Thursday, July 9, 2009

If you have one magical wish today, what would it be?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How to speed up your learning curve.

For the past one month, I have been having fun  working on another blog which requires a lot of attention and  new learning. Learning something new can be frustrating as well as rewarding. I speak from experience as I have worked in a very diverse industry before, from oil and gas to insurance and later the automotive industry. Now I am entering into the Internet realm which I find the most challenging.

If you want to speed up your learning curve, consider getting a coach as he/she can show you the correct way of doing things. Even Tiger woods have a coach even though he is already a golf superstar. We may not be able to see our faults as well as other's do. A good coach knows what to take notice and can give valuable feedback for improvement. It is true you always get free advice from people around you but how many of it has the credibility to give one.

Personally, I have also engage a coach to guide me in my new venture. I consider it a good investment as I have shortened my learning curve which means more time in doing productive things. Yes, Most of the time you have to pay good money for good coaches. I realise that it is not so much of the information that you going to get but rather the quality of the feedback that is the most important. 

Please visit my new blog site at and feel free to comment. I am always looking for new ideas for improvement.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mastering the Pieces of Public Speaking

An article from my favourite speaker coach Craig Valentine. 

If you want to create a masterpiece, you first have to master each piece. The three major pieces of public speaking are structurecontent, and delivery. Mastering one means nothing if you do not master the other two. That is why it is critical to not just study speaking as a whole, but also to dive a mile deep into each piece. In this lesson, you will pick up one tool from each of the three pieces of public speaking. Then, just as a bonus, you will get one very substantial idea if you plan on using speaking to grow your income. 

Three Tools (plus one) to Help you Create a Masterpiece

A Structure Tool – To be a masterful speaker you must become a masterful tease. It is imperative to become skilled at teasing your audience to want to know more. Legendary Motivational Speaker Lou Heckler once said, "Don't tell them; take them." In other words, don't just tell them what happened in your story, take them into it by establishing a scene, using dialog, etc. Here is one of my foundational phrases that I keep in mind when structuring a speech: "If you can't tease them, you can't take them." Here are three examples of teasing your audience to want to know more:

  • "If you understand this next point, you will find yourself moving towards your goals, dreams, and aspirations, even while you are asleep. The providence, serendipity, and grace will all be on your side pushing you toward the life you have imagined. The wildly successful people in life use this tool and it is yours for the taking."

  • "What do you think is the number 1 thing that stands between most people and their goals? [wait for answers]. Those are all great answers and they're all wrong. [laughter]. Actually, they are not wrong, but they are not the number 1 thing that stands in the way. The number 1 thing is not what you think."

  • "Have you ever worked with a StatusQuoaholic? You know these people, right? They are averse to change and they say things like, 'This is the way we've always done things around here. Why change. I wish for the good old days again.' What do these people do to your team? [wait for answers and the build up of frustration]. What if you had a way to turn even the biggest StatusQuoaholics into positive forces for your team? Well, you can, but only if you implement the following tool. "

Do you see how these statements tease the audience into wanting to hear more? When you pick up a newspaper, what makes you decide whether or not to read an article? Chances are it is the headline. That is exactly what these tease-based statements do. They act as headlines and are designed solely to get your audience to want to hear what is coming next. When you become a great tease, you generate interest with ease.

A Content Tool – As soon as you introduce your characters in a story, establish the conflict right away. Get the Titanic to hit the iceberg early on because the conflict is the hook to your story. Most speakers have to much preamble before they get into their story and then they have too much unnecessary information before getting to the conflict.

Once you establish the conflict, escalate it! Look at your conflict like the water rising on the Titanic. If the water never rose on the Titanic, we would have thought it was a terrible movie. Once you establish your conflict, it is critical to ask yourself, "How can I escalate this conflict to a point of desperation? How can I raise the water on my Titanic?" When you establish and then escalate your conflict, your story keeps your audience members riveted to see how it turns out.

A Delivery Tool – Establish a story space and a conversation space on your stage as you speak. The story space is where you tell your stories and the conversation space is where you physically step out of your story and speak directly to your audience. My story space is usually a step back from my conversation space because I like to step up to make my point.

In your story space, you can be as wild and crazy as the story takes you because, after all, you are reliving what happened. However, when you step up and out of your story into the conversation space, it should be just that; a conversation with your audience members. This conversational style should be similar to the one on one conversations you have with people and it should not sound preachy, forced, or sound like you are still in your story. The story creates the emotion but the conversation keeps the connection. Having physical spaces for each helps clarify for your audience whether you are still in your story or you are now addressing them.

