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IN THIS ISSUE

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IN REMEMBRANCE

COMMUNICATE 98 FEATURES

THE OPINION PAGE

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HUMANS OF D98

CELEBRATING THE MILESTONES

TOASTMASTER PROFESSIONAL

13 MENTOR MOMENT

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COVER STORY

UNLEASH

LEADER SPEAK

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ASK THE TRIO

THE WIRE

COMMUNICATE 98 | JANUARY 2018           


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

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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

COMMUNICATE 98 | JANUARY 2018           


IN REMEMBRANCE

Gavelier Kshitij Shah, Gavel Club of Amanora, Pune (22nd May 2004 - 3rd January 2018) Gavelier Kshitij recently passed away in a tragic accident on the New Year's Eve. This page is in remembrance of a talented Gavelier and promising Toastmaster. Kshitij was an eminent member of the Gavels Club of Amanora. He had been a member of this club since June 2015 and had served in the EC as Secretary and also as VP-Membership. He was an exceptional speaker and about to deliver his CC10 speech. He was also an able young leader and could be relied upon whenever help was needed. Besides, Kshitij was a talented and hardworking sportsperson and student, having won the PDSA Table Tennis competition and medals in different Olympiads. Though Kshitij may not physically be with us anymore but his bold voice and audacious approach to life will stay embedded in our hearts forever. (as narrated by Toastmaster Shweta Saraf of Toastmasters Club of Pune South East, who is also the Founder and Mentor of the Gavel Club of Amanora). We hope this remembrance is a source of comfort for Gavelier Yug, Kshitij's younger brother and the only family member to survive the accident.

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COMMUNICATE 98 | JANUARY 2018           


CELEBRATING THE MILESTONES

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7 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

200TH MEETING OF ADP HYDERABAD TOASTMASTERS | 19TH JANUARY 100TH MEETING OF DADAR TOASTMASTERS CLUB | 20TH JANUARY 1ST ANNIVERSARY OF PIMPRI TOASTMASTERS | 6TH JANUARY 150TH MEETING OF RENDEZVOUS TOASTMASTERS HYDERABAD | 11TH JANUARY 150TH MEETING OF TOASTMASTERS CLUB OF PUNE NORTH WEST | 23RD DECEMBER 11TH ANNIVERSARY OF VISION TOASTMASTERS HYDERABAD | 20TH JANUARY 150TH MEETING OF TECH TALKERS MUMBAI |17TH JANUARY

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COMMUNICATE 98 | JANUARY 2018           


COVER STORY Jinsei Dojo Toastmasters Club's Charter Ceremony

The Languages of  Leaders

Before this story, I never knew of clubs which had regular meetings in languages other English, apart from the occasional special meeting. I had vaguely heard of clubs abroad conducting meetings in other languages, but it always seemed like a foreign concept to me—too removed from the format I had grown used to. Therefore, it took me by surprise when I discovered there were two clubs in India which held meetings in a dedicated bilingual format! What started as a simple information gathering exercise soon became a richer learning experience filled with interesting stories and insights into the culture, language and history of people. It was truly a fascinating journey. I hope that it inspires you all and sparks the inception of more such clubs. Jinsei Dojo Toastmasters Club, Bangalore, District 92 (Japanese-English bilingual club) (Jinsei = life; Dojo = place where you improve on something) TM Appu Geetha Byju, founder and Past President of India’s first bilingual Toastmasters club, had the idea of starting a Japanese community club in 2013 when he realised there wasn’t a platform to practise the Japanese he spoke. He sought help from leaders in District 76 (Toastmasters District of Japan) and started handing out fliers at the annual Indo-Japan cultural festival, Japan Habba. Eventually, he built a mailing list and got people on board. They faced several challenges getting the club started. They weren’t entirely sure if the concept of a foreign language club would work in India, especially a niche language like Japanese, which is difficult to learn and not taken up by many. It took one year for the first meeting to finally materialize, and an additional six months to charter. Acquiring patient mentors was difficult too but today, mentors provide their expertise remotely from Japan, via posts on their Facebook group, email, Skype, or video chat. This has helped improve the language skills and grammar of the members, which is further facilitated by regularly bringing in external speakers to MCs for Japan Habba give educational sessions on various aspects of Japanese.

