
I was delirious. To think that I was still modifying my speech till the 5.50am. Madness. I was hearing the flight of the Bumble Bee in my head.



Soon I parted with the taxi uncle and I even gave him a 2 dollar tip and I do think its because of what my father has advised me in the Past. Anger begets Anger and Love Beget Love. If other people want to be nasty let them be. You just continue doing the right things.

Yes Dad. You are right. Very right indeed. "Its in the mirror of society for which  one reflects his own true nature. "- an original ramesh muthusamy quote. hahaa.

I walked into the awesomely homely and inviting Singapore Recreation Club....


TBC

Saturday, 28 May 2011

5 more Hours to the DISTRICT contest.

Time 3.03am. Strong fan aimed at my face.. Heart  pounding. Dryness in  eyes.
My dear friend Yahssir is slipping in and out and consciousness. I don't blame the ol chap.
 Its been a gruelling 8 hours where the he heard same  lines from me over and over again.
 "Bro... which one you think is better? "

 Yahssir, drifts off into his artistic brain and returns with an ambiguous smirk and a unstated nod. I proceed to make the edit. The this repeats. 

Preparing for a Speech Contest is no easy thing. The most agnosing part is the self doubt. Will it work ? Should I say it this way ? Emmm Wait... How about this story or this literary device to punch my message thru? I salute every person out there who has taken the challenge of taking part in a speech contest.

I do plan to share some ideas on crafting a good speech in future posts.. If you need to know anything in specific pls message me. 

Its' almost been over 5 years since I was at the District platform. The butterflies in my stomach themselves have smaller butterflies fluttering nervously inside of them.

7 mins. That's it. Make it or break it. 
Every pause. Facial Expressions, Vocal variation and Message points. Everything is sliced into nano bits to test for message worthiness. In the past I used to say that the fastest way to learn how to speak well is to put yourself thru speech contests. Its been over 13 years of Toastmastering for me and now I say, "The fastest way for you to become Insane is to keep taking part in contests. hahahaha" See I am laughing at my own lame comments. But no. Honestly, taking part in contests really helps a person to gain more clarity in crafting a precise speech.

Ok I gotta get back to my rehearsal. BTW Barcelona just scored a goal against Man U. I know this because Yahssir just let out a groan. 






Monday, 23 May 2011

To reach Excellence there must be Intense Practice.

I have known Sara since I was 13 years old. We used to be from the same marching band. I  played the trombone and Sara was the King of Drums. Over the years I have been awed by Sara. In person he is a calm and gentle spirit but the moment you give him two drum sticks, Musical Madness happens.

Sara is a role model for me because of a few things. He is courageous and committed. A lot of us worry endlessly and might I add needlessly agnonising over job security and future growth prospects. Many of us would find an Organisation to work for or with and call it a day but is not how Sara is. 

Untrodden path by an Uncommon man. That is Sara.  He commited himself  to all things musical. He left the comfort and security of Singapore to pursue a career in music in India. Sara exhibited what it means to get out of the comfort zone and take risks.  Today that decision made has paid off for him. He runs a successful sound production company which also trains people on how to use software like Logic Studio. In fact he is the one who selflessly taught me how to use Logic studio. He has a very easy to understand methodology for composing music. He is also very passionate and patient when it comes to teaching. 
I would like to honour my pal of many years , Sara, for being able to accomplish all these successes through his courage and unwavering commitment.
Ask yourself
1 Have have become too safe in life?
2. Am I in my comfort zone ?
3. What new goals could I set in my life to grow as a person?

For those of you who are striving for excellence in your professional and personal life. Here is a real testimonial.
Devote yourself to your passion and no matter how doubtful you may get in the arduous process, stay focused and ALWAYS remind yourself countlessly that to reach the pinnacle, YOU must  be FOCUSED.
Pain is only for a while.
Excellence is for a lifetime!


Drop check roll roll roll

Watch SARA in his awesome performance below.
If you think this deserves a round of applause please show it by  liking  his vid and leave some encouragement if possible. Ty
Goodness begets Goodness.
Spread the love everyone! 



Saturday, 21 May 2011

The Nitin Sawhney and Frederick Kwan Adventure Part 1




Earlier this week I received an sms from my really awesome buddy, Haiz,which read, "Babe, friday evening u free?" To which my reply, "most prolly" and
within seconds my white iphone vibrated with "ok. i book you k" and i replied "ok"

A day later I got another interesting sms from Haiz, "Babe tis fri super on! " I chuckled a little inside. I have never heard of someone confirming an appointment as "Super On" It was then when I knew, Haiz had planned for some really important. 

Time passes, Friday arrives. 
The 20th of May ( Friday's date)  was  a fantastic day to begin with. I had lunch with one of my colleagues and went back to my home office to work. Then I got a what'sapp message from Fred  (Haiz, Fred and I attend Nanyang junior college for 2 fantastic years in the same class 2CT6). It was the picture of his new born angelic looking baby boy. 

I have known Fred for almost 14 years now. We used to be study mates for Geography ( That explains our "phenomenal" grades) We also did Tap dancing classes together (until the dance school closed down) Fred, Haiz and I also were in the Toastmasters together. He served as an Area Governor as well. In short, Fred has been a significant part of my life. As I type this it gives me a chance to reminisce the golden days of our young selfs. 

His wife Sarina, had just delivered Mr.D at 1 pm.
 I was exhilarated. 
I called Fred  chatted gleefully about this momentous occasion in his life. Soon, Haiz called me to also resonate with the joy of the good news. Haiz and I made plans to get a huge congratulatory balloon and visit his first born son. 

H and I arrived at Thompson Medical Centre at about 5.30pm  and had a wonderful time soaking in the great energy that was present in the room. Sarina looked so peaceful whilst resting on the cosy medical bed. They had the company of their close family members  to join her in the quiet celebrations. Bundled up and sleeping was Mr.D.

I could not believe it. Here he was. 
This beautiful, peaceful miracle of God. 
This blessing. 
This song of the soul in a human form. Mr.D.  
Fred is now Dad. 
Congrats Fred.
 I know your son is gifted to have you and Sarina as his parents. I can imagine amazing experiences you will create for this child to evolve into a confident and jubilant boy. 

Haiz was busy clicking away my with my DSLR to capture this wonderful time we were all sharing. After our sweet moments with Fred, Sarina and Mr D (Fred pls do consider all the other names i suggested. Mario, Mariachi and Mamma Mia! Trust me bro. It works. Will keep you entertained for years to come.) Time was ticking. H and I said our goodbyes and  fled speedily to the adventure he had planned 

but we soon encountered an unexpected monster.
The heavy peak hour traffic. (So much for ERP and COE systems)  
My stomach was also starting to protest in hunger. 
Tensions were rising. 

... to be continued