5 Top Tips For Improving Your Public Speaking Skills

Steven Yau
APAC CIO Estée Lauder
March 11, 2019

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1.     Introductions

Your audience has already formed an opinion of you before you’ve even said anything, but you want to make sure you’ve captured their attention from the moment you open your mouth. To begin with, make a clear introduction as to who you are.  If you’re making a formal presentation, make sure you mention the following points:

·      Who am I? (this helps you to build credibility)

·      What will I talk about ?

·      What sections will I talk about?

·      How long will I talk for?

·      What is policy in asking questions?

2. Visualize
The best presenters, preachers and lectures are all story-tellers. Using anecdotes and story-telling whilst also trying to make them laugh will captivate your audience allowing you to win them over. Refer to the audience to connect, by replacing “you” with a name, preferably someone in the audience, such as “Alan can see from this chart...” or “As Tim knows from this picture...” By making this connection with the audience, this will ensure it’s close and personal allowing them to empathize.

”when using story-telling and examples, make sure you use the same one throughout your presentation to not confuse your audience”

3. Keep it familiar
Depending on the context of your presentation, you generally want to come across as if you’re having a conversation with a close friend. Make sure everything you say doesn’t feel forced or awkward.  Practice as much as possible so that it rolls off your tongue naturally.

4. Conclusion
As your approaching the end of your presentation, create a build up by talking faster. This way you’re demonstrating passion and excitement. Continue to get louder, then slow down and lower the tone. Make sure you gesture big and use hand gestures. Even throw something across the room, if it calls for it.

5. Q & A
At the end of any presentation always invite the audience to ask questions but don’t try to be a smart ass by answering all questions that you think you know. A good tip is to always compliment the person asking the question by responding with “that’s a good question”. This makes the person feel appreciated and it also gives you time to think.

You can even throw out the question back into the audience to give people a chance to answer. This allows you to gauge and read the room’s sentiment.


 You can also read Steven’s interview story here.





The story of your life is a blank slate and you are the author, the one ultimately in charge of crafting the narrative.

Trust your intuition and your heart.
In the end, you’re never going to be certain that you’re on the right path.

You’ll be guided, but if you don’t start walking, you won’t get anywhere.

A competitive salary is important, of course but Millennials place far greater emphasis on purpose, passion and meaning. We want to work with teams of like-minded people who are connected to something bigger than ourselves.

Having a deeper purpose to what we do as people makes our lives more complete, which is a tremendous force and motivator. We want to be recognized to be part of something, to grow and to have made a difference.

Our mission is to help people find their unhidden talents, strengths and purpose. We all have a story telling platform, a canvas to paint on. Wherever you are, that is your stage, your circle of influence.

Wrap your service or company with a vision and a purpose that goes well beyond making money.

Spark a collective passion because this is what speaks to the core of what makes us human.

A search for meaning.


Travel 2.jpg

So you love to travel and want to earn money whilst traveling the world. You’ve heard about this concept of digital nomadism and want to be working from your laptop, whilst tanning by the pool with a G and T. You get to decide your own hours, whilst exploring the globe. Sounds super dreamy right? Well for sure it is and I’ll tell you why…


You’re no longer living in a mundane routine which means you’re constantly inspired. Being in new environments, working in new coffee shops, trying new foods and meeting new people is of course going to engage all of your five senses and make you come alive.  Travel is one wise investment that pays annual dividends beyond the fun of showing off on Instagram.  That’s right, travel actually makes you smarter. It’s proven to improve memory, increase creativity and boost brain power.


Traveling whilst working (especially if you’re traveling alone) means you’re certain to meet interesting creative people from all over the world. Hearing other people’s experiences, stories and ideas never gets boring. Not to mention the limitless collaborative opportunities possible for freelancers, writers, coaches and consultants.  

The freedom to start work and finish work whenever you want. Doesn’t anyone want that? I’m sure many of you have experienced or are experiencing having to stay late just because your boss is. Working as a digital nomad means you no longer have this problem.  


Sounds like the ultimate dream, right? These aspects are all true but it’s also important to highlight the realities hidden underneath these shiny Instagram filters. The number one struggle most digital nomads experience is self-discipline.

Without your boss checking up on you and making sure you’re in the office by 8.30am can actually work against you. Working for yourself means you have to be incredibly disciplined and getting that balance is not as simple as it sounds. Making sure you’re up early but also setting enough boundaries to avoid burn out.  

