Which group of public speakers do you belong to?

Your ability to communicate your thoughts and feelings in a way that is interpreted as you intended is a priceless skill. I am a passionate student of life, and human interactions is one sphere I am particularly interested in. Public speaking is speaking in front of a group of two or more people. I read someone who wrote that if you are not speaking to one person in a situation where absolutely no one else can hear you, you are public speaking. When it comes to public speaking, there are three groups of people. groups-of-public-speaking

Below are the three groups and a suggestion on how to move from the bottom group to the top group:

  • The first group is the people who loves to speak in public and have become masters (or are in the process of mastering) communication in public. This is where you find professional speakers like Brian Tracy, Les Brown, and the like.
  • The second group is the people who speak because they have to, but don’t particularly enjoy the process. Here you will find a lot of people who are in leadership roles within organizations. This group of people have developed a valuable skills or have specialized knowledge or information that they share with groups of people through public speaking.
  • The third group is the people who don’t like public speaking and dread the idea. This group represents  almost 3 out of every 4 people, or about 75% of the America’s population. This is based on a publication by the National Institute of Mental Health  in November 2013. People in this group are mostly apprehensive because they have never explored the process or learned how to be a good public speaker.

Serving as a club president for Toastmasters International, I have had the privilege of watching people in the third group progressively move onto the second group. Transitioning from one group to the other takes acquiring information about how to be a good communicator and public speaker, followed by the deliberate application of that knowledge. Your knowledge is the product of information you have been exposed to, and used. In other words: Your Knowledge = Information * Your experiments.

If it is your interest to move from the third group to the first, the only thing you have to do is increase the information you are exposed to, then increase the experiments you personally conduct based on that information. This formula will work in any field or industry.

What group of public speakers are you currently in?

Day 18 of 21: 100 words per day for 21 days. 418 words.

One Magic Word to Increase Your Productivity in 2014, And Beyond

Have you ever wondered why some people achieve much and others not so much? Even in similar fields of endeavor, you will always find two groups of people, those at the bottom and those at the top. When I was reading the book “Eat That Frog” by Brian Tracy, I learned that the key to being the most productive every day is to create a list of activities the day before and order the list from the most important to the least important. When you then wake up in the morning, start with the first item on your list. no-as-a-productivity-tool-online

Have I practiced that methodology to increase productivity? Yes I have. Do I still practice it? No I don’t. Should I be practicing it again? Probably yes, because it works. Top achievers work with lists and plans all the time. The key to achieving more is doing less. The less you engage in activities that distract you from the most important activity on your to do list, the more productive you become. The problem with most people is that they are easily distracted. I see too many people who speak about being ADHD as if it is not normal not to be. There are a hundred different things any single human being can start doing ever single day. The problem is with finishing. Most of the time, we are distracted by people and things that (ironically) are supposed to help us produce more.

Are you ready for the single most important word you can use in 2014 to increase your productivity? The word is: NO. It is a very simple two letter word formula for keeping yourself at your most important daily task until you are done. To help you practice this immediately, you can follow NO with a sentence similar to: I will not ____________ until I finish ___________. For example, you are in the middle of the morning working on your most important task for the day and one of your colleagues (without a sense of urgency) asks for your attention at his desk. Leaving your workstation will mean interrupting your flow and loosing time to a distraction. Your simple reply will be NO. To sound more polite, add: I will not be able to assist you until I finish writing this document. This formula will work every time.

Remember, you can only use this formula when you are engaged in working on your single most important task for the day. The Pareto Principle states that approximately 20 percent of your efforts produce 80 percent of the results. Once you identify those activities that will produce 80% of your results in a day, say NO to any possible distraction until you are done with those activities. A productive year is made up of productive days. And a productive day is only accomplished by focusing on your most important tasks until they are completed. It is not going to be easy, especially at the beginning. But it is possible!

What are some words, expressions or methods you use to guard your time and stay focused on your most important tasks?

Day 17 of 21: 100 words per day for 21 days. 518 words.

2013 in review: What worked well, what can I do better next year?