A Business Tool – One of the most important marketing strategies we can ever use is to give our recipients a specific next step to take and make sure we are part of that next step. Here are some examples based on various marketing tools I use:

  • When people visit my website, the next step is to sign up for my FREE Masterful Speaking Toolkit.

  • When I speak to speakers, their next step is often to invest in a certain product or service.

  • When meeting planners visit the Motivation side of my website, their next step (after reviewing my Meeting Planner section) is to download a special report and/or fill out the Request Craig form.

  • When I speak to managers, their next step is often to bring me in for Part 2 or Part 3 of that program.

Whatever your next step is, just make sure you have one. Also, do not give several options. It is best to give one specific next step for each audience (or recipient) and design your entire speech (from your very first word) or marketing piece to drive them towards that next step. A confused mind says, "No", but a clear mind says "Go."

Final thoughts:
If you want to create a masterpiece, I strongly suggest that you dive a mile deep into each one of the pieces of public speakingstructurecontent, and delivery. What you read above is the very tiny tip of the iceberg. I have created 3 courses (1 for each piece) to help. If you do not have them yet, you can get them piecemeal or get them together for a substantial discount (through The Whole Kit and Kaboodle) at

The art of balancing your life

After many weeks of unusually hot and dry weather, my christmas tree as I called it, was such in a dire condition. The dry spell has cause for an urgent need of water. I'd thought to myself whether it can be nurtured back to a healthy state. The green figs in the inner covering of the tree offers some glimpse of hope to it's survival.

Continuous self care is important in our life. As human beings we need to continuously replenish the 4 dimensions of our life in order to maintain a balance life. The 4 dimension are fulfilling our spiritual needs, enriching our minds, maintaining a healthy body and strengthening the relationship bond with our love ones. All the 4 dimensions are integrated to each other like our neuron network. We cannot isolate one and hope that we will have a fulfilling life.

Isn't it true that sometimes we put to much emphasize on money and unintentionally neglecting our health, our family and spirituality. We are drawn to the concept that material things can make us happy. 24/7 we have advertising messages from everywhere ringing in our ears and eyes, product and services that define the meaning if success for us. We worked hard for the money and eventually succeed but we may experience a certain kind of emptiness to our success. Because we have neglected some areas of our life, the money gained will be spend on restoring health. The money gained but no one will be there to share with. The money gained don't bring the joy that was once anticipated.

I have a friend AJ who worked very hard for the money. Being a thrifty person, He will find all ways and means to save a penny. I asked him one day, what is the purpose of keeping all the money but not enjoying it. He looked me straight into my eyes and told me that his intention was save for his children. An admirable intention but it was later taken away from him.The last I have heard is that he lose all his saving in a quick rich scam and the worst part was , he was conned by someone he knew very well. All those years of hard work gone and for what. If he had only used a portion of the money to take the family for a holiday, at least the wonderful memories is still intact despite losing the money later.

The art of balancing life is by appreciating what you have now and experiencing the moments and not get to caught up in planning for the future. You can never tell what is going to happen next week aside even though you have planned it all out. Even if you had planned it out, things does happen when you least expected.

Inspirational poster for You - Make progress daily

Monday, March 30, 2009

Top 10 Quotes on Failure

1.  A failure is a man who blunders and not cashing in on the experience
      Ellbert Hubbard

2. My reputation grows with every failure
    George Bernard Shaw

3. I've  missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times I 've been  trusted to        take the winning shots and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life  and that is why I succeed.
   Michael Jordan

4. I don't believe in failure.It's not failure if you enjoyed the process
   Oprah Winfrey

5. Only those who dared to fail greatly can ever chieve greatly
    Robert F. Kennedy

6. Many of life's failure are people who did not realise that how close they were  to success when  they gave up.
    Thomas Edison

7.  Success consist of going from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm
     Winston Churchill 

8. Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes
    Oscar Wilde

9.  Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is  that they         wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.
    Anais Nin

10. A life spend making mistakes is not only more honourable but more useful than a life spend in doing nothing.
     George Bernard Shaw

Banana leaf anyone?

Banana leaf anyone? Having your food served on a banana leaf tends to whip up the appetite. it looks so natural and appetising. Before the banana leaf can be used, it is glazed over a fire in a sweeping motion. The banana leaf has a thin coating which appear glossy once heated up.

 The first time I ate  Banana leaf rice was at an Indian restaurant serving southern Indian cuisine.  A serving of rice, curry fish, papadum, pickles with dhal sauce. You must try eating with your hands  to truly enjoy the experience. Last night we were celebrating Marylou's  promotion in the company. Yes... I know that feeling and how I wish it happen more often so more parties can be thrown.

