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IN THIS ISSUE 3
CELEBRATING THE MILESTONES
COMMUNICATE 98 FEATURES
HUMANS OF D98
THE OPINION PAGE
16 THE WIRE
18 GAMIFICATION OF CLUB VISITS AWARD
17 WELCOME TO THE FAMILY!
DISTRICT 98 OFFICERS
OUR DISTRICT OFFICERS (2017-2018) Arvind Nair Ravi Teja Marrapu Leo Kurians Paulose Chandrashekar D P Patrick Pereira Nishant Mehta Niteash Agarwaal Chidanand Pradhan Hasnain Changi Raunak Kulwal Vinod J Sharma Akshay Chillal Siddharth Suman Anant Katyayni Smita Mishra Shijin Sreeraman Ajay Hiraskar Dhanraj Kamdar Dipankar Das Mahesh Puranam Manish Kamdar Debahooti Basu Tanmaya Panda Parakh Kukreja Prashant Sampat Kannagi Mishra Poonam Kumar Chris Kingsley Seema Rani Vijay Bhanushali Pramod Kiwande Heena Garg Mayank Naidu Priya Lekha Ajit Shah Sapna Ohri
District Director Program Quality Director Club Growth Director Immediate Past District Director District Administration Manager District Finance Manager District PR Manager District Logistics Manager Division Director - Div A Division Director - Div B Division Director - Div C Division Director - Div D Division Director - Div E Division Director - Div F Division Director - Div H Division Director - Div M Division Director - Div P Area Director - Area A1 Area Director - Area A2 Area Director - Area A3 Area Director - Area A4 Area Director - Area B1 Area Director - Area B2 Area Director - Area B3 Area Director - Area B4 Area Director - Area B5 Area Director - Area C1 Area Director - Area C2 Area Director - Area C3 Area Director - Area C4 Area Director - Area C5 Area Director - Area D1 Area Director - Area D2 Area Director - Area D3 Area Director - Area D4 Area Director - Area D5
Aparajitha Chakilam Ankur Agarwal Rahul Ghelani Priya Mathur G. K. Aajay Pavan Kumar Tulsija Shefali Johar Prudvinath Malepati Narita Rai Subramanyam KV Abhishek Shukla Tanay Tejasvi Asha Pratyasa Sunil Sharma Dr. Tejinder Singh Rawal Shubhangi Pandey K Srikanth Ravi Sharma Pratibha Jithesh Umme Salma Babrawala Navin Raj Abraham Vinay Prabhu Mhambre Shreya Kanabar Angad Sathe Syed Moazzam Daimi Ravi G. Motwani Swapnil Sonawane Pramod Mohandas Arjuna Shivangi Usha Udayshankar Atul Morey Eknath Hole Karan Gupta Mukta Nadkar Shireesh Nadkar Suryaprathap Reddy K
Area Director - Area E1 Area Director - Area E2 Area Director - Area E3 Area Director - Area E4 Area Director - Area E5 Area Director - Area E6 Area Director - Area F1 Area Director - Area F2 Area Director - Area F3 Area Director - Area F4 Area Director - Area F5 Area Director - Area H1 Area Director - Area H2 Area Director - Area H3 Area Director - Area H4 Area Director - Area H5 Area Director - Area H6 Area Director - Area M1 Area Director - Area M2 Area Director - Area M3 Area Director - Area M4 Area Director - Area M5 Area Director - Area P1 Area Director - Area P2 Area Director - Area P3 Area Director - Area P4 Area Director - Area P5 District Training Manager Club Extension Chair, Hyderabad Club Extension Chair, Pune Club Extension Chair, Mumbai Credentials Chair District Newsletter Editor District Chief Judge District Parliamentarian District Web Master
CELEBRATING THE MILESTONES
25TH MEETING OF TOASTMASTERS CLUB OF PUNE SOUTH | 31ST MARCH
500TH MEETING OF TCS MAITREE TOASTMASTERS CLUB, MUMBAI | 7TH APRIL
100TH MEETING OF CAPGEMINI MUMBAI TOASTMASTERS CLUB | 7TH APRIL
DIAMOND CITY TOASTMASTERS CLUB 50TH MEETING AND JOINT MEETING WITH TOASTMASTERS CLUB OF BARODA | 22ND APRIL
THE CONFERENCE EXPERIENCE The Division conferences of District 98 truly embody the spirit of Toastmasters. Today, these conferences host 6 contests over a one or two day period and they are solely focused on providing the best possible experience to both contestants and attendees, with little or no frills attached. They are also instrumental in bringing a usually scattered community together, to celebrate the spirit of the movement. Further, they are important tools to build new leaders, give them the exposure of organizing such a large event, and helping them grow as individuals by giving them responsibilities to shoulder. In this piece, we interviewed the Conference Chairs for Inspire, Expressions, and Orafest 2018. They share their personal motivations for taking up the roles, their take on leadership development and the unique challenges faced by each of them.
