EE055 – Cynthia Zhai

Tony Winyard – Health, Breathing, Sleeping, Mindset & Movement Coach

Cynthia is a Voice Coach, Speaker and Author. She has helped business professionals and professional speakers from 46 countries across 5 continents with their voice to speak with impact and conviction, engages and inspires people to embrace change and take action.

She has been a professional speaker and coach for the past 17 years spanning 4 continents in countries such as the U.S.A., Finland, The Netherlands, Argentina, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Macau, mainland China, India, Brunei, Vietnam and The Philippines. Cynthia has appeared on the Discover Your Talent Show in the US and been a guest on many radio shows including Singapore Radio Program 938Live, Hong Kong Radio 3, and Malaysia Business Radio Station BFM on the subject of Voice.

Here are some links to videos mentioned on the show:

Cynthia’s website:

Exceeding Expectations links:

Facebook Group
How to leave a podcast review:

(All transcriptions are done using through a system of artificial intelligence and so on EVERY episode there are quite a few mistakes as AI is far from perfect when it comes to transcribing the human voice. However, it is a very time-consuming process to go through each transcript and correct all the errors. For quite a while I had the transcribed docs sitting on my hard drive in the belief that one day I would eventually get around to correcting all the errors and could then upload each transcript to the show notes for each episode. The reality is that isn’t gonna happen for quite a while as I simply do not have sufficient time to be able to do that. So please accept my apologies for the number of errors but I hope that these transcripts are in some way useful to you.)


Tony Winyard 0:00
Exceeding expectations Episode 55. Welcome to the podcast where we aim to give you ideas how you can give customers better experiences. My name is Tony Winyard. And today’s episode we interview someone named Cynthia Zhai who helps people develop their voice have a more powerful speaking voice in order to give better presentations and just with more confidence in meetings and whenever they do need to speak in public. If you just come to this podcast, if you’ve never heard us before, it will be great if you able to maybe share this episode if you find it of value with people who equally might find this of value and if you do enjoy it, why not leave a review for us on iTunes and some of the other podcasting platforms. You can find our Facebook group, which is called exceeding expectations, and maybe going there and mention something about this episode. And if you have any people you’d like to hear being interviewed on this show, please do either leave something on the Facebook group or get in touch? Right now it is time for this week’s episode with Cynthia Zhai. exceeding expectations My guest today, Cynthia. Zhai, how are you, Cynthia?

Cynthia Jhai 1:19
I’m very good. Hi, Tony.

Tony Winyard 1:20
And you’re in Singapore. That’s right. Singapore is a wonderful place. Is that is that where you come from?

Cynthia Jhai 1:28
I know. It is a wonderful place. I’ve been living in Singapore for the past 12 years. And I was originally born in China. And I stayed in the states for some time before I came to Singapore.

Tony Winyard 1:42
Okay, and what was it that? What made you go to Singapore?

Cynthia Jhai 1:47
Oh, in the beginning, it was a job opportunity. So I was working for a company and then there was an opening in Singapore.

Tony Winyard 1:56
And so you mean, I know that you were speaking before and you say that you help people develop a more powerful speaking voice? How did you get into doing something along those lines.

Cynthia Jhai 2:06
So I was when I was young, I was in singing. And also when I was in college, I was in the school radio station. So those are the times that I’ve learned about voice. But I never thought about doing anything related to voice. Until in my last job, I was doing training workshops, and on the topic of communication and leadership. So that’s where people started to ask me about the voice. And for me, I have a deep voice. So they wanted to develop the voice. And they asked me how do we develop a deep voice? So I thought, Okay, this is something looks like that I can help people with. So that’s where I started.

Tony Winyard 2:45
And so how did it progress into into doing what you do now? I mean, how long have you been doing this?

Cynthia Jhai 2:51
So I’ve been doing this for almost 10 years. And it’s also in the process that I was learning as well, even though I have a deep voice but and my inner voice was not being heard. So in my process of developing my own inner voice to be heard. That’s where I’ll also make the process even richer.

Tony Winyard 3:15
And what who generally what type of people is it that you’re helping

Cynthia Jhai 3:21
I help people, one group of people or they are senior executives in corporate, so they want to sound more authoritative. So that’s one group, the other group, they are speakers, so who want to use their voice to influence and inspire their audience.

Tony Winyard 3:38
And so generally, when people come to you, it’s because they’re maybe they’ve got a lack of confidence, or they’re just not sure how to progress.

Cynthia Jhai 3:47
So lack of confidence is one of the reasons they that they come to me. The other reason is that they realised whenever they speak, beard, speak in a meeting or speak to their audiences, they realised that it was when they said something. It didn’t make an impact people just in the way people just ignore what they said. So they felt that they lack of impact. So that’s the reason that they came to me.

