By Eric Feng

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About The Author

ERIC FENG, ACC, ATM-S
Associate Certified Coach, ICF Business Week Top 25 Young Entrepreneurs of Asia Division Champion for International Speech Contest 2006 & 2007 Eric's trademark style of speaking has won him raving reviews across all audiences – a generous dose of humor and a deeply ingrained message that never fails to inspire. As a celebrated Toastmaster in Singapore, Eric has won numerous national level speech competitions. In 2005, he won the championship title for the Division Level Humorous Contest in Philadelphia, United States. Two years later, he clinched the First Place Trophy for the International Speech Contest at Division Level. As acknowledgement for his speaking achievements, The Straits Times featured him as one of the top 25 alternate achievers of 2006. His success and achievements are also regularly featured in regional media like Channel News Asia, Business Week, Business Times, Lianhe Zaobao, News Radio 93.8 and many more. On top of his speaking and training engagements, Eric loves to write (and be written about). He has currently four books under his belt, including the most recent one “The FAQ Book on Public Speaking” which is a collaborative work between local celebrity Irene Ang and Asia’s Master Coach Kelvin Lim. Eric’s dream is to become the Speaker For The Living – to travel around the world and impact people’s lives through his words and experiences. He believes that if everyday he can touch one person’s life, be it through his words or action, he knows that he has done his part for humanity.

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SPEAKING SECRET #1 ………………………………… Evaluate All Speakers, ………………………. Simon Cowell Style!
One of the fastest (and fun!) way you can grow as a speaker is to be an active audience. Evaluate ALL speakers that come your way, Simon Cowell style! This is how you can have a clearer understanding of what separates a mediocre speaker from a good speaker, and a great speaker from a phenomenal speaker. Remember this: No matter how good or bad the speaker is, there is always something valuable to learn. This is so important that I am going to repeat it. No matter how good or bad the speaker is, there is always something valuable to learn. Remember all the positive things that the speaker does and try it for size. See if it works for you. Remember all the negative things that the speaker does and avoid it at all costs. Sometimes, you may want to ask yourself how you can modify and make it effective. All of us - at some degree - evaluate speakers. We hear them all the time: "This guy is awesome!" or "Look at how he charmed the audience..." or "Gosh, he should not have crack this joke." etc. However these evaluations are not thorough enough to offer much teaching value. They are merely observations. In order for us to learn to be better speakers, we have to probe deeper. Question your reactions to the speakers. What the speaker do/not do to make us think he is awesome? How did the speaker charm you? Why do you think the joke was inappropriate? By asking these questions, you will then have a deeper understanding of the speaker's motives and also objectively evaluate (as the audience) if their techniques are effective. I have an extremely simple way to evaluate any speaker - Use the 5W and H. Pay full attention to the speaker and his delivery.

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And then ask yourself the following questions: [WHAT] What did the speaker do that you like/dislike? What are the speakers' strengths and weaknesses? What are the speaker's strategies? What causes the speaker to be successful (or not)? [HOW] How did these strengths/weaknesses manifest itself in the delivery? How effective are the speakers' strategies? How can the speaker improve? How can the speaker better himself? [WHY] Why did this aspect of the speech puts you off/appeals to you? Why do you think the speaker select this approach/style/topic? [WHO] Who is his target audience? Who will benefit from the speaker's speech/style? [WHEN] When was the last time you have heard a similar speech? [WHERE] Where in the speech did the speaker create the most impact? Where in the speech were you lost/mesmerized? Notice all the 5W and 1H can help you generate a whole list of questions? However there is no way you can have answers for all these questions by listening to the speech once (unless you have a photographic memory). What you can do though is to record the speech so that we can re-listen to it and uncover more learning points. Having said that I would recommend that you start with three questions: 1. What did the speaker did well or badly? 2. How can I apply the good points into my speech? 3. How can I avoid making the same mistakes that speaker made? Simpler?

