Quietly Leaving Your Mark: Personal Branding for Introverts

[To my fellow introverts:]

Like you, I struggle with the dilemma of deciding between being known and having a quiet, private life.

Note the present tense. I still do.

What I learned is this: 
In order to have the quiet, private life that I want, I must first be able to provide for it.

Yes, I’m talking about the 3rd most taboo subject: Money.

Let’s get real.

You need a fair bit of change to live in the most expensive city in the world (according to The Economist Intelligence Unit - EIU). As do I.

Prime opportunities go to those who are at the top of their field. If you’re not up there with them, you’re getting second-rate projects that they rejected or were never going to enter their field of vision anyway.

What that means for you is that you are fighting with a lot of people for very little gain.

Is that really how you want to live out the rest of your life?

This is my perspective.

I’m done being passed over for meaningful projects that I know I’ll be great at, which instead got handed to the loudest person in the room.

I’m tired of being treated as if I’m slow or invisible during unnecessarily raucous meetings and ‘brainstorming’ sessions.

I have had it with people wondering whether I’m good at what I do just because I take time to think rather than talk constantly and offer information they may or may not want.

This is why I built my personal brand around who I am and what I wish to achieve.

It required a lot of thought and a lot of work, but I am on my way to leading the life I want to lead. It’s going to be a journey, and I’m glad that I have friends along for the ride. (You guys know who you are!)

If this is a journey you have heard of but haven’t embarked upon, I encourage you to take the first step and start building your personal brand.

If you’re concerned that you don’t know what to do or which direction to head, it’s alright. You don’t have to go it alone. We can be your guides and show you the way.

Join me and my friend Eugene Seah on the 10th of July (it’s a Tuesday) from 7 pm to 10 pm at Synergy Hub @ 45 Middle Road #06-00, a mere 5 minute walk from Bugis MRT station.

I will be showing you how you, too, can quietly leave your mark on the world and those around you.

Quietly Leaving Your Mark.jpg

Arising New Misconceptions About Introversion

The impact of Susan Cain's book Quiet has been nothing short of impressive. Suddenly, introverts from around the world are proud of their identities.

However, as with all such shifts in thinking, new misconceptions have arisen.

With this newfound attention, especially through the media, introverts, who used to be viewed as 'weird' are now seen as 'cool'.

Perhaps in an attempt to seem like part of the 'cool' gang, many people have jumped on the bandwagon and declared themselves as introverts because they see themselves exhibiting certain stereotyped introverted behaviours, such as reading, taking time alone and being less-than-comfortable in social situations.

Of course, there are many other such stereotypically introverted behaviours, but let's for now focus on these three:

1) Reading

Reading is NOT the exclusive domain of introverts. I know plenty of extroverts who read - some of them, voraciously and I also know plenty of introverts who don't enjoy it at all.

This is a stereotype because reading is typically a solitary activity and concentration on the content is usually easier when it's quiet.

Nevertheless, enjoying a good book doesn't make you an introvert, and it certainly doesn't mean that you have to be an introvert to enjoy reading.

2) Taking Time Alone

Whether we are introverts or extroverts, we all need to take some time alone, be it to think, to re-focus, or simply to get away from it all.

Yes, introverts do generally need more time on our own because that's how we recharge so we have the energy to get through another hectic day. That said, we don't 'own' the alone-time space.

Just to clarify, we are all somewhere on the introversion-extroversion spectrum. Just because someone tends toward the extrovert side of the spectrum doesn't mean he/she has no introversion in his/her personality. There is no such thing as a 'pure' introvert or extrovert.

So go ahead and take time on your own. It really is the best way to clear your head and get things sorted.

3) Being Less-Than-Comfortable In Social Situations

Before you label yourself 'socially anxious' or 'socially awkward', try and figure out what exactly it is that makes you so uncomfortable about being in a social situation.

Are you concerned that nobody will find you interesting?

Well, then get yourself a quirky hobby. Also, figure out a new angle with which you can talk about what you do. This isn't about having a good elevator pitch. It's about seeing what another person may find interesting about what you find mundane.

Are you worried that you will get rejected by the people you try to talk to?

That's possible, of course. The good news is that many of them are worrying about the exact same thing and they will probably welcome your conversation, unless you are bad conversationalist or a terrible bore, in which case, you need to go brush up on your social skills. Attend a course and bring somebody along with you.

Are you, perhaps, afraid that you won't know what to do or what to say?

As above, brush up on your social skills. Learn to make small talk. As much as introverts hate it, it is a very powerful social lubricant. Also, practise introducing yourself with a twist so that others ask you questions. Then, you won't need to worry about what to say next, because you just have to answer their questions.

Remember that introverts and extroverts can suffer from social anxiety, which is based in fear, an emotion, not in personality.

Certainly, there are other misconceptions out there, but these are 3 of the most common ones that I've come across. If you have any to add or any questions to ask, feel free to drop me a message.

Red-eared Terrapin

Meeting Charlie Ang - Business Futurist

Last night, I learned something:

There are no facts about the future because it hasn't happened yet.

What that means is that everything you hear about the future is opinion.

We can, of course, make educated guesses and predictions. We can base them on past experiences and present observations, but they will still be nothing more than guesses.

