This blog has little bit of everything...


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

21 Powerful Presentation Tips To Grow Your Confidence As A Speaker

Do you get nervous when you are asked to speak in front of a group of people? or if you have to deliver a speech or address a decent gathering of people? Do you get butterflies in your stomach? or Do you start shaking or shivering at the very thought of getting center stage? If answer to any one of these questions is 'Yes' then dont worry, you are not alone. Over 90% of people have this issue when it comes to public speaking. Speaking in public or delivering a presentation is an art, some people have it naturally in them but some dont; the good news is that it can be learned and with practice one can get very good at it.

Delivering a good presentation is just not merely about your speaking skills. A lot of preparation goes into making and delivering a good presentation. Prepartion starts way before you enter the seminar hall, it often takes few hours to prepare and on few occassions it may take several days to prepare for delivering a good presentation.

In this post we are going to mention very simple but powerful tips that will help you grow your confidence as a speaker. Here you go...

Before the presentation(Preparation)

  • Know your subject very well, if you are speaking on a subject in which you do not have expertise then it is wise to spend a lot of time on research. Read books, surf internet or ask other experts, but get as much as information as possible. This will boost your confidence.
  • Examine the seminar hall or meeting room prior to the presentation. If it is a new place then make sure you have checked every detail of the room, for example, light arrangements, projector arrangement, white board, markers, dusters, pin board etc. everything should be in perfectly working condition.
  • Do your homework, research about your audience before you deliver any presentation. Try to find about their age group, work experience, domain experience etc. This will help you interact with the audience and also help you respond to any questions that they may ask.
  • Don't bombard your PPT slide with lot of text. Use of pictures is highly recommended, however, don't clutter your slides with too many irrelevant pictures.
  • Use a font size that is visible to the person sitting in the last row of the seminar hall or meeting room.
  • Use animation when absolutely required. For example, if you are going to talk about 3 bullet points sequentially then use animation to control their appearance on the screen. This is because if you flash all three bullet points on screen in one go then the audience tends to read point#2 and point#3 while you are explaining point#1. This leads to distraction.
  • Guy Kawasaki advises to follow the 10-20-30 rule. That is, to use not more than 10 slides, spend not more than 20 minutes on the presentation and use 30 point font size on all your slides. This may or may not work for everyone but this is a solid advise and a very good point to customize as per individual needs.

During the presentation(Delivery)
  • Set the ground rules for the presentation. If your presentation is a day long affair then you may want to mention the break timings and the length of each break. You can also get agreement on penalty for late comers.
  • If the group of people attending the presentation are strangers to each other and to speaker then Ice breakers are extremely important to get them started. There are several ways to get the people speaking but some of the simple ways are to ask them to introduce themselves to the group in a innovative way. For example: In the introduction (a) they can use an adjective as a prefix to their name or (b) they can mention which animal they relate themselves with and why? These are some fun ways to get started with a group of people.
  • While delivering the presentation look in the eyes of the audience. Eye Contact is extremely important while delivering a presentation. Also, stand in such a way that you dont face only a certain section of the audience. Rotate or move in a way that everyone gets your attention. This includes people sitting at the back, on the left, right, corners etc.
  • Keep the presentation delivery interactive. If you speak without any interaction then audience may lose interest. Ask questions and be prepared to take question from the audience.
  • Never read word by word through/ from the PPT slide, use it only for reference. Your audience can read it on their own. You should be thorough with your content.
  • Generally people sitting at the back are either latecomers or people who are disinterested. Walking towards them and having a healthy conversation with them may help you to win their interest.
  • Storytelling is an important aspect of making good presentations. These are small incidents/ stories/ examples relevant to your subject, you should mention these while talking to the audience. People love to hear real examples so if you can give them short story bursts then it will keep your audience engaged.
  • Go slow. Don't rush through your presentations. Keep a check on time, however, don't rush through or speak very fast. Take frequent and required pauses. This will allow your audience to take notes or ask questions or make comments. Not only that, it will help you gain some breath.
  • Always keep an eye on your watch, that is, keep a check on time. Don't overshoot the schedule in any case.
  • Don't keep your hands folded while speaking, also avoid sitting cross legged. Avoid keeping any object, like a table or a desk between you and your audience. All of these are negative signs.
  • Be a good listener, if someone is asking you a question don't jump to conclusions, be patient and allow them to complete their sentences or questions. Once you have understood the question or comment then start answering. If you dont know the answer then dont bluff, be truthful, note the question and get back with an answer at a later point in time/ after the presentation.