It’s so easy to fall into the mindset of feeling guilty whenever you’re not working. Without a proper routine you can neglect the need for exercising and prioritizing your wellness and health. But it’s super important to be in alignment with our mind and body.

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As tempting and easy as it looks on Instagram, 9 times out of 10 the people I’ve met traveling have never worked from the beach! Even though the option is there, the last thing you want is sand getting stuck in your MacBook and the sun glaring against your screen. Theoretically it sounds dreamy. Practically, it just doesn’t work.

You also have to have the self-discipline to avoid all the distractions these beautiful locations have to offer. With the rise of co-working spaces, cheaper cost of living and new coffee shops; popular beach destinations such as Bali, Greece and Lisbon have a lot  to offer. Whether it’s yoga, surfing, brunching with friends, night life. Soon you’ll find yourself having wasted the day away and only having done 20 mins of work.

So the lesson for today is to ensure you develop a strong morning, afternoon and evening routine to make sure you’re self-disciplined enough to be able to apply these whilst traveling and working.  

Happy globe trotting!


Stephen Covey’s book talks about the habits of highly effective people and the key common characteristic found in the world’s most powerful leaders.

1.  Be Pro-active

2.  Begin with an End in mind

3.  Put First Things First

4.  Think Win-Win

5.  Seek First to Understand

6.  Synergize

7.  Sharpen the Saw


The one key habit I wanted to dwell into is the last one. Sharpen the saw. This is because I know this habit has completely changed my life and once you install these habits into your life it will become the gift that will keep on giving.

If lumberjacks spent all their time sawing down trees but never stopped to sharpen their saws, they’d soon have such dull tools that they couldn’t fell a single tree.

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Similarly, if you never pause to take care of yourself, any gains in effectiveness you achieve will be short-lived, for you’ll soon exhaust yourself and won’t be able to maintain any of the good habits you’ve developed. That’s why “sharpening your saw” is essential for lasting effectiveness in each of the four key areas of your life:

(1)  Physical

 Exercise regularly, eat healthily and avoid undue stress.


(2)  Spiritual
This contributes to lasting effectiveness. This could mean praying, meditating, going to church or simply regularly reflecting on your own values and lessons learnt.


(3)  Mental
Read plenty of good books, stop watching TV and make time journaling. Organizing and planning things are also good exercises to keep your mind sharp and fresh.


(4)  Social and Emotional
Seeking to understand others, building positive relationships within a community and working on projects that help improve your lives.

Consciously make time to recuperate and recharge. Many people claim they can’t find time for this, but in the long-term, it’s essential for sustained effectiveness and the rewards in productivity and well-being that come with it.

To make sure you truly sharpen your saw, write down activities that could contribute to your well-being in each of the four dimensions. Then pick one activity in each as a goal for the week and, afterwards, evaluate your performance. This will help you strive for balanced renewal in all area.


Does anyone feel like life is a constant battle for time? Those memes you see are so true. 

‘Trying to excel in my career, maintain a social life, drink enough water, text everyone back, stay sane, survive and be happy’

I mean, there are only so many hours in the day. So I want to talk to you about prioritization, because this is something I think everyone can relate to. There are so many things calling our attention. 

Those living in the city often find themselves being busy for the sake of it. But believe that your value comes in who you are, not what you do. We were not designed to live with constant busyness and noise. For many of us, rest has become a luxury. 

The best asset we have for making a contribution to the world is ourselves. If we underinvest, and by that, I mean our minds, our bodies and our spirits we damage the very tool we need to be strategic with ourselves. 

We need to pace ourselves, nurture and give ourselves fuel to explore, thrive and perform.

Rest is not selfish; it is essential. 

Rest is logical. If you think that when you sleep your brain shuts down, you’re actually wrong. Scientists have proven that when we sleep at night, our resting brains are far from idle. They go to work, consolidating memories, reviewing events and conversations of the day and looking for creative solutions to the problems in our lives.


Life is nothing but dodging bullets which are constantly demanding your time. So you have to be intentional with your time. Whether this means saying no to a potential business call or popping to the pub for a pint at lunch.

A simple trick is to put together a pie chart with four section on how you spend your time on an average day. Then you need to make sure at least 3 hours are spent for you.