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COMMUNICATE 98 | JANUARY 2018           


COVER STORY Although the Japanese members prefer using Japanese manuals and vice versa, the club truly embodies the bilingual spirit, by having the Indians in the club speak in Japanese and the Japanese in English, thus avoiding a disconnect between members and encouraging them to learn the language with humility and mutual support. In addition, each meeting generally has 2 grammarians (one in each language) and the General Evaluator’s comments also include alternate word choices. Lately, the meetings have had speeches mainly in Japanese, (as there are fewer Japanese members), but bilingualism is still incorporated by having meeting roles in alternating languages. (E.g. - SAA in English, Presidential Address in Japanese, TMOD in English, speeches in Japanese and so on). The club members consist mainly of young college goers currently learning the language and teachers at Japanese schools. The younger members use the club to practise their Japanese and it has made them confident enough to talk to people and give interviews, thus enabling them to find jobs and shift to Japan. The club also utilizes several unique avenues for marketing and community outreach. Outside of Toastmasters, the Japan Foundation organises an annual International Speech Contest in Japanese. Members of the club emerge winners at various levels of this contest every year due to the extensive practice they acquire. Prior to the contest, all the participants are invited to the club to practice and get help from experienced members. This atmosphere of acceptance has encouraged many of those participants to join the club. Secondly, the club’s long-term collaboration with Japan Habba has helped it become an official sponsor for the festival. In addition to the stall they have at the event every year, members of the club also participate as MC’s of the festival. Members also sport their club T-shirt when they give the Japanese proficiency test held in Bangalore or attend public events in groups, which helps provide visibility to the club and generates interest among people. “We have witnessed some truly amazing speeches over the years”, remarks TM Appu. “We have achieved 3 CCs, but no ACs and no one has taken District office yet, so now our challenge is getting people to move from the club out into the District.”

Winners of Japanese Speech Contest, Bangalore Division

Considering the many challenges they have overcome so far and the extensive progress they have made, it's only a matter of time before they see this one through too.

The club's stall at Japan Habba

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COMMUNICATE 98 | JANUARY 2018           


COVER STORY Tamizhootru Chennai Solvendhargal Mandram's Charter Ceremony

Tamizhootru Chennai Solvendhargal Mandram, Chennai, District 82 (Tamil-English bilingual club) (Tamizhootru = bountiful flow of language; Solvendhargal = Toastmaster (in Tamil); Mandram = Club) Chartered on 25th June 2017, Tamil Nadu’s first bilingual club sees participation from two kinds of members: the first are people who aren’t fluent in English but are keen on developing their communication skills in their mother tongue, Tamil. The second are people who have finished their Toastmasters journey in English but want to become more fluent in their mother tongue. Though members may be of either category, all of them are united in their sense of pride for the ancient language which is what served as the motivation for them to start the club. I spoke with former Division Governor and current Vice-President Education of the club, DTM Rahul Shankar, who informed me that Tamil is one of the oldest languages in the world and its many speakers are spread across the globe. On asking him why that was the case, he narrated to me a fascinating piece of history. “The Tamil diaspora has been living around the world from the ancient times due to conquest, trade, employment, education, colonial rule and globalization.” This piece of history is definitely reflected in the fact that Singapore, Malaysia, the middle east, and even Canada and Australia have a flourishing community of Tamil Toastmasters clubs. Despite the irony of the situation, they faced no trouble finding enough members to charter. On questioning whether they faced any other challenges in the beginning, I was surprised to hear that there weren’t that many. They simply faced an initial challenge in preparing scripts for all the meeting roles but then reached out to friends from Tamil clubs in Singapore and Malaysia for help in preparing them.