TM PAVAN TULSIJA, CONFERENCE CHAIR, ORAFEST 2018 - DIVISIONS E,F, AND H
What are some challenges to hosting such a large Division conference outside the immediate community of Hyderabad? I would like to begin by saying: Without the support of Visakhapatnam Toastmasters Club (HSBC) and my Co-Chair Vishnu Lalchand, this dream wouldn't have been possible. To all those who don't know, Visakhapatnam was a challenged city in Toastmasters terms. With just 3 clubs (one coming soon) it was initially tough to reinforce the belief in the minds of the Division Leadership that we could host Orafest. Thanks to my highly ambitious co-chair Vishnu Lalchand and his vision, we succeeded in doing that and today the dream is coming true. Orafest has been the marquee event of Divisions EFH for years. To live up to the legacy set by our previous leaders, we needed a lot of enthusiastic volunteers.The venue being in another city altogether made it a little tough initially for teams to coordinate amongst themselves. But thanks to Co-Chair Rahul Ghelani and his out of the box ideas, the teams came together pretty well. What motivated you personally to take up the conference chair role? For Toastmasters in Visakhapatnam, the opportunity was big but there was little known about the Toastmasters way of doing conferences. During my days as a Toastmaster in Hyderabad, I got the opportunity to be part of the organizing
COVER STORY committee of two Division conferences. Having the right experience plus the awareness of the ground situation in Visakhapatnam made me feel that, yes, this is the opportunity to announce Visakhapatnam on the big stage. Once again, the learnings as the AD of this beautiful city in the past one year played a crucial role. I wouldn't have thought about it if not for the dynamic team at Visakhapatnam Toastmasters Club (our hosts). Division Director Siddharth Suman was supportive as always. How do you think the conference will help us spread the movement into Visakhapatnam and beyond? Visakhapatnam is a booming IT destination coupled with a lot of good engineering colleges, who are aware of the benefits of Toastmasters. The Offline PR Team left no stone unturned in ensuring that the word ORAFEST spreads to colleges across the city. Our highly influential conference Co-Chair, Vishnu Lalchand, made the best use of his network to spread the word among corporate leaders. Invitations were sent to all the IT CXOs in Visakhapatnam and were received with high enthusiasm and instant RSVPs. In fact, ORAFEST is reverberating in neighbouring Kakinada too! We'll see a delegation of 50 prospective Toastmasters at ORAFEST, which is a first of its kind from that city. Do conferences create new leaders? If so, can you give us an example of some upcoming leaders to watch? That's the beauty of Orafest. Every year it gives us wonderful leaders who carry the flag of Divisions EFH high in the coming years. This year was no different. Pulling off an outstation conference requires a lot of online PR activity because you're not just focussing on the conference, but also the destination. The whole design team led by the finds of the season - Malay Satpathy, Saranya, and Supriya - the rock star designers, coupled with the experience of Meghashyam, Aziz Jowkar and Arjuna Shivangi ensured that the ORAFEST posts are going viral across District 98 and the outstation registrations got sold out in no time. I see all of them going places in the Toastmasters circuit in the upcoming months. The whole Visakhapatnam Toastmasters Club deserves a salute too.
