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

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.


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.
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).

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,
Incubate Ideas
Weigh Evidence more carefully
Listen to the advice of others
Inject more warmth and feeling into your relationships with others


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


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


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.