Speak to Peak: Empowering Youth for Success

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.


Steps To Earning National Board Certification

National board certification is an advanced teacher certification and is granted only when applicants have met rigorous standards and convinced an assessment board that they possess exemplary teaching skills and a high level of proficiency in their subject area. Teachers wishing to achieve national board certification must have their teaching methods evaluated to show that they have a strong knowledge in the subjects they teach, that they have a high level of competency in teaching these subjects to students, that they are committed to excellence, and that they are involved in improving the educational system. Before beginning the process, it is important to study the standards and become aware of the steps involved in acquiring this level of certification.

1. Before pursuing National board certification, you must make sure that you meet all the necessary qualifications. Teachers wishing to apply must have a bachelor’s degree, a teaching/counseling license, and three years of professional teaching experience. If you live where a teaching license is not required, then you must show that you have taught in a state-approved school.

2. As with anything, it is important to count the cost before you begin so you don’t find yourself overwhelmed, unprepared, or unable to finish what you started. The first thing to consider is the time commitment involved. National board certification takes 1-3 years to complete and many teachers say they spend 600-800 hours compiling their portfolio and preparing for assessment activities. Determine if your lifestyle or current commitments will allow for you to give the several hours a week necessary for proper preparation. Of course, you must also consider the financial cost involved. National board certification is an expensive endeavor, beginning with the $65 application fee and finishing with a final investment of approximately $2,500, not including any personal expenses incurred during the preparation process.

3. If finances are an issue, then the high cost of national board certification can be discouraging; however, before deciding to shelf the idea, you should investigate possible funding options available in your area. Many school boards offer assistance to candidates as a way of encouraging their teachers to pursue certification. Additionally, you may qualify for financial aid, state funding, or even a scholarship from education support groups.

4. The next step is to decide which certificate is right for you. There are a variety of certificates available, and your choice will be determined by your subject or speciality as well as the grade or developmental area in which you work.

5. If you have made the decision, secured the financing, and decided on the right certificate, then you are ready to begin the application process, which requires mailing completed forms, requested documentation, and a $65 application fee to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).

6. Once your application has been accepted, the assessment process begins. The first component is performance based and will require you to compile a portfolio of videotaped lessons, essays, and samples of student work. The purpose of this portfolio is to showcase teaching methods, levels of student learning, interaction with families, and involvement with the community and other professionals. For the second component, you will need to book an appointment at an assessment center and complete a series of six activities within a specified period of time.

More and more teachers are seeking National board teacher certification because several recent studies have shown that it improves the standard of teaching quality, produces a higher level of student learning, and provides a stronger, more reputable education system. Many districts are encouraging their teachers to apply for this level of certification and are willing to help facilitate the process. However, before beginning, you should make sure that your state recognizes the program and that you are well aware of the standards and commitments involved.


Chicano Civil Rights Movement

The Chicano Civil Rights Movement took place during the 1960s, although it can be traced back to the 1920x.  The goal was to provide civil rights and empowerment to the Mexican American people.  The purpose of the movement was several fold but ultimately the Chicano people wanted to be freed form the poor ethnic stereotypes held by the American people.

The Issues  

There were many other issues that led to the Chicano Civil Rights Movement aside from ethnic pride.  The Chicano people wanted land grants that had been taken away to be restored.  In addition they wanted the migrant farm workers to have the same protections as other workers in the United States.  The Chicano Civil Rights Movement also protested against poor education for its children and the lack of voting rights. The League of Latin Americans (1927) was formed for the aforementioned purpose. It became the prototype for LULAC four years prior.

Post World War II

The Chicano Civil Right Movement really picked up steam after World War II with the formation of groups such as the American G.I. Forum by Chicano war veterans.  There were also many civil rights movements and cases that brought before the courts of the country.  A major victory came in 1954 when it was declared that Mexican Americans as well as other ethnic people were entitled to the same protection as everyone else under the U.S. Constitutions 14th Amendment.

Chicano Youth

Even the young Mexican Americans took part in the Chicano Civil Rights Movement.  In the 1960 Chicano high school students in East Los Angeles and Denver staged a large walkout.   There were identical walkouts in the 1970s in other cities in California as well as Texas.  These walkouts were to protest the treatment of the Mexican American people and the horrendous educational deficiencies the Chicano students had to endure.  This led to the formation of a university student organization called Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan, among others.  This group exists today and is now dedicated to some of the more modern political issues of the 21st Century.


How to Make Your Day Longer

Many centuries ago a wise philosopher Seneca said, someone takes away our precious time by force, others furtively steal our time, but the most annoying is when we waste our time ourselves. Specialists of time management agree with the ancient sage. Lack of time does not account for a great number of tasks we have to do. But it is rather a result of unpredictable and unjustified time losses. Today people take into account the recommendations of the experts and try to plan their day prioritizing the daily activities. However, even those who mastered the art of making rational and quite realistic plans are likely to complete only the half of the planned activities by the end of the day. “If I had at least a couple of hours more… ” . You may hear these words from the presidents of the global companies as well as from the secretaries, couriers and students.

People don’t realize that hours have been misspent. Perhaps in some cases it would be more rational for a student to buy essays from a reputable writing service than waste their time by arranging the capricious lines of their writing. Among the factors that steal our time during the working day we can point out the three major “time thieves”. They are uninvited guests, unexpected phone calls and… you. Some irrelevant thoughts may intrude your consciousness just when you are reading your mail, analyzing news or preparing documentation. They grab your attention and you are no more concentrated on the work. For writers (or philosophers) such state is even favourable as it may help to find some original ideas and creative decisions for their love essay. But a businessman should avoid such deviation, as this “stream of consciousness” may distract him from solving the current issues. To reduce the time we spend on extraneous thoughts psychologists offer to follow two principles. The first of them may be called a method of unification. You should group the problems of the same type and solve them in a single time frame. That way you will do much more. Phased solving of the identical tasks eases the problem and saves up your time. The second principle suggests concentrating on the matter, not on the terms or means of dealing with it. In other words, devoting some time for necessary preparation helps to avoid unpredictable difficulties and stops.

Still the most important thing for purposeful work is self -discipline. Nothing controls your attention better than your own consciousness. Your precise determination to complete the task as soon as possible will manage to prevent from inopportune thoughts. Unexpected phone calls are another nuisance during your working day. Top leaders may entrust their secretaries with solving this problem. The rest have to look for options themselves. Ask your colleagues for a favour promising to help them in the same situation. Surely you will have to tear yourself from the work when the call is urgent. And you will deal with the rest of the calls when it is convenient for you. The other problem is uninvited guests. They are your colleagues, who drop in “just for a quick word”. In fact they start with discussing some really urgent professional issue, then coming down to gossiping about the secretary’s new haircut and boss’ mood. You can get rid of these “time thieves” in different ways, but unfortunately they are not so delicate and tolerant. The most harmless method is to set the so – called “quiet hour”, choosing the best time period for solving the piled up problems. A special notice on the door of your study may be a signal to those who want to disturb you. If you don’t have a separate room, ask the office manager perform the functions of this notice. Very soon everyone will be acquainted with your working schedule and they will try to fix “reception hours” with you in advance. If you can’t manage to reduce your time losses, try to keep a diary where you will make notes why and how much time has been wasted. These notes will help you to find the hole where all the precious minutes flow. Then you will just have to patch this hole up!