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April 1

Speak Out

2013

Turn up the pages to know about the views of CTM fraternity about Communication

It’s all how you ‘COMMUNICATE’


SPEAK OUT

April 1, 2013

CONTENTS 1. Effectiveness of Communication……………………….……2 - President Deepa Bharatkumar 2. Golden Modes of Communication….....................................3 – TM Thanigeashwara 3. Communicate and Conquer………………………...............4 - TM Anjaneya 4. The ABCD Gap…………………………………….……..….5 -TM Sneha Scholastica 5. Communication ……………………………….………..……7 – TM Vignesh 6. The C Paradox………….………………………….….….….8 – TM Bharath Raja 7. Intelligible Communication …..............................................9 – TM Trust Dekewende 8. English Vinglish……………………………………………...10 - TM Anirudh 9. How to Improve English........................................................12 - TM Selva Bharathi 10. Communication Metamorphosis….....................................13 - Swati Varadharajan 11. Communication-the corner stone of survival.....................14 - TM S Varadharajan 12. There Is Never An End!!!.....................................................15 - TM Monisha Remadevan Editor’s Note……………………………………….……………17

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SPEAK OUT

April 1, 2013

Effectiveness of Communication

The effectiveness of our COMMUNICATION depends on how crisp, clear and concise our message is - whether we are writing, speaking or gesturing. Authors can worry about their written communication skills, artists can worry about their graphic communication skills, but all of need to be very aware of our verbal communication skills - Don't we? Welcome to the COMMUNICATION edition of the Chennai Toastmasters Club's magazine - Speak Out! Telling Toastmasters about the importance and value of good COMMUNICATION is akin to preaching to the Pope; however, value and importance of communication is an intangible. And like all other intangibles, good COMMUNICATION tends to get taken for granted most of the time. We tend to move through our daily life with whatever abilities we were born with and whatever skills we chanced to pick up along the way. We learn communication as a by=product of everything else we study or work on - very seldom do we go through a focused exercise to improve our communication skills. Joining Toastmasters then, is a huge leap forward! In this edition, you can look forward to veteran and budding Toastmasters sharing their tips, views and experiences about COMMUNICATION. Enjoy! Other news..... The Tri-Divisional conference for Divisions G, M and N is coming up! Scheduled for April 21st 2013 at the RMZ Millennia IT Park's Ford Campus, dubbed "Tamil Nadu Toastmasters Conference" and nicknamed TNTC, it promises to be a scintillating conference with spectacular contest speeches, informative training sessions and camaraderie. Our star speaker TM Sudha Rajesh is representing our club and Area G1 in the International Speech Contest, and is polishing her script as I pen this article. Let's show up in large number and see her through to the finals at District level! Speaking of District level..... District 82's semi-annual conference, Ovations 2013, shall be held on May 24th and 25th at the Hyatt in Chennai. This is an opportunity to rub shoulders with stalwarts in our District, witness world-class speeches as the Titans of all Divisions clash in the International Speech and Table Topics Contests and also have some serious fun! A lot to look forward to, Toastmasters! Happy COMMUNICATING!

Deepa Bharatkumar President Chennai Toastmasters Club

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SPEAK OUT

April 1, 2013

Golden modes of communication

Last year I had the privilege of attending one of our division conference held at Anna university alumni club, where Dr. Irai Anbu IAS was the chief guest. The guest speech he delivered was the talk of the town in the toastmasters‘ circles for months. In a 45 minute speech, he gave the history of communication starting from the Neanderthal man to the modern man. How the communication evolved during the course of the time. His delivery was impeccable. At last what he conveyed was that every oratory skill can be nurtured in the course of time but the most important skill that has to be developed is listening. He also stressed that all the glorified leaders in the world has this ability of listening. This reminds me of an incident when Mother Teresa went to a local bakery to ask for bread for the starving children in the orphanage. The baker, outraged at people begging for bread from him, spat in her face and refused. Mother Teresa calmly took out her handkerchief, wiped the spit from her face and said to the baker, ―Okay, that was for me. Now what about the bread for orphans?‖ The baker, shamed by her response, gave her the bread she wanted. This incident shows her patience and the ability of her not to react but to respond. I also believe that if we have the ability to listen and respond than to react will bring an enormous amount of change to our day to day life. Starting from personal to work life, if one develops this ability of listening, I am sure the person will rise to more heights in life. Another important mode of communication is silence. At times every one will have argument either with their spouses or colleagues or parents or siblings etc. During these situations, if one has the ability to maintain silence, I think their life will have more piece compared to others who don‘t maintain silence. Let us cultivate these golden modes of communication and enrich our lives. -TM Thanigeshwara

