“Your content is only as powerful as the way your voice delivers it.” ­–Cynthia Zhai


Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandella, Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy- they are among the people whose words changed history forever. How powerful our voice can be! True, anybody can hold a speech but not all can affect change. Tune in to today’s episode and learn how to develop your full voice and communicate at a different degree even in this technology-controlled world. Words are powerless until you express them with authority. Make your voice count!


Listen to the podcast here:



02:06 Living with Challenges
08:24 Setting Self Expectations in a Structured Upbringing
14:22 Make Your Voice Count
24:30 Learning Languages
30:07 Developing Your Full Voice
35:03 It’s About How You Say It
40:14 Communicating in this Internet World
42:38 What’s Up With Cynthia


Your Content is NOT King Until Your Voice Can Deliver It Like A King by Cynthia Zhai

Cynthia Zhai’s Free Voice Crash Course

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber



“If we don’t encounter any challenges, any difficulties, then what’s the point of living?” –Cynthia Zhai

“The challenges are what make us grow. That’s where our growth comes from.”-Art Costello

“When you know and identify what you don’t want, it becomes easier to find what you do want.” -Art Costello

“That really brings me joy, the joy of meeting people from different cultures, and learn that the way they are living.” –Cynthia Zhai

“All these kind of things that we experience in society, all these negative things, that they have a direct impact in the body. And the direct impact on the body also has a direct impact on the voice.” –Cynthia Zhai

“If you’re not trying and doing things, you’re never going to know what your purpose is going to be in life.” -Art Cortello

“Your content is only as powerful as the way your voice delivers it.”

I think in humanity, no one has the right to degrade somebody else, or bully them, or push them around in any way. ­–Art Costello


Join @myexpectation as he sits with @YourVoiceCoach. This is NOT a singing lesson. But, more important than that, today’s podcast teaches how to develop your full voice. #fullvoice #confidence #communication #action # inspire #voicecoach Share on X




ART COSTELLO: Today my guest is Cynthia Zhai. She’s a voice coach, speaker and author. She helps business professionals and professional speakers from many different countries, actually 46 across five continents. She helps them learn to speak with impact, conviction, inspiring, engaging people to embrace change and take action, which you all know is very big with me taking action. Cynthia has been a professional speaking coach for the past 17 years. Told across many continents, four to be exact. US she’s been in the US, Finland, Netherlands, Argentina, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam. Cynthia has appeared on Singapore radio four times. Hong Kong radio, three Malaysia business radio several times and a guest speaker on voice subject and many countries around the world. It is with my great pleasure that I introduce you to Cynthia Zhai. Welcome Cynthia to the show. It’s great to have you –


ART COSTELLO: -I’m excited where 13 hours apart. So it’s six o’clock in the morning in Austin, Texas and 7:00 PM in Singapore.


ART COSTELLO: So this is great. Can you tell us your story? What has made you the spectacular person that you’ve become?

CYNTHIA ZHAI: Okay. I think it’s a lot of struggles along the way. A lot of challenges along the way as well. But I think that’s the purpose that we are on this life. Right? So if we don’t encounter any challenges, any difficulties, then what’s the point of living?


“If we don't encounter any challenges, any difficulties, then what's the point of living?” –Cynthia Zhai Share on X


ART COSTELLO: That is very true. That is very true.


ART COSTELLO: The challenges, what make us grow. That’s how –


ART COSTELLO: -we’re our growth comes from.


“The challenges are what make us grow. That's where our growth comes from.”-Art Costello Share on X


CYNTHIA ZHAI: Yes, that’s right.

ART COSTELLO: So tell us about some of those challenges.

CYNTHIA ZHAI: So, I think one of them of course, that it would be when I started my business. So I’ve been doing my business for about 10 years. And in the beginning it was a struggle because as someone who is new to the country, even though that I had lived in Singapore for two years prior to starting my business, but I had not so many connections and I had not so many friends. So it was very challenging to start my business. And also at many times, many points that I had thought about giving up. And I had thought about probably going back to the corporate world in the end, it is the dream that I have always thinking about doing something on my own, using my own talent to help other people. So that’s something that kept me going and also to have met a lot of people that also inspired me to continue on this journey.

ART COSTELLO: Do you think that, and you know, because my area of expertise is in expectations and a lot of times I’m asked what’s the difference between an expectation and a goal or a dream? And there’s very little difference. But when you, when you have that dream and that goal and then you match it with a really a core expectation, it really can get you through every single challenge and keep you motivated and directed towards what you want out of life. And that’s why I think it’s so important for people to identify what they want. You know? Cause once you identify what you want, then you can start taking the steps to go get it.

