Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Language Comebacks for Co-workers, Know-it-alls and Language Snobs

Laughter really is the best medicine, and I've always said that if you can laugh at yourself and your speech mistakes, you'll be able to improve much faster. But there is a big difference between laughing at yourself, laughing with others, and having others laugh at you.

I can remember clearly, living in Denmark and working very hard to learn Danish. I had reached that point where I could understand almost everything, but still didn't have a lot of courage to speak. It wasn't until I was thrown into a new job and HAD to speak, that I finally started using the language.

There were a number of reactions. Some people heard my accent and immediately switched to English.  Others spoke slowly and loudly as though I wasn't only learning a new language, but also had a mental disability. And the last group of people laughed.

I'm not sure which group I hated the most, and I'm sure you've also met these people, haven't you?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Express Yourself Clearly - 3 Speech Secrets to Help You Land Your Dream Job

The Straits Times, Singapore's leading English newspaper, published one of my articles today. Here is the full text if you missed it.

If you want to land that dream job, work on the way that you speak. Interviews are formal settings where you will be judged in many areas, and if you can’t express yourself clearly and confidently, you can kiss that job goodbye.

When you attend an interview, everything you do and say is being noticed, recorded and judged. From your clothes and shoes to your body language and speech, you must be polished.

When you answer questions and share your talents with your interviewer, keep these three speech secrets in mind to ensure that you make a long-lasting impression that sets you apart from the rest.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Power of a Smile

I'm meeting a new client in my office on Monday. We've never met, but connected over LinkedIn and spoke on the phone for the first time last week.

It's amazing the connection you can feel with a person without actually meeting them. Especially over the phone - to hear a person's voice tells you a lot about them - little details you wouldn't necessarily pick up in a short email.

This conversation was like that. We seemed to connect, and I felt energized after speaking with him.

I've been thinking about what exactly it was that made this new client so appealing over the phone, and I've narrowed it down to one thing - his smile.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Raise Your Game 2012

I am very pleased to be speaking at this exciting event organized by Asia Professional Speakers Singapore (of which I am a Professional Member). If you hope to raise your game in 2012 and are looking for specific success secrets to help you do just that, you won't want to miss this fantastic, full-day event.
With eight keynote speakers and two special panel sessions, delegates attending Raise your Game 2012 will learn many great ideas and techniques to achieve greater success at work and in your daily life.

For more information and to register visit the Raise your Game 2012 website.

New Communication Webinar Series!

One of my newest projects for 2012 is to start a webinar series on everything communication. This is obviously a HUGE topic, so I'd like to know what you'd like to know!

If you are interested in communication, which areas are most important to you?

Here are just a few ideas to get you thinking:
Presentation Skills
Networking Skills
English Grammar
Communicating Across Cultures
Teleconferencing/Videoconferencing Skills


Please let me know in the comments which topics you are most interested in learning about. The more specific the better!

Thanks for your help! I'm really looking forward to creating some great programs for you in 2012!

3 Great Ways to Come Out of Your Shell in 2012

During the holiday season, we met with lots of friends and I was surprised to find my normally confident 3-year-old hiding behind my legs instead of shaking hands and saying 'hello'. She started whining and telling me that she didn't want to say 'hi' and that she was 'shy'.

"SHY? I'm sorry, honey, but that's not being shy. That's just being rude."

I wondered later if I was a bit too harsh with my little girl. She is only three! But then I thought of all the adults I meet on a regular basis who act the same way. They hide behind their best friend/partner/spouse/colleague, instead of stepping out on their own, making their own voices and thoughts heard and being friendly and social with others.

These are the people that work me to near exhaustion in social settings as I try to make them feel comfortable, ask them questions about themselves and try to pull anything out of them other than one word answers.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Top 3 Most Annoying Christmas Card Errors

Every year I look forward to the Christmas cards I receive from family and friends, and every year, there are the same errors in them. I hate to complain about these gorgeous cards, especially the ones where people actually take the time to write something inside (by hand or computer). But still, I end up questioning whether the brilliant light has gone out for my fellow magna cum laude friends when I read what they've put to paper. Here are my top three pet peeves that put a damper on the Christmas cheer.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Is it really "Game off for Asian Accent?"

On March 6th, The Straits Times, Singapore's leading newspaper, published a story about Ms. Kelly Ong, an online gaming commentator who has been ridiculed for being hard to understand. (I wish I could link to the article for you, but it's protected content.) 

In a nutshell, Ms. Ong has been hand-chosen from a number of gamers to be a commentator for one of the Asian Championships for an online game. Now, I know very little about online gaming, but you don't have to listen to her for more than 30 seconds to realize that this girl really knows her stuff!

Regardless, online gamers have been tearing her apart, complaining that she's too hard to understand and that someone with such a "heavy accent" shouldn't be allowed to be a commentator. The Straits Times pointed out that most of these comments were coming from native English speakers.

I wrote into the paper to stand up for Ms. Ong and her accent. They published an edited version of my letter in the Life! Mailbag section (p.E6) on March 12th. Here is my full response explaining why I think we need to redefine a "proper English accent" and "fight the misconception that accent and clarity are linked."

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Power of Words - "Have to" vs. "Choose to"

I’m on maternity leave at the moment and am taking care of my two-year-old and two-month-old daughters. While doing so, I’ve realised just how often I say to my two-year-old, “Just one second. I have to...” Every time I say it, I can see the disappointment in her eyes. I started thinking about the power of the words we use, how they can change the way we view our realities, and how they impact the people we speak to.

Do you “have to” do something or do you actually “choose to” do something? Everything is a choice, isn’t it? I started a little experiment with myself by substituting “have to” with “choose to.” Suddenly, I didn’t have so many things I had to do anymore.