September's APTS Meeting

Last night, I was at the 123rd APTS meeting. 

As was usual, there were two speakers - Richard Style and Avi Liran, both of whom happened to be speaking on a similar theme - connecting with your audience.

Richard is a professional emcee and certainly knows his way around the stage. He gave very useful tips on how to build up and maintain the energy of an audience. He admits that things are slightly different for trainers, but insists that the techniques he suggests can easily carry over.

I agree.

When he describes what he does as he is getting on stage, I notice the similarity to what I do as I am about to begin a teaching session. Both of us are looking for similar things - what Richard calls 'hotspots'.

Hotspots are groups of people who are responsive and energetic. For an emcee, this is a huge asset to lifting the overall atmosphere. For a teacher, it is no different, except that there may be moments when the teacher has to get the group to quieten down.

Richard also talks about looking for a 'Mr. Tan'. He explains that he uses this term because 'Tan' is the most common surname in Singapore. A 'Mr. Tan' is someone the audience recognises and listens to, who can drum up enthusiasm when he is asked to participate and who is willing to do so. His advice is to treat 'Mr. Tan' well, and never to over-use him or abuse him.

As a teacher, this is undoubtedly familiar. It is easier to get enthusiasm from our learners when someone gets the ball rolling. This someone has to be known by most of the participants and willing to be your 'guinea pig'. Otherwise, it's going to be a difficult ride.

Avi, on the other hand, has a slightly different approach to connecting with his audience. He prefers to share his heart and be intentional about adding value to those who learn from him. It's not so much about entertainment as it is about giving them something.

With such a wealth of experience, he freely shares his stories and experiences, encouraging us to never be ashamed of making mistakes, since the audience will have made mistakes in their lives too.

He says to learn from these mistakes instead of focusing on the pain they are causing. This has the added advantage of helping us to connect, and to prevent us from intimidating our audience with a 'perfect' persona.

I've learned a fair bit from these two speakers and am grateful that they were willing to give of their time and expertise.

Picture taken from  APTS  website

Picture taken from APTS website

Weekend Publish A Book And Grow Rich Bootcamp

Just last weekend, I re-attended the Publish A Book And Grow Rich (PABGR) bootcamp. As an author with Gerry Robert and his team, I was invited to attend any of them anywhere in the world.

Although the majority of the content was similar, it reminded me of the things I needed to do and why I started the journey of writing a book in the first place.

On top of that, he offered a programme in which he would coach and mentor a group of speakers in every country. How phenomenal is that, to be mentored by one of the leading speakers in the world.

As much as I would have loved to jump at the offer, I'm afraid that my brain wouldn't be able to handle yet another major project. Yes, it's like leaving money on the table, but some of us have limited capacities to push projects through.

As it is, my two biggest projects are near completion but not quite there yet, and it's always the final league of the journey that requires the most energy and brainpower. 

I'm nearly there and I'm glad that you made the journey along with me!

The Currency of Energy

Replenishing energy entails different activities for different people. The most obvious difference in these activities occur between introverts and extroverts.

Introverts replenish their energy by being on their own, in their thoughts, or with a few select people with whom they have intimate sharing, deep discussions and throw ideas about.

Extroverts replenish their energy by being with other people, preferably larger groups, where they soak in social interaction and express themselves in various ways.

Recharging is necessary because we use energy in our day-to-day activities. Think of a phone battery. At some point, it has to be recharged to keep the phone working. The more often it is drained, the sooner this happens.

Some research has been quoted to say that it is more tiring for an extrovert to behave like an introvert than it is for an introvert to behave like an extrovert. Nobody really knows why but it essential to recognise who you are and how you best recharge so you don't eventually run dry.

As teachers, our energy levels need to be kept up. When we are low on energy, we become ineffective at our vocation and unpleasant to be around. Always set time aside for recharging and do not neglect the early warning signs of irritability, difficulty concentrating and a general feeling of dullness.