CYNTHIA ZHA: –Yes. Right.

ART COSTELLO: That kinda how it worked for you.

CYNTHIA ZHAI: Yes, definitely. Because, you know, I was someone who was always knowing of what I don’t want. So, in my early years I was keep on looking for what is it that I want, but I didn’t know. So, I only knew what I didn’t want. So, it was also a lot of journey that to help me realize what I really want. And once I got clear on what I want. So that’s where I started to really chase after what I want.

ART COSTELLO: That’s really beautiful because when you can identify what you don’t want, it gets you one step closer to what you do want. People may not understand that, but you know, a lot of people have no idea what they do want and what they don’t want. So they’re just kind of in limbo, you know? But when you know and identify what you don’t want, it becomes easier to find what you do want.


“When you know and identify what you don't want, it becomes easier to find what you do want.” -Art Costello Share on X


CYNTHIA ZHAI: Yes. In a way. And what also helped me was Charlie “Tremendous” Jones. He was saying that you are the same person five years from now, except two things, the books you read and the people you met. So, it was really those two things that held me to crystallize what I want and knowing what I didn’t want. By the same time, I started to meet a different people. I went to different associations groups to meet different people and from meeting different people and the books that I read and realize that, oh, I really enjoying helping people, supporting people. So those two things that helps me in the end crystallize what I want.

ART COSTELLO: Do you think you’re a shy person?

CYNTHIA ZHAI: I was. I was shy and introverted.

ART COSTELLO: It takes a lot of work to break –


ART COSTELLO: -out of the shell of introversion and shyness and you’ve done very well because you glow now. I don’t know if my audience can see you, but I see you and I see the glow around you.

CYNTHIA ZHAI: –Thank you.

ART COSTELLO: Two of the things that you said that really resonated with me were that you were instructed to gain knowledge from books, and I did that when I was young. We didn’t have TV or anything where I lived. So we, my parents had a pretty nice library in our home that I could go in and read different books. What did you like to read? What was your favorite books to read?

CYNTHIA ZHAI: When I was young, I like to read biographies. I wanted to know how other people live their lives. I wanted to know that how they made themselves, who they are, and I got a lot of inspirations from those biographies.

ART COSTELLO: I love that. I love that because I liked biographies too. I was very diverse in my reading. I loved history was favorite, but also one of my favorite books was “The Secret Life” of Walter Mitty, which is a book about dreaming and about living outside of your existence, which you are. My childhood was pretty painful for me, so I wanted to escape and I use books to escape. So did you use books to escape or did you use it mostly for knowledge?

CYNTHIA ZHAI: Yeah, for me it was mostly for knowledge. Even though you know, my dad was quite a difficult person to deal with in general, I still had a good childhood, so I didn’t have a tough childhood. And so that’s why I think the books for me were mainly for me to gain knowledge.

ART COSTELLO: Did you grow up with a lot of structure in your life? It was like, this is what you’re supposed to do. This is where you go to school, you do this, you do this.

CYNTHIA ZHAI: Yes. Yes, because my dad was a very structured person before college. He was arranging almost everything. He was dominant, but I think the good thing was once we went to college, my dad said, no, I’m not going to give you instructions anymore. Now this is your life. Go and make your own decisions.

ART COSTELLO: Was your dad raised in Singapore?

CYNTHIA ZHAI: No. My Dad was raised in China.



ART COSTELLO: Because I know that the Asian culture is very, very structured and they’re –


ART COSTELLO: -very big in education and having been in Vietnam in the 60’s in their early sixties I helped a little girl that was in an orphanage there that I had met after we had come off a patrol one night and I sent home for money so I could send her to school and denying and helped her. I thought that I was giving her probably the greatest gift that I could give her, you know, was education because education and knowledge can catapult you into so many areas. But I know in the Asian culture it’s very structured in a lot of ways. I grew up in a household where there was no structure, no direction. My parents didn’t have any expectations of me. They didn’t put any discipline in me. So I went in the marine corps at 17 to get that, to get that structure and discipline. How did you identify it that you wanted something different, that you knew that there was something different for you?

CYNTHIA ZHAI: So I think for me, my expectation for myself, I think since young was always that I wanted to develop all the talent that I have. We either the talent I can see or the talent that I cannot see. So that’s why I do everything. I learn everything and I’m always learning new things and trying to develop another area of myself. The thing from there that I knew that I can do something well and not only do well, but also may become very good at one area.

