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A Skill that No One Can Neglect


In today’s highly connected & competitive world, no one can survive and strive without this skill – Public Speaking. In order to win the heart of your potential employer/ client/ audience/ date, you need to be an engaging speaker who can mesmerize/ captivate/ connect with them and give a lasting impression. No one is born to be a competent communicator. There are many renowned leaders who practice and spend countless hours to become more poised, polished and proficient speakers.

Our communication can be evaluated into these three categories (Visual, Vocal & Verbal):

  • Visual – We must be appropriately dressed and groomed properly (most of the time, dress better than your audience) and that can provide positive first impression. Our body language like posture, gestures, facial expressions needs to be effective and congruent to our speech and presentation.
  • Vocal –  The way we speak, in terms of rate, volume, pitch, tone, etc., can affect the mood and energy of the audience. Depending on the topic, we have to adjust our vocal to match. A general rule of thumb is speaking with emotions (i.e. excitement, conviction and empathy). Vary our intonation to add variety to the ears of our audience.
  • Verbal – This is the most important part of the speech/presentation. It is the substance/message that draws people’s attention to spend the time listening to you. Focus more of your time in preparing what you want to say. Use words that are simple and easy to understand so that the people don’t have to search dictionary and ask you. Share more stories, examples and experience than facts and advice.

Toastmasters International shares 10 proven tips on how to control your butterflies and give better presentations:

1. Know your material. Pick a topic you are interested in. Know more about it than you include in your speech. Use humor, personal stories and conversational language – that way you won’t easily forget what to say.

2. Practice. Practice. Practice! Rehearse out loud with all equipment you plan on using. Revise as necessary. Work to control filler words; Practice, pause and breathe. Practice with a timer and allow time for the unexpected.

3. Know the audience. Greet some of the audience members as they arrive. It’s easier to speak to a group of friends than to strangers.

4. Know the room. Arrive early, walk around the speaking area and practice using the microphone and any visual aids.

5. Relax. Begin by addressing the audience. It buys you time and calms your nerves. Pause, smile and count to three before saying anything. (“One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand. Pause. Begin.) Transform nervous energy into enthusiasm.

6. Visualize yourself giving your speech. Imagine yourself speaking, your voice loud, clear and confident. Visualize the audience clapping – it will boost your confidence.

7. Realize that people want you to succeed. Audiences want you to be interesting, stimulating, informative and entertaining. They’re rooting for you.

8. Don’t apologize for any nervousness or problem – the audience probably never noticed it.

9. Concentrate on the message – not the medium. Focus your attention away from your own anxieties and concentrate on your message and your audience.

10. Gain experience. Mainly, your speech should represent you — as an authority and as a person. Experience builds confidence, which is the key to effective speaking.

50 Inspirational Quotes

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At times, we may feel bitter / burnout/ boiling when things don’t go according to our plan or problems arise in our lives. Read the following quotes to get some motivation and new perspectives to your situation:

  1. We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. –Winston Churchill 
  2. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. –African Proverb
  3. Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve. –Napoleon Hill
  4. Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value. –Albert Einstein
  5. Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.  –Robert Frost
  6. I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse. –Florence Nightingale
  7. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. –Wayne Gretzky
  8. I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. –Michael Jordan
  9. The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. –Amelia Earhart
  10. Every strike brings me closer to the next home run. –Babe Ruth
  11. Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement. –W. Clement Stone
  12. We must balance conspicuous consumption with conscious capitalism. –Kevin Kruse
  13. Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. –John Lennon
  14. We become what we think about. –Earl Nightingale
  15. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore, Dream, Discover. –Mark Twain
  16. Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. –Charles Swindoll
  17. The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. –Alice Walker
  18. The mind is everything. What you think you become.  –Buddha
  19. The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. –Chinese Proverb
  20. An unexamined life is not worth living. –Socrates
  21. Eighty percent of success is showing up. –Woody Allen
  22. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. –Steve Jobs
  23. Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is. –Vince Lombardi
  24. I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions. –Stephen Covey
  25. Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. –Pablo Picasso
  26. You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. –Christopher Columbus
  27. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. –Maya Angelou
  28. Either you run the day, or the day runs you. –Jim Rohn
  29. Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right. –Henry Ford
  30. The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. –Mark Twain
  31. Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.  Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  32. The best revenge is massive success. –Frank Sinatra
  33. People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing.  That’s why we recommend it daily. –Zig Ziglar
  34. Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. –Anais Nin
  35. If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced. –Vincent Van Gogh
  36. There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing. –Aristotle
  37. Ask and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you. –Jesus
  38. The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. –Ralph Waldo Emerson
  39. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  Live the life you have imagined. –Henry David Thoreau
  40. When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything you gave me. –Erma Bombeck
  41. Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust him.  –Booker T. Washington
  42. Certain things catch your eye, but pursue only those that capture the heart. – Ancient Indian Proverb
  43. Believe you can and you’re halfway there. –Theodore Roosevelt
  44. Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear. –George Addair
  45. We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. –Plato
  46. Teach thy tongue to say, “I do not know,” and thous shalt progress. –Maimonides
  47. Start where you are. Use what you have.  Do what you can. –Arthur Ashe
  48. When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life.  When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I wrote down ‘happy’.  They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life. –John Lennon
  49. Fall seven times and stand up eight. –Japanese Proverb
  50. When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us. –Helen Keller

