Speak to Peak: Empowering Youth for Success

Your ability to convey your ideas to others will be an enormous determinant to your success”.

When Warren Buffet spoke that line, he was addressing a group of university youths and emphasising to them the importance of educating themselves in the area of written and verbal communication.

I recently had the privilege of mentoring three youths from Sunway Monash at the Campus Business Plan Competition organised by the Technopreneurship Association of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur.  They had fresh ideas, abundance of enthusiasm and highly contagious excitement. However, so did their competitors. When the moment of judgement arrived, what really mattered and what it all boiled down to was how well each team expressed their ideas through their presentations. The trio from Sunway Monash, with their polished presentations, went on to clinch the top spot.

After having trained over ten thousand youths over the last eight years and having been involved with Speak to Peak LLP, Singapore’s leading speech coaching company, I can say with certainty that our youth today have brilliant ideas that the world can greatly benefit from only if they were able to express them just as inspiringly.

Our youths are living in an increasingly competitive environment. Paper qualifications, family statuses or financial prowess alone are no longer sufficient to ensure them an enviable position in our globalised society. Almost every opportunity needs to be won and competed for.

Youths need to trump each other at university interviews, scholarship interviews and job interviews. Thereafter, they need to constantly be able to pitch their ideas and opinions persuasively and convincingly to their educators, bosses and peers in order to move ahead of the pack. Once in a position of seniority or leadership they need shine amongst the best by being able to rally support, inspire loyalty and motivate.

With such entrenched competitiveness, the one that will triumph is the one who will stand out as the single item of gold in a treasure chest of silver.

Being able to speak well confidently is definitely the trait that can help you stand out from the rest.  People who speak well are often perceived to be competent. 

Many a times, when two people have similar qualifications and paper credentials, the employers will hire the one who has been able to impress them better during the oral interview process. Not that the interviewer can be entirely sure of the chosen candidate yet as he has yet to walk his talk but at least, the interviewer has PERCEIVED the chosen candidate to be more competent than the other.

Therefore, being able to speak well, as highlighted by this scenario, also opens up opportunities for you and thereby provides you with the first step on your ladder towards success.

Speech has also been a primary tool and one of the most effective ammunition to address social issues.  I often share with my participants, a pen may be mightier than the sword but the tongue is both mightier than the pen and sharper than the sword.  We have seen effective use of speech to create massive positive social change on many fronts during the last century. Whether it be Mahatma Gandhi of India, Martin Luther King Jr of USA, Nelson Mendela of South Africa or Mother Teresa, they all rallied people, battled opposition, appealed to hearts and minds and eventually changed societies for the better with a lot of help from their oratory skills.

We need many such speakers to address many other social issues today. We need to empower ourselves, the youth, to speak up for the environment, for the eradication of poverty, for education, for animal protection and for other causes that will give us a united better world. We must equip youths firstly with the confidence to speak up and then the skills to inspire and influence. We need to create for them platforms to speak, to spread their message, to unleash their passion and most importantly to Be Heard.

Speaking, whether conversationally, in terms of presentations, at interviews or in public to large audiences, utilise the same core fundamentals and these fundamentals are easily learnable, acquired and practiced with the help of the right coaches.

Whether it is for your own personal growth and success or it be for the benefit of a larger cause such as the environment, you deserve to be empowered, you deserve to be empowered with this basic life-skill. Be Heard, Speak to Peak.

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