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As you proceed on, you will find yourself automatically looking for our strengths and weaknesses in the speaker. When you become more comfortable, you can delve deeper and begin dissecting the speech. You will find yourself welcoming ALL speakers even the extremely boring ones coz there will always be something to learn! You will find your growth as a speaker accelerating. You avoid mistakes committed by others. You get to experiment stuff that works. You have more chance to make new mistakes which means more room for growth! Too good to be true right? Believe it! And more importantly, start doing it. Speakers are everywhere. They can be your daily reporter, lecturer, classmate, supervisor, door salesman, telemarketer etc. The world is your classroom! Oh and one more thing, remember to jot down your evaluations on a piece of paper. You may want to start a journal or even a blog. Whatever it is, write them down so that you can refer to them in future when you prepare your next speech. Come to think of it, we should have some kind of Speakers' Idol! :)

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SPEAKING SECRET #2 ………………………………… Attract Mentors To ………………………. Assist You
Nothing new really. Quite frankly, this is a universal advice that you hear everyone giving yet I do not see many people embracing it. But if you are looking at becoming a phenomenal speaker in the shortest amount of time, then mentors are indispensable. Let me first answer a couple of questions that you may have about these group of miracle workers called Mentors. What Is A Mentor? I see a mentor as an individual whom I am inspired by and has a lot to teach because of his or her wealth of experience. And there are a lot out there with the potential to be your mentor BUT… not all of them will be willing which makes them unsuitable. So the challenge is to find someone whom you are comfortable with (and even inspired by), with a whole lot of experience and is willing to teach you. Now that's tough but not impossible. Why Are Mentors Important? A mentor helps you avoid the mistakes that he or she has made in the past. A mentor shares with you his knowledge and wisdom so that you can be successful. A mentor acts as your mirror, showing you things that you are blind to or refuse to see. A mentor becomes your lighthouse when you are at your lowest. A mentor brings out the best in you by giving you space to grow. A mentor believes in you and constantly pushes you past your limits. A mentor never does the work for you but he runs alongside you. A mentor knows when to get out of your way so that you can soar.

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When you have a mentor that does all of the above, there is absolutely no way you can fail! Over the past two years, I have found several mentors who have helped me a great deal. Some stayed with me for a while and then left as they believed I have learnt all that I can from them. Some continued staying with me, guiding me and pushing me past my limits. All of them have not only taught me how to become a competent speaker but also how to live a fulfilled life. They inspired me to find my calling and help others with my strengths. I would not have been where I am if not for them. And for that, I am deeply grateful. So How Do You "Find" A Mentor? "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear" - Anonymous If you have realized by now, you do not have to go out and seek mentors. They will find you when you are ready. Let me explain. I once asked my mentors why they were willing to mentor me but they could not really give me a definite answer. Come to think of it, it just happens naturally. Say Terence for example. I met him at one of his public speaking seminars. He was extremely passionate about public speaking (and still is). He inspired me so much that I just kept getting in touch with him. I would come up with a whole list of questions and he will patiently answer them. I will go out and try them for size and give him feedback. We then repeat the process. And then we start meeting up more often. He started sharing with me more stuff. And without me realizing it, Terence became my mentor! The same goes with the rest of my mentors. I showed up. I asked. They answered. I gave them feedback. And we start all over again. So if you ask me, it all starts with first being passionate and determined in improving your speaking skills. Because when you are focused in getting better at what you do, you automatically attract people to help you. And the best part, they WANT to make you successful because of your desire. And remember, when these people come your way, do everything that you can to keep them by your side. Don't take them for granted!

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I will like to leave you with a line in Paulo Coelho's bestseller - The Alchemist. You will find it very apt in the context of finding mentors. "If you want something badly enough, the entire universe will conspire to give you what you want!"

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SPEAKING SECRET #3 ………………………………… Be Coachable ……………………….
To start off, I will like to quote 1999 World Champion Speaker, Craig Valentine: "Many people are looking for validation, not education." How true isn't it? There was once this guy came up to me to ask for comments on his speech. In response, I complimented him and also pointed out a part of his speech that he could improve on. And boy was I in for a shock. All of a sudden, he became defensive and started justifying his actions for the next 15 minutes. Apparently I heard him wrong. He wanted me to compliment him and tell him what he wants to hear. He doesn't want any tips on how he can improve. If I would have realized it, I could have avoided the embarrassment. So how open are you to other people's comments and advice? How coachable are you? You may get the best mentor in the world who has the most incisive insights but if you are not willing to listen and try it for size, there is no way you will ever improve. The most dangerous thing that can happen to a speaker is when he or she becomes complacent. You will find them sitting on their laurels, building false sense of security from their past successes. They stop asking for help. They stop trying new things. They stop becoming hungry and thirsty for new opportunities to grow. And soon, they stop becoming as good as they used to be... and they wonder why... When you are not coachable, you essentially shortchanged yourself. You shut doors of opportunities to become a phenomenal speaker. And worse, you run the risk of becoming a mediocre speaker. Is that what you want? Instead, I encourage every one of you to be a sponge! Soak up everything that you can from everyone around you. Remember the first speaking secret I shared with you? Start evaluating any speaker that comes your way.