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SPEAK OUT

April 1, 2013

Communicate and Conquer

I hail from a small village named Edubadunear Vijayawada. This village with 150 families is blessed with a five acre fresh water lake thriving with abundant Korameenu (ChanaMarulias), Vanjaram (Mackerel) fish which are not fished. Three hectares of farming land acts as a catchment for this pond. Rich black alluvial soil is idle for Virginia Tobacco and Prima Cotton. In summer village used to turn into festive atmosphere. Families used to offer curd rice, Pongal to all village children turn by turn. Dramas, skits, puppet shows used to be organized to entertain .In short, village was blessed with abundant potable water many social activities and thriving agricultural activities. As a migratory bird to city, my association with my village was only touch and go. Until recently, I never spent a week at a stretch in my village. For performing obituary rights to my mother, I stayed for ten days and I like to share today status and my plan to address these issues. First – Children travel every day 20 KM for attending English medium school. While interacting with them most of them were not aware of Indian epics like Ramayana or Mahabharatha. There was no reading habit which was resulting to very less exposure to outside world and thoughts. I started engaging these school going children, inspired them with moral stories. I want to inculcate reading and leadership qualities. As a first step, I have subscribed to Chandamama (Kids magazine) for these children. Second – Due to lack of group activities, camaraderie among villagers has reduced which is manifesting into negative energy. In my previous visit, I conducted stretching exercises, basic Yoga and laughing exercise which was well received by the villagers. I am working to bring them together by visiting the village every month by teaching them physical exercises. Dear Friends – I am working improve the living conditions of my village where my parents, ancestors have loved living. Certainly I will go back to my village by 2023 and will do what Anna Hazare has done to Ralegaon Siddhi. -TM Anjaneya

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SPEAK OUT

April 1, 2013

The ABCD Gap

Over a monthly status call that our group organizes, one of our leader was asking few questions to his subordinate. The latter voice is very feeble and vague that it was difficult for the audience to understand. Nevertheless, the leader was able to understand the conversation very meticulously. This status call is a medium which is open to more than 100 listeners and discuss on a specific agenda over a voice conference. One of the major drawback in these calls is people couldn‘t get to see other‘s faces and their voice become the only source of communication. Post the call, I approached my supervisor and asked few questions based on few observations from the call. Self: ―Were you able to hear/ understand what Bala (subordinate who answered leader‘s queries) spoke over call?‖ Hari: ―No‖. Self: ―Neither was I able to understand. However, Shankar (leader) could comprehend without any difficulty. How is that possible?‖ Hari: ―Because they are working together for a long time. Shankar is habituated to the way Bala expresses his views and they can understand each other anytime. The same way, I understand your views how vague and disconnected at times‖ This is very true that we usually don‘t plan and construct our speech when we have to express our thoughts to family and friends. We wouldn‘t think that such a planning is required to communicate with them. We use few film quotes, hint on personal historical moments, new nomenclatures, specific sign languages, pause, silence and they will still be able to connect and follow with us. However, it‘s not the same situation we anticipate while we address to extensive unfamiliar folks. It‘s quite a challenging task to ensure that the receivers get the intended message without any distortion. Pondering on the barriers that one needs to overcome to result in effective communication, few are which I could list down. 1. Lack of planning: Few of the speeches fail if the below is not taken care that contributes to planning. a. Content organization – A speech without proper structure and transitions b. Time duration – Speech that is very short than expected from receiver and when it over shoots time that can make them look at their watches. The latter is more serious as people may need to postpone their plans and realign accordingly. c. Communication channel – Finding the right channel to communicate the appropriate message. Few messages will be effective with visual aids, few with usage of props, few with video conferencing, few over call, few others with handouts and so on.

