The Perks of Not Being A Wallflower

There are some skills that you can learn to stand out at a party or casual gathering – and they’ll help in the workplace too.

Portraiture: A quick draw

Selfies and photo booths at parties are par for the course now. Offer something different with caricature drawing. With this skill, you’d only need a few minutes to produce a freehand sketch of a guest’s face while others look on in fascination. Want to turn up the laughter? Exaggerate the subject’s features and quirks for added comic effect. Caricature drawing and other portraiture teach you to zoom in quickly on the important details and train you to finish a piece of work within insane time limits – surely the kind of moxie every public officer could do with.

Does this skill draw your interest?

  • Get started with a SkillsFuture eligible class. Just search for “portraiture” or “caricature” on
  • Caricature classes and workshops are available at

Storytelling: Weave a tale

Can you spin a gripping tale out of even the most boring of topics? With the tricks and strategies of storytelling, you can! Your listeners will be on the edge of their seats, riveted to every twist and turn in your saga. A good storyteller shares many traits with a good public presenter or negotiator. Enthralling children at a birthday party with a fairy tale doesn’t take sparkles or magic; a good storyteller knows how to speak with confidence, read the audience and present only the most relevant points. At work, this skill will help you communicate more clearly with colleagues, deliver engaging presentations with confidence, and, who knows, even make your written reports more of a joy for bosses to read.

Convinced that the value of storytelling is no tall tale?

  • Volunteer with the National Library Board to practise reading stories and acting them out with children.
  • Prefer to learn by observing? Watch stand-up comedy shows to pick up improvisation skills, or study how TED speakers present.
  • Narrative and Storywise offer workshops for different forms of storytelling.
  • For more business-oriented storytelling, SkillsFuture eligible courses are available: or
Video courtesy of Anjali Sharma at Narrative.

Calligraphy: Brush up your handwriting

Live calligraphy is a beauty to watch regardless of the language it writes. Challenge yourself to replicate print-perfect versions of popular typefaces and handwriting styles. Since practice is crucial to mastering calligraphy, developing this skill will really hone your discipline, patience and meticulousness – with aesthetic payoffs

if you diligently stay the course. When you need a break, why consume yet another piece of stress-inducing or mind-blanking media? Take five by creating instead – the calming yet satisfying practice of calligraphy might just be the thing for you.

It’s different strokes for different folks!

  • If Chinese calligraphy is for you, learn from a master calligrapher at the NTU Confucius Institute (SkillsFuture eligible).
  • If it’s Western calligraphy you want, engage a local calligrapher for a hands-on workshop. NehOhMee has worked with schools. Other providers include Happy Hands Project and Souldeelight.
Video courtesy of Naomi Anneliese at NehOhMee.
Video courtesy of Pauline Ibarra at Happy Hands Project.

Juggling: Eye on the ball

Is the energy at a party slow to start or flagging?

A quick trick to rev things up a bit is to juggle anything within reach (and within reason). Try it with candy, fruits, ping pong balls, tennis balls… You’ll find that your jester-like enthusiasm is infectious. Juggling clearly requires concentration and hand-eye coordination. But less widely known is that it also helps you to practise staying calm – that’s what keeps your act going and your objects flying. You can take that same combination of zen and focus to the workplace, so it will enhance your capacity to take on multiple tasks (or even multiple roles) all at once, without you dropping the ball.

Juggling is a handy skill to have when things are up in the air.

Watch Jimmy Juggler performing at the 2017 Singapore Night Festival and practising juggling with clubs:

Videos courtesy of Jimmy Juggler.

Origami: Fold to your heart’s content

Move on from the paper airplanes and sailboats of your childhood. By knowing more advanced origami folds, you can impress others with a near-magical ability to fashion complex structures out of paper. Origami stimulates the mind by aiding in the visualisation of space, and improves your task sequencing by helping you anticipate actions planned for several steps ahead. Urban planners, policymakers and all sorts of leaders, this is perfect for you. Once you’ve mastered the art of origami, you could even take requests from party guests or colleagues and make paper sculptures on the spot.

Think the benefits of origami are manifold?

    Oct 7, 2017
    Chia Soong Ming
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