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See how you can incorporate the good stuff into your speech and avoid all the bad stuff. Be willing to question the old way of doing things. Each time someone comes up to you to offer his or her suggestions, listen really hard because he or she has just given you a golden opportunity to be better at your craft. If you find yourself resisting, drop it and listen. Take notes if you want. And spend time thinking through their suggestions. See how you can apply them. If it works, keep it. If it doesn't, chuck it aside. And no matter what you do, keep moving forward! The next time you think you have hit your peak; stretch yourself and you will find yourself reaching out for a higher peak!

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SPEAKING SECRET #4 ………………………………… Speak From The Heart ……………………….
Over the two years, I have seen and heard my fair share of speeches that fell between the spectrum of "Spectacular" and "Horrendous". Interestingly, it is not the most spectacular or most horrendous speeches that leave me the deepest impression. It is the speech that is given from the heart that made the most impact. In my opinion, when you give a speech that comes from your heart - a message that you care deeply about - you have already won the audience over! In the past two days I have witnessed two speeches that were of "heart" quality. One of them was a speech given by Jennifer in Panorama Toastmasters. Her speech was titled "Inspiring by Example". It was a very simple message yet at the end of the meeting, her speech was the most talked about. I believe it was because she spoke from the heart. Right from the start of the speech, we were drawn into the life of grandma Florence, a lady whom she loved and respected a great deal. Her speech was spiced up with interesting anecdotes of her encounters with Grandma Florence. For that seven minutes, we felt as if Grandma Florence was right here with us... Then there was Dr Chris Pak. He was one of the panelists for last night's entrepreneurial event - The Making of an Entrepreneur 2. He wasn't the most articulate or charismatic speaker in the panel. But I will never forget his message. Never ever give up! It was with conviction and fervor that he delivered the message. He meant every word he said, with every fiber in his body and every chord of tenderness in his heart... Jennifer and Chris are two ordinary speakers who have spoke with extraordinary passion and sincerity. These are the kind of speakers that will always leave an impression. The next time you give a speech, talk about something that you are passionate about or share with your audience some personal stories that have inspired you. You don't have to have the coolest passion or be the greatest storyteller. As long as you speak from your heart, your audience will be with you all the way!

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SPEAKING SECRET #5 ………………………………… Lots And Lots Of ………………………. Stage Time
Ok let's be honest. There is no way you can improve your public speaking skills unless you get out there to speak! Just like swimming, you will never be able to master it just by reading a book. Granted that the book may offer you a comprehensive guide to 101 swimming techniques or over 200 dos and don'ts of swimming, but you will never master swimming until your feet touches water. Ask any experts and coaches, they will tell you the same thing. You got to get your hands dirty before you learn anything. This applies to any skills you want to pick up too. Stage time does not necessarily refer to hour-long speeches. It could be as short as a three min speech. In this case, frequency is much more important that the quantity of time you have to speak. I will encourage you to be creative when it comes to securing stage time for yourself. Joining the Toastmasters is one way since you will have a chance to speak at least twice a month. You can also look for other speaking opportunities - however short - in your school, workplace or even in your private organization. It can come in form of hosting for a dinner/meeting or conduct business presentations to your clients. In this entry, I will share with you two ways you can maximize your stage time. 1. Change Your Mindset A lot of us complain about giving speeches for many reasons. I used to be one of them. In the past, giving a speech means grueling hours of work because of my perfectionist attitude. I want to come up with a perfect speech, one that will wow my audience's pants away. And since I am not at the peak of my craft, it was excruciatingly frustrating to come up with a "perfect" speech. However during a conversation with my mentor, I came to realize that my perfectionist attitude could jeopardize my growth.

