Brian Lee is the founder of Be The Voice Academy and is helping people become great communicators.
What’s your story?
I was born into a family of communicators. My father was a broadcaster. He was one of the pioneers of radio and read Singapore’s first TV news as well as Singapore’s ‘Proclamation of Independence’ in 1965. Because of this, I was always in the company of broadcasters and speaking well became second nature.
While it was a blessing, it was also a problem as I was painfully aware of how badly many people spoke and that bothered me. So I decided, instead of being annoyed, why not teach people the art of speaking well and help them become great communicators.
To know more about me and what I do, please do visit my website at: www.bethevoice.com.sg or like our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/BeTheVoicePteLtd
What excites you most about your industry?
Knowing the fact that I help people every single day. I help them in ways they never thought possible. Many clients have told me that when they started their classes, they never expected that they could improve so quickly. The most important feedback I always receive is that my voice coaching has helped them become confident, not only in public speaking, but also at work and socially as well.
Being voice trained at the celebrated London School of English has helped me, help my clients achieve better communication skills.
What’s your connection to Asia?
My connection to Asia is Singapore. It’s the most central and business friendly. Of course, I have plans to spread the great formula that I have to other countries as well. I’m currently exploring training opportunities in Malaysia and Indonesia.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
My favourite city for business is Singapore. While people in Singapore are really intelligent, I feel that there is something missing – a lack of vocal communication and speaking skills. Business owners need to realise that the quickest and easiest way to upscale their businesses, is to provide training not only to themselves, but also to their employees, so that they can learn to speak well and with confidence. This will give customers a positive experience in more ways than one can imagine. It’s my dream to help people in Singapore speak better English, one person at a time.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
My ex-boss and now close friend once told me, “everything in life is arrangeable and negotiable.” Since starting my business, this is the motto I live by. However, there are always limits to how much can be arranged or negotiated. Never be too rigid but also, never be too flexible.
Who inspires you?
Steven Lee! It was always my dream to follow in my late father’s footsteps. He had a deep, silky voice and combined with his fluency and wit, he was the great communicator and public speaker that people still talk about. Ironically, I never knew that he was such a great public speaker until the day I attended his retirement party.
In the tradition of broadcasters, everyone stood up and spoke about his idiosyncrasies. He sat quietly and listened. Once everyone finished, he held court, addressed every comment (off the cuff) and kept everyone in fits of laughter for over 45 minutes. I’ll never forget that day.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
“The single biggest problem in communication, is the illusion, that it has taken place,” said by George Bernard Shaw. Well it’s not really recent but it’s certainly a statement that resonates with me every day.
We often say something and think that that’s the message we’ve communicated. However, people hear things differently from what most of us perceive. This can lead to miscommunication. I guess it’s not what we say, it’s how we say our words that really matter.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Being a news presenter now, I would probably have pursued my dream of becoming a broadcaster earlier on in my life. But becoming a broadcaster in the 80s wasn’t seen as a career choice, so I chose to join the Air Force where I worked for 27 years.
Before joining the Air Force, I worked part time with a wizard of showbiz, the late Victor Khoo, learning the tricks of becoming a great emcee. Of course the Air Force knew of my family background as well as my experience as an emcee, so part of my secondary duties were to host events for the RSAF.
The turning point started in 2008 when I was hand-picked to be the commentator for the RSAF aerobatics team, The Black Knights. I ran the commentary as ‘Black Knight 7’ during the inaugural Singapore Airshow as well as for the National Day Parade that year.
Looking back, pursuing my dream earlier might have made me more successful earlier, but it wouldn’t have given me all the fantastic experiences I’ve had, all the great friends I’ve made and most importantly, the family I have.
So I guess the short answer is, there’s nothing I would change.
How do you unwind?
I spin my LPs. I enjoy the crackling of my records. It just gives me that nostalgic feeling and brings me back to a time when I used to spin records as a DJ.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Perth! Not only was it the destination of my first ever solo aeroplane ride at age 12, but it has the best fish and chips I’ve ever eaten. It’s not too far away and the people are just so relaxed and friendly. I have a secret wish to retire there one day. But for now, it’s my go to place for a fully relaxed holiday.
Everyone in business should read this book:
‘Your Voice – the powerful tool for effective communication.’ I’m still writing it.
Shameless plug for your business:
We coach clients on how to hone their presentation skills, by providing voice training so that they can use their voice as a vehicle to convey thoughts, ideas and feelings, more powerfully.
We are an award winning centre that provides clients with presentation skills and voice training, using the voice to convey thoughts, ideas and feelings more powerfully and with confidence. We believe that speaking well is an art that can be learned and we specialise in teaching our clients the various aspects of being a good speaker of English.
All courses are fully customised according to the needs of every group or individual.
How can people connect with you?
Drop by Be The Voice Academy at 460, Alexandra Road, #02-17, ARC (Alexandra Retail Centre), Singaproe 119963, e-mail [email protected], or call me at: 6878 0100.
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard/>