ART COSTELLO: I just got goosebumps. I just got goosebumps because really that is what I preach all the time to people. If you’re not trying and doing things, you’re never gonna know what your purpose is going to be in life. What really was meant for you because we can go many years. I did. I was in my sixties before I ever realized what God’s purpose was for me, what the purpose in life was, you know? But once you find it, it makes your life so much happier, warmer. I mean, so many different things happen when you do that.


“If you're not trying and doing things, you're never going to know what your purpose is going to be in life.” -Art Costello Share on X



ART COSTELLO: So it’s a great thing. It’s really, really great and it’s great that you have the intuition to be able to identify it and follow through on creating it.


ART COSTELLO: So the other question I had for you, not question, but the other thing that I noticed was you talk about not only knowledge but people –


ART COSTELLO: -engaging in communicating with people.

CYNTHIA ZHAI: –Yeah, that’s right.

ART COSTELLO: How did you get to the point where you gained enough knowledge that you could teach other people how to speak and how to do all these communication skills? It’s my belief that communication is the key to relationships.


ART COSTELLO: Everything in our lives when we can communicate with people, doesn’t matter what color, what their culture is, what anything. When we can communicate effectively, it’s a powerful thing.

CYNTHIA ZHAI: Yeah. So I think for me, even though I still am an introvert and [inaudible], I’m much more outgoing and happy introvert. Even though I was an introvert when I much more introverted when I was young. But I always liked to build relationships with people. And whenever I’m with people, I always see what can I learn from this person. And uh, so I think from that point on that I started to, in a way I was able to build relationships with people and from learning from people. One of the things, for example, when I was joining different groups, joining different associations. So I discovered a group where they’re a lot of trainers there. And I thought, okay, these are tweeners and I learned many things from them. I said, I can do this as well so from the people that I’ve met, I’ve started to try out different things and also in the end I found out that I enjoy teaching. I enjoy supporting people because I like to develop my own talent, so I enjoy supporting other people to develop their talent because I’ve learned in voice and I was in singing when I was young. I also did some radio in college, so that’s where I started to get very interested in voice, but never did I think about using this as a career until that when I was in my last job, which was we were training our own employees on communication, so that’s where people started to ask me about voice and I thought, oh, okay, looks like this is something that people are looking for. From there I also learned from many different teachers and that’s where I set up my own structure, my own program, and what I decided to do something on my own, my own business and a voice was the area that I thought about.

ART COSTELLO: Can you tell us about your business? I’d like to hear how you know, what it entails and what you do and I really admire that you’ve been to many different countries, you know, because I think that travel is really big. When you see other cultures and see how other people live, it really adds to your knowledge base. So can you tell us about your business and what it entails and in what you do and who you do with?

CYNTHIA ZHAI: Okay, so I help people, mainly professionals from all over the world speak with a more powerful voice so that they can be heard, be respected, and also be recognized whenever they speak as an expert in the room.

ART COSTELLO: That’s really a necessary skill to have.


ART COSTELLO: If you’re in the business world, but even more so in just everyday communication.


ART COSTELLO: My mom used to say something. She used to have a saying. It kind of went like, be careful how you speak because it affects what you speak. It was something like that, but my mother always wanted us to speak correctly, not to have an accent, just be more comprehension, more comprehendible. She was just big on it. She just thought that the better you can communicate, the further you can go in life. And I think there’s a truth in that.


ART COSTELLO: The better we communicate with people, the further we go in life. And –


ART COSTELLO: -a, I think you’re living proof of it. And by the way, I heard you sing last night.

CYNTHIA ZHAI: –You do like it.

ART COSTELLO: Yeah, I did. Maybe you find a new career.

CYNTHIA ZHAI: You know, I used to perform in schools.

 ART COSTELLO: Oh good. Tell us about that. Where did you physically grow? Was it in Singapore? Was in, in China?

CYNTHIA ZHAI: Yes. It was in China.

ART COSTELLO: In China. Where in China?

CYNTHIA ZHAI: Oh, it’s a city near Beijing, called Tin Jin.


CYNTHIA ZHAI: Yes. Well your pronunciation is very good.

ART COSTELLO: I’d love to go to China. Tell us about growing up, your childhood. How many brothers and sisters you had or what it was like, you know, because our audience doesn’t, I don’t think that we hear enough about the people, how they grew up in lived in what their parents expected of them and how their life went. I think it would be very interesting to hear this.

CYNTHIA ZHAI: Yes. I like this idea that you want to hear people from those countries because when we see it on TV, there are so many families and so many in the way wrong perceptions –


CYNTHIA ZHAI: -and for me, because I was born after the open door policy. The Chinese open door policy, we were having a quite an open and good life in a way, and I am the second of the three daughters [inaudible] three girls because my parents now as many Asian parents and probably also especially Chinese parents, that they wanted to have boys. They try three times, they didn’t succeed.