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I decided to take a step back and reevaluate my mindset towards preparing and giving speeches. Instead of coming up with a perfect speech, I aim to improve at every speech that I give i.e. to be better than my previous speech. This change in mindset reduced the undue pressure I have on myself and gave me space to grow. The change in me was dramatic. I found myself grabbing at any opportunity to speak and the process of preparing a speech become much more fun. I was more interested in the process of coming up with a speech, rather than the speech itself. And naturally, I got better. So before you proceed on, I want you to first step back and reexamine your mindset towards giving a speech. If it is preventing you from moving forward, I urge you to change your mindset, one that will motivate you to get better at your craft. Because without a positive and constructive mindset, no amount of stage time (and self help) is going to help you! 2. Set Goals Great! So you have change your mindset and you are all motivated to speak. Now what? You got to set goals. Let's recap. Your intention is to be a better speaker correct? In other words, you want to get from X to Y. You have found motivation to get to Y. But if you have not figure out where Y is, no amount of motivation will get you there! Make sense? That's why you have to set goals, particularly S.M.A.R.T goals! Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. In the case of giving a speech, you want to narrow down two or three areas that you want to improve on. Sometimes it could just be one area based on the feedback that you have gathered previously. Specific: Say you gave a speech last month and you have gotten some feedback. One particular area was in the organization of your speech. In your next speech, you may want to focus on giving a speech that is more organized. Or someone commented that you moved too much (thus causing distractions). Hence you may want to work on body gestures in your next speech. The point is you will decide what goals to set! However, you need to ensure that you are not overwhelmed with your goals. There is no way you can improve on everything within a short

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period of time. Hence the best strategy is to see which area is the most important to you and then work on that particular area. Measurable: Make sure that your goals are measurable else it is impossible to objectively evaluate if you have improved or not. And that can be very demoralizing. The best way to measure the change is to ask your audience! They are your best judges. For example you are working on improving the organizational structure of your speech. Go back to the person who has commented about your speech organization. Ask if he or she has seen any improvement. And if so, how did it manifest? If it works, good for you. Move on to the next goal. If not, try another approach and then ask for feedback again. You can also measure your performance using other variables such as timing, preparation time, confidence level or even trophies that you won. But here is the bottom-line: set goals that can be measured. If they aren't, I suspect your goals are specific enough. If that's the case, redefine your goal. Make sure it is specific. Attainable and Realistic I will put these two requirements today. One of the main reasons why goals don't work is because we set extremely unrealistic goals. Some may argue that we should remain optimistic but you got to be honest with yourself too. If your goal is to win the International Speech Contest and you have yet to make a single speech, I would encourage you to pick a more attainable goal, like giving five speeches in the next three months. Creating attainable goals are critical if you want to be successful. Give yourself the opportunity to create small wins because they fuel your confidence and generate momentum for you to create bigger wins! Imagine what it does to your ego and morale when you set goals that are hardly reachable. You will give up almost immediately when your air of optimism dissipates into the thin air. And trust me, it will! So start small. Take a look at your present state and then plan the goals with respect to that. Every small step counts if it takes you to your destination! Timely When will you accomplish your goal? Within the next week, next month, next year, eternity???!!! You know what I mean. We are creatures of

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procrastination. Having specific, measurable, attainable and realistic goals doesn't amount to anything unless you create a time frame to achieve your goal. In my opinion, if you want to see significant improvement in your speaking skills, you got to speak at the very least twice a month. In fact I will suggest that you speak at least once a week if you are really determined to improve! So... have you set S.M.A.R.T goals for your upcoming speech? If no, get moving!

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SPEAKING SECRET #6 ………………………………… Inside Out ……………………….
The sixth secret I want to share with you is both the easiest and hardest to implement. Easiest because you do not have to do any work. Hardest because it works in the subtle. In Fred Gratzon's book “The Lazy Way to Success", he describes human's subtlest layer as consciousness, the basis of all human experience and expression. It is also at this level, where we can harness great power. Without going into the abstract, I shall explain how you can harness such power to become a phenomenal speaker! The premise of this entry lies here - "Who You Are Speaks Louder than What You Can Say" To get started, I want you to ask yourself this question: When you get up to speak, who are you being? A rockstar that everyone is dying to listen to or a screw-up that everyone jeers at? A charismatic leader with an important message or a nobody trying to be a charismatic leader with an important message? A passionate speaker with something valuable to share or an apprehensive speaker who can't wait to get off the stage? When you are up on stage, are you speaking in the position of clarity and power or in fear and trepidation? What's your background conversation? If it is "Oh no, I am going to screw it up..." then yes, you WILL screw up. However, if it is "I've got something important to say so listen carefully", then every part of you will command the listening of your audience. Whether you like it or not, your thoughts manifest your actions. It works inside-out. If you get the beingness (or essence) right, the doing (what you actually have to do to achieve the desired outcome) will follow. Otherwise, no amount of doing will make a difference. Let me share with you a personal experience. My first experience of pubic speaking started when I was in high school. I took part in a Science Speech Contest and won First Place. Ironically, it