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SPEAK OUT

April 1, 2013

2. Ambiguity/ vagueness – The message has to have a central theme. Any anecdote or any point has to be stitched around this central theme. The right articulation of the same to ensure precision and clarity. 3. Information overload – It‘s good to have more information in hand but a good communicator gives the information in small packages for the audience to assimilate and reflect. Crammed presentation might saturate the audience over some time. 4. Failure to connect with audience – Content and method of delivery has to be decided from audience perspective. Any mismatch can cause disconnect between twining ends. 5. Feeble voice, improper usage of words and incorrect body language – It‘s better to speak and act neutrally that it doesn‘t affect any socio – cultural values. Lastly, an audible voice to enhance the reach. Therefore, it‘s better to create a checklist and spot the barriers that detain the impact. If we have any, then cautiously eliminate them until it becomes a practice. Thus, evolve as an effective communicator.

-TM Sneha

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SPEAK OUT

April 1, 2013

Communication

All of us have different perspectives about communication. Some say that it is how you speak on stage and some say it is how you speak off stage. But I have a different opinion. Communication according to me is how you speak to people and how you treat them while speaking to them. Now, in workplaces and other social gatherings a lot of importance is given by us and by people around us with respect to how we speak to everyone. It is one of those instances where your boss and junior can grab a drink and can start judging you. It is one of those instances where bonding blossoms because of the mutual hatred your boss and junior have towards you. Unfortunately, we take these things very seriously, shoot it straight up into our head thereby losing our hair, energy and most importantly time. But hey, aren‘t we missing something here??!! We give a lot of importance to how to talk to our peers, we give a lot of importance when we talk to our boss, and we give a lot of importance when we are talking on a toastmasters platform. But how many of us give the same amount of importance when to talk to our parents, our relatives and most importantly our friends?? Think about it for a minute…. And in this one minute you would have realised that you hardly give 10% of that importance to these people who matter the most to you in your life. Why is it so? Because we have always taken them for granted and have never managed to spend some quality time with them. So the next time your mother asks you to run to the grocery store, think for a minute and then answer. So the next time your father asks you to pick him up from the office, think for a minute and then answer. So, the next time your son/daughter calls you when you are in the middle of an official phone call, think for a minute and then answer. And if you are asking me ―Why should I think for one minute and then answer?‖ Then that is precisely the reason why I am writing this piece. Communication - How you speak to people and How you treat them while speaking to them -TM Vignesh

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SPEAK OUT

April 1, 2013

The C Paradox

Right now everything that has been invented and accepted for many years are rethought rediscovered in the sense of new light. You would have heard that the judging criteria of a contest speech are 70% for the content and language, 30% for the delivery. It took a long journey for me to realize this is in fact a communication paradox. I heard about this one from TM Rajesh Natrajan. For those who still don't believe that this is a paradox I will give you an example which proves otherwise. Give a great speech to the worst actor and the worst script to a great actor. In both the case the output would be poor. Therefore, communication is the multiple of both content and delivery. If anyone is zero however great the other, it results in zero communication. It must be stressed that we have to write the content based on how we deliver it? What is our style in delivering the speech? Etc. Also we have to deliver it based on the content. Imagine both delivery and the content as a two horses. If our delivery style and the content style horse pulled in opposite direction then there will be no movement and no speech. If both of them pull the carriage in the same direction then there is movement and great speech happening .Good synergy between the two will make even a simple speech extraordinary. So, this can be taken care and we must give importance to both the content and delivery like two eyes. Spending equal time and effort on both will give a brilliant result. Most of us will prepare for weeks on the content and prepare only a couple of days practicing the delivery part. After hearing this Communication paradox I think you will spend equal time for both and become effective communicators of the 21st century. -