After the presentation(Post Delivery)
  • Always ask for feedback, either distribute forms that the audience can fill manually or send them a online survey for providing you feedback.
  • Once you receive the feedback, note down the good and bad feedback, create a summary. Look at the opportunities for improvements and work towards improving the shortcomings before next presentation.
  • Send out the answers to any pending questions or any course material that you promised to deliver.

Conclusion: Delivering great presentations or developing good public speaking skills is not a rocket science, with continuous focus, dedicated efforts and planned approach anyone and everyone can learn, improve and master it. Remember a quote by Benny Bellamacina 'You are only limited by your own imagination'. All the best!

Bonus Tips: 

  • Keep a water bottle or a glass of water ready and near or on the stage. If you speak for long your thorat may dry and you will need to drink water to keep going.
  • If rehearsal works for you then practice your speak ahead of time. It will also be helpful for you to tone you voice and help you decide the pitch while stressing on certain points.
  • Clothes and body language matter a lot. You should wear something which makes you look professional as well as makes you feel comfortable. You dont want to wear something which will irriate you while you speak. Next most important aspect is the body language and facial expression. Always wear a smile and be sure to greet people in a pleasant way.
  • Be prepared for emergencies, for example, if someone from the audience who is very vital to your presentation needs to leave early then you should be prepared to fast track your delivery so that instead of 1 hour you can complete your presenation in 40 minutes.
  • Avoid being nervous, if you lose your thought or get blank while speaking then don't panic, just smile. Take a moment to gather your thoughts back. It is always good to have a small piece of mapper with key points of your presentation it will help you get back on track in these scenarios.

If you found this useful then you may also want to read:  7 Secrets To Make Your Own Luck

Monday, June 27, 2016

How Much Money Can I Save In Singapore?

Singapore is a country in SouthEast Asia, it is also known as the Garden City or the Lion city. It is a global financial centre, its population has a good mix of multiple cultures. With the evolution of IT Industry Singapore has become a very popular destination for IT professionals because it offers multiple lucrative employment job opportunities. In this post we will evaluate how much monetary sense does it make for Indian professionals to take a job in Singapore. The information provided in this post is generic and may not be very accurate but still very fair to provide a very good view of close to reality.

For the sake of calculations let us assume the conversion from Singapore Dollar to Indian Rupee as 1 Singapore dollar(SGD) equals 50 Indian Rupees(INR).


Now let us assume that a professional earns SGD 8,000 per month as income. So annual income will be approx. SGD 96,000.

Now let us look at some of the expenses:

1. Tax approx. 5% to 7%, for the sake of this example let us assume SGD 5190 tax per year(approx. SGD 432 per month). This is calculated using the below tax calculator for residents.

Tax for residents: Excel Tax Calculator for Resident Individuals
Tax for non residents: Excel Tax Calculator for Non Resident Individuals

2. House rent approx SGD 2500-3000 per month, that is SGD 30,000-36,000 per year based on the location you prefer for accommodation

3. Monthly utilities around SGD 150 to SGD 200 based on the type of housing and utilities.

4. Internet Expenses SGD 50 per month approx, that is, yearly SGD 600.

5. Miscellenous personal expenses: SGD 100 per month, that is yearly SGD 1200.

6. Grocery for two people: SGD 400 per month, that is yearly SGD 4800.

7. Transportation: Approx SGD 200 per month, that is SGD 2400 per year.

8. Entertainment Expenses for two people, approx SGD 500 per month based on what you chose, that is, yearly SGD 6000.

So if we add all of these expenses then the total monthly expense comes out to be somewhere around SGD 4332 to SGD 4882 per month, rounding it off to SGD 4300 to SGD 4900 per month, that is, yearly SGD 51600 to SGD 58800.

Hence, savings per month will be:
SGD 8000(income) minus SGD 4300 or SGD 4900(expense) = SGD 3700 to SGD 3100

Converting to Indian Rupees = Rs 1,85,000 to 1, 55,000 per month.

Yearly, Rs 2,220,000 to Rs 1,860,000.

Note: The figures in above example are indicative and may change from time to time and differ from person to person based on life style, income and expenses. According to Mercer 2016 Cost of Living Rankings, Singapore is ranked at #4. Before you arrive to study or work it makes sense to do some research on the cost of living. Intent of this post is not to motivate or demotivate any person from making any decision. It is just meant to provide a high level understanding.
Hope this helps.

Note: Assumption is that you have no school going children. In case you have school going children you may add additional expense of SGD 1000 to SGD 1800 per month based on the class and international school selected.