TM SHANKAR NAYAK, CONFERENCE CHAIR, INSPIRE 2018 - DIVISIONS A,B, AND M
How did you decide to become the conference chair? I believe that the best of my learning and development will happen from going beyond what is required of me. Chairing a conference will further mature my leadership skills and so, I decided to chair Inspire 2018. Can you tell us more about your plans for a theme? What will the attendees have in store? For the Division contests, we are expecting audience and contestants from all over Maharashtra, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat. Considering outstation Toastmasters, we have arranged the best of infrastructure to freshen up and relax before the contest. The stage is marvellous. The same stage has witnessed speakers like Harsha Bhogle, Arundhati Roy, Anshu Gupta and regular LEAP lectures are conducted from the same platform. How do you plan to leverage the geographic diversity in this conference, as you have Toastmasters from Gujarat, Mumbai, Goa etc.?
We have planned exciting stuff for our Toastmasters. Learning from speeches, Table Topics, and networking shall be as usual, but what we will make them experience is the infrastructure of World headquarters of JIO. Also, Toastmasters will get an opportunity to witness JIO experience centre and will get to know anout 4G infrastructure and the future of the telecom industry Do conferences create new leaders? If so, can you give us an example of some upcoming leaders to watch from Mumbai? It is great working with TM Sanjeev Mishra, his professional approach and command over voice is something to admire. I am impressed by the budding enthusiasm in leadership development amongst the Toastmasters of Divisions ABM, just by the sheer number of requests for role players, from experienced and new clubs alike. TM Mahesh Puranam is always like a guide and mentor. The RIL Club President TM Raksha Motiwala and VPE TM Pooja Raina are some of the names I recommend to watch due to their excellence in performing their tasks.
TM PRAMOD KIWANDE, CONFERENCE CHAIR, EXPRESSIONS 2018 - DIVISIONS C,D, AND P
How did you decide to become the conference chair for Expressions? It was during Expressions 2017, where I was the PR Chair. I learned a lot from that experience. Apart from Toastmasters events, I personally love organizing events since college as it gives me a sense of satisfaction and happiness. From the day I joined Toastmasters, I have been part of numerous organizing committees at club, Area, Division and District level. Hence when the opportunity to lead Expressions 2018 came to me, I readily said ‘Yes’. Can you tell us more about the theme - #Solid Conference? What will the attendees have in store? Normally, any conference nowadays has a theme and therefore we thought of giving some catchy phrase to this conference so that it can be a buzzword and attendees will remember it for long. #Solid Conference means attendees will get to witness #Solid contests of Division C, D, and P, #Solid food, #Solid awards for clubs, volunteers, and role players, #Solid networking and a #Solid venue. Pune traditionally hosts 1-day conferences, what are the benefits or drawbacks of this format as opposed to a 2day conference? I feel a 2-day conference would be difficult to pull off in Pune considering time and effort. Below is how I can differentiate the formats. Effort: Considering 3 Divisions, the amount of effort will be high when compared with a 1-day conference as we need to plan an agenda for 2 days.
Participation from members: Having even a full day conference is nowadays a challenge because people find it hard to prioritize family time versus Toastmasters, having audience throughout two days would be difficult. Venue: Finding a venue for 2 days would be crucial. Cost: 2-Day conference would double our budget and pose more burden on the attendees. Time Management: Managing time in a 2-day conference would be better when compared with a 1-day conference as the agenda could be distributed accordingly. All and all, I would say that we would have many challenges to have a 2-day conference. Do conferences create new leaders? If so, can you give us an example of some upcoming leaders to watch from Pune? Yes, they do. It helps existing leaders improve qualities they already possess and learn some new ones. I came across so many upcoming leaders during Expressions 2018. Everyone wants to learn and serve the community. We had following Chairs for respective committees and the amount of effort they have put in is phenomenal. TM Megha Maheshwari – As Program Chair, she made sure that we have everything planned beforehand. She reviewed scripts of contest chairs and MCs and made sure the event runs smoothly. Her team prepared a detailed agenda to phase out the activities throughout the day. TM Sagar Saraiya – One of the Co-Convenors for Expressions 2018, he made sure that we had a #Solid experience at the venue in terms of no long queue for registrations or for lunch. TM Vijendra Jain – He may look like a young, cute chap but when he leads a team, he is the Hulk. As the PR Chair, he made sure that we have a PR plan and he came up with creative ideas to boost registrations. Under his leadership, the team did amazing work with customized certificates, goodies, and a banner. Edited and compiled by Karan Take a moment to give us feedback for this article, or the issue HERE. You might get published in Letters to the Editor!