Tamilnadu Toastmasters Conference Register in the below URL: http://goo.gl/YO2xz

SEE YOU ALL @ RMZ MILLENIA PARK ON APRIL 21st , 2013

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TM Bharath Raja


SPEAK OUT

April 1, 2013

Intelligible Communication

Our human experiences call us to grapple with the most fundamental questions of existence. At this juncture it is the question of understanding whatever is communicated. Our human nature is that which is distinctive in the use of language proper to script or code. This is not to be construed as though animals do not communicate. However human communication calls for understanding or certain intelligibility and this is what differentiates us from the rest of living things. Have you ever asked yourself a question during a Toastmasters session or even in our everydayness encounter of the world; how is all or any word (spoken or written) understood? Someone may crack a joke and it may pass with indifference or a great laughter. The inquiry has its basis on the general ground that every message can be understood only when it is decoded. Otherwise it may be mere speaking without saying anything. Some people speak but say nothing because of absence of meaning while others may be silent yet saying a great lot. This all come to the point that effective communication is an art. It is a process of conveying meaning to the other. Meaning is conveyed in mutual understanding of what is communicated. Therefore understanding is a function of communication and understanding itself is unique to human experiences. However, how we understand a message conveyed remains a central question to the fields of modern social sciences and humanities in general. For example, in our meetings in Ruby Hall as CTM club members, as speakers we want to make our message understood as a whole from the combination of all phrases we utter. On the other hand, as the audience we want to have a ‗fusion of horizon‘ with the speaker as this channel of communication take place Friedrich Schleiermacher, a German philosopher devised a methodological tool to break this vicious cycle. It involves the objective interpretations such as use of grammar, to the psychological (subjective) interpretation on the speaker‘s production of thought and reaches its peak as what is already understood by the listener is clarified by the speaker and finally meaning finds its amplification intuitively. Even though this method is not conclusive, it may assist us as Toastmasters to utilise on our operations of understanding itself in relation to the message that we communicate to others or that is communicated to us. In effect the message is of mutual understanding-an exchange. Finally, the locus of communication springs from inner expressions of life itself. Both the speaker and the listener ought to share the language and the subject of discourse. Thus minimal pre-knowledge is necessary for understanding, without which, one cannot leap into the communication ring.

-TM Trust Dekwende

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SPEAK OUT

April 1, 2013

English Vinglish

When I checked Wi ki pedi a about communi cati on, i t defi ned “ Com m unication (from Lati n "communi s", meani ng to share) i s the acti vi ty of conveyi ng i nformati on thr ough the exchange of thoughts, messages, or i nformati on, as by speech, vi suals, si gnals, wri ti ng, or behavi our”. So when I and Trust Dekwende were collaborated the job of editor for this month‘s newsletter something prodded my mind which made me to think how would have been our communication if there was no common language between us. Me born and brought up in Chennai with a Tamil linguistic background and he was from a city called Harare in Zimbabwe, I can‘t even spell the name of his mother tongue properly. And so I realised the beauty of the language English, which connects all over the world. And so it made me to write a few lines appreciating English which helps from a layman to a well-read person. Butler English experiences: I was packing up to return Chennai after my visit to Pune couple of years back. I requested a Tamil speaking Bihari guy who was working in the boarding house where I stayed to help me fetching a Taxi in the Marathi land. He promised me to help but in return I should teach him at least four courtesy sentences in English to welcome his guests and to enquire them their needs, I agreed to it. The first statement was to address his guests whenever he was called to their lodging room―Good morning/afternoon/evening/ night, how can I help you?‖ He nodded and asked me to proceed with the next sentence. When he gets orders from the guest, I told him to reply ―Thank you for your orders Sir/Madam‖ My next statement for him was to greet his guests when they leave their room temporarily to visit places- ―Have a nice time sir/madam‖ And the final one was when they depart, to greet them with a safe journey and to visit back if they come to Pune again, ―Thank you for your stay sir/madam. Have a safe journey. Please Visit us again in future‖. He felt that it was simple and thanked me. But I was sceptic and started testing him. He blushed and showed reticence. I forced him and he spoke ―Good morning sir, I help how?‖ Though I thought of correcting him, I felt the actual meaning was conveyed to me and it will also convey to others. I am not here to teach him proper English for his school examinations but just for communicating with his clients.

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April 1, 2013

I questioned him, how he will reply after taking orders. He replied ―Thank you‖ and got stuck. I told him that it will be better to say ―Thank you for your orders‖. He grasped it and came back again as ―Thanks you orders sir‖. I felt that the guest will completely forget what he/she had ordered after hearing this. So instead of asking him to repeat I made him to write the four sentences in a paper and to practice on his own. He wrote those English sentences in Hindi script. He thanked me and got my number to stay in contact. Three months later I got a call from this guy and he greeted me and told me that he got appreciations for his service and those four sentences made a huge change in three months. I was so gratified that someone has a better living just because of my diminutive help. I felt that is what communication is all about, to convey your thought as well as to understand from the other end. And English is a simple language which helps you to do that.