I believe it is a good customary to find reasons to celebrate with the family as it strengthen the family bond. You will never know what life may throw at you, there will come a time the family bond is tested.  Only with the existence of a strong relationship can we overcome any challenges.

Dare to fail

Have you read the book "Dare to Fail" ? It is an inspiring book about the importance of changing the way you look at failure.It first captured my attention many year ago as I just completed reading the book "Dare to Succeed". Though a total opposite of it's title, it still has a powerful message.

There is no success without failure. Since this is so, we need to get up and risk failure but not get beaten down by it. Yesterday (29th March 2009) , I was declared first runner up for the division speech competition in Kota Kinabalu. Honestly , I was disappointed because I felt that my performance was better than the others. However , isn't that the common emotional feeling felt by the non winners? At times we may think that we have outdone our competitors and we should be holding up the cup of victory. In reality , I was unable to see my flaws and perhaps the very reason why I did not emerge the winner.

I really appreciated the support from the more proficient speakers who offered some valuable tips on how I can take my speaking a few notches up. Because of the encouragement from my fellow toastmasters and my lovely wife Liza,now I have a burning desire to go at it again.

I guess if I were to emerge as champion for the day, I won't be as fired up as coming in second.The moment will come and I will be ready.

It's all in the MIND

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Inspiration poster for YOU

Debt Free?

Since the day we were born we were strap on with an open bill. Payments need to be made for the medical facilities, infant milk, diapers and etc. As long as we live in this urban jungle, we can never rid ourselves of debts. It is our nature to continue to want more and better things in life. 

Stop a moment and ask yourself this question. 10 years ago, did you need more to survive? If yes, is having more money now, perhaps double your income solved your problem? Most likely NO, because as we earn more we buy bigger toys, we want more comfort and more leisure in our life. And all this comes at a cost.How many millionaires do you know do not have any debts at all? Even though they are wealthy, they realise that it is better to use other people's money then their own. It is all about cash flow management. Today, the only recognised exchange medium is money because barter trading concepts has diminish significantly over the years. 
In the early 70's though Labuan is a small island, it is well known for it's barter trading especially with countries such as Philippines. I personally know some of those people who were pioneers then, became multi millionaires today. The profit gain from the trade is reinvested into shop lots and other properties. Now, the barter trading is no longer a viable business.  

If you think about it, the greatest natural resources is found in most third world countries and developing countries. However the mining and the extracting activities does not make this country rich but rather they sell the goods to the developed country to be churn into finish product where the real money is. The strong marketing campaign further reinforce the perceive value of the product even though it may cost a tiny fraction to make it.

Without debts, most dreams will be unfulfilled because of time factor. Since we cannot rid ourselves of debts might  as well learn to coexist with them. As long as we are earning more than we spend, we will be all right. But most people including myself is struggling to balance our financial balance sheet. Saving all our money in the bank is also not a good solution because you may see on television that long establish banks also file for bankruptcy. 

So whats the solution? Firstly take responsibility of your money instead of depending on others to make the decision for you. Be well informed about financial matters and start a viable business. 

P.S The type of people you are with most of the time often is an indicator about your attitude towards money and your life. So choose and surround yourself with the right minded people.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

10 top quotes on Leadership

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.


You do not lead by hitting people over the head - that's assault, not leadership.


The only safe ship in a storm is leadership.


A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm.


Most important, leaders can conceive and articulate goals that lift people out of their petty preoccupations and unite them in pursuit of objectives worthy of their best efforts.


I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.


Keep your fears to yourself, but share your inspiration with others.


A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don't necessarily want to go, but ought to be.


Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out.


The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and the will to carry on.

Inspirational poster for YOU

Making the most of my time

Last weekend, I had a wonderful time at the beach with my whole family. Weather was nice and shady while the water was warm and inviting.  This is the first time my daughter Ryanna was using the floater. I took notice of her as she was quiet and contended the whole time. At the blink of an eye, I year 1 month have passed by quickly. I keep on reminding myself that time is precious because so often I am caught up in a whirlwind of activities that took away my time from the family. I am pursuing my dreams as to open up new options in my living lifestyle for the future. I want to see my family gets a better life , better education for my children, and have more choices to make. It is even more critical especially in this period of uncertainty.  

I recall a saying " Don't let the good gets in the way of the best". Contentment and status quo gets us no where. I want to live life to the fullest and it is happening but at a gradual pace. Sometimes making too hasty of a decision may revert our progress a few steps back. Only experience and natural instinct can be our best teacher. Truth told , the only way to get good experience and making better decisions is to have bad experience and have made the wrong decisions in the past. Ironic isn't it. 