ART COSTELLO: I have four granddaughters.

CYNTHIA ZHAI: But now in the Chinese families, especially in the big cities like Shanghai, Beijing, people actually like to have girls, because girls then parents will spend less money when they get married.

ART COSTELLO: Oh really? Yes. Here girls are more expensive.

CYNTHIA ZHAI: Yeah. And uh, my dad, he was very strict. He was also very critical. He is very structured and I think part of it, because he was in the military.


CYNTHIA ZHAI: Yes, so he was always having very high expectation on us because he wanted a boy and he didn’t have he always told us, he said, if boys can do that, you can do it too.

ART COSTELLO: That’s good. He was before his time.

CYNTHIA ZHAI: So that’s why in a way we were raised as boys, we have short hairs and we’d climb trees.

ART COSTELLO: Here we would say you were a tomboy. They call it a Tomboy.

CYNTHIA ZHAI: But he is a visionary. My Dad was a visionary, you know, even when I was in primary one, because at my time you don’t learn English until I think it was primary or three or five. But my dad, somehow he realized the importance of English. So he actually sign up for us to learn English class. Yeah that was even before in schools that English was taught at my level so.

ART COSTELLO: That’s an interesting fact because you know, our perception Americans’ of China was that you were very backward in culture. You know, because of the communist dominance, they didn’t want you to learn English and stuff like that. And I wouldn’t have thought you would have had the ability to, to actually go out and learn it.

CYNTHIA ZHAI: Yeah. And also, you know, that was in the late eighties my dad was already realized the importance of learning English. You know, my dad at his time, he learned Russian, so he didn’t learn English that then later on in his job he realized the importance of English. So he actually taught himself simple English.

ART COSTELLO: Oh wow that’s beautiful.

CYNTHIA ZHAI: Yeah. So I think my dad, even though that he is very short temper and he is very critical, but I have respectful my dad and a lot of other areas. So he is really an a visionary. Even though, you know, he asked us to learn English at a very young age, but when I went to call it, he doesn’t agree for me to learn English as a major because he said English is only a tool. Everyone can speak English. And then when you go to the society, go out to the society, it’ll have a real skill. You can only speak English that’s not a skill. So he actually didn’t, asked us to use English as a major and that’s why you see now people even have this kind of earphones or robot, right? The robot is, they can do simultaneous translation. So that means that if you are major was English, then your job now is being replaced by the robot. So when I think about that, I thought, Oh actually thanks to my dad.

ART COSTELLO: Yeah, technology is changing the world. I mean it really is. In some ways it’s good and in some ways it’s not, you know, because we lose some of the beauty of our cultures when we become so technical that we’re almost like melded all together. We’re one, one human race. But then the beauty that is we have a greater understanding of each other. So how do you weigh the two against each other? Because I love experiencing other cultures and I don’t mean as a tourist, I like going and really learning what people’s lives are like that in different –


ART COSTELLO: countries. I think I learned more from that than anything else that I do.


ART COSTELLO: Because I’m a big people person and I’m certainly not an introvert. I’ve always been, I’ve always been a person that just makes friends easily just goes out. I can talk to anybody and have fun and enjoy because I have the same philosophy that you do. I have something to learn from every single person that I meet, they have something to teach me. And there is a beauty in that, you know? Because I don’t care who you are or where you come from. We do not know it all. We like to think we do, but we don’t. You know, meeting and being able to interact with other people is a really big thing. I mean I think it’s really, really important.

CYNTHIA ZHAI: Yeah. And also that really brings me joy, the joy of meeting people from different cultures and learn that the way they are living. So that is really a joyful me.


“That really brings me joy, the joy of meeting people from different cultures, and learn that the way they are living.” –Cynthia Zhai Share on X


ART COSTELLO: Here’s a question for you.


ART COSTELLO: What did your sisters do now?

CYNTHIA ZHAI: I know that my eldest sister, you probably won’t get surprised, both of them. My eldest sisters, they teach English in schools.

ART COSTELLO: That’s good. I love that.

CYNTHIA ZHAI: My father’s impact.


CYNTHIA ZHAI: My elder sisters do teaches English in a high school. My younger sister, she used to teach English and then later on she wanted to get into the society more. So she went into say, it was –

ART COSTELLO: –My daughter in law, I have a son that lives in Boulder, Colorado, and she travels to China probably once every couple months because of her work and –


ART COSTELLO: -She’s in a sales end of manufacturing and their products are manufactured in China. How many different languages do you speak?