The club's first Tamil - English Bilingual newsletter

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COMMUNICATE 98 | JANUARY 2018           


COVER STORY Pongal special meeting, 14th January

“A lot of people aren’t aware that TI allows bilingual clubs and that members can officially use manuals in other languages or give a speech in any language they want, as long as they use the official manuals provided by TI.” Hearing this left me quite amazed as I wasn’t aware of this myself and could only begin to imagine the possibilities that would open up were more people to know about the concept. As far as meetings go, the club strives to be a faithful bilingual forum and members are given the freedom to choose the language they want to speak in. Should a member choose to give a speech in Tamil, both the speech and the evaluation are arranged to be given in Tamil. Since TI hasn’t released a Tamil manual yet, members follow the directions of the manual in English but give their speeches in Tamil. The role players too encourage members to develop their Tamil vocabulary. For example, if people intersperse English words in their speech, the grammarian helps them become more fluent by providing alternative word choices. Apart from regular meetings, the club is also striving to incorporate learning experiences in other ways. A Storytelling Contest in Tamil was held on 14th January to commemorate the harvest festival of Pongal in a unique way. Any member of any club could participate by delivering a speech with the objective of reducing the number of English words used. Recently, the club released its first bilingual newsletter in Tamil and English. “Overall, people have a lot of interest. They want to come to this club specifically to give speeches in Tamil.” TI has said they will provide Tamil manuals soon and they hope to have the complete set by 2019. “The latest TI Contest rulebook also mentions that Districts can hold contests in other languages as well – so we hope to see a competitive speech contest in Tamil and perhaps many more languages soon!” I definitely hope to witness such a contest soon too. This experience has made me realise that tapping into multilingualism, an essential characteristic of a country like ours, can give much more access to the educational benefits of Toastmasters and help spread the movement further. After all, language shouldn't become a hindrance to developing one's skills as a communicator and leader when it can, in fact, be used to unite many more in this mission.

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!

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COMMUNICATE 98 | JANUARY 2018           


ASK THE TRIO

Q. Club achievements are almost instantly being reported in the toastmasters.org site. However, when it comes to recognition of these achievements, there is so much delay. Why would the club president write to TI to send these recognitions? Can't it be automated, since it is already captured in toastmasters.org web page? Or the district/region could order these ribbons in bulk and recognize clubs as and when PQD and his team notices this achievement? TM Vijay Gangadharan, Hyderabad Toastmasters It is unfortunate that you are not able to get the awards as announced by TI and have to follow up. Please forward those specific scenarios or situations to us we shall forward it as a case to TI and request for an answer. If the solution is for the District to procure the ribbons and deliver them, we are open to doing that. Q. (To Ravi) What has been the most challenging yet at the same time most fruitful incident/situation in your journey so far? TM Joy Hans, XLRATORS-The Miyapur, Hyderabad I am still very early and growing as a person and hence it is difficult to quantify the situations/incidents that are most challenging. From a Toastmasters journey perspective, the role of the District Officer is the most fulfilling and rewarding experience for me. I have led the club for more than two years and I understand the challenges involved in it, but when you lead outside your club the situation changes. You are working with leaders whom you won’t be interacting with daily, who are far more mature and knowledgeable, who have different perspectives. To keep such group together and still be able to execute your plans is the greatest learning. I wish that everyone in Toastmasters experiences it and I am sure they will tell you the same story.

Q. Given the speed of our growth in opening new clubs, have we paused to see if these clubs can sustain themselves in the long-term? TM Beena Mandrekar, Baner Toastmasters Club, Pune For the CGD team this year, our focus is more on club retention than on club growth. Sadly we haven't been able to publicize this strongly enough. This year. we've tried to see how we can give more support to clubs so that they can achieve success. 70+ clubs winning the membership award for excellence in membership retention is a testimony to this. Specific to new clubs, for the first time in District 98, we built a democratic approach towards selecting club sponsors, mentors, and coaches. While this helped us build our teams and bandwidth in these spaces, we realized that there is more of capability building that is needed. We are focussing on training them to enable them to do their job better. If we'ree able to ensure enablement of this in the right way, we're sure longevity of our clubs will increase.