Tony Winyard 4:13
And is it something I mean, how easy is it to help someone with an issue like that.

Cynthia Jhai 4:22
And it can be easy when they are being resourceful when they are also doing the work that I asked them to do. Where

Tony Winyard 4:31
I mean, you just helping people in Singapore also in other countries as well.

Cynthia Jhai 4:36
So I know you’re based in the UK, right? I have clients, I have clients in the UK as well. So I help clients from all over the world. Okay.

Tony Winyard 4:48
And I met you before, when we were speaking, you mentioned that there was one particular guy whose comfort you helped his confidence grow a lot, you’ve been trying to tell us more about that storey.

Cynthia Jhai 4:56
When he came to me, this client he does in a lot of conferences, and he works for a company. And whenever he spoke in conferences, he didn’t see that the audience was having much reaction. And also, it was just no reaction. So he was very surprised. And he was also not sure whether they got his message, or whether they wanted to do business with his company. And even though he also realised that even in the mix, sometimes people will also in a way, ignoring him. And whatever he said he didn’t make any impact. So he thought, oh, maybe that they do that here, or maybe other reasons. So until that he realised that one the as his voice has some challenges as well. So one is that his voice was not very clear, not very strong. So then we started to work together. And as we started to work together, he started to one is that his voice is starting to become stronger. And to his I saw that his confidence also grow. So as his confidence grow. He also realised that in meetings in conferences, whenever he spoke, people could hear him and people started to react to him. And in their company, in their company in his company, his boss also started to realise this guy is really the expert. He knows what he is doing. So his boss started to value him and his, especially his company that setting up a special position as the expert position. And that position was only set up for him.

Tony Winyard 6:42
And how long did that process take from when he started working with you?

Cynthia Jhai 6:47
For him that was about into the first month when we were working?

Tony Winyard 6:53
Well, so that’s really quick.

Cynthia Jhai 6:55
Yeah, so both both of us, both him and I were surprised.

Tony Winyard 7:00
Yeah. Wow. Okay. And you mentioned about another lady who’s was promoted a couple of levels up?

Cynthia Jhai 7:07
Yes, yes. So that lady is she was based in Silicon Valley. So we were doing mostly online. And when she came to me, she was already, she had already submitted her request to be promoted twice. And both were rejected. So her boss told her that you have the knowledge, you have the expertise, but the way that you’re speaking, is not like a leader. So I don’t think you’re ready for the next level. So she was very upset, she was very frustrated. And then we started work together. As we were working together slowly that she started to feel more confident. And she also realised that even in a random gathering for baby shower. So when she talked, people were paying attention. And people also came to talk to her is only because even if she was only speaking for a few minutes, about random things at a baby shower event, her her own experience as a mom. So that’s where her confidence started to grow. And when she saw an opening in her company in New York office, and she applied, she said, because now I feel more confident, I feel that I am ready. And I also want to prove to myself that I can do this. And she she also she was at that moment, she was saying that the office is in the position is in New York, I may not want to move there, I just want to prove to myself and to my boss. So in the end, she proved to herself and to her boss that she was able to do that job, because after three rounds of interviews, she got that job. And in the end, actually, she started to discuss with her family, whether they want to move to New York. So eventually they move to New York. And that’s what level was at that job was two levels up from her own position.

Tony Winyard 9:05
So when someone comes to you with an issue like that, where there is a lack of confidence, I mean, I mean, I get everyone’s different, but how would you help someone address something like that?

Cynthia Jhai 9:16
So when we’re working together, one is that we do develop the physical voice to make the voice project more confidence. And at the same time, we also address the mindset.

So we work on both areas.

Tony Winyard 9:34
You mentioned when we were speaking before the recording started, you mentioned it a long time ago you in Toastmasters Do You Do you find that many people will try many different things in order to get help and sometimes sometimes go into an organiser organisation like Toastmasters is not quite enough, and I need some more one on one help.

Cynthia Jhai 9:55
So Toastmasters. There are some differences between Toastmasters and what I help my clients with. So for Toastmasters is more on the public speaking side, for what I help my clients was is more on developing their physical voice, to make the voice more confident. So for some of my clients who need to speak more, who need to practice more on their presentation on their public speaking, I recommend them and I send them to Toastmasters to practice as well. And for, for some of my clients, they they did, they did quite a lot of things. They tried public speaking, they tried all kinds of programmes, and they also watched almost every video I have on YouTube. So I have about 200 videos. And they realised that they couldn’t do it on their own. So that’s where they also started to come to me for help.

Tony Winyard 10:53
And so the video, the YouTube channel that you mentioned, and how are they just lots of different videos helping people in different ways or was sharing some of your past clients.

Cynthia Jhai 11:02
So they are a few videos showing some of my clients before and after voice changes. There are some ideas with my clients on their case study. And the majority of the videos, are me addressing some of their common voice problems, and also share with the process, what are the processes needed for them to make a change?