CYNTHIA ZHAI: Oh, you know, they are so, so many dialects because I’m from the north. If I go to even to Shanghai in the beginning I couldn’t understand what they’re saying because they are speaking their dialect. And do you even and do today, if I go to like Kendall or Guangdong Province, the very southern part of China, they speak Cantonese. So I still couldn’t understand Cantonese. Yeah, there are so many.

ART COSTELLO: Do you speak, other than you know your dialect in Chinese? Do you speak any Spanish or French or anything like that?

CYNTHIA ZHAI: Oh, you know, I’m learning French. When I was in college, I used to learn a little bit German because the French class was all occupied. [inaudible] So I thought, okay, I’ll go to German class. So I learned a little bit German half a year, but forgot about everything. And now the more I travel, especially travel to Europe and doing some work in Europe, and I feel that after listening to so many European languages personally, I feel that it is, that French is beautiful. So I’m learning French now.

ART COSTELLO: Yeah, I actually, in college I had two semesters of French. If you don’t practice it, it leaves you, you forget it. I mean, I can remember some words, you know, and when I was in Vietnam, you know, because in Vietnam they speak a lot of French because of the French occupation. So, you know, it was good to have a little bit of knowledge of it. But I think that here in the United States, I think one of the languages that Americans need to learn Spanish. Because you know, we have such a growing population of Spanish people and they’re not assimilating into the American culture. They’re keeping their own culture. And specifically living in Texas because we’re so close to Mexico, one of the things that I see is in school, in my granddaughter’s Fifth Grade Class, they have so many kids that still only speak Spanish in our education system is really challenged right now to taking care of both sides of the equation of that.

CYNTHIA ZHAI: That’s right. So I remember a friend of mine, she lived in Texas and she is from Mexico when she was about three years old. I think she actually sends her daughter to a ESL school English as a second language school.


CYNTHIA ZHAI: I remember when I heard that I was, I was surprised. So now that you said about it, I think they make sense.

ART COSTELLO: Yeah. Yeah. It’s a big deal. You know. And then now in our country we’re having a big conversation about, you know, should people be here, should they be able to immigrate here and not and all that thing. But that’s another whole political thing that, that I don’t like. I’ll let the politicians deal with that. I, I care about people.


ART COSTELLO: And that’s what’s important to me. Speaking English how do you think that has helped you connect to people?

CYNTHIA ZHAI: First of all, I think I need to thank Singapore. I am grateful to Singapore because Singapore is that an international platform. It’s a very international city. So English here is the first language and because English is the first language in Singapore, so it helps me to reach people from all over the world. And also that speaking English was helping me to be able to communicate with people from around the world because I think still, English is something that even on officially people use as a language to do business, to communicate. So because of that I was able to also speak in different continents.

ART COSTELLO: Yeah. And that’s, it gets us back to the communication thing. You know, when you learn different languages that are not native to you, I think it helps you meld into that particular culture easy. Like if I spoke a mandarin or Cantonese and I went to China, it would be very, I think to Chinese people would be more accepting of me when I can speak their language and understand it. And I think –


ART COSTELLO: -that’s one of the things here that we’re having a little bit of difficulty with as Americans. A lot of the people that come across from Mexico don’t want to really learn English. They keep speaking Spanish. So it’s kind of like a war of the languages, you know, of what’s gonna come. Because a lot of people outside of Texas don’t realize what it’s like to live in Texas. You know, we’re becoming the minority now here and it’s very different and it’s very hard for people to accept. So, uh, you know, it gets difficult. I think that when you embrace challenges and you, you learn how to maneuver through them and you’re willing to communicate and accept and, and stand strong on the things that you believe in, you know, it makes for a better world. And we’re becoming smaller. The world is actually becoming smaller because of the Internet.


ART COSTELLO: I mean, I would not be having this conversation with you.

CYNTHIA ZHAI: Yeah. Yeah. I have a trainer friend, I speak her friend as well. So he went to India and then from Singapore in his audience, someone asked him, do you know Cynthia?

CYNTHIA ZHAI: And then my friend was more surprised. They said, how did you know Cynthia? He said, Oh, I saw her on Youtube.

ART COSTELLO: That’s a great, isn’t that beautiful bit somebody in India? No, Cynthia who knew somebody that was speaking there. I mean, –


ART COSTELLO: -there’s, that’s a great thing, you know?



CYNTHIA ZHAI: My friend was very surprised.

ART COSTELLO: I wouldn’t be surprised, you know? I mean, the population of all the people do you know Cynthia? You know, I mean, it’s just, it’s crazy so. What do you think the most important thing in learning voice is? What do you think the most important thing to really digest in?