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COMMUNICATE 98 | JANUARY 2018           


CONTEST OF THE MONTH

THIRD PLACE Dearest you Firstly, I am proud of the woman you turned out to be. I realize it was not easy at all- dawning that smile when skies turned grey for you. I realize climbing those mountains was not easy- you walked through endless forests, pebbled river beds, hanging hamlets, and then reached the summit. You resolved your mid-life crisis of turning thirty by letting go off expectations, many of which only existed in your head. You proved turning thirty is just a cliché when you relentlessly climbed those peaks one after the other while you trekked literally and otherwise as well. As a star-gazer, I saw those eyes turn misty and humbled by the vastness of creation. I suppose, you learned it at all along the way. Would you now agree journey is more vital than destination? Love and Luck, Me

ANINDITA SEN HSBC VIZAG TOASTMASTERS

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COMMUNICATE 98 | JANUARY 2018           


LEADER SPEAK

Dialogue with the district director DTM ARVIND NAIR DISTRICT DIRECTOR

1. As the District Director, what was your vision for District 98? In the last six months, have you seen it accomplished? My vision was to expand the reach of Toastmasters and to see the District become the President’s Distinguished District this year too. Over the last two years, since the District was formed, we have had enquires from some Tier-2 cities. Our efforts are now bearing fruit. We have chartered a club in Aurangabad (a new city on our District map) and additional clubs in Goa, Visakhapatnam, and Indore. In the last six months, we have added nearly 28 clubs. We also have many more clubs in the pipeline which are in various stages of chartering. The District has complied with the initial mandatory requirements to be considered for the President’s Distinguished status. In the next four months, we must aim to have most, if not all club officers trained, maximum renewals are done, clubs visited and reports filed on time, clubs achieving Distinguished status and much more. I am sure our dedicated team of leaders will accomplish this.

From the time I became a member and understood the program, I have been meeting guests at club meetings and making them comfortable, explaining the program to them, and informing them that they need to join the program out of their own free will. Once they join, apart from the financial investment, they will need to commit time and effort—time to attend meetings, write speeches, and effort to practice the speech and ensure it is delivered well. I have offered to mentor their speeches, guided them on performing roles, and provided feedback. My ulterior motive is to see that the member improves. I have witnessed quite a few success stories, which gives me satisfaction. 3. You have been in Toastmasters for a decade now and seen the District grow and evolve. In this regard, what are your long-term plans for the District? As District Director, I can plan only for my tenure which is of one year. A decade ago, I became a charter member of the third club to be chartered in Mumbai. I helped to spread the Toastmasters program and saw the birth of many corporate and some community clubs. We were part of District 82 and then began the amoeba split. In India, we now have four districts! Each of the four districts is doing well and always vying to be World No.1. We are making all efforts to create awareness about Toastmasters and promote the benefits of the program. I would love to see our members as speech mentors to speakers at TED and other such platforms, judges at college events, and Toastmasters being associated with these events.

2. “Caring and Sharing” has been your motto. How do you think the clubs across the District can incorporate it for effective growth in leadership? The Toastmasters’ promise which is administered to members when they are inducted says—“I promise to treat my fellow club members and our guests with respect and courtesy.”

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Edited by Taaha, compiled by Fatima 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 | JANUARY 2018           


MENTOR MOMENT

When the student is ready, the teacher appears TM SANDIP PATIL AGNEL TOASTMASTERS, MUMBAI

Today, I am standing tall after securing the 3rd place at the Tall Tales contest at my club. For someone who describes himself as introverted, unconfident and nervous, who was terrified of the stage, being acclaimed on the stage was a surreal experience. What a moment it was for me! And this wouldn’t have been possible if not for my mentor and guide, Sony Varghese. From the month of June 2016 when I joined the club, it took me ages to muster up the courage to deliver my Project 1. I always evaded it. Thinking about it sent shivers down my spine. I didn’t know how to overcome it. He persuaded me to be regular and take part in various roles. However, I was not comfortable with the thought of taking up roles. I wondered how I would carry out these roles successfully. One day I saw him conducting his TMoD role so confidently that I wanted to be in his shoes. I spoke to him about it and he inspired me to deliver my P1. Finally, I delivered my P1. Although I stumbled, it boosted my confidence. I felt as if I could go through P2. He suggested that I should keep taking roles and be regular to the meetings. On his persuasion, I became a part of the Executive Committee as well. This was his way to make me committed to Toastmasters, attend all the meetings regularly and to participate.