You may also want to read a similar post How Much Would An IT Professional Save In USA

Other blog posts of interest:

USA Visa Basics L1A L1B and H1B
How To Go Onsite?
Most Valuable Skill For Your Life
21 Important Things To Know If You are Traveling To USA For The First Time
How To Hunt For Job After Career Break

5 Secrets of Salary Negotiations

Thursday, June 23, 2016

7 Proven Luck Making Principles To Boost Your Life

Do you sometimes feel that some friend or acquaintance of yours is very lucky? That is, this person is always present at the right place at the right time. That is, this person is extremely blessed to get everything that he/ she desires or aspires for? and that sometimes he/ she succeeds just because of luck and not because of his ability, efforts or hardwork. Yes, this is true, all of us meet such people around us who appear "Luckier" to us. But have we ever thought why these people are luckier? Are they doing something differently? Are they doing something more or taking some extra effort to "earn" their luck and that they are just not merely blessed or destined to win it without any effort.

In this post I am going to share 7 proven luck making principles to boost your life which will help you make your own luck, but before go there lets take this example:

When someone wins a lottery, people generally call him/ her lucky. Why? Because he was randomly selected out of the few hundred or thousand people participating in the lottery, right? But do you realize that even in this case it is not just pure luck or chance. Why? Because he made some efforts to think about buying a lottery ticket, then he actually selected a lottery company and invested some money to buy the lottery ticket, without doing these efforts he would have not won it in any case. So luck is not mere chance it is actually a combination of lot of factors and efforts made by individuals over a period of time. Let us understand more about what factors drive the luck making process...

  1. Learn to identify opportunities. Opportunities are always in front of you, it is up to you to identify and grab them. At times we look at some successful people and say "He is so lucky, he is always at the right place at the right time". Is that true? or Is it an excuse of telling yourself that someone was just successful because of some factors working in his or her favor and not because of any efforts/ hard work. Think again. Let us take example of a person who has won "Who wants to be a millionaire?" TV show. Is it just luck or a combination of efforts, hardwork, presence of mind etc.? Atleast this person made an effort to call up and register his/ her name for the show. Another example, when you were in school: how many times have you known the answer but not raised your hand in the class? or lets take another example, while attending a seminar, how many times you wanted to ask a question but you have stopped yourself from asking a question just because of no reason? All these examples mentioned above are of small opportunities which are always in front of you but it is upto you to take them or leave them. The ones who take them move one step ahead in the luck making process.
  2. Develop the front bench mentality. The meaning here is that one should always be ready to take initiative, never take back seat or be laid back. Your attitude is visible by the way you behave while doing simple things. Suppose you are going to attend a seminar or a conference or an all hands meeting. When you reach the auditorium where do you sit? Do you sit towards the end of the hall? or do you sit right in the front? Ask yourself why you always sit at the back? Is it because that is convenient for you to move out while the meeting/ conference is still going on? or Is it because you fear sitting in the front? Are you scared that the speaker will point at you and ask you few questions? The point I am trying to make here is that being laid back will never take you anywhere in life. If you are proactive and develop the habit to tak initiative then chances or odds of success increase. This is another step in the luck making process.
  3. People, people, people. Human network is the most powerful network. Developing the skill and ability to connect with people is another important in the luck making process. Your ability to network with people will increase the span of opportunities that you come across. For example, suppose you are hunting for a new project or a new job then your chances of success will depend directly on the number of people with whom you can share your profile/ CV/ Resume. This is pure networking. These days with the power of Internet and social media, virtual networking has become pretty simple but still your ability to connect with humans is the number#1 differentiator that will give you the edge over others.
  4. Dont shy away from hard work. You may develop some smart habits and find some shortcuts at times. But remember those smart short cuts are applicable only for those specific/ special scenarios, they are not applicable everywhere. There is no substitute for hardwork. Even if you get some fortune by chance, there is a possibility that you may blow it all over if you don't have the right work ethic and the attitude to work hard.
  5. Get rid of 'I will do it some day' attitude. Time is moving fast, time doesnt wait for anyone. So what are you waiting for? Don't develop a habit of telling yourself that you will start doing certain thing some other day. For example, don't tell yourself you will start investing money from next month, or you will start practicing meditation or yoga or a morning walk from next week, or that you will start writing your blog or practicing your hobby from next day or next week. Don't just 'dream' or 'think' or 'desire', get into the habit of taking action. If you wish to learn driving a car then dont tell yourself that you will start driving one fine day when all the signals on the road will be green. That day will never arrive. Just get into the action. Right place is here, right time is right now. Just go and do it.
  6. Care about people. One habit that will immensely help you get comfortable with people networking is your genuine ability to help people. If you develop a kind attitude towards helping other people reach their goal, then you yourself will receive that in return. It doesn't matter whether the person you are trying to help is your subordinate or your boss, it doesn't matter whether you are helping a poor or a rich, but what does matter is your pure intent to help without any expectations.
  7. Dont fall pray to false tricks. Last but not the least, don't fall pray to short cut methods or tricks. For example, do you get those emails or whatsapps messages which claim that you will receive great luck if you forward this email or whatsapp message to 10 or more people? What do you do when you recieve such messages? Do you believe in these messages? Can anyone really in this world get good luck by just forwarding emails or whatsapp messages? Please, please, please do not fall pray to these nonsense tricks. These are complete waste of time and nothing else.