CYNTHIA ZHAI: You know, most people came to me for improving their voice for the use of business, be it us speak, be us more confidence in meetings, in presentations, or use their voice to inspire and motivate their audience. But if we put all of these aside, put these business kinds of things aside, what I really believe in that learning about voice is a way of making yourself, we’re hope because of all these stress, all these kind of things that we experience in a society, all these negative things that they have a direct impact in the body and the direct impact on the body also has a direct impact on the voice. So everyone actually is living, if they have never trained on their voice, everyone is walking relieving every day in their life with a half used body, half used a voice. So when we can develop the voice which has a full voice, you’ll become more whole. So that’s actually the best part about developing the voice.


“All these kind of things that we experience in society, all these negative things, that they have a direct impact in the body. And the direct impact on the body also has a direct impact on the voice.” –Cynthia Zhai Share on X


ART COSTELLO: Wow. I never even thought of that. But it’s true when you think about it because when you talk to people who are anxiety ridden or fearful, their voice is different. That’s how we, and I mean in my profession, you know, of talking to people and understanding, you know, psychology and therapy and all of these things. We listened to voice a lot and pick up our intuition comes from how they’re speaking and, and all that. I guess maybe I have thought about it, but I never put it in as much credence on that is I do now when you said that, because it really does make a difference.


ART COSTELLO: When somebody uptight, I’m always so relaxed, you know, when I talk to people, everybody’s my friends. So I just, you know, I don’t get uptight. I may stutter and stammer when I’m trying to think of things, but I’m always comfortable about that. You know, I don’t worry about making a fool of myself because I’ve done it so often that, that I, uh, I guess I just accepted as part of me. But you know,

CYNTHIA ZHAI: now that you talk about it, I was just talking to my family and my sisters yesterday I said, I feel like I am missed a been at times. You know, the silly behaviors that he had. I feel that sometimes I have all of those silly behaviors that [inaudible] had.

ART COSTELLO: Well, you probably do. I mean, we pick up people that influence us. That’s why on the Internet now you gotta be careful about who you choose as your influencer because you really do start to assimilate some of their, their mannerisms, their speech patterns. I mean all kinds of things, you know.

CYNTHIA ZHAI: I don’t see them. It’s not simulate Mr. Bean by thing, because at times I am reckless. So that’s why my behavior I behave at times like Mr. Bean, like what you were saying just now I think is something that we should not be concerned about too much or kind of the city behaviors because that’s part of who we are.

ART COSTELLO: Yeah, well most people live in that space of fear and they’re afraid they’ll embarrass themselves or they’re embarrassed their family or say something that is not gonna be accepted by people and they don’t do it. I don’t mean with the, we shouldn’t have filters, you know, because we need to be cognizant of what we say and how we speak. And I would never want to say anything that would ever hurt anybody intentionally, you know? So I, I think I tried to pick and choose my words carefully, but still in this space of being free. When you were living in China, did you ever feel like you couldn’t speak your voice? You couldn’t be your true self? I mean because of the political spectrum and all that.

CYNTHIA ZHAI: You know, that really depends on individuals because for me, I am not someone who is outspoken about things in this society. So at least 12 years ago when oh was still leaving better. So I was not someone who was very outspoken about society issues. So if you are not someone who is having that character, then it doesn’t matter because you can actually speak freely in many areas.

ART COSTELLO: That’s another thing that living here and not living there and not experiencing it, we –


ART COSTELLO: -have this thing of TNM and square of man –


ART COSTELLO: -standing in front of a tank and he’s gonna get run over because he spoke his voice and all that.


ART COSTELLO: Which brings me to a point about voice and communication. Oftentimes it’s how we say things and when we say things that matter more than actually what we say, you know what I mean?


ART COSTELLO: What are your feelings on that? About in communicating?

CYNTHIA ZHAI: I was just writing a post and also an article on my blog and the title of my blog article was, young content is only as powerful as the way your voice delivers it. Because many of my clients, they can, they really, they are the expert. They have a lot of expertise, they have a lot of content, but when they speak, the voice does not deliver that does not convey that. So that’s why when they speak, even though they were the experts, but they never had any reaction from people. So which made them very frustrated. Some of them they were angry. Is that what’s wrong with these people? They didn’t react to what I said.

ART COSTELLO: I’m going to ask you for some advice. I’m gonna get real personal.


ART COSTELLO: I can speak to people face to face. I can speak to large groups, but you put me in front of a camera. My mind goes all over the place. I mean that just, you know, any advice for me, for people that I don’t want to use? I hate using the word can’t because I can and I always can, but I just get frustrated. I let the camera frustrate me, but yet I can sit here and talk to you through this zoom and watch you. And if I didn’t see your face, it would become more difficult for me –


ART COSTELLO: To talk to you because I wouldn’t have the connection.

