The Magic Of Leadership
My name is Vinh Giang and I am proud to admit that I did not fulfil the stereotypical Asian prophecy. I left my career in accounting to pursue my passions in life: Magic and Business.
I come from a family of refugees who landed on the shores of Australia from Vietnam in the early 1980’s. With literally nothing but the clothing on their backs, my family have had to be extremely entrepreneurial from the very moment they set foot in Australia.
As a result of being surrounded by this entrepreneurial environment since I was born, my parents have unknowingly embedded in me a desire to build businesses. At the early age of 12, I already hated being in school classrooms, but not for the same reasons as most other kids. I simply could not wait until lunch time; that golden time of opportunity where I was free to sell the most sought-after goods to my friends: marbles and the latest Pokémon cards. Once I hit high school, I noticed that the demands and interests of my peers changed. Every teenager was now obsessed with TV shows, clothes, cars, the opposite sex and of course, porn. The most exciting discovery for me though, was to find out that the allowance that kids had to spend at school had increased from a meagre $2.50 a week to now $10 a week! Needless to say, I became the go to person in school for electronics, game accessories and music! (And I’m proud to say I’ve never sold drugs).
Over the next two years, I travelled to the Canton Fair in China and purchased containers of goods to bring back to Adelaide so I could start my own little business in the Newton Shopping Centre. This business became extremely successful, even as I was running it in between University Classes. That was until I got a letter from OCBA warning me that the mobile phones that I was selling were not approved by Australian Standards. Sadly, I had to close down this business, only to continue it down at the Sunday Gepps Cross Markets where standards didn’t really apply! At this point we were making over $8,000 every Sunday!
Fast forward to 2011, I hit a wall. I made money but I wasn’t happy. I wanted to start a business that was aligned with my passions, but the only problem was that my biggest passion in life was magic! I loved card tricks, stage shows and all manner of sleights and illusions. This is when I decided to build an online magic school – Encyclopedia of Magic. By taking the traditional methods of learning magic from books, and modernising them into a visual video format, the business was born. This was one of the best times I’ve ever experienced in my life. I was building a business that I loved with two of my best friends in my life: Jeffrey Wong and Lenny Tran. The business went through a lot of failures at first, but through years of perseverance we now have over 36,000 students from all over the world, and in 2013 we were awarded SA Young Entrepreneur of the year! Now, I spend 50% of my time traveling the world as a speaker – speaking about the principles of success that have changed my life, as well as conducting sales workshops on one of my strongest assets – my ability to sell.
In this article I would love to share with you three concepts that will help you become a better leader: “Presentation”, “Energy” and “Talent vs Skill”.
Many people do not realise that presentation skills are absolutely crucial to being a great leader. We only need to look back in history at some of the greatest influencers of the world, i.e. Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King etc. to notice that they are great leaders because they were able to MOVE, INSPIRE and MOTIVATE people with their presentations. To become a great leader you need to invest in learning about how to present. Even if it is only to a team of 10 people, that is still presenting.
There is a common concept where “content is king”, meaning the content of what you are presenting is the most important aspect. While this does ring true to an extent, the ability to convey the concept is arguably even more important, because without being able to accurately portray the content to its full extent, means it will never be fully appreciated.
One of the most under looked skills in presenting is your voice. Many years ago, I sat down at my first lesson with my singing teacher, and she began by playing one key on the piano over and over again. She asked me how it made me feel, and I remember responding “Well, nothing?” She then proceeded to play a beautiful song called “Romance”, a piece filled with elaborate chords and notes! This time when she asked me how I felt, I responded with “Quite sad to be honest!” After all, it was a sad song! What she taught me that day was that most people go through life speaking with one key, but we can be taught to use all the chords and notes in our voice. The difference between an effective communicator and someone who just talks is the same as the difference between a beautiful musical piece and a singular note: emotion. The ability to elicit an emotional connection on top of your content is a tremendously powerful thing. If it’s the one thing you do, taking steps towards learning how to use the full potential of your voice will help you in all different areas of life! Just in case you’re wondering, I’m no Frank Sinatra and would never sing in public, I’m certain I’d get arrested!
Over the many years that I have been presenting, I have compiled many of these lessons into a course, and voice training is one of the most important modules! Good luck and don’t be afraid to contact a voice coach and try something new!
When I first became a Keynote speaker, my agent at the time was a man who managed some of the best talent in Australia. One of the most important things he said to me was “Vinh, to make it in this industry you only need three things: Talent, Skill and Energy.”
Sure, I understood Talent and Skill… but Energy? I had no idea what he meant! After being in the speaking industry now for over two years, I finally understand what he means, and this will apply regardless of what industry you are in. As human beings, we are extremely adaptive beings, and when we do the same thing over and over each and every day, 9-5 Monday to Friday, guess what happens? We get bored. After we get bored of something we no longer put the same level of charisma, passion and energy into it. This is what my agent was talking about.
Bringing that buzz, charisma and energy into your work is one of the key things that will make you successful. Most people live life with a very low level of energy, so when they encounter someone with high energy, they are naturally drawn to them.
One of the best ways to keep yourself inspired and energised is to spend time with people who have these qualities. I’ve found this to be true in life, that we are the direct reflection of the top 5 people we spend time with. If you are not naturally a high energy person, look for people who are and spend time with them. You’ll be surprised at how they will affect the way you feel, and as a result how this will affect the way you come across to others.
Talent vs Skill
This is one of my favourite topics for leaders. Most leaders possess great talent, meaning they naturally have what makes them a good leader. Some were born with it, while others grew up in a great environment and learnt it from those around them. However, what happens with most people who are talented leaders is that they rely solely on their talent. This is probably the worst thing they can do, as while talent alone will make a good leader, it does not make a GREAT leader. Like the great saying goes, “The good is the enemy of the great”.
In order to become the best leader you can be, you must remember to always build on your skills. After being able to speak to so many large companies around the world and being able to work with some of their top performers, I’ve noticed one thing about great leaders. The greatest ones always continue to build on their talent and improve their skills. They do this by seeking out people who are better than themselves, and they connect with these people to learn. They also spend time on reading, to continuously expand their knowledge.
Once you’ve become the best leader in your environment, it’s time to change your environment and grow.
By Vinh Giang
Speaker, Entrepreneur and Magician. www.vinhgiang.com.au
Proteus Leadership is one of Australia’s premier leadership training and development companies. Proteus Leadership provides leadership courses and management training to a range of industries and assists organisations to build positive workplace cultures, implement change and Create Great Leaders. Proteus also facilitates a range of world-class management courses, workshops, conferences and events across Australia and beyond with the sole purpose of bringing leaders together to connect and grow.
“Our core purpose is to Create Great Leaders that will in turn build Great companies and develop Great teams.”