I could see that I was no longer my earlier self. From a shy and nervous person, I was transforming into a new, confident individual. All thanks to my mentor Sony Varghese. He educated me time and again on various topics like blind spots and the advantages of failing in the Toastmasters club to emerge as a stronger person. His qualities like keeping a positive attitude, continuing to inspire and always being there when I needed him are unmatched. His constant reminders to participate actively in the activities of the club made me take up various roles, like ‘Sergeant At Arms’, ‘Table Topics Master’, ‘General Evaluator’ etc. I also started enjoying the roles, as well as conducting them efficiently. He encouraged me to participate in contests and in the recent club level Tall Tales contest, I won third place! Unlike before, I did not shy away from participating in contests just because it required a lot of hard work and practice. In such contests, people expect you to be at your best, it’s as much a nerve-wracking experience as it is enriching. The win has made me all the more confident. I feel more comfortable on stage now. What goes around has to come around. I feel it’s now my turn to give back to the universe that which I’ve received freely. I’m eagerly looking forward to playing the part of someone’s guru. Edited and compiled by Santosh Take a moment to give us feedback for this article, or the issue HERE. You might get published in Letters to the Editor!

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COMMUNICATE 98 | JANUARY 2018           


HUMANS OF D98

A storyteller tells his story    TM SANTOSH, ACCENTURE HYDERABAD TOASTMASTERS

TM Santosh is from Accenture Hyderabad Toastmasters Club. An IT engineer by profession but a filmmaker at heart. This is his story, in his words. As a 13-year-old kid, I happened to watch a highly intriguing, imploring and inspiring movie on aliens. At the end of the movie, a gigantic spaceship left the earth leaving the words ‘A Steven Spielberg film’ on the screen. At that very moment, a voice from within whispered, “You should be a filmmaker! You could be anything in between, but your ultimate ambition should be to be a filmmaker.” But why did I want to be a film guy? It’s because a filmmaker can live multiple lifetimes. As a passionate filmmaker, you can express emotions and feelings ranging from the fear of a child crossing a dark room to the love that a young couple express after their first kiss; to the nostalgic moments of an ageing woman. I wanted to feel the infinite spectrum of stories that can be felt, told and remembered. But just passion was not enough and the question, ‘How would I pursue this dream?’ became prevalent–I HAD NO IDEA!

industry and was not able to go to film school. But thanks to the internet, I could read books related to film crafts at home. I networked with aspiring filmmakers and did a lot of self-study. Putting knowledge to practice, I initially started with low-budget films. The first one was a 90-minute independent English film. The second was a biography of a veteran Kuchipudi dancer I met while working as a script assistant in Hyderabad. A real opportunity came to me when my cousin asked me to be a film director in a Telugu comedy short film. This film brought me a lot of recognition! I went on to make varied films including documentaries on social subjects, a sentimental film, a comedy short film and most recently a science fiction short film which is very close to my heart. I made a film called ‘River of Time’ while working in the US and being closely associated with Toastmasters. It was a time-travel science fiction story and an amalgamation of my Spielberg induced dream and the confidence instilled in me by Toastmasters. I finished writing the initial screenplay, and with the help of my dear Toastmaster mentor Karl, we finally managed to polish the script for shooting after 5 rewrites. Despite having no formal film education, I achieved my dream of becoming the “Director!”

Coming from a lower-middle-class family, I had neither family members nor contacts in the film

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COMMUNICATE 98 | JANUARY 2018           


HUMANS OF D98

The film has been screened at the Pune International Film Festival and awarded “Best Innovative Film”. At the Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival, it has received ‘Special Mention for Excellence Award’. The film is not available on the internet yet but I plan to screen it at a mini theatre in Hyderabad soon.