10 Ways to Improve your Speech Delivery

Another Amazing and insighful article about public speaking from my favourite speaker Craig Valentine

10 Ways to Improve your Speech Delivery

Below are some well-known and some not-so-well-known tips for delivering your speech. The key is not whether you know these tips; it's whether you put them into practice. 

1. Don’t forget about your face. Your facial expressions are more important than all your arm and hand movements combined. The eyes are indeed the windows to the soul. What you do with them can make or break your entire speech.

2. Use your character’s gestures. Keep in mind that speaking involves utilizing captivating stories to make your unforgettable points. Each story has its own characters and each character probably has his or her own way of gesturing. When you take on the role and persona of that character, you should use his or her gestures. While rehearsing your speech, consistently ask yourself, "How would this character say this?"

3. Let the emotions drive. The emotions in your story and in your point will drive your movements. If you are intoxicated with your emotions while telling your story or making your point, the appropriate gestures will come. It will be effortless. When you’re really angry at someone or something, do you have to think about what gestures to use? No, they come automatically. If you build the emotion, the gestures will come.

4. Gesture 360 Degrees. Many speakers gesture in front of them and on the side. World Class Speakers realize there is an entire area around them and they utilize it. Feel free to gesture down for the lower dimension. For example, when I speak about a swamp tour my wife and I took, I talk about the alligators that surrounded the boat. At that point I gesture downwards with the open hand. Then I describe the trees that were hanging down as if they were trying to grab onto us. At that point I gesture upwards to the upper dimension using my hands to emulate how the trees hung and swayed. At times I point behind me to the back of the stage or in front of me out into the audience. I might point to my right to signify the past and point to my left to signify the future as I use the stage as a timeline. The key is to go up, down, back, forth, and side to side in order to paint a whole (surround-sense) scene for your audience in order to invite them into it.

5. Don’t use the same gesture over and over again. This is evidence of a habit and most likely distracts from your presentation.

6. Watch out for your resting position. This is the position your hands fall to when you’re not using a gesture. For example, my hands used to fall together in front of me with my fingers interlocking. It was distracting.

7. Don’t move all the time. If you are always moving then no movement will be meaningful. Your audience will never know what’s most important. Move with a purpose. When there is no reason to move, don’t.

8. Use an open hand. It’s better to point to your audience with an open hand rather than an index finger. It’s less threatening and more inviting. The open hand is also effective when calling back to spots on the floor as you revisit the points, characters, and stories you previously used.

9. Use bigger gestures for bigger audiences. Don’t mismatch the size of your audience with the size of your gestures.

10. Smile.

Monday, March 23, 2009

5 part formula on how to make a content rich speech

It is indeed my pleasure to share with you an article written by one of my favourite motivational speaker Craig Valentine. Hope you will gain new insights on how to make an impactful speech.
A Five-Part Formula for Making a Content-Rich Speech
If you want to be known as a content-rich speaker, you will want to follow my PARTS Formula.

P = Phrase
Have you ever seen a story or speech that was all over the place? Have you ever given one? Chances are this is because the speaker did not start creating the speech in the right place. You should start creating each story (or other anchor) by writing out your Foundational Phrase. This is the phrase upon which that entire story is built.

For example, I tell a story about a boss who tried to keep me with the company by offering me more money. The Foundational Phrase to that story is “Your Dream is not for sale.” This is the point my audience walks away remembering. If you want your audience to remember your point, then leave them with powerful Foundational Phrases for each anchor you use. Make sure these phrases are fewer than 10 words.

A – Anchor
Every point you make should be anchored by an illustration of some kind. I use 4 kinds of anchors in almost every speech I give. I call these my “4 As for For Anchors.” They are
1. Anecdote (a story)
2. Activity
3. Analogy
4. Acronym

You probably already know that the essence of public speaking is to “tell a story and make a point (i.e. Bill Gove).” However, in longer speeches, you should mix up your anchors and use activities, analogies, and acronyms along with your anecdotes. Just make sure every single point you make is illustrated with an anchor. When your audience remembers the anchor, they will not forget the point, especially if the point is made using a strong Foundational Phrase.