It’s time to reassess your priorities.



How is it November already? With next month being December now is the perfect time to sit down and do a life audit ready for 2019.

 “Imagine where you could be by January 2019.

Now make it happen

Grab a coffee, block an hour out to review all areas in your life. We’ve pulled together a list of leading questions to help you. Print these out and get brain storming!

Make those small changes. Take action. Live better. Strive for more (I promise you it’ll be the best hour invested).

  1. What are my assets and liabilities (not just things but also personality traits, skills, habits, etc.)?

  2. How could I be kinder to or support myself?

  3. How could I be kinder to or support others?

  4. What would I still like to learn and how could I do so?

  5. Do I have one to five good friends I can trust and count on?

  6. Do I feel energized, neutral, or let down about my work?

  7. Am I in good health or pursuing it to the best of my ability?

  8. Do I spend my free time doing a variety of enjoyable activities?

  9. What emotion is dominant for me?

  10. What do I get excited about consistently?

  11. What core principles (e.g., integrity) do I have, and how does my way of living reflect them?

  12. What would I do with more or less money?

  13. What am I grateful for and why?

  14. What do I regret and why?

  15. How close is what I'm doing professionally to what I dreamed of doing?

  16. Am I consistently challenging myself?

  17. What fears do I have?

  18. What are the top five words I think others would use to describe me?

  19. What are the top five words I would use to describe myself?

  20. Are the motivations behind my original goals still present?

  21. What do I find myself daydreaming about when I'm supposed to be doing other things?

  22. What is my financial or material standard of living, and have I achieved it?

  23. What in my current environment do I like or dislike?

  24. How am I influencing others for better or worse?

  25. Is my income stable?

  26. How is my weight?

  27. Do I feel confident in my appearance?

  28. Do I feel like I have worth?

  29. Can I do most things with independence and confidence?

  30. Am I able to make decisions easily?

  31. Am I able to lead myself and others spiritually?

  32. What goals do I have?

  33. Why didn't I meet goals I've previously had?

  34. Am I engaged in personal development?


Photography by Cameron Hammond

Photography by Cameron Hammond

In a modern society that is founded on capitalism and meritocratic ideals, the value of a functioning member of society is tied to their productivity. Under the capitalist agenda, the working population lives a routine life, seeks materialistic comforts – and yet, at the bottom of it all, there lies a vaguely dissatisfied being. There seems to be a desire and need to satiate the emptiness that plagues modern mankind which simple cannot be filled by monetary comforts and tangible products. As society progresses in modern times, our pursuit for survival has evolved from basic needs to self-actualization.


Capitalism has created an ideology that our productiveness as a functional member of society ties to our inherent value of a human being. This has now become a system that removes all excuses for failures and increases the anxieties among the working class.


It is important that we delve deeper into the complexities that lie within the worries and anxieties of the urban society. Despite being richer than ever, within a wealth and opportunity-filled society, human beings are living more fraught lives than ever and are struggling to cope with their own worries and anxieties. We are now so adept at distracting ourselves from recognizing these anxieties. Our individuality is only a by-product of our own self categorization, caused by advertising and marketing in the media, and we need to understand this as a problem. Only then can we recognize our society as a whole and its problematic collective.


We need to start examining what our society has constructed us to desire. Attack deep structures of beliefs, question the powers in place, question what they produce and what we receive, Whether or not capitalism will carry on for the next decade or century, the truth is that it is now seen as the default.


How do we fight the system?


So many members of society are passive individuals. How many of you can say that you belong to a radical political group or fighting wars that actually make a difference?


Our consumer society has been distracting us with a so many shiny attractive products. We have been brainwashed to think that these new shiny items will add to our individuality, improve our quality of life and thus giving us the luxury and respect, we have always been deserving of.


Meritocracy is a lie that we have been told. We are all equal. There will be rewards for some and nothing for the rest. Numbed down and distracted by our surroundings, we lose focus on what is really important and we allow ourselves to be controlled by the government and mass media.


We are more than what we produce in our lifetime, more than what we are working for and we are more than what this society values for.


Our individualism binds us so strongly to the morals and values society has made us memorize. Power lies not in the individual, but in the focused majority.  


We need to leave the passivity that we have been conditioned to find comfort in and seek a gentler solution to our existence together. Solidarity is important – knowing that we are not alone and knowing that there is a togetherness can make all the difference.