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was my quick success that led me to avoid public speaking for a good five years. As the champion speaker, I was invited to speak in front of the entire school, which was approximately 1600 students!!! That was a HUUUUUGGGGEEEEEE crowd compared to 40 people - who happened to my friends too - during the contest itself. As you have guessed it, I flopped big time. I forgot almost my entire speech, together with my name. I stuttered through whatever lines that I could remember, which ended up incohesive most of the time. The audience was left in amazement at how I actually won the contest. For the next few years, I never quite succeed in public speaking, no matter how much work I put in. I later realized that I have been speaking in the shadows of my failure. Each time I speak, I was speaking in the shoes of the high school "me" who screwed up big time. As you can imagine, I never quite got over it. My realization later became a moment of liberation for me as I consciously recreated a new being to take on. Instead of being the high school "me", I took on being Wayaki, a charismatic leader in my literature text – “The River Between”. Every speech I gave became a manifestation of Wayaki. It was then I started to see improvements in my speeches. The main point of this entry is this: WHO YOU ARE SPEAKS LOUDER THAN WHAT YOU SAY!!! The next time you give a speech, I want you to try this for size. You got to have vivid imagination for this exercise to work. And it comes with practice so keep trying! First, pick a speaker. He or she could be someone whom you respect or admire a lot. Visualize everything about the speaker in your head. The looks. The expressions. The body gestures. The voice. The words. The energy. Everything. And then picture yourself becoming that speaker as you give your speech. You can also play around by combining traits of various speakers. As you gain more experience speaking, you will find yourself creating your own speaking style. And when that happens, EMBRACE IT!

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SPEAKING SECRET #7 ………………………………… Set Yourself Up To Succeed ……………………….
Fearing public speaking is normal. Most people do. And there is absolutely no doubt that this fear of ours is huuuuggggggeeeee, even astronomical and very real. But how do we handle it? We work really hard to fight it. We read tons of books, e-books and blogs on how to FIGHT our fear. We pay eye-popping, jaw-dropping and gut-wrenching sum of hard-earned money (pun intended!), attempting to ELIMINATE our fear. And sadly for most of us, it all amounts to nothing in the end. Today I will like to propose that you take The Alternate Path. This path doesn’t even require you to fight the fear because it is too much of a hassle and hard work. Instead, take time to find the right angle to tackle the problem. With regards to public speaking, the right angle in my opinion refers to ways you can be successful right from the beginning. Here are some ways that worked extremely well for me. 1. Find A Group Of Audience That Loves You From The Start. You can never go wrong by starting to speak in front of a group that wants you to succeed. And this group could be as small as just your little puppy or your beloved wife or even your buddies from the army! I would also strongly recommend you to join the Toastmasters! It is an organization that was set up with the sole goal of making you and me successful in public speaking. And from my experience, they have one of the best communities of people you can ever be with. 2. Start By Taking Small Steps Yes. Stop trying to speak like Abraham Lincoln or Winston Churchill. There is a reason why they are legendary. Instead pick someone your own caliber first. Say your school lecturer or your CEO! If you can be half as boring as him or her at your first speech, consider that a big success. Go out and celebrate! Always give yourself a chance to win, no matter how small the win is. It is much easier to move forward that way. And in no time, you will find yourself joining the ranks of highly competent speakers!

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3. Start By Focusing On Your Strengths. I have mentioned this one before in my earlier post. Every speaker is unique. Take time to discover your strengths. Focus on them. Say you are extremely energetic on stage. Explore how you can leverage that energy on stage. If your friends think you are funny and not lame (that’s a world of difference!), start studying how you can be funnier. It is painless if you focus on your strengths. You will also start noticing yourself improve much faster. And the praises you received from your friends will only accelerate your growth as a speaker. As Fred Gratzon indicated in this book: “The right angle … is always in the direction of greater ease and effortlessness.” Note: you are NOT avoiding the job of becoming a successful speaker. You are merely avoiding the hard work of becoming one. So if you are sick and tired of working so hard with little results, take on The Alternate Path. Set yourself up for success!!!