All said and done, in summary the point I am trying to make is that in order to achieve success, there are factors which are in our control and there are also certain factors which are not in our control. It is really wise to focus on what we can control and take actions so that these factors work in our favour. This is the luck building process. At the end, always remember a quote from Samuel Goldwyn 'The harder I work, The Luckier I get'.

If you liked this post, you would definitely like to read
Why Say Sorry When You Can Say Thank You

Other blog posts of interest:

How Much Would IT Professional Save In USA
USA Visa Basics L1A L1B and H1B
How To Go Onsite?
Most Valuable Skill For Your Life
21 Important Things To Know If You are Traveling To USA For The First Time
How To Hunt For Job After Career Break
5 Secrets of Salary Negotiations

Friday, June 17, 2016

Change Is The Only Constant For IT Professionals

IT Industry as we know is changing very rapidly. Client expectations are increasing and changing with the evolution of digitization. In this changing scenario Business and Employee interests must be aligned. According to a gartner research businesses that focus only on technical aptitude and do not align their IT workers with their business goals willl fail.

Having said the above, technical competency- although still a necessity for IT workers- has clearly become less valuable, while business knowledge, project management and communication skills have become more important. In this changing scenario behavioral competencies are key requirements for success as an IT professional today.

Gartner also mentions that 75 percent of midsize and large IS organizations will consolidate hiring, development and promotional criteria around behavioral and interpersonal skills rather than purely around technical skills and know-how (0.8 probability).

This leads us to The Million $ Question…What Should Be The Focus Of IT Professionals, specifically the Senior IT Professionals? 
Answer is simple: Senior IT professionals should look to develop skills which will enable them take bigger responsibilities in the business domain. Here are some examples of such desired skills and responsibilities:

Irrespecive of the technical experience or expertise professionals should focus on gaining experience in a particular domain, say for example, banking or insurance or manufacturing, that is, even if IT professionals move from one one project to another or one company to another they should focus and continue in the same business domain. They should avoid moving from banking to manufacturing or say from finance to sales/ marketing.

Next priority should be in gaining ..
·         6 to 8 years of experience in managing or leading projects

·         Project / Program Mgmt certification

Other desired skills that should be developed are:
·         Excellent collaboration, proactive and influencing skills
·         Ability to build consultative relationship with stakeholders
·         Ability to tell compelling stories and explain complex issues in simple ways
·         Ability to work independently and jointly in unstructured environments in a self-directed way
·         Strong research skills with an attention to detail
·         Ability to manage multiple activities in a deadline-oriented environment; highly organized and flexible
·         Excellent oral and written communication skills with a high degree of attention to detail

Following business analysis skills will also help a lot:
·         Gather, interpret, and document business needs into functional and nonfunctional requirements 
·         Translate business problems into requirements that facilitate capability development
·         Complete business and operational impact assessment
·         Document, track and maintain in Master Priority List
·         Closely manage communication of business process and systems changes to impacted stakeholders across the globe  
·         Look at transformational project plans and identify impacted groups within the organization and plan for targeted engagement to socialize the change
·         Be the voice for Operational functions and drive improvements with the stakeholder community

In short, IT professions need to 
  • Develop important behavioral competencies
  • Make deliberate efforts to develop “soft skills” in addition to technical skills
  • Develop organizational and work-specific competencies: go beyond myopic focus on technical skills
  • Become business savvy

Conclusion: It is very important that professionals research, observe, read and understand the changes happening in the industry and be ready to make adjustments in their own skillset, this will ensure that rather than struggling they can be in a position of advantage. Remember a famous quote from Charles Darwin "It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change."

