This morning, I helped a French speaker develop confidence in his public speaking. I told him to find a speech that he liked and to speak it in French. He chose the speech by Dominique de Villepin, a speech that was delivered at the UN Security Council on 14 February 2003 against the war in Iraq….

In the MBA and Global Executive MBA classes I teach in Leadership and Communication at INSEAD, I always get two volunteers to give short speeches based on two American presidents’ inaugural speeches. Their aim was to read it persuasively. And based on how my students gave their speeches, they were evaluated by their peers (the…

Bill Gates, in his 2009 TED Talk, speaks about the affliction of malaria of 200 million people especially in poorer countries, and the need for education and eradication — and then does the unexpected. Stating that malaria is spread by mosquitoes, he then releases a jar of these flying insects to roam into the air-conditioned auditorium…

In a classic psychological experiment in the 1944, Fritz Heider and Marianne Simmel made a short film comprising three geometrical shapes moving in different speeds and various directions. There were a large triangle, a small triangle, and a circle moving in and out of a rectangle with an opening. Observers reported the movements of these…

Words cut. Decisively. Incisively. You might have remembered the specific times when senior leaders in your organisation telling you something that hurt deeply – and, after all these years (even if you had left the organisation), you still remember the wounds inflicted by their insensitive comments, biased accusations, and tactless rhetoric. Words have an immense…

Stories still seem fluffy to some leaders. With their bias towards numbers, charts, and graphs to predict trends for the next quarter, leaders prefer data which can be quantified (understandably so) – because they sound most palatable to shareholders. Numbers almost, always, sound credible and certain. However, numbers are statisticians’ ways of interpreting data. It…

No one can prepare for a crisis in an organisation or in a country. But when a crisis does occur, how a leader shows up – or fails to do so – during the first hour can shape public opinion forever. Take a look at these real examples: When mainstream media report about train disruptions…

The Oak and The Reeds A Giant Oak stood near a brook in which grew some slender Reeds. When the wind blew, the great Oak stood proudly upright with its hundred arms uplifted to the sky. But the Reeds bowed low in the wind and sang a sad and mournful song. “You have reason to…

Do you remember Aesop’s fable on The Mice and The Cat? The Mice once called a meeting to decide on a plan to free themselves of their enemy, the Cat. At least they wished to find some way of knowing when she was coming, so they might have time to run away. Indeed, something had…

Some people say the biggest currency is money. Some would argue it’s time. Some would go to lengths to secure freedom. But I like Jim Carrey’s answer when he gave his commencement address at Maharishi University of Management in 2014. Here’s the video, and a short transcript to what I think is the crux of…

© 2010 | EDMUND CHOW

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