The New Science of Building Great Teams


Managers have long believed that building high-performance teams is an art — not a science. But new research from MIT’s Human Performance Dynamics Laboratory has identified the factors that characterize high-performing teams. These factors are observable, quantifiable, and measurable.

The leading man behind the research is Alex “Sandy” Pentland. He is a professor at MIT, the director of MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory and the MIT Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program,and the chairman of Sociometric Solutions. He said, “The chemistry of high-performing groups is no longer a mystery.”

At MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory, they identified that great teams:

  • Communicate frequently.
  • Talk and listen in equal measure, equally among members.
  • Engage in frequent informal communication.
  • Explore for ideas and information outside the group.

They had deployed them in 21 organizations over the past seven years, measuring the communication patterns of about 2,500 people, sometimes for six weeks at a time.


In data collected by wearable electronic sensors that capture
people’s tone of voice and body language, they can see the
highly consistent patterns of communication that are associated
with productive teams, regardless of what kind of work
they do. The data do not take into account the substance
of communication, only the patterns, but they show that
those patterns are what matter most—more than skill, intelligence, and all other factors that go into building a team

Energy, Engagement, Exploration

In summary, great teams contribute energy, engage each other and explore out of the team.

For more details, you can download this report here: Building Great Teams.

Maximising Rewards & Minimising Threats

rewards and threats

Dr. David Rock, author and CEO of the NeuroLeadership Group, developed a model that summarises important discoveries from neuroscience about the way people interact socially. It is simple to understand and therefore simple to remember. It is known as the SCARF model (Rock, 2008).

The model is built on three central ideas:

  1. The brain treats many social threats and rewards with the same intensity as physical threats and rewards (Lieberman, & Eisenberger, 2009).
  2. The capacity to make decisions, solve problems and collaborate with others is generally reduced by a threat response and increased under a reward response (Elliot, 2008).
  3. The threat response is more intense and more common and often needs to be carefully minimized in social interactions (Baumeister et al, 2001).

The model is made up of Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness. These five domains have been shown in many studies to activate the same reward circuitry that physical rewards activate, like money, and the same threat circuitry that physical threats, like pain, activate (Rock, 2009b).

Understanding that these five domains as primary needs helps individuals and leaders better navigate the social world in the workplace (Rock, 2009b).

SCARF model

The SCARF model involves five domains of human social experience: Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness.

  • Status is about relative importance to others.
  • Certainty concerns being able to predict the future.
  • Autonomy provides a sense of control over events.
  • Relatedness is a sense of safety with others – of friend rather than foe.
  • Fairness is a perception of fair exchanges between people.

These five domains activate either the ‘primary reward’ or ‘primary threat’ circuitry (and associated networks) of the brain. For example, a perceived threat to one’s status activates similar brain networks to a threat to one’s life. In the same way, a perceived increase in fairness activates the same reward circuitry as receiving a monetary reward.

The model enables people to more easily remember, recognize, and potentially modify the core social domains that drive human behavior.

For more details, download the white paper here: SCARF: A brain based model for collaborating with and influencing others.

There is a SCARF-SA (Self-Assessment) that illustrates the order in which the SCARF elements matter to an individual. This can:

  • Help guide someone in how to navigate within an organization, choosing the right projects or collaborators, for example.
  • Help a person understand why he or she react intensely in certain situations, which can help this person regulate his or her emotions better.
  • Help someone communicate their needs to others.