Since then, I have been able to make connections with a lot of people in the Telugu film industry, with many upcoming writing assignments and offers to write full-length film screenplays. Once I am through these, I want to write more and convince actors that my scripts are bankable to be made into entertaining, challenging films, and then my break into feature films will officially happen!

That teenager who dreamt of becoming something special years ago while watching a Spielberg film made it. I respect him, I respect his intuition to dream big, to dream different, and to pursue the road less trodden. I respect his courage to face and fight insurmountable circumstances. I want to set an example, I want to succeed so that when somebody comes across a similar child who aspires to become big, I can proudly say “I tried, I overcame my difficulties and became successful. Be brave and follow your dreams!”

Edited and compiled by Disha Take a moment to give us feedback for this article, or the issue HERE. You might get published in Letters to the Editor!

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COMMUNICATE 98 | JANUARY 2018           


CONTEST OF THE MONTH

SECOND PLACE It was just a Table topic which you have attempted before Gaveliers, its ok showing off by saying you know swimming, but taking it as a resolution and learning swimming was crazy. It’s ok to advise kids to start reading and make it a habit, but you taking the advice yourself seriously and ending up reading 12 books a year was too much. Boss, it’s your own life, please don’t take it too seriously and trouble it as many others do All you have to do is just take that one New Year resolution which you use to take every year and succeed That one resolution "No resolution for the New-year".

UDAY KIRAN SODIMA VISION TOASTMASTERS, HYDERABAD

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COMMUNICATE 98 | JANUARY 2018           


THE OPINION PAGE

Where does Toastmasters fit in our life? TM NIKHIL SALVI, DADAR TOASTMASTERS & CROWN TOASTMASTERS, MUMBAI

In my nine years as a Toastmaster, I met countless guests keen to join Toastmasters. Some join, but as time goes by, very few continue. Till recently I wondered why. Now my viewpoint has changed a bit. I look at so many Toastmasters who have stayed and am curious to know why. One of the contributing reasons I see is that they have figured out where Toastmasters fits in their life. What do I mean by ‘fitting Toastmasters’ in our life? We all have our priorities – family, career, or business – to name a few. These claim our time, we cannot compromise on these. Where does that leave time for Toastmasters? And how do the committed Toastmasters manage? My discussions with some of my long-time Toastmasters friends helped. They figured out a way to incorporate Toastmasters as part of their lives. Being a member becomes effortless. One of the ways is to create space for Toastmasters by letting go of something else. In one of his excellent talks, DTM Aditya Maheshwaran spoke about us being ‘actors’ playing ‘roles’ on various stages–in a family as a child/spouse/parent, at work as employee/boss, or in Toastmasters as a member, speaker, or leader. We can choose to limit the ‘stages’ to those where we really want to belong, and exit the ‘stages’ which don’t add any value to our life (Facebook, anyone?).

There are other ways too. Having a strong reason for being in Toastmasters - a key goal also helps. When I joined Toastmasters, I was desperate for a solution to my long-standing problem of stammering and fear to speak confidently. Although Toastmasters is not a platform for solving the stammering problem, I found the overall atmosphere relaxed and encouraging – good enough for me to stay. Over time, when that goal was achieved and I could speak without stammering, I changed my goal post to the leadership track. I took up club, Area and Division roles. Now that I’ve done that, I’m again focusing on my communication skills. Even if you run out of goal posts or don’t have any explicit one to begin with, there is still merit in continuing with Toastmasters. In his address during Confluence 2017 in Indore, the author of ‘Corporate Chanakya’, Mr Radhakrishnan Pillai, spoke about how people who remain associated with an organization for a long time become more centred and stable in their thought process and how they interact with the world. Have you observed this in the veteran Toastmasters around you? The Toastmasters movement in India is relatively young while in the US, there are Toastmasters who have been members for decades. Some of them have been members for longer than you and I may have been on this planet! Maybe we should hear from them about how they have made Toastmasters a part of their life. Till then, let's figure out our own ‘why’ and ‘how’ of being a Toastmaster. If you have, I would love to hear it from you. 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!

