The idea of Utopia is mischievous as well as unrealistic. And dull, to boot. Man is born pushing and shoving as the sparks fly upward.

D. Lilienthal

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Public Speaking tips – the value of eye contact

Making eye contact with the audience is vital in projecting confidence and authenticity. 

Looking people in the eye in any form of face to face contact means you are not afraid of being caught out. 

You are not lying or deceiving. You have confidence in your message. You are being sincere. 

So use it as much as you can in your public speaking, to have people connect, believe and follow. 


Steve Ballmer – About PowerPoint …

An Open Letter to Steve Ballmer

Dear Steve,

How are things..? It looks to have been a bumpy few months for you but it all seems to be coming together for you now. Nicely played…

We wanted to drop you a line to firstly commend you, secondly to point out some “opportunities for improvement” and lastly to suggest something a little “out there”. Bear with us…we think you’ll like it.

So firstly, the commendation – PowerPoint 2010 is really very very good…. =>

Let the beautiful stuff out!

“We are all cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is,
knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”

-Ray Bradbury


How to Become Persuasive in Public Speaking

I am spending time on other writing projects and restructuring my business, so will not be writing new articles for this blog for a while. Enjoy this and the others to come from other writers! I just love Si Yuan’s style in this one …

10 Habits of Effective Speakers

1. Positive thinking
Hang on… isn’t this too much of a cliché? You might have heard umpteen times from people all around you. While it is true that many of us have came around this advice of thinking positive. How many of us actually know how to do it? How many of us believe in this phrase and have seen it in action?

Allow me to demonstrate this point with an exercise you can do in the comfort of your own home. Take a time-keeping devise such as an alarm clock or a stopwatch with a beeping function. (So that it could alert you when the time is up). For the next one minute, think of nothing but a pink elephant. Any pink elephant will do. Think of the size, contours, the intensity of the color “constructed” image in your mind. Do so for the next minute. Do not stop thinking of that pink elephant. Time your with your devise Do so until the beeping sound echoes in your ears. Next I want you to think of anything else except the pink elephant.

That means to say DO NOT think of the pink elephant even for a split second. Do that for another minute. What is the outcome? Can you stop thinking of the elephant? It is IMPOSSIBLE to do so. Why? The reason being our brains are wired in such a way that it is not possible to process negation. When I told you “DO NOT” our brain still thinks it is a “DO” The above example clearly shows that our brains is able to retain what we visualize. Therefore it is important that we do not dwell on negative thoughts. You do not want the images of the pink elephant to stick to your mind.

2. The Act of Repetition
Studies have shown that repetition can increase the rate of retaining of information in our brains. The key here is to lead the audience in repeating the message of the speech like a mantra. An example could be found in the Bible: When I was a child I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. (I Corinthians 13:11)

The stage on which you are on in the exact place where you can make use of this technique. This applies when you have two complimentary speech messages. You may want to stand one side (say the left when delivering one message and the right when delivering the second message. This ensures the effect of repetition as audience will be able to recall the speech message readily by visual association of the stage positioning of the speaker.

3. Establishing Rapport
Let me touch on what rapport is first. Why? Rapport to many people, seems to take the notion of getting people to like them, whereas in fact, you can be in rapport with someone and they don’t like you. All rapport means, according to the dictionary definition, is that it is a relationship harmonized by accord. You can in accord with someone and not like them. The pursuit of liking takes you in the wrong direction, what I am aiming to do here is to make the audience easier to follow us. One thing to note is that in order for rapport to work, the person on the receiving end must have a similar experience in his mind so that we are deemed credible by the other party, THAT increases our powers of persuasion. We must not say anything that will challenge their worldview, thus making establishing rapport easier.

There is a certain pattern in linguistics whereby when a statement is true and the next is true and still the one following it is also true it makes any statement preceding it more probable with each passing statement. By giving them A, B,C and therefore D, it makes the audience easier to follow us. Let me give you one example, what we want to do here is to give our audience a series of truisms, that is some statements that will elicit a series of yes, yes, yes responses wherefore they can validate in their sensory experience or something where the facts cannot be challenged. This is what is known as the “Yes “set in sales, however it is not necessary that we must get a conscious Yes response, but it is necessary that they must be able to validate the statements to be true in their minds. THIS IS where persuasive powers reside.

You can also establish rapport with the audience by asking rhetorical questions. A rhetorical question is a figure of speech in the form of a question that is asked in order to make a point and without the expectation of a reply. The use of this question will enhance rapport. For example in your speech you want to talk about success in public speaking. You can go like this “How many of you grab opportunities to speak EVERYTIME it occurs?” In your mind you might think” hmm it was… ” You then follow up with a statement such as this “Ladies and Gentlemen, this is important because it is the only way to succeed in the public speaking arena.”

4. Use Pauses with Power.
Pauses allow the audience to digest what you are saying so that they can understand the message of your speech better. However you must use pauses at the correct moment so that your speech will have the maximum amount of impact:

Generally you should pause when
1. You are invited on stage and getting ready to deliver your speech,
2. After each main point
3. and before making a very important point.

I want to stress the third point. This point is also known as the power button technique.

For example ” Let me tell you again what I always tell those critics of Singapore… [pause] I will… ” The words that come before the pause is the power button. The pause here is very important because it separates the “power button” statement with the rest of the sentence. In this way, the pause allows the successful setup of the power button, because the power button prepares the audience for something impactful or important to come. The pause creates the suspense and the rest of the sentence blows the audience away.