It is that time of the year again. That time when most people reflect on the past twelve months and decide on what changes they will make in the following twelve. In this post I share a review of my year. I will list some of the things that did work well for me, and other things I will do better or differently next year, because I can. achievement-image

What worked well in 2013:

  • Reading Books. It is my goal to read at least one book every month. This year, I read more than 10 books, some of them twice like for example: The Power of Awareness by Neville Goddard, and Life is Living with Passion by Peter L. Hirsh. A list of my favorite books is available here: http://www.yamentou.com/recommendations/
  • Public Speaking. It was my goal when the year started to give a minimum of 4 prepared speeches every month. I was able to achieve this goal by becoming a member of 3 different Toastmasters clubs. Being the President of one of the clubs and signing up as Vice President of Education for one of those clubs helped in getting those public speaking opportunities.
  • Health: I started the year with the decision of having at least 4 hours of physical exercise every week. I achieved that and the results are visible as reported by friends and family.
  • Nutrition: Inspired by my AWESOME mother, I divorced fast foods and restaurants. In the last half of this year, I stopped eating exclusively out and started doing my own cooking. I now eat what I cooked and it has made a significant and positive impact on my monthly budget and my health. Thanks mom! 🙂
  • Formal Education: I did well with my studies this year and successfully completed all the courses I signed up for. This is a great achievement considering everything else I have been involved in.

What I will do (or do better) in 2014:

  • Publish Two Books in Print. I was inspired when I attended the Never Work Again conference in November 2013. Sharing my knowledge and my messages through writing and books is something I have delayed too much on. There will be more writing and books publishing in 2014. I have already started writing for my first book to be released before March 2014.
  • Hire a Personal Trainer. Even though I am currently pretty happy with how I take care of my body, there is room for improvement. For next year I will hire a personal trainer to keep me on check with my workout routine. My objective with this will be to improve my overall look and feel. I have already been discussing with a personal trainer I want to hire and we will start as soon as we come to an agreement.
  • Grow Spiritually. I have made a few attempts to be more disciplined in my spiritual life, but it has not always worked well. This year I will add more spiritually aware people to my network and grow in that dimension.
  • Better Service in Ghana. My business in Ghana has not been operating to its full potential. There are a lot of clients whom I serve through Speedata Web Technologies and I owe them a better quality of service. I will hire someone in Ghana dedicated to customer service and will re-connect on a personal level with all my active clients throughout next year.
  • More Dates. Being single gave me the opportunity to go on a good number of quality dates in 2013. However, it was less than one per month on average. I intend to have at least one quality date with a likable lady in 2014. Dating is fun and I have learned a lot about the American culture through those adventures.
  • Grow my Speaking Business. Professional speaking is a business and I have spend a lot of hours sharpening my skills in 2013. 2014 will be the year where I start milking the cow. There will be more paid speaking engagements, new relationships with established and well-known speakers and a greater impact with my messages.

There you have it. My version of 2013 in review. This post is longer than I envisioned, and I am happy it is. That’s what always happen to me when I begin writing. I start thinking I have nothing to say and then I find it hard to stop.

Have you had the opportunity to review your achievements and progress throughout 2013? What are you looking forward to in the new year?

Day 16 of 21: 100 words per day for 21 days. 757 words.

Buy into a larger vision of your future

Have you ever been sold a better future that you had envisioned for yourself? That is what I love doing when I meet people. I love selling people a larger vision of their future selves. I keep the book “Move ahead with possibility thinking” at all times in my car. Because I love reading that book, it makes me like getting to my meeting places on time. When I get to a meeting place 20 minutes ahead of time, it gives me 10 minutes of reading that book. That’s about half a dozen pages on average. I have read the book from cover to cover more than twice already and I always find something new on every page. Every time that my lower self resists the larger vision I have for my future self, I fall back into similar books that help me clear my eyes from possibility blindness. larger vision of your future

We are conditioned as human beings by the circumstances we grow into. Very few are privileged to be exposed to a set of beliefs that is different from the limiting beliefs they have grown used to and are comfortable in. I once heard someone say that anything you desire beyond what you already have is beyond your current comfort zone. It was actually Bishop TD Jakes during one of his sermons. If you are an evolving creature (which you are because you are reading this), you probably are striving to have more, do more and be more. It is possible!

The single most important key to realize all your future dreams and aspirations is to accept that dreams do come true, and you deserve the best. Even “crazy” dreams do come true. If you don’t believe that, look at President Obama who became the first black president of the United States of America. Many people had a larger vision of Obama’s future, and he bought into it. Read the book Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime which is a good entertaining narration of Obama’s journey to the White House. You will be inspired!

When people around you have a larger vision of your future and sell it to you, buy into it. Have you had situations where you reluctantly bought into a larger vision of your future and looking back you are glad you did?

Day 15 of 21: 100 words per day for 21 days. 398 words.

3 Steps to Overcoming Stage Fright

Even though I have spoken on many platforms and to different types of audiences throughout the past year. I still sometimes do feel the butterflies in my stomach when I am about to get on stage to deliver a message. In the video below I share the techniques I systematically use to get rid of the nervousness and increase my self-confidence and energy right before I am introduced to speak.

Like and share if you find it useful. I will produce more of such educational videos in the coming year, 2014.