COMMUNICATE 98 FEATURES
A TERRIBLY THRILLING TALE
CHINTAN RUPAREL | CO-FOUNDER OF TERRIBLY TINY TALES We feature someone who is a shining example of innovation and leadership. In conversation with Chintan Ruparel, Co-Founder of Terribly Tiny Tales, which took the internet by storm with its unique style of “stories under 2000 characters... stories we're quick to read, but hard to forget.” From a copywriter working in advertising to a storyteller of sorts, the journey must have been quite a ride. Tell us about your first experiment with micro fiction and how the idea of Terribly Tiny Tales came up. Copywriting and advertising was an experience I will be forever grateful for. I met a talented bunch of people and got to work with really big brands. I think what it instilled in me was a sense of discipline and the ability to think on my feet. Getting your ideas and stories shot down on a daily basis trains you to never lose focus or faith in what you do and helps build what I call ‘creative stamina’. However, after 6-7 years, it got a bit tiring to limit my ideas to what brands could allow and let the reins of stories be in the hands of the brand manager. Around the same time, Terribly Tiny Tales - the Facebook page - came up out of nowhere. My partner Anuj Gosalia sowed the first seed by bringing a bunch of diverse voices on the same page and with no fans or likes, we went about telling these ‘new kinds of stories’ once a day. It was only a year later that we partnered on the
project, making it into a full-fledged company and hiringpeople across content, design, video, events, tech, community management, brand collaborations, and so on. The transition from a copywriter to helming a team on a one-of-a-kind business that serves the reader and writer community has been liberating, to say the least, and full of unlearning. While TTT has skilful writers, many pieces are crowdsourced from across the globe. How do you decide what clicks, what doesn’t? What will be fun to read and what could create a ruckus? At some point, we had to make the whole thing inclusive and level the playing field by opening up submissions from the community that wanted to try their hand at this more accessible, yet challenging form of writing. When we did that, it opened the floodgates to something we had no idea of how to manage, initially. It became clear then that curation at scale, and not creation, was the need of the hour. So we called ourselves Enablers and hired people who could selflessly and humbly let other people’s stories flourish, even before their own. The result is a young and dedicated content team in our Mumbai office. We’ve handpicked and honed them into solid curators who work tirelessly to ensure our readers get the best stories, every day. Relatability and freshness are at the heart of our curation criteria, along
COMMUNICATE 98 FEATURES with an emphasis on craft. I try and spend a lot of time with the team to learn from them about what works and what doesn’t - across verticals like editorial for social media, brand collaborations, app content and everything on our YouTube channel as well - and push them into thinking strategically and embrace data as a part of the process. Numbers now tell us which genre works well within which age group. We learn from it but we still try and mix it up, eventually taking a gut call on what kind of stories go up. Over time, we’ve developed a ‘TTT kind of voice’, a standard for quality, bite-sized storytelling. It only encourages us to push our game further and keep serving an ever-growing community, as the challenge now shifts to our propriety platform - the TTT app. What’s your take on the role of effective communication in marketing? I’m going to try looking beyond the jargon and get to the point. I believe several marketers get too muddled with their product and so lost in it that they forget what people like and want. And in this dance between what people want and what you want to say about your brand, most communicators forget the heart - the story or the idea. The key, we’ve learned, is to never lose focus of what you want to say and then go all out in how you say it. People always come back for products that deliver consistency over the years.
Four, getting it done. A lot of places and people have a lot of ideas. Unless they’re done, they remain just that. Too many people have too many fears about what happens after and the best ideas get killed at the altar of such discussions. We’d like to believe we try and get things done and learn quickly to move in the right direction. Your final words about working in teams and leadership? Unlearn! We’re usually too busy subconsciously trying to align people according to our worldview and opinions. In the bargain, we stop listening and start dictating. Conviction is great but one needs to be open to feedback and change. It allows you to be nimble and work with teams in a collaborative manner.