R = Reflection
It’s not good enough for our audience to listen to us. Our job is to get them to listen to themselves. Through our speech, they should think and realize how they will use the tools (processes, formulas, recipes, steps, etc.) to improve their own lives. To do this, we must get them to reflect rather than just listen. You can do this by asking questions before, during, and after your anchor. For example:

Before getting into the story I mentioned above, I ask, “What do you think is the number one thing that stands between most people and their dreams.”
During the story, I talk about how we sometimes let the good get in the way of the best. I then turn to my audience and ask, “When it comes to your goals and dreams, are you too good to be great?”
After the story, I ask my initial question again by stating, “So let me ask you now, what is the number one thing that stands between most people and their dreams?” Hopefully they have changed their perspective a bit because of the anchor.
Another example I use is in regards to imagination as I explain how I stepped on the world championship stage at least 1000 times in my mind before I ever got their physically. To get them to reflect on their lives, I ask my audiences, “What stage are you stepping on mentally at least 1000 times?” The key is to allow enough silence for them to be able to answer (in their own minds of course).

How are you currently getting your audiences to go beyond listening and to start reflecting?

T = Technique
If you want to have a long-lasting impact on your audience, then it is not enough to just give them theory. You must give them a way to turn that theory into a practice. For example, when I extol the benefits of using your imagination, I cannot simply just stop there. I must give them a technique for doing so. So I say to my audiences, “Write down your perfect day. Use all your senses, etc.” This gives them a way to turn the theory of imagination into something they can actually do.

When I talk to managers about innovation, I give them a process for using a WIP (Weekly Improvement Plan). Whenever the managers use the WIP, or my other audience members write down their perfect day, guess what? I am still speaking to them! What techniques (processes, tangible things to do) are you giving to your audiences?

S =Sale
Finally, it’s important to understand that when you are in speaking, you are in sales. We must learn to sell our messages and a great way to do this is to use “If…then” statements. For example, you might use the following:
“If you write down your perfect day, then you will find yourself moving towards your goals, dreams, and aspirations, even while you are sleeping.” [Opportunity for gain]
“If you don’t embrace this change, you will put your entire team at risk.” [Fear of loss]
Show them what they can get when they take an action, and show what they might end up with when they don’t.

Final thoughts:
This is the tip of the iceberg to the PARTS Formula. There are many dos and don’ts that go under each of these 5 keys. However, if you start reflecting on them now, then you will see areas you can immediately improve with your very next speech.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Have you check your spare tire?

It happen on one Sunday morning, my plan was to go to the market early morning to look for something interesting to cook. Lo and behold, I got a flat tyre. How interesting can that be?

 I was in a way glad that it did not happen elsewhere, that would be a great inconvenience especially if I was in a rush. So I decided to turn this temporary inconvenience into opportunity to teach my son Ryan to change the tyre.  This has change the way I looked at the whole situation instead of responding by grumbling about the whole ordeal. Ryan was actually having fun at it. 


 Life is such that anything can happen and some instances bound to happen but the challenge is to look at the setback in a different light. This experience actually reminded me the importance of the spare tyre which I have not checked since I bought the car two years ago. True enough the spare was also without much air and render useless if there is an emergency. Lucky for me my father in-law was in a tyre supply business and he helped me to repair the puncture tyre. 


Isn't it interesting to note that we often forget what is truly important until the moment arise that you need them. When you require them, it may not be helpful at all because we have neglected to care for them all this while. 


During my defensive driving  training , the instructor advice us to pump in extra air into the spare tyre as it will loses its air pressure over a long period. How's your spare tyre?  


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The art of communication

"Speak to be remembered and repeated." Isn't that the goal of every communicator—to be remembered and repeated?

Patricia Fripp, speaking coach

The ability to speak in front of an audience requires courage but the ability to communicate well requires practice, practice and more practice. How many times have you heard a speaker on stage  keeps rambling on even though he'd losses the audience attention. How many times have you applauded to a wonderful presentation but unable to recall what he or she said, a week later.

Communication is about getting the intended message across in the simplest and most memorable manner. It takes years of practice and refining your speech material until you get it right unless you are one of those few who are bestowed with this gift since birth.

I admire stand up comedian such as Jerry Seinfeld, Robin Williams, Jay Leno because of the hours of practices behind the screen.Their delivery is superb and they make it so easy and natural. We need to practise until we become naturally comfortable with ourselves and also be able to connect with different audiences from students, auditors to CEOs.

If you want to take your speaking to the next level, I strongly suggest investing in videos of proficient speakers and even considering a speaking coach. 

On your next speaking engagement whether it is a room of 300 people or 5 people, ask yourselves this questions.

  1. If I was to summarise the message in one sentence on a name card, what would it be?
  2. What is the most impactful opening and relevant to the audience that I can use for the speech? 
  3. How do I create an instant connection with my audience?
  4. How do I make my speech easy to be remembered?
  5. What stories can I use to further illustrate my points?
  6. What actions do I want my audience to follow through after listening to me?
I hope that this questions will be helpful for your next presentation.