Once again, Asia Professional Speakers – Singapore (APSS) is hosting its annual Raise Your Game event at the Holiday Inn Orchard Road on Thursday, February 21. The full day seminar will feature ten top speakers presenting on a variety of topics to help you achieve greater personal and professional success. I will be presenting “The XI Commandments of Negotiating” and will call on at least a dozen volunteers from the audience during my highly interactive session. Sign up now at www.asiaspeakers.org.
I recently told a few people that I enjoyed a short vacation with the family in Hong Kong. They invariably asked me how I liked Hong Kong. Then I had to repeat myself very carefully: “I enjoyed a short vacation, comma, with the family in Hong Kong. The family went. I stayed home. That was my vacation!”
I was in Hong Kong two years ago, with the family. I saw no need to go back. For one thing, I don’t really like to see my air before I breathe it. I’m a trusting guy, and I trust that when I inhale I will get two lungs full of air every time. It hasn’t failed yet.
Here’s the beauty of my solo staycation: I did everything differently. I ate food I would not normally eat with my wife and daughter, I did no “work” but worked on a few projects not related to my usual routine, I took a different route on my morning walk, and I dabbled (and dribbled) with paints. It was as if I had a different life for three days. It was a creative and liberating experience. I highly recommend it.
My sister-in-law, Sally, is a big Groupon fan. She invited us to dinner on Saturday night at a trendy little restaurant in an area of trendy nightspots. This place had sofas and ottomans clustered around low coffee tables rather than traditional dining tables and chairs. It was more comfortable for casual conversation than formal dining. There were not that many other diners, and nearly all had printouts from Groupon with them, leading me to believe the restaurant was not doing well. Most of the other patrons were trendy young couples of well-groomed women and their male companions with carefully tended bedheads.
I mention this because as a married man with a young child I don’t get out to trendy places very often. The thing that struck me the most was that all of these trendy youngsters were more occupied with their electronic devices – phones and iPads – than with their dates. I was out of the dating game before I got my first mobile phone. But I never brought an Etch A Sketch with me on a date to play around with during dinner. On a positive note, some of the couples were engaged with the same device, rather than each going his or her own electronic way.
Sunday afternoon found me browsing YouTube (though I was not on a date). As usually happens with YouTube I ended up in an unexpected corner of cyberspace far astray from where I started. I found myself watching clips from the old TV series “What’s My Line.” In this show a panel of four celebrities are blindfolded and have to ask yes/no questions to try to guess the identity of a celebrity guest. Some of the mystery guests were star architect Frank Lloyd Wright, jazz great Louis Armstrong, comedian Jerry Lewis, basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain, and hot babe Raquel Welch. I was struck by how well-dressed, articulate, and gracious all of these people were. It seemed like they were not only from another age, but from another planet! I wonder whether any of the bedheads sitting around the coffee tables had even heard of any of these famous people.
I am not going to say communication is dead. It is alive and well, but very different. Fifty years ago people communicated for depth, exploring a subject for several minutes or more at a time. Now it’s more about breadth, about how many apps we can experience in a short span of time. Conversation is superficial, as it must be in the few seconds devoted to it before the subject, channel, or medium changes.
We’re all products of our times, and times are changing faster and faster. Change will continue ever more rapidly, and that will not change. I can’t imagine what the next generation will be like. I just know they will adapt just fine, and they will leave the bedheads’ heads spinning.
We have just launched 88 Essential Secrets for Achieving Greater Success at Work. Edited by Shirley Taylor, it features contributions by me and 21 of my friends and colleagues from the Asia Professional Speakers Singapore (APSS). I wrote chapter 14, Persuade with Power, with four ‘secrets’ about framing, persuading with data and stories (two very separate tips), and creating a money phrase. My friends Rob Salisbury, Pamela Wigglesworth, Heather Hansen, Karen Leong, Bob Feldman, and others too numerous to mention also have some great stuff in there.
Published by Marshall Cavendish, the book is available at bookstores throughout Singapore. The distinctive blue and gold cover really stands out among all the student assessments, stationery, and other non-book items that Singapore bookstores sell. (When ebooks finally wipe out all the other bookstores the Singapore bookstores will not miss a beat!) Soon it will be available throughout southeast Asia and beyond. Grab your copy now!
I am helping to organize a very special one-day event called Raise Your Game 2012. It will be held on 16 February 2012 at the Holiday Inn Orchard Hotel. Last year’s event was excellent, and it should be even better this year.
This event is organized by APSS (Asia Professional Speakers Singapore), the preeminent organization of professional speakers in Singapore. I am very proud to be a professional member of this fine group. We have eight keynote speakers lined up, as well as two special panel sessions. I will be participating on a panel this year.
I promise you this will be a powerful day of learning and sharing and a fabulous way to kick start the new year! I hope to see you there.
If you have any questions, please go to the APSS website at http://www.asiaspeakers.org.
The valedictorian of a university in Singapore made news recently. She concluded her commencement address with an apparently ad-libbed expression of jubilation: “We f***ing did it!” There has been a good deal of debate about how to make sure such a transgression never happens again.
I won’t use her name here, not to spare her from further embarrassment but to avoid giving her any further undeserved recognition. In my July 11 post (“American Gladiators”) I observed that the bar to standing out is constantly being raised, and the trend of stronger, more expressive language will continue and even accelerate. I don’t know what this young woman plans to do with her life, but I’m quite certain that this episode will not hurt her prospects. In fact, I won’t be surprised to see her capitalize on her fifteen minutes of fame.
My wife nearly went ballistic when our seven-year-old daughter spouted the F-word. She spells it “f-u-k” and I am relieved to say she learned it from a classmate, not me. While every word has a time and place, there are some words that little girls should never say.
Mark Twain was a master wordsmith who never seemed to use vulgarity in his writing. However, he did use colorful language in his speech. After one outburst of cursing, his wife gave him a taste of his own medicine. Twain allegedly replied, “You have the words, my dear, but I’m afraid you’ll never master the tune.”
Every word exists for a purpose. Sometimes the best word just happens to be a vulgarity – no polite word will serve as well. To paraphrase the greeting card company, there are occasions “when you care enough to say the very worst.” As I explained to my daughter after her own outburst, the only bad words are “I can’t.”