We have seen many auto rickshaw drivers in Chennai who make their living by communicating to tourists from other states and country with a limited amount of English knowledge. Chennai is the only place where visitors are forced to speak in English, if they are not familiar with the local language. One can come across a guy in a petty shop to a bearer in a restaurant, running their business by the way in which English is known to them. And we Toastmasters, we look to hone our communication skills in order to become a good public speaker and to shine in our respective careers. So at the end it‘s all about communicating as per your requirements. Just like an economy sachet pack for plebeian to an extra-large pack for affluent, English serves everyone. -TM Anirudh

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April 1, 2013

How to Improve English

Communication Skills Tips: Practice makes a man perfect. Start your practice with lot of interest.

1)

Read the dictionary and remember five to ten words a day.

2)

When you read a word, find some example to use that word in many ways.

3)

Ask your friends and family, if you really don't know the meaning of the word or the usage

4)

Feel free to talk in English even though you are learning.

5)

Think before you speak in your mind, that will gives a clear output(practically proved)

6)

Do not feel shy or nervous to learn from others.

7)

Apply the simple English words into your routine. That will help you to a great extent.

8)

Never lose the interest to learn new words. Always keep up the practice.

Which I read in Wikipedia while browse‌‌

-TM Selva Bharathi

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SPEAK OUT

April 1, 2013

Communication Metamorphosis

"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug."- Mark Twain ―Communication‖ is often misinterpreted as an action that involves expressing one‘s ideas through talking. Communication is rather a term that wholly means various other intimate processes like active listening and understanding along with the crude form of communicating. It may be through direct addressing, through messages, through e- mails, through advertisements, so on and so forth. To effectively put forward one‘s view, he/she must ensure that the receiving party has a willing-tolisten attitude. This requires enlisting the audience using apt techniques that include attractive body language, voice modulation, intonations and clear enunciations. One inspiring example is the former CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs. Jobs had an exceptional command over his language and his content. He held thousands of people with rapt attention and often used words like ―exceptional‖, ―fascinating‖, ―amazing‖, ―awesome‖ etc. to enhance his expressions. The message that is intended to be conveyed to the receiver is already half-conveyed when the method adopted to do so is efficient. For instance, the same advertisement could be projected in a variety of ways with the crux of the idea preserved. But it is choosing the best alternative that creates the impact on the viewers. Choosing the right audience also plays a part since choosing the wrong set of people can defeat the very purpose of communicating. Today, communication has taken an entirely different meaning. Though traditional methods of assessing an individual, based on his soft skills and public speaking, prevails, but gone are the days when business deals were made over a personal meeting or even friends meeting up over a cup of tea. With the ever growing need of social networking and internet, here are the times where contracts are signed over the web and a job interview is conducted over a phone / video call. Though this marks the advent of a different era of communicating style, the essentials of effective communication has not been buried under the debris of pre historical approach. By Swati Varadarajan B Tech III - SRM University Daughter of TM S Varadarajan

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April 1, 2013

Communication- the cornerstone for survival

As the sun rises and day breaks, the silence is broken by the bustling of birds and the sound of nature and its constituents. Nature has its own beautiful way of giving us a sense of the need to communicate and be listened to. Being an integral part of nature and God‘s creation, we humans as her most refined creations have many more features which make us unique in this whole universe and beyond. Communication skills can very much be acquired and refined through structured methods, defined processes and best practices. For some who are born with the gift of the gab have a slight edge over others, but if this small fortunate population sit on their laurels and don‘t sharpen their skills they will soon be left behind the rest of the crowd. Trained Communicators are now not scarce, because of some very timetested platforms like Toastmasters which can transform a man from a mere stone to a precious diamond. As communicators our jobs are not just restricted to talking. We have a larger role to play in the society. If some of us who are fortunate to have sound formal education, good upbringing and encouraging support systems can tread that extra path, they can do real noble deeds for the mankind as a whole. For those in their professions where all or some of the modes of communication written, oral and verbal communication are an essential part then it is best to practice communication through a structured programme in order to get best value. Getting trained in many of the essential needs of our daily lives should not be looked as taboo or wastage of time and money. Today unlike the past, most leaders are trained in the art and science of effective and efficient communication. So we find extremely capable Leaders in many fields. Neither leadership skills nor Leaders have now remained the domain of the few designated business / non-business genres. We thrive for leadership qualities right from an early age. Challenges stare at our faces at every step. Strong communication ethics become the cornerstone in excelling at every stage of our lives. A great communicator has the wherewithal to dethrone even the most influential and strong armed opponent. With Entrepreneurship an avenue rising at a supersonic pace the mantra for ―survival of the fittest‖ is best fit for the best communicators. Happy communicating.

