Reminder: It's Not What You Say, It's How You Say It

One of the larger projects I'm working on this year is as the main trainer of a collaboration between the Singapore Cancer Society (SCS) and the National Cadet Corps (NCC) of different schools in Singapore.

This is an initiative to have NCC cadets become ambassadors for a smoke-free lifestyle in their respective schools. To push this initiative forward, the Singapore Cancer Society has come up with a talk with a series of activities and projects aimed at getting these cadets ready to take on their roles.

Since different schools have different cultures and different behavioural norms, I found it important to change my delivery each time I presented the talk and run the activities. It doesn't always go smoothly at the start, but, by the end, the NCC cadets are engaged, enthusiastic and ready for the next step.

Of course, there will be a small minority that are smokers (all under the radar, of course) and these individuals will pose some challenges.

I have found that the key is to integrate them into the whole rather than make them feel ostracised by the message. To do this, I found it necessary to change my delivery of the information and steer the flow of the discussions towards a 'softer', more emotion-based engagement. The key information remains the same, of course.

This has been yet another reminder of a philosophy I stand strongly by:

It's not what you say, it's how you say it.