That said, it doesn't mean that we don't need to prepare for it.

That's why I attended Charlie's event.

Charlie Ang

Charlie shared a great deal of information, backed up by statistics and articles, about what he sees the future will be.

Of note are the following points:

1) The Information Economy will make way for the Intelligence Economy, which will be slow at first but will improve exponentially.

When this happens, we can expect a greater disruption than when the Industrial Economy transitioned into the Information Economy. This is partly due to the fact that information itself is inherently passive. It cannot act on its own but only in tandem with other factors.

As with all fledgling technologies, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is in its stage of infancy. It can do simple tasks now, but will pick up speed in the coming years until it 'suddenly' makes a breakthrough, one that will allow its ascension into the foremost technology of its time.

2) Preparing for the future requires us to IMAGINE the future

If there is one thing we can do that machines cannot, it is the ability to dream, imagine and envision.

If we don't first imagine a future that we want to live in, someone (or something) else will. And when they create it, we no longer get it a say in it.

3) For businesses, disruption can come in two forms: Supply Disruption and Demand Disruption

Supply disruption is the easier one to look out for. For example, instead of hiring an insurance agent, peer-to-peer insurance may develop and take over the market. Personal AI Assistants may also become so proficient at weighing between policies that they can recommend the most cost-effective solution.

Demand disruption, on the other hand, tends to be harder to spot, unless you are adept at joining all the dots. In the same example of insurance, self-driven cars of the future may make the roads so safe and, because they are not owned by any one individual at a time, may need little to no car owner's insurance at all. In the same vein, if disease prevention becomes so powerful that people almost never get any diseases, health insurance policies are going to see a dip as well.

There are so many factors and forces that are at work that it is very difficult to predict what will happen and even more difficult to see what will happen because of what happens.

For now, it is becoming ever more important for businesses to explore new avenues even as they are exploiting the markets of today.

Thank you, Charlie, for sharing your thoughts and knowledge on the subject. It has sparked a lot of thoughts and, I imagine, many future conversations.

Four Point Zero

A Creative, Millennial-friendly Workplace of the Future?

Last Thursday, I attended the 138th APTS Networking and Training Workshop.

Our first speaker was Dickson Tang (of Ideaschap), who spoke on Creativity and its importance in the future of work.

Though we are, inevitably, marching towards a future of automation and artificial intelligence, there are things that machines and computers cannot do well. As good as they are at analysis and logic, they cannot solve creatively.

In that, we have our advantage over them. To that end, Dickson shared 3 things that will be important in an automated future:

An INDIVIDUAL MINDSET that is creative and, instead of saying, “Cannot!” asks “Why not?”

A team INFRASTRUCTURE that is held together by making and learning from mistakes and strives to become well-versed in multiple disciplines.

A bank of IDEAS derived from figuring out how we can add to, subtract from, multiply by or divide up our current thoughts and methods.

He encouraged us to take time to ponder over these points and apply them to what we are already currently doing.

After a short break, we had our second speaker – Vivek Iyyani who spoke about Motivating Millennials at the Workplace.

 He shared the identity and motivations of the Millennials and, true to the Millenials’ embrace of technology, he made use of an audience-interactive online service that allowed us to immediately post our thoughts on the presentation screen.

He reminded us that, though the Millennials are often portrayed negatively, they are a product of previous generations and they still look to their elders for wisdom and feedback.

In order to lead Millennials, he emphasises that the previous generations have to appeal to their values and take the time to understand and mentor them. It is in the interests of superiors in the workplace (especially bosses) to make the work environment conducive to the Millennials using his 10F Model. I'll just mention a couple of them briefly:

FUN – to appeal to and cultivate their passions

FLEXIBILITY – to aid in work-life integration

FORTUNE – in benefits, not necessarily money

As a Millennial myself, I would certainly be more attracted to a workplace that has these things in place.

Once again, thank you, Dickson and Vivek for sharing your expertise and for making it such a fruitful evening.

APTS Meeting - 29 Mar 2018

Presentation Advice for Trainers / Educators

Every good presentation is a result of following 3 S’s:

Steps

Simplicity

Story 

Steps give your presentation a smooth flow – a result of proper planning, preparation and practice. 

Find out about your target audience and customise your presentation for them. Decide what information to present, then prepare any visuals, handouts, materials, and equipment that you will be using. 

Familiarise yourself with the content by practising your delivery and timing. Any instructions should be clear, concise and specific. Remember to allow time to carry out your instructions.

Simplicity ensures that your session is understandable but not ‘dumbed down’, challenging but not too difficult to grasp.

To do this, use:

1) Short sentences

2) Everyday words instead of jargon or technical terms

3) Personal pronouns, like ‘I’ and ‘you’

4) Active verbs instead of passive verbs

5) A little humour

Story helps make your presentation memorable. After all, we are all wired to pay attention to (good) stories.

A typical story flow goes:

1) Connect (with audience)

2) Create (scenes in audience’s minds)

3) Characters

4) Crack

5) Conflict

6) Climax

7) Clearing (of prior messes)

8) Conclusion

Apart from full-fledged stories, you can share anecdotes and human interest stories. Just make sure that they are relevant to the topic of your presentation.

Lecture