TM S Varadarajan

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April 1, 2013

There is never an END!!!

Communication does not start when someone knows to speak; it starts the very day when you want to express. Express ideas, sorrows, respect, affection and what not. Why do you think people go places? Because of their Degree/knowledge No... Knowledge is important, but application of mind is more important than knowledge and do you think that‘s possible without proper communication. Some people are natural speakers, while they are the minority. For the others who are not natural speakers must come out of their comfort zone and take up roles that will hone their most important skill. Now what is coming out of comfort zone? 1. Remove the fear of others/ ourselves. Let me share a story with you…. A big crowd had gathered around the tower to see the race and cheer on the contestants…. The race began… Honestly... No one in crowd really believed that the tiny frogs would reach top of the tower... You heard statements such as... ―OH, WAY too difficult!! ―They will NEVER make it to the top.‖ ―Not a chance that they will succeed. The tower is too high!‖ The tiny frogs began collapsing. One by one…. Except for those, who in a fresh tempo were climbing higher and higher…. The crowd continued to yell, ―It is too difficult!!! No one will make it!‖ More tiny frogs got tired and gave up….

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April 1, 2013

But ONE continued higher and higher and higher…. This one wouldn‘t give up! At the end everyone else had given up climbing the tower. Except for the one tiny frog that, after a big effort, was the only one who reached the top! THEN all of the other tiny frogs naturally wanted to know how this one frog managed to do it? A contestant asked the tiny frog how he had found the strength to succeed and to reach the goal? It turned out…. That the winner was DEAF!!!! The wisdom of this story is... Never listen to other people‘s tendencies to be... Negative or pessimistic…because they take your most wonderful dreams and wishes away from you — the ones you have in your heart!! Always think of the power words you have… Because everything you hear and read will affect your actions!!! Therefore… ALWAYS be…. POSITIVE . . . . . This story always motivates me. Be DEAF when people tell YOU that you cannot fulfil your dreams!! 2. Taking Initiative to Listen. Hearing and listening is not the same thing. Hearing is involuntary and listening involves the reception and interpretation of what is heard. It decodes the sound heard into meaning. Does a knock on the door sound the same all the time? What if you are alone and you hear a knock at late night? Successful listening means not just understanding the words or the information being communicated, but also understanding how the speaker feels about what they‘re communicating. Communication can give you confidence, which will take you places. You know what you want to be and where you want to be… So come out of your comfort zone and explore the new era of communication.

-TM Monisha

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April 1, 2013

Editors Note It is finally here!!!!! Speak out for the month of April. It gives us immense pleasure in being the editor for this month‘s newsletter. With all the enthusiastic Toastmasters in CTM, the articles just kept flowing in so fast. And we thoroughly enjoyed in preparing this newsletter. This month newsletter has been prepared based on the theme ‘Communication’. We have a total of twelve articles. The speciality of this month‘s newsletter is fifty per cent of the articles were contributed by junior Toastmasters. We thank each and every one not only for coming up with the articles but also for cooperating with us whenever we requested you to come up with slight modifications. In the world where people longing for recognition, each one of you told us to drop your article from the magazine if we find it not up to the mark. But the fact is all the articles we received were outstanding. ‗Speak Out‘ is not a magazine publishing only selected articles to show our prowess, it is a magazine which projects the opulence of experienced writers as well as helping the new-born‘s to take their baby steps. Once again a hearty thanks to all the CTM members for supporting ‗Speak Out‘ and making it a success.

TM Anirudh. N

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TM Trust Dekwende


SPEAK OUT

April 1, 2013

Have Feedback? Want to be part of the editorial team of the next Speak Out? Contact: Bharat Raja VP- Public Relations Email - bharathrajad@gmail.com Phone - +91 -9962278236

Ruby Hall, Presidency Club, Commander-in-Chief Road, Egmore, Chennai 6001 05

Sundays - 4:00 PM- 6:00 PM

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Chennai Toastmasters club monthly newsletter