(Anup aka @Noopface is a writer, poet and author of the book From the Universe's Lips to My Ears)

You spend hours on hours, pouring blood, sweat, and tears into a piece of writing. An edit here, a tweak there. “This is gonna be a hit”, is what you tell yourself. This piece is gonna bang harder than Sasha Grey on a Saturday night. Your client is going to love it, the audience is going to embrace it with open arms and perhaps even throw roses at you.

Well, it doesn’t blow up, evoke positive emotions or go viral. Your client takes a hard pass, so ferociously hard, that they’re doing a U-turn. There’s no applause or standing ovation. The market rejects you from safely behind their screens, the audience is practically launching rotten vegetables at you.

Limp Bizkit — Break Stuff plays loudly in the back as you proceed to destroy every item of furniture in the room.

It sounds a little dramatic, doesn’t it? But it isn’t. Well, it sort of is. You didn’t grab the attention that you wanted, you didn’t get the pat on the back; the likes, the comments, and the shares. So, what now? You’re feeling doubt, insecurity and a little anxious that maybe your writing just isn’t good enough for the world. Your mind becomes over-encumbered with the notion that you don’t have what it takes.

Good. This is exactly the place that you want to be if you’re riddled with thoughts that you aren’t good enough to place your creativity on the mantle, next to everyone else.

This is how you’re going to take those gut punches to your frail ego and shift your mindset to be better


Fear has a tendency to be so crippling that it stops people dead in their tracks. They’re unable to progress forward and it makes them cling onto their comfort zone for dear life. You’re happy with your 9–5 job, with a 1-hour lunch break and you get to watch 3 hours of Netflix in the evening. That’s cool, that’s a comfortable little environment that you’ve built for yourself but how does that have an effect on your ability to progress?

Fear is a monumental roadblock for people that are holding themselves back from their own potential. I used to write and be anxious to put it out into the world. I had the audacity to release my thoughts and feelings to the world. Who the hell did I think I was? I reinforced my footing in the world by reminding myself that some of the most innovative creations and ideas came from some of the most ridiculous sounding ideas. Bold ideas make an impact on the world and “boring” gets pushed to the back.

Growth comes when you look your fear dead in the eye and establish 3 things:

  • What are you afraid of?

  • What triggers the fear?

  • What’s the worst that could happen?

Seems pretty obvious, right? When you answer those questions, you’re able to step out of your comfort zone. Plants undergo pruning, to enable them to grow and flourish in their entirety. You too have to prune redundant areas of yourself that don’t serve you anymore, to reach your full potential. If you have to downsize yourself temporarily, to shape your ideas into fruition, then it’s a sacrifice worth making.


Not everyone is going to say yes to your proposals, pitches, and ideas, they’re not going to accept the concepts and content that you put out into the world. And that’s okay. You’re not entitled to their praise and approval.

In most cases, the world isn’t going to give you the time of day. The world will say that you’re not as good as you think you are or simply “you can’t do that”. This is the point at which most people, especially creatives, see that as failure and rejection. They clam up and it’s time to throw the towel in. That’s understandable, rejection is painful. However, what if you were able to wield that non-acceptance and transmute it from one container, into a proactive one.

So, what do you do and how do you do it?

You need to develop a thicker skin. Focus on improving yourself and your craft and care less about being rejected and how that is a reflection of you. If you are genuinely awful at what you do, there will be a reoccurring pattern, but to break out of that cycle, you need to stop caring about what people think and divert your energy towards being the best version of yourself.

When you experience rejection and when someone tells you no, that should be part of the formula of how to turn that into a yes. Instead of taking it personally, you take it back to the drawing board and break it down. Tinker with your ideas and figure out what’s wrong, why it wasn’t accepted and how you can improve it.

If you’re reading this and you’re thinking; well, that’s easier said than done. Then you’re absolutely right. There is no shortcut for success but there is no ROI for wallowing in self-doubt.


Everyone is going to form an opinion about you. Every single person; from your family to your colleagues, to the audience that you so desperately want attention from. By caring too much about what people think of you is crippling your creativity and your drive. Instead, listen to your audience and focus on your craft.

Take your reception, whether it was positive or negative and keep pushing forward. Convert your weaknesses into strengths. Your innovation is always one creation away from making an impact.


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