CYNTHIA ZHAI: Yes. So I think that’s the root of this issue because when I work with my clients who actually go to the root of the problem. So for you, because you are a people person, so if you’ll see the camera, you don’t see person there. So that’s why it drives you in a way. It drives you nuts. So for you, that’s actually from what I’m hearing, that’s the real issue. So when you are in the, in front of the camera, probably, you know you can put someone there, maybe just have one person in front of the camera or even if you don’t have a person, this is going to be, I know also some fun thing to do. You can print out someone’s photo or a group of people whose photo pulled there and then imagining yourself speaking to them.

ART COSTELLO: Well if you see me on the Internet printing a photo of you out, then it’s cause I’m thinking of you telling me this.

CYNTHIA ZHAI: Okay. Whatever will help.

ART COSTELLO: Yeah. It’s funny how, how our brain works with things, you know, because I mean I’ve actually spoken on an airplane where people on wanted to know what I had done and I or what I do and they, we started talking and then pretty soon it was not just three people, it was five people then it was 10 people and you know, pretty soon half of the airplane was really interested in what I was saying. I had no problem with it.


ART COSTELLO: Till somebody raises up camera and goes.

CYNTHIA ZHAI: You want to see beyond that camera.

ART COSTELLO: Yeah. So it’s really funny how our brain works, you know? And I’m not fearful. I mean it doesn’t strike fear in me. It just, my brain works. I think different. I’m, I mean my brain is connected to people and the most important thing to me is relationships with people and things. Money doesn’t matter. It really, none of that really matters to me. It’s about the connection that I have with people and what I can learn from them and what they can teach me. And that’s to me is the beauty of life. That’s what living is about. And I’m really honored that you teach people to communicate because it’s such an important part of not only business, but life living. You know?

CYNTHIA ZHAI: –Yes, that’s why.

ART COSTELLO: A deal with a lot of people that have a lot of problems communicating their feelings to their spouses, to their children and all that. When you think about that, that’s very sad because that’s the most important thing is being able to not only nurture those relationships, but your children are gonna pick up those traits, you know? And they’re gonna perpetuate it. So what do you think about the Internet and communicating? Because it’s become a different, a whole different way now –


ART COSTELLO: -with the Internet, with Facebook and Instagram and linked in and all these platforms that in some ways have given people voice, but in other ways has taken other people’s voice away.

CYNTHIA ZHAI: So I think it’s really how we use it because there are people, they have the cyber bully problem. So they would think, oh no one can know who I am. Then they would bully people on the Internet. So that’s actually the bad use of Internet. But I think the purpose of those who actually invented the Internet in the first place is to bring people closer, bring people together. I think in some ways that I did because we can find our primary schools classmates through the Internet. We can form a group communicating with those people. I still have a group, with my high school classmates, so we are actually communicating almost on a weekly basis. I think when we put the Internet into good use it does bring people closer.

ART COSTELLO: Yeah. I think it’s about communication and knowledge. The transference of knowledge, you know, that is a good thing and when it’s used right. But as all things in life, you know, there’s people who want to do not good things or bad things and you know, we just have to out-number them and bring to rise into the forefront in our communication.

CYNTHIA ZHAI: So I think that’s why, you know, Facebook I think not long ago it started to have this to close down some of the account who always posting posts, I’ll hate speeches.


CYNTHIA ZHAI: So actually they did it. Some of those accounts or a posting hate speech.

ART COSTELLO: Yeah. You know, and here it becomes a challenge because of free speech and you know, does somebody have the right, but I think in humanity no one has the right to degrade somebody else or bully them or push them around in any way. So you know, we use it for good purposes and all that. So few more questions. We’re getting pretty close to almost being here an hour goes so fast. What have you got coming up? What are you doing right now as far as your business? You’re going to come into the United States soon or anything like that?


“Your content is only as powerful as the way your voice delivers it.” I think in humanity, no one has the right to degrade somebody else, or bully them, or push them around in any way. ­–Art Costello Share on X


CYNTHIA ZHAI: I’ll be in San Francisco in September, so I’ll be speaking at a global sand healing conference. So I’ll be talking about the healing through the power of the voice, the human voice to like what I talked about does now the voice. When we don’t focus on the business side, it is to help us become more whole. So that’s something that we’ll be doing in the stays in September.

ART COSTELLO: I’m gonna be in San Diego in September, –

CYNTHIA ZHAI: –Uh, okay.