5. Engage the audience with a story.
This is known as the story telling framework. It is made up of 5 questions. Namely,

1)Where are we and when is it?
2)What roles are we playing in the setting.
3)Why are we here?
4)What do we want to see happen (goal) and lastly
5) How do we get from here to there? (process)

The first point is obvious. The second point relates to the protagonist of the setting who is your audience. Put the limelight on them and make them the hero of your story. This is a sure fire way to increase your powers of persuasion.

The next point gives them the reason of why they are listening to you in the first place. As in a sales setting, you would want to create a pain point. In short, it must be a problem that your audience is facing. The way to do this is to address the pain point, so that you will remind them of why they are listening to you in the first place. As in a sales process, there must a solution to a given problem. You have to propose a solution to help the audience get what they want. It could be something as straightforward as:

“Buy how to become Persuasive in public speaking!”

6. Always keep a word, phrase, funny incident, Story Bank
This technique is recommended by me as it is one of the easiest and most powerful ways to prepare your speech. Because good speech materials could not pop up overnight, they have to be accumulated. It will serve you well in case you plan to be a professional speaker in the future. Memorable stories are few and even if you could remember them, you will not be able to remember the details. A bank could be as simple as a notepad or book that you bring with you WHEREVER you go. With the advancement of technology, you could also easily store your BANK on your smart phones.

7. The 3Ps – Practice, Practice and Practice
This seems easy but it is one of the most difficult habits to acquire. More often than not, we cram the preparing of our speeches to the last minute, because of other commitments and there is no worse lesson to learn than this: Your speech will not be able to flow without enough practice, at most you will only remember the content of your speech. Smooth delivery can only be acquired through practice.

8. Grab every single opportunity to speak
After the 3Ps comes the 3s(es). What is it? World Speaking Champion in 2001 Darren LaCroix coined this term. It simply means Stage Time, Stage Time and more Stage time. In essence, in order to increase your persuasive powers, you must acquire any opportunity that allows you to speak. Because without it you cannot get any better than you last spoke. To turn down a speaking opportunity is tantamount to losing one chance to improve your persuasive speaking skills
Joining a Toastmasters Club is an excellent way to increase that stage time. That was what happened to me. I was initially very scared of even speaking to a crowd, let alone standing in front of them to give a speech. But over the years, I realized that the ONLY way to be a better speaker is to JUST DO IT!

9. Start with Achievable goals
In order to be a persuasive speaking you have to start with small goals. Each small step you take with take you closer to your larger goals. This is called accumulating small wins for yourself. With each small win, you confidence level will grow.

What I mean by achievable goals not only apply to yourself, it also means giving the audience small achievable goals(step towards the goal) so that they are immediately apply what they have heard as soon as they leave. In this way, your powers of persuasion would also increase tremendously.

10. Learn to analyze the excellent speeches
This last habit is the culmination of all the previous 9 habits. In order to effectively analyse speeches, you will have to know what’s good about it. You must be able to identify the areas of improvement that can be effected in a speech to make them even better. It will therefore allow you to adopt a critic mindset of a speech so that it will give insight as to how to substitute certain words or phrase to make them even more powerful, thus increasing your persuasive powers in delivering the speech. It is also important to learn from these speech, so that if need be you can even use them in your own speeches.


Si Yuan is a Toastmaster’s competent communicator who lives in Singapore. He has recently embarked on his journey to help others in the area of public speaking.

For more resources as to how you can improve your public speaking skills and free ebook Visit his site at

and Grab his free ebook at

Dreams of the future

“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”

-Thomas Jefferson


Public speaking tip: Aid and abet

The most important things you need to get across to the audience are your message and your image. Any other aspect of your presentation (and there are many – visuals being just one) should be secondary to, and supportive of, getting the message and the image across – and certainly not distracting from those. 

Powerful public speaking tactic – thanks Abe!

Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves.

Abraham Lincoln and Eleanor Chaffee

(… and a very effective speaking skill too!)


Build audience trust before you start your story

The storytelling trance is a vital part of the success of storytelling and for an audience to be led into the story they need to trust the storyteller. They need to know that the story will be worth listening to – that it will actually lead them in to be a part of a scene and a series of actions, a place where they would want to be …. and that it will provide a story arc that they can use.

There are questions an audience will ask – of themselves – and through that process, of you, before they will give you their undivided attention.

What is your why? Are you credible? Are you authentic? Are you trustworthy?

Do you have the skills to tell a story that your audience will want to listen to? Do you have the knowledge or “smarts” to be able to create a useful takeaway from this story? Is the story going to be worth listening to? Is your personality capable of telling a story that enthrals, entertains and teaches? Can you be trusted to tell a story without trickery, without wanting to manipulate your audience into behaviour they will not want? Is this story worth more than the other options available to them for the time they are giving you?

So who are you as a storyteller? What does your audience know of you before you begin? How will you present yourself as someone they can trust and relate to?

Obviously you are going to have to research your audience.

What is their language? What do they want? What do they need? What do they fear? Who are they? How much expertise do they already have in your subject area? What are their objections to the points you want to make, to the outcome you want from your presentation? What do they find funny? What do they do, or think about or indulge in for excitement and thrills? What is their why?

Then speak their language. Show that you understand their way of thinking, that you understand their challenges. Show them your why and your credibility and your trustworthiness.

Introduce the story. Set the scene. Tease with your introduction. Let them know that it is relevant to the progress of your presentation and the point you are making. Reassure them that what is to follow is worth their time and their attention. Then you can take them with you into the story.

© Bronwyn Ritchie … If you want to include this article in your publication, please do, but please include the following information with it:
Bronwyn Ritchie helps speakers to be confident and effective. In just 6 months time, you could be well on the way to being admired, rehired as a speaker, confident and sucessful, with the 30 speaking tips. Click here for 30 speaking tips for FREE. Join now or go to


“You can never plan the future by the past”

-Edmund Burke