Edited by Karan, compiled by Disha
TTT has diversified from just 140 characters to book collections to short films. What are the lessons you’ve learnt while gaining this versatility? For one, we never want to forget that we’re a startup. We began in a small matchbox in a dingy shopping mall in suburban Mumbai. Today, we have a workforce of more than 30 with offices that seem a little too comfortable sometimes - beanbags too soft, a TV too big, and MacBooks for all, we never want to forget the journey that got us this far. May the hustle forever remain! Two, hiring right is always better than hiring fast and spending the next year training the talent which drains most startups of speed and tenacity. Three, empowering teams after hiring and training them right and letting them learn from their own victories and mistakes.
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THE LEARNER LEADER
TM HASNAIN CHANGI | DIVISION A DIRECTOR I have a vivid memory of you taking the oath as Division Director. I am sure the preparation for the role started much before. What plan did you have for the year at the time? As with all the District officers, my plan too was of course aligned to the District’s plan. Our District mission is to build new clubs and support all clubs in achieving excellence. I was lucky to have had two of the best mentors in Toastmasters, DTM Arvind and DTM Brilliain and also to have learned from DTM Chandra who truly embodies the values and the spirit of Toastmasters. Those learnings helped me get clarity and crystallized my belief that the best and most cost-effective way to fulfil our mission was that if we focused on the latter half of it, the former would take care of itself. I am convinced that if we provide great quality, we have a satisfied customer who is our best advertisement. In my discussions with my Area Directors, we were determined to emphasize the achievement of excellence within clubs and we did well in terms of building new clubs. Creating leaders is a big part of being a leader. What steps did you take in this direction? I am guilty as charged. I have not “created” any leaders. I have sincerely tried to provide guidance and support if needed, be there when needed, and practice Toastmasters’ values more than I preached them. If, as a result, some members of my team developed a better understanding of ‘Servant Leadership’, then it is to them the credit must go, not me. After all, it is our job to provide a supportive and positive environment. IDid you get opportunities to double hat as a coach to any other leaders in the District? If yes, how did you pave the path for the other person? I have never consciously donned the hat of “Coach” to any other District leader and honestly, I have no delusions as to my qualifications to wear that hat. I have taken this stint more as an opportunity to learn rather than to coach. Under the dynamic,
insomniac PQD and the dashing slave-driver CGD, I got the opportunity to observe how time is effectively managed and how goals are set, how appreciation is given and morale is lifted. Honestly, looking at the kind of selfless work done by most of the other District leaders, I feel “the more I learn, the more I realize how little I know.” Mumbai, with its expanse and varied club cultures, has its own challenges. What learning did you get from this? Was there a cultural shift that you wanted to bring in? Commuting in Mumbai is a major challenge at the best of times. The club alignment was done keeping in this in mind. Also, when you have a motivated team of Area Directors, you barely feel the pressure. Division A, that I am serving, covers a fairly large geographical area but being a local, I personally did not feel handicapped and nor did my Mumbai ADs, Mahesh Puranam and Manish Kamdar. The greater challenge was felt by Area A1 Director Dhanraj Kamdar and A2 Director Dipankar Das. They overcame these challenges with their characteristic shrug and smile and never-say-no attitude. The learning that I got from this was that “It’s cool to be old but it’s not bad to be young either”. No, I did not want to bring in anything as grandiose as “a cultural shift.” All we need to do is sincerely follow the program and imbibe the culture of Toastmasters which is amazingly miscible and happily coexists with our native culture. Your three tips for leaders in a voluntary setup? 1. Get into the organization only if you passionately believe in the service that it is providing 2. Be generous with your appreciation for your team as they too are doing it voluntarily 3. Always be a Learner never a Leader Edited and compiled by Prathima Take a moment to give us feedback for this article, or the issue HERE. You might get published in Letters to the Editor!