Tony Winyard 11:28
So when people come to you, how is it? Yeah, what expectations typically do they have? And how are you able to surpass those expectations?

Cynthia Jhai 11:38

you know, just now you were asking me about the you were mentioning the customer service quote. So for me, I think that this is this is also related to the question that you’re asking. So for me, and I think that it is always expecting customers expectation is what I always strive for. So I think also that exceeding customers expectation should be the new norm. So when clients came to me, they have expectation, which was that they want to become, they want to sound more confident. So that’s actually the basic, to me, that’s the basic expectation, I am very certain that with my help with their practice, I will be able to help them achieve that. And what I strive for is to exceed their expectations, like the two storeys that we were talking about, I think is exceeded their expect.

Tony Winyard 12:42
And so what other other areas are you able to help with people help people with I mean, apart from confidence and and getting a better voice is there are there results people have got that they really didn’t expect to get from

Cynthia Jhai 12:56
the other sentence are, for example, the other are, they speak for long time they speak for a long time, and then they will get tired with their voice they are throat, their vocal cords will get tired. So that’s another side benefit. So when they develop their voice, not only their voice will sound more confident, more authoritative, by the same time that our voice will be able to last long. So some of my clients were saying that in meetings, I am I can speak for long hours, and I don’t feel tired. But I noticed that others started to get tired. I said what you’re already tired, I can still go Go on. So some of my clients, that’s the side benefits for them,

Tony Winyard 13:37
as well. How do you see yourself progressing over the next few years? What would you like to be doing in say five years simultaneous time.

Unknown Speaker 13:45
So I think one thing that I always watch that what is the next step for my clients. So the next step for my clients is also my next step, which is that I it drives me to develop more programmes. So they are constant demand. So for example, once they have a confident voice, and the next step, many of them want is to bring more influence in the way that they speak. So that’s the programme that I have developed to bring them to the next level. So I think in five years from now, what I will be doing is to develop another level programme to suit my clients next step nice.

Tony Winyard 14:28
And when when you say a programme, what type of programme is that a like an online thing? Or is that a face to face? How does that work?

Cynthia Jhai 14:34
So the programme

is delivered in two different ways. And one is that for my clients who are based in Singapore, they see me face to face. And the other programme is online. So for my clients who are based out of Singapore, based in the US in the UK and Europe, so we do it online. That’s one to one programme. And also the other one the other way I deliver is a through online group progress.

Tony Winyard 15:02
Generally, what are your thoughts on exceeded expectations? Cynthia, what why do you think people should consider doing this?

Cynthia Jhai 15:10
Yeah, I think exceeding customers expectations will help your one yours will help your clients bring the results and bring the results that are surprising to them to is that he will make you as a service provider become more fulfilling. And three years also that what we want to achieve as a business owner as entrepreneurs that we want to bring, we want to grow our business to bring more one that has repeated customers, to more customers. So those customers whose expectation have been exceeded by my service, so they will be able to bring more customers to make.

Tony Winyard 15:58
And if people want to find out more about you, where would they go to.

Cynthia Jhai 16:02
So I would direct them into two major channels. One is, of course, that the YouTube channel, so we mentioned, they are about 200 videos for them to learn and it is and also to get to know me get to know my style. So that’s YouTube channel. And then they can just go to YouTube, Google my name, send there or just send me a voice coach, they will find me. And the other one is to give them more systematic approach to let them know that what are the steps they need it to develop their voice? And also what are some of the pirate paradigm shifts that they need to have in order to develop their voice. So they can get at this systematic approach. A step by step programme is free three part free video lessons that I have for them. And they can go to

Tony Winyard 16:58
And so do you is a quotation that you particularly like I think you touched upon it just now.

Cynthia Jhai 17:04
This is not an exact quotation. But I think this is something actually made me think about the clients, the customers expectation. So it is about just having satisfied customers isn’t good enough anymore. So that’s from source or known. But this is a quote that I like just having satisfied customers isn’t good enough anymore. So we need to exceed their expectations. We need to see what they couldn’t see. And provided for them.

Tony Winyard 17:43
Well, Cynthia, thank you very much for your time. And I wish you good luck in order to do it. And yeah, hope to meet you one day. Thank you. Hope you enjoyed this week’s episode with Cynthia join next week episode 56 is with Jane Malyon. She created a company called the British Tea Company and she’s also known as Aunti Jane. She has a wonderful spirit about her and talks about how a lot of problems can be resolved by drinking tea. And the way she goes about it; she’s done some TED talks and she has some fascinating storeys so that’s next week’s episode with Jane Malyon. If you do enjoy this week’s episode please do share it with people who you think might get benefit from it. And why not leave a review for us on iTunes. hope you have a fantastic week. See you next week.

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