Some of life’s most useful skills aren’t taught in school. You may not need to do these things — mix a martini, jump-start a car or make a speech — on a daily basis, but at least you know that you could when the time comes.
Mix A Killer Martini
Shaken, not stirred: That might be 007’s favoured martini style, but not us. Create a killer cocktail for your parties with these steps:
a. Chill a martini cocktail glass by placing ice inside. Set aside.
b. Put a generous amount of ice into a cocktail shaker. Pour in a shot’s worth of good, dry vermouth. Shake and pour out excess vermouth (this just coats the ice with vermouth for that perfect amount).
c. Pour in two shots of gin. Stir (don’t shake) gin in shaker. Discard ice that is in glass and strain the gin mixture into it.
d. Add one (green) cocktail olive to the glass. Impress the girls.
Jump-start A Dead Car
Ever had your car die on you in the middle of Tuas? We hope not. But in case you ever find yourself in such dire straits, learn how to handle the situation.
a. Get a set of heavy gauge copper jumper cables that are at least 10 feet long. Identify the positive (+) and negative (-) battery terminals. (The positive terminal usually has a cover over it and a bunch of other wires attached to it; the negative cable is usually just an uncovered black cable.) Both cars should not be touching, and the ignition should be off.
b. Do this: Attach the end of one cable to the dead battery’s positive terminal, and the other end to the positive terminal of the battery in the starting vehicle. Then attach one end of the second cable to the negative terminal of the battery in the starting vehicle, and the other end to the engine block of the car with the dead battery. (Do not attach the negative cable to the dead battery itself.)
c. Stand back. Start the car that’s providing the jump-start. Wait five minutes , then try to start the car with the dead battery. If it does not start, wait a few more minutes, then try again. If the car still doesn’t start, chances are it’s not going to. Call a tow truck and remove the cable connections (in the reverse order that you put them on).
Negotiate Like A Pro
Not everyone is adept at negotiating but you know that it is a useful skill to possess. Whether it’s to wrangle a better salary package, close a lucrative sales account or even when buying a new car, there’s always a use for the art of negotiation.
a. Persuade first because it’s easiest, using reasons as your "bargaining chips". Persuasion isn’t complicated: Offer a bunch of reasons. And if your counterpart’s convinced, he’ll do it. If that fails, move on to negotiate.
b. Attack issues like a cold-blooded predator. Keep moving — if you’re not making progress on one issue, skip it and move to another. Harping on an issue that’s not going anywhere will only frustrate both parties. Remember, only the final handshake seals the deal. Until then, all issues remain open.
c. Emphasise words. Stressing key words or phrases lends greater impact to the strength of your argument — Bill Clinton did it famously with his use of "that woman" to distance himself from Monica Lewinsky.
Make A Public Speech
It’s normal to feel nervous about going up in front of a crowd, even millionaire pop stars feel the jitters. But there will come a time when you may need to give a wedding toast for your best buddy, or make a presentation to your fellow colleagues. Here’s how to conquer those butterflies.
a. Before you step on stage, suck in several deep breaths, allowing four seconds with each inhalation and exhalation. You’ll decrease your blood pressure, slow your heart rate and — most importantly — distract yourself from thoughts of failure. When you focus away from your fear, you begin to control it.
b. Make your notes big enough to read at a glance. Write the words in capital letters and use different colours so you have instant memory triggers. Think you’re slick? Rehearse your speech again — at least six times.
c. Bite into a sour apple or suck on a sour sweet just before you speak. Nerves can dry your mouth, but the acidity in sour foods stimulates saliva production, keeping your voice crisp and fluid. Conversely, skip the coffee. Caffeine dries out your mouth, while dairy products — like milk, yoghurt and ice cream — thicken saliva.
Cut Fillets From A Fish
One of the easiest meats to cook is fish since there are so many ways to prepare it. Getting it ready for cooking might seem complicated, but it’s really not that difficult. Try this the next time you’re experimenting in the kitchen.
a. Get a fresh fish (it will be firm to the touch and have pronounced, glistening eyes) and a sharp, flexible filleting knife (available at household sections of department stores). Wash the gutted fish under cold running water, pat dry with kitchen towels and de-scale by rubbing it with the dull side of a knife until smooth.
b. With the fish on its side, make a vertical cut behind the gills. Run the knife down the back of the fish in even strokes, keeping the blade tight to the backbone.
c. When the fillet is all but freed from the fish, hold it in your non-cutting hand and snip it loose from the tail with the knife blade tilted downwards for this last incision. Turn the fish over and repeat on the other side.