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COMMUNICATE 98 | JANUARY 2018           


COMMUNICATE 98 FEATURES

A child prodigy turned entrepreneur NISCHAL NARAYANAM

Nischal Narayanam is the youngest Double Guinness World Record holder in the field of memory, a national child award recipient from APJ Abdul Kalam, performer of ‘Ganitha Avadhanam’, and the youngest CA of the nation. He’s put his passion into entrepreneurship and started his own company ‘Nischal’s Smart Learning Solutions Pvt. Ltd’ whose products are one of a kind. 1. From a 'Double Guinness world record holder', '7 brilliant brains of the world' to an entrepreneur. How did the transition happen? I was very passionate towards math since I was a kid. When I was 8 years old, I was playing around with my dad and noticed his accounts, where I identified a small calculation error in the statement to which my parents ignore saying that it’s computer generated and there is no scope for errors. The next day they realized that it was an error during an audit. So they started getting me trained in different methodologies of mathematics that are practised across the world. When I was in class 5, my geometry teacher explained about 2D and 3D shapes. As drawing a cube is more difficult than drawing a square or rectangle, my friends couldn’t draw it in their books. I came home and asked my mom if there were any models or lab equipment for mathematics as we have for the sciences. We went to the market but realized that we couldn’t find anything other than a geometry box.

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That’s when I decided that we should design and develop a math lab on our own. Exactly a year later, I launched a curriculum based math lab where every concept from grades 1st to 10th can be taught with the help of innovative tools, models, and equipment where we can prove what we learn as we do in the sciences. This was a revolutionary product as it was India’s first math lab for which I received the National child award from the President Abdul Kalam. After this product got launched, we went on to start the education company Nischal’s smart learning solutions and we launched our math lab not just in India but in international markets as well. We’ve received a tremendous response for this product which was the inception for my entrepreneurial journey. 2. How did you deal with the Indian education sector and how did you network with schools to get this product launched? To deal with stakeholders in any field and to sell your product there are 3 ground rules: 1. What are you doing and why are you doing it? 2. What is the gap that you’re addressing innovatively? 3. What is the value proposition that they are creating that your competitors didn’t? When we approached NCERT, I clearly explained all the above. Through my micro and portable labs of math and sciences, a teacher can teach the complete syllabus in just 75 days while it currently takes 220 days. This leaves time for 2 complete revisions.

COMMUNICATE 98 | JANUARY 2018           


COMMUNICATE 98 FEATURES

After receiving the NCERT accreditation, our next goal was to make a mark on state boards and the private sector. Private schools focus more on teaching methodology and technical aspects and the government schools additionally focus on the finances and expect it to be cost-effective. For private schools, we set up our distributors in different states to market our product which was a 2-year process and now, we have a presence in 14 states in both sectors.

Getting an idea, reaching the market, meeting product designers, developing a prototype, creating a commercial product, marketing it, and then impacting other lives. Only if all this is done is when you achieve the true purpose. Respect this sequence, first learn then earn.

I don’t believe in good or bad ideas, its only good or bad management. Even the stupidest ideas become good companies if managed in the right way and the brightest Dealing with other countries is altogether a different story ideas might not be successful if managed badly. How due to the varied dynamics of the market by geography. well we execute and transform the idea into reality, the support we need to complete the process is important. For example in Qatar, the world’s richest country, they I’ve stuck to these basics in a perennial cycle which don’t compromise on quality. Our after-school learning helped me reach my goals: centre courses cost INR 5000 for an hour. But back home in Bihar, we charge the same amount for one year 1. Have a long-term vision by having short-term of courses. We were flexible enough to customize our plans strategy according to the market. 2. For marketing, always follow 4Ps: PRICE, PRODUCT, PROMOTION, PLACE 3. What are your thoughts on being a genius vs. 3. Do a SWOT analysis being a successful entrepreneur? 4. Have the right team Being smart is a personal trait. Though I wanted to be a 4. What are your future plans? successful entrepreneur, I wanted to run a unique Our products are more of physical and hands-on, we research-driven, innovative company. First, if you have want to make it digital, that’s Figital! For the first time an idea and an end purpose, you should be smart ever in the world, we are developing 3D e-books with enough to even know how to drive it. Augmented Reality. More than 500 animation designers are working on this product. A student can perform all Having a good idea is just 10% of the whole process. the lab activities with these augmented reality and 3D Execution is something more important. There will be simulation on their electronic device itself through virtual thousands of ideas in the world, but why doesn’t every classes! idea come to fruition? There might be many reasons for this - wrong planning, execution, wrong team etc. Edited and compiled by Sindhusha Take a moment to give us feedback for this article, or the issue HERE. You might get published in Letters to the Editor!