If you liked reading this post then you will definitely love reading a related post How To Survive In IT Industry

Other blog posts of interest:

How Much Would IT Professional Save In USA
USA Visa Basics L1A L1B and H1B
How To Go Onsite?
Most Valuable Skill For Your Life
21 Important Things To Know If You are Traveling To USA For The First Time
How To Hunt For Job After Career Break
5 Secrets of Salary Negotiations

Monday, June 6, 2016

Ultimate Guide To Become A Failure

Here are some simple steps that will help you become a failure, yes you read it right these are some simple ways/ actions/ inactions that will lead you to the path of failure.  Why is it important to know this? Because knowingly or unknowlingly you may have started on a path of failure and it is better to know it now than knowing it when it is too late to make any course correction.

Avoid walking/ jogging or doing any physical exercise. Yes, this will help you become lazy and lathargic. Continue to tell yourself every morning that you will start going for a walk from the next day/ next week, repeat this every day with some excuse or another. It is really very very simple and it works.

Practice procrastination. This is your habit of deferring or postponing important tasks to a later time/ day and completing the less important tasks first. Take pleasure in completing the task which is neither urgent nor important. Push all the important tasks to some other time/ day unless the important tasks become urgent. Now, complete it just in time and pat your back.

Stop learning. This is another great way to become mediocre in life. Think of yourself as someone who is successful and knows everything. Don't learn new skills/ don't attend trainings/ skill upgrade programs, this will ensure that you become replaceable/ outdated. Very soon you will loose all your importance and will be thrown out.

Hold on to the same job or years and years. This goes hand in hand with the point above. Don't share your knowledge with anyone. Don't create your replacement/ backup. This will ensure that you do the same job for many years and never grow. One fine day with the advent of new technology you and  your job both become stale.

Blame others. For any setbacks or failures, develop a habit to find fault with others. Never accept your mistake nor learn any lessons. Always find someone to be blamed. This will help you continue the same mistake again and fail continuously.

Kill your time doing "Nothing". Tried of watching the same movies over and over again on TV? Why not switch to The Internet? Here you can spend hours and hours of your time doing "nothing". Don't forget to be online late in the night, either watching youtube videos or just scrolling facebook. This will ensure you don't get enough sleep. Wake up late in the morning/ be late for office. It will also ensure that you feel sleepy during the daytime and you can blame it all on the stress created by modern day jobs.

Engage in gossiping. Never lose an opportunity to talk ill of others. Always condemn, criticize and complain about people, process and situations. This will help you build a very negative aura around yourself and ensure that you are extremely unpopular.

Be laid back. Never take any initiative and always think that you have a very bad luck. Term every successful person as "Lucky". Having no faith in hardwork will also help.

Hang out with the likeminded failures. Firmly believe in your own ability to find like minded people. Be sure that you will find super failures around you. Find them and become friends with them. Hang out with them and tell each other how selfish and unfair the world is.

Be disorganized. This habit will help you ensure that you never succeed. Never respect time, timelines and deadlines. Be always late for your school, meetings and/ or any other funtions. Never deliver any project on time.

Take random advice. Never believe in the advice given by your parents/ experienced people. Always follow random advice given by random people whom you cannot trust.

Never learn from your mistakes. Always ignore the lessons learned from the failures in past and continue to make the same mistakes again.

Don't believe in the power of positive thinking. Always surround yourself with negative thoughts. Doubt your ability to succeed and avoid trying just because you may fail. And yes, don't forget to stop yourself by thinking about 'What others will think if you dream BIG?'

Don't learn how to collaborate. Never make an attempt to learn or improve your written and spoken english skills. Tell yourself that communication and collaboration skills are not at all important.

Last but not the least, never learn how to manage your personal finance. This is the last thing you need to do to embark on the path of failure.

Now, this is one hell of a negative list, isn't it? Ofcourse if it is. The degree of failure depends on how many of these factors one brings into practice. Chances of failure increase with each practice. The reason why these are mentioned in a sarcastic way is to make ourselves understand that getting better is not only important but also urgent. With each small failure we push ourselves away from success. Ignorance or inaction may prove costly and ultimately result in failure. It's time to wake up. Take responsibility for your own success, look into the eyes of failure and defeat it. Do It Now.

If you are more than 13 years old then you will definitely like to read ...
Why Say Sorry When You Can Say Thank You

Other blog posts of interest:

How Much Would IT Professional Save In USA
USA Visa Basics L1A L1B and H1B
How To Go Onsite?
Most Valuable Skill For Your Life
21 Important Things To Know If You are Traveling To USA For The First Time
How To Hunt For Job After Career Break

5 Secrets of Salary Negotiations