MAKING OF MYSELF
TM KUMAR IYER | PALAVA TOASTMASTERS CLUB, MUMBAI My lightning was always brighter than my thunder. I used to ace group discussions but when it came to presenting before an audience, my train of thought always got derailed. After a long search to bring my presentation skills on track, I was introduced to Toastmasters International during a visit to Reliance Industries limited. I joined immediately and it was the biggest turning point in my life. The journey began with my Ice Breaker speech, which gave me deep insights into my psyche, something that was submerged in the Mariana trench of my Pacific Ocean. I realised I was a Fighter (also the topic I chose for my speech). It was a revelation as I felt instantly liberated from the selfdefeating thoughts which had shackled me for a long time. As I progressed, I became more Confident (my P2 speech topic) and Successful (my P3 speech topic) in every sphere of my life. I’m preparing to deliver my P4 speech soon. I'm sure this will also be a great morale booster. Recently during an exhibition organised by my company, I got an opportunity to announce and interview the dignitaries and participants when the person assigned with the task couldn’t make it. As the saying goes, ‘Fortune favours the brave’ or maybe the change in me was quite obviously visible because my boss invited me to do it. The Toastmaster inside me took over immediately. I went about interviewing people and announcing events with great style and ease, just as a duck takes to water. Everyone appreciated my tone, confidence, and use of words so much that during the awards ceremony, I was called onto the dais to share my experience. I did it extemporaneously and with such panache that everyone was astounded. They were expecting a
monotonous ‘thank you and warm regards’ speech without any expression but I rocked the stage like a champion Table Topics speaker. My career prospects now look bright. As a member of Palava Toastmasters Club, the experience of participating in our first ever International Speech Contest has once again reinforced my confidence in myself. I delivered a near perfect speech on the Sound of Music, putting whatever I learned in my journey so far to good use. The best part for me was the affirmation I got that I had finally conquered my glossophobia. Thank you, Toastmasters, I owe it to you, as you have brought this change in me. I thank our club President, Area Director TM Mahesh Puranam, and the Executive Committee members who motivated me to do well. I also thank my mentor TM Mandar Kavatkar for guiding me about the nuances of presenting a prepared speech. Professionally, I look forward to more opportunities coming my way and the tangible results that will follow suit. Overall, the changes I have seen in myself are so astonishing that they seem unbelievable. A heartfelt thanks to Toastmasters for making me myself. Edited by Ruchika, compiled by Santosh
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THE MENTOR MENTEE JAMBOREE
DTM JAIDEEP SOLANKI | DIAMOND CITY TOASTMASTERS CLUB, SURAT Mentoring is an effective method to help inexperienced individuals develop and progress in their profession. A mentor can help a mentee improve through observation, assessment, modelling, and by providing guidance. The mentee's role is to seek guidance and constructive feedback on their professional development and career goals. In successful mentor-mentee relationships, both parties are engaged, flexible, authentic and there is reciprocity. I have donned both roles, first as a mentee and later as a mentor. The latter was more rewarding because you see your knowledge being put to work, your experience being diligently utilised for innovative, creative, and substantial work. In the past 10 years of my journey with Toastmasters, I have been a mentor to many. Some relationships lasted for a few months and some matured out to be bonds for eternity. Here, I mention two mentees from whom I have learned. One is ‘The Authentic Alok’ Kulkarni and the other is ‘The Jolly Jasvinder’ Singh Bhatti. I became closely associated with Alok when we chartered a new club in Pune. His perseverance is remarkable. Faced with declining membership at the new club, he relentlessly executed ideas to keep member strength above 20. He always took our low meeting attendance as a challenge and persevered to provide a mesmerising experience to members. In the midst of all this, he gave the GMAT exam several times, got married, and was even posted to the UK for 24 months! Now a graduate of IIM Kolkata, Alok is a strategy consultant at Accenture. Perseverance pays dividends. When I shifted from Pune to Navsari, I was missing Toastmasters and was eager to start a club near me. My first