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SPEAKING SECRET #8 ………………………………… Have Loads Of Fun! ……………………….
Have you ever consider public speaking to be fun? An activity to indulge in for de-stressing purposes? Something that you can play around with and reap boundless of joy and happiness? For most people... hardly! If you recall, public speaking has been ranked as the number one fear, surpassing the fear of death! Who would even associate public speaking with fun??!! However for those who do, they cannot help but be a master at their craft, all thanks to their "play" attitude. Think about it. If you like a particular activity so much, doing it excessively will not be considered hard work at all right? In fact, you will find every single opportunity to get back to the activity; without any coercion, persuasion or effort! You will be so involved in what you are doing that nothing else around you matters at all. It is as if time went on a standstill... Unless you enjoy what you are doing, you will never be able to fully maximize your potential. At best, you will just be a good speaker because of all the hard work that you have put in. Imagine if you add the element of fun in it, there is no limit to how good you can be! So what has fun got to do with being successful in public speaking (or in anything for that matter)? 1. Fun Is The Best Cure Against Your Arch Nemesis: Fear It is like a shiny amour that deflects any worries, doubts and apprehension that you may have. It blesses you with courage to step out of your comfort zone and try new things. It grants you freedom to be creative. It bestows you with immunity against failure.

It gives you permission to laugh at yourself. When fun is in the picture, nothing will be too daunting for you.

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2. Fun Sustains You When you are having fun, you have essentially open up boundless of pure energy that pushes you towards success. There is no work involved when it comes to honing your public speaking skills. It is part of the fun! Any challenges you faced become part of the game. Instead of mulling over how tough it is, you find yourself inventing new ways to defeat these challenges. In fact, the harder the better. Some people call that optimism. To you, it is all part of the game! 3. Fun Brings Out The Best In You Having fun also allows you to walk the path of least resistance. As such your energies are spent exploring new ground and discovering new things about yourself. You do not care if you succeed or fail. It releases you from the pressure of having to win. What you are more concerned about is that you are enjoying every part of it. As long as you are moving forward with each step that you take, nothing else matters. Ironically, such attitude creates the most results. Take a look at Dr Richard Feynman. He won a Nobel prize out of calculating the relationship between the wobble and the rotation of the plate for fun. His "play" attitude led him to stumble onto quantum electrodynamics! And then there was Einstein, Newton and all other famous scientists. The same happens when you are on stage too! When you are having fun on stage, it creates instant connection with your audience. Fun is infectious and your audience cannot help but have fun too. Here's one way you can start having fun with public speaking - Treat It Like A Game! Here's what I want you to do for your next speech. Set up some winning criteria i.e. what do you need to do to "win the game". It could come in the form of "My audience will give me a smiley face sticker at the end of my speech" or "I will try something new each time I speak". Pull in a few friends to play the game with you. They could either compete with you or even play judges. And what's a game without rewards?

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Make sure you plan some enticing rewards for yourself. Invite your friends to pool in some of the prizes too! Increase the stake. And then focus on winning the game! What's there to lose? Notice the adrenalin rush? Notice the excitement building up? Notice that you aren't even concerned about your fears? That's what I am talking about. Treat public speaking as a game. Be spontaneous. Be adventurous. Most importantly, have fun with it! The next time you have to give a speech, let your hair out and have fun! Be wild and experiment new things. Even if it flops, you had fun trying it! I shall go against the usual advices that you hear from speech experts. Do NOT take your speech (or yourself) too seriously. Treat it as a game and play your heart out! "Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play." – Heraclitus, Greek Philosopher (535 - 475 BCE)

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FINAL WORD ………………………………… ……………………….
Recently, a lot of my friends have taken an interest in improving their public speaking skills. Two of them have even decided to sign up for a Toastmasters club in the coming week. Way to go! Like any skill, public speaking takes time to hone. The best advice I can give to anyone is to start small. You can begin by reading one public speaking related article a day or make a conscious effort to write and give a five minutes speech, once a month. Joining a Toastmasters club is also an excellent way to pace yourself in becoming a competent speaker. Bottom-line - do SOMETHING, no matter how small it is. Remember the race between the tortoise and the hare: Slow and steady wins the race! And in no time, you will see yourself growing phenomenally. Looking back, public speaking has changed my life dramatically… Two years ago after watching Jim Key, 2003 International Speech Contest champion, inspire the audience including myself with his message: “It is never too late to dream”, I embarked on a personal quest to become an accomplished speaker. That was my dream and it still is. Over the two years, I read almost everything I can get my hands about public speaking. I gave over 96 speeches and presentations (minimum two per week) in the last one year. And yet my journey has only begun! It was tough yet every step of the way was exhilarating. There was always something to learn. Needless to say, my passion in public speaking grew, fueling my desire to get even better. I hope you make use of the eight things I shared with you that fueled my growth as a speaker. They is no rocket science yet each of them plays an important role in my growth. I hope that by sharing with you what works for me, you will be inspired to embark on your own quest in becoming an accomplished speaker!

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