ART COSTELLO: -September 18th through the 22nd we have a conference in San Diego.

CYNTHIA ZHAI: Okay, so the conference in San Francisco is 20th to 23rd.


CYNTHIA ZHAI: I’ll be speaking on 23rd.

ART COSTELLO: We’re gonna to have to stay in contact cause maybe we can actually meet, you know, that would be great.

CYNTHIA ZHAI: Maybe let me talk way there.

ART COSTELLO: Yeah. How long are you gonna be here?

CYNTHIA ZHAI: So I’ll probably be there for about a week. I have some clients there as well, so I’ll be meeting them.

ART COSTELLO: In San Francisco?


ART COSTELLO: Yes. That’s a multicultural city. I love San Francisco.


ART COSTELLO: I love going there and visiting because it’s so multicultural and friendly. There’s a lot of friendly people there. Have you been to Texas yet?

CYNTHIA ZHAI: Oh, not yet.

ART COSTELLO: Not yet. It’s a very friendly state. It really is. It’s becoming, over the past 15 years, it has really become a melting pot of different cultures and stuff. So that’s really neat to see that happening. A lot of people don’t like it, but it’s a good thing, you know, anytime we learn more, so anything else coming up?

CYNTHIA ZHAI: And then November I’ll be in Spain, so I’ll be speaking at a conference in Spain and be will be my second time to Spain and I love Europe. So I think after that I’ll be touring around in Europe.

ART COSTELLO: That’s great. That’s great.


ART COSTELLO: So do you get back to mainland China very often?

CYNTHIA ZHAI: Not very often. I think about maybe once a year. During the Chinese new year.

ART COSTELLO: Do you still have family in China?

CYNTHIA ZHAI: Yes, I have relatives.

ART COSTELLO: Uh Huh. That’s good.

CYNTHIA ZHAI: Sometimes, some of the companies in Singapore, they will send me to Shanghai to do some workshops. So that’s another opportunity where I will be visiting.

ART COSTELLO: Hmm Mm. That’s great. Well, where can people get a hold of you if they want to learn more about voice and then, and I encourage everybody to really do that because I think Cynthia has a lot of skill and teaching people to speak and do it with authority and with inspiration. So where can people find out about you?

CYNTHIA ZHAI: Sure. So they can find about me in two places. One is that as I mentioned, the YouTube Channel, so I have about 23,000 subscribers and they can just go to YouTube and Google search “Voice Code Cynthia”. Then they will find my channel. And the second way that they can get a hold of my teaching is to go to a three day crash course that I did, “Focusing On The Voice” where I take them step by step to know that what they can develop, where the challenges are. So in that three day crash course, they can find it in bitly.com/voicecashcourse.

ART COSTELLO: That is great. I want to thank you for spending this time with me and my audience. I really appreciate it.


ART COSTELLO: Anything we can do to help you, you know, feel free to just let us know how we can help you and, and we’ll do that. And –

CYNTHIA ZHAI: –Yeah, thank you for having me.

ART COSTELLO: Oh no, it’s been a pleasure and I really enjoy you and I can tell that you’re authentic and you’re really passionate about what you do and it’s so important for people to learn how to communicate. So –


ART COSTELLO: It’s great.

CYNTHIA ZHAI: And it’s been a pleasure talking with you as well.

ART COSTELLO: Yeah, well we learn a lot from each other. I think we can learn a lot from each other and that’s a good thing –


ART COSTELLO: -so, well with that being said, we’re gonna ended up today. So again, thank you Cynthia. I really appreciate you being on everything that Cynthia has told us about where to get hold of her will be in the show notes, all of her links to YouTube and her social media and all that will be in there. And you all know where you can find me at expectationtherapy.com and expectationacademy.com where you can get my online course. So with that being said, thank you much audience.



About Cynthia Zhai

“Do you know Cynthia?”,asked one man from India. Having been able to travel across many countries in five continents, Cynthia Zhai is undoubtedly known around the world. She is an Author, Speaker, and a Professional Voice Coach. Her journey was not easy, however. She had to overcome challenges, break away from a structured upbringing and most of all, contend with her introverted nature. For 17 years, Cynthia has been helping entrepreneurs and speakers develop their full voice, a voice filled with conviction that really inspires and impacts listeners.

Connect with Cynthia:

Website: https://www.powerfulexecutivevoice.com/
Email:  support@powerfulexecutivevoice.com
Facebook: https://web.facebook.com/cynthia.zhai?_rdc=1&_rdr
Twitter: https://twitter.com/yourvoicecoach/
LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/cynthiazhai/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/cynthiazhai/


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