attempt In 2015 failed and I could see the momentum stall after a few days. In 2016, I saw a ray of hope when someone asked to have a meeting in Surat with our then AD Ujjaval Modi. We had a good meeting and then were at the same juncture as before, who shall be the leader of this club. I had met Jassi, a young engineering student, during these meetings and he was quite keen to know things and eager to make them happen. He was that someone who ignited the spark of Toastmasters for the second time. His noteworthy trait is “let me do it”. In the preliminary list of the Interim Executive Committee Jassi featured as a VP. But as days passed, we faced the hard reality of a leadership crunch. I distinctly remember a time when I backed out as a key role player and asked Jassi to take the reins, which he did, to my surprise. From then on, I posed more challenges to him as his mentor and his ‘let me do it’ attitude made me confident that he had mettle. Jassi went on to become the Charter President of Diamond City Toastmasters Club, Surat and has made it one of the most coveted clubs in Gujarat. I wish to see him as the new Area Director for a brand new Area, Surat. After numerous episodes of coaching-learning in the MentorMentee relationship, you start cherishing your journey as someone who can make some positive change in someone’s life. Toastmasters is a jamboree and the journey as a mentor is rewarding. You have a lot to gain as a mentor but be ready for benevolence as your mentees yearn for it. Edited and compiled by Malvi
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HUMANS OF D98
THE ANTI-PLASTIC CRUSADER TM KAPIL AGRAWAL | TOASTMASTERS FOR PUNE ENTREPRENEURS CLUB, PUNE I have always been very conscious about my plastic footprint and was intrinsically motivated toward this cause. But since mine was just a drop in the ocean, I decided to add more drops in by advocating and working towards freeing the world from single-use plastic.
Many plastic bottles are wasted at conferences and events, so I started talking to organisers and hotels for alternatives. Out of a couple of places, one big success was at Tiecon Pune 2018. The Westin hotel provided glasses and 20-litre refilling jars which saved 4000 plastic bottles.
Through research, I learned that plastic is manufactured from fossil fuels, one of the major causes of global warming. Most people think that once they throw their plastic items in the dustbin, they have done their job, but they are not aware of how it is wreaking havoc on their own future. 80% of the world's plastic ends up in oceans which release more than 50% of world's oxygen, destroying their ecosystem and causing deaths of fish, turtles, and whales.
Despite these incremental successes, the journey hasn’t been without its own share of challenges. There is little awareness of the real issue with plastic. Everyone agrees that something has to be done, but no one wants to break out of their comfort zone and not many are ready to support my actions.
Along with my research, I also started advocating for this cause. I aim to make people understand and acknowledge that it is a problem that directly affects them and their health at a personal level. With a little shift, each one of us can make a big impact; Carry your own bottle and bag, use a bamboo brush, biodegradable plates, spoons, and mugs, so that life is still comfortable once the change is made. I started inculcating small changes in my personal life and at my company to do away with plastic items and substitute them for reusable or biodegradable alternatives. I help others inculcate these changes too and make sure that all office events and parties are done without plastic. In addition, all my Toastmasters speeches and TMOD themes are around different aspects of global warming, climate change, and plastic.Slowly, people have started becoming aware and following suit. At my Toastmasters club and in my friend circle, we have started bringing biodegradable plates, spoons, and paper cups to events.
Then there are are some who make fun of me and say that I alone can’t make any difference, so I shouldn’t waste time and focus on better things instead. What keeps me going despite this is the knowledge that global warming and climate change is a much bigger challenge for society than any in the past. It is threatening our existence and images I see in the media serve as a constant reminder of the existence we have already lost as a result of it. I am currently compiling a database of companies which have plastic free products available. In future, I’d like to create a website and an e-commerce platform for companies all over the world providing such products to give people alternatives for going singleuse plastic free. I’d also like to contact more entrepreneurs, organisers and hotels of conferences in Pune to go plastic free, as well as create awareness programs for schools so children start telling their parents to change their habits. Ultimately, I’d love to collaborate with like-minded souls to make Pune, Maharashtra, India, and the world single-use plastic free. Edited and compiled by Ruchika Take a moment to give us feedback for this article, or the issue HERE. You might get published in Letters to the Editor!
THE OPINION PAGE
THE USUAL SUSPECTS AT CONTESTS
TM DEEPAK MAHESH | TECHMAHINDRA TOASTMASTERS CLUB (INFOCITY), HYDERABAD During my time in Toastmasters I have seen two full contest seasons, both consisting of beautiful speeches but unfortunately delivered by the same contestants. At club level, at Area, at Division and District, I see the same old faces and it makes me wonder. Where are the other members, the potentials, the promising rookies, the next generation of speakers? I will discuss two main issues which I think are plaguing the rising stars of Toastmasters and share a few ways to thwart these issues. Point 1: Goal Setting You would think that every contestant sets their objective as becoming the District Champion, but this isn’t the case. Many are just happy writing a speech for the contest, some just want a trophy to take back home (at least 2nd runner-up), some are content if they deliver the speech without forgetting anything. The kind of goal you set for yourself determines the amount of effort you put in to make it a reality. If your goal is writing a speech for the contest and in case you fail, then you will be happy with the excuse ‘I couldn’t write it because of personal and professional commitments’. If your goal is to win at your club, then your excuse will be ‘The winner’s body language was good, I need to work on mine’. If your goal is to win at Area, your excuse will be ‘The structure of my speech needs improvement, I need to get it mentored’. If your goal is to win Division, then you will realize the content of the winner connects better with the audience and you need to find something good to capture the audience’s attention. Now consider the first excuse of not writing the speech when your goal is winning Division - seems pathetic
right! This is the journey of a quality speaker. Dream so BIG that regular excuses won’t stop you from achieving them. Point 2: Gravity of the Contest Although everybody knows the full form of ISC, only some understand its weight. It’s an International Contest, with participants and audiences from around the globe. Let that sink in for a second. Think of other examples of International Contests i.e., Wimbledon, Miss Universe, World Cup, The Olympics. Just because the contest starts from the club with probably less than 5 participants and a sparse audience, we tend to underestimate the gravity of the contest. Every single Toastmaster is just 4 contests away from representing themselves in the World Championship of Public Speaking Whoa!. Now ask yourself, is your speech good enough to be heard on the world stage by an international audience. If not, then it’s back to the drawing board. It matters not if you ever reach that level but you should always strive towards it and give your best every time. I see Toastmasters delivering unique speeches in regular meetings, but unfortunately, these are absent during contests due to fear, underconfidence, and lack of effort. Each one of us has a special story that is desperately waiting to be told. A famous quote by Calvin Coolidge is “The most common commodity in this world is unrealized potential”. I say forget him, let’s prove him wrong together! Edited and compiled by Karan Take a moment to give us feedback for this article, or the issue HERE. You might get published in Letters to the Editor!
PEEL THE LAYERS
TM MADHUMITA SINHA | MAHINDRA TOASTMASTERS CLUB, MUMBAI
To see the new me Rather the real me I started to slowly peel off Peel off all my layers One by one Layer by layer Layers of emotions Layers of masks Layers of secrets Layers of pretence Then one day surface My nude emotions My unseen scars My sadness in the eyes All out in open Just all of a sudden And there open the floodgates Of emotions I had camouflaged The truths I hid
The realities I twisted And I did all this for one thing To hide the real me from surfacing up Because I wanted to tell the world I was doing great Feeling great I was lying Yet when the realities surfaced There was a sigh of relief An unknown joy As the weight went off my chest I feel lighter I feel happy Even though I became vulnerable I had created a myth That I am strong And that I can never break But inside I am fragile and shattered
THE WIRE PR EVENT BY TOASTMASTERS OF GOA AT TEDX PANAJI | 8TH APRIL
TOASTMASTERS PREMIER LEAGUE ORGANIZED BY DIVISIONS E, F, AND H | 15TH APRIL
DISTRICT PR EVENT IN GOA | 22ND APRIL
WELCOME TO THE FAMILY!
GAMIFICATION OF CLUB VISITS AWARD
Congratulations to TM Ramakanth Konatham, (TCS Maitree Hyderabad Toastmasters Club) for winning the "Gamification of club visits award" for December 2017 and January 2018. This award was instituted to encourage members of corporate and college clubs to visit other clubs and take up roles, to help build a spirit of better comradeship among clubs and members, and help elevate the quality of clubs.
Communicate 98 April 2018 Edition