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COMMUNICATE 98 | JANUARY 2018           


TOASTMASTER PROFESSIONAL Toastmasters at Work TM SUBRAMANYAM K.V. ELAN TOASTMASTERS HYDERABAD

In June 2013, I was working with a software services company. I was having a normal day at work when out of the blue, I had a call from my manager asking to see him in his room. This is how the conversation went. We have a big organizational change Subbu, our client is selling the healthcare business to a VC. This move is going to impact all of us (the entire Hyderabad team including me were working on the healthcare business of the client). To make matters worse, we have a significant organizational change coming up within the company. Our delivery heads and one of the Directors are coming to address us this afternoon. I don’t want to create panic and confusion in the room when these announcements are made as we are not sure as what will happen to the overall headcount. If our efforts bear fruit, we might even add more people. However, our team might not trust our words. They would have their fears and that would hit productivity. I’ve spoken to our leadership and they are giving us the freedom to come up with a strategy to communicate this. Since you have been with Toastmasters for quite some time now, can you help us? The thought of working with a delivery head and a director pumped me up. I got an understanding of what the changes were going to be and an hour later, went back to my manager with a plan. I came up with a one-line specific purpose, "The audience must understand the changes that are coming their way and should look forward to them with zeal and enthusiasm." I followed the CC3 objectives and ensured that every slide spoke about the change in a positive way. While we did not hide the facts, we went the extra mile to tell the benefits of change.

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I convinced my manager about the need for a good opening and a grand conclusion. We decided that I should do a 3-5 minute story underlining the importance of change. We planned the presentation such that one senior leader would speak about the client-side change and another would speak about changes within the organization. We also wanted the leaders to conclude on a high, highlighting the positive prospects that the change could usher in. We planned the time so that we spent 30% of the time speaking about the importance of the change and 70% about the actual change. Things went per plan and the meeting was a big success far from complaining, people were looking forward to the changes. They did have apprehensions but were sure that the change was going to help them. The success of the meeting can be gauged from the fact that my manager started coming to Toastmaster sessions after this meeting and was encouraging members in my team to take Toastmasters seriously. All I used to handle the situation were CC2 and CC3. We got down to the specific purpose and ensured that every line of the speech pointed to it. We organized the content in a way that kept the audience glued to their seats and allayed their fears towards change. From that day, I’ve used CC2 and CC3 as golden rules for all my communications. I start with the specific purpose in my mind and ensure that every line is aligned with that purpose. I filter information based on its relevance to the specific purpose and then organize the content before sending it. This technique has given me great results. This is mere CC2 and CC3 at work. If these simple learnings can yield such humongous results, just imagine what the rest of Toastmaster learnings can do to us when we apply them judiciously at work.

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 | JANUARY 2018           


UNLEASH THE MASK TM MADHUMITA SINHA, MAHINDRA TOASTMASTERS CLUB, MUMBAI

When we fell apart A part of me went with you A part of you stayed with me Don’t know what you did with mine But I ended up being possessed by yours I did everything to hide you in me But came up revealing you more in my existence They see you in me all the time In my reflection Deep in my eyes Deeper in my heart They hear you when I speak They read you when I write Wonder I am not in Me anymore Am I fake A façade A face under a mask A stranger to the world And even to myself at times Every moment depicting A different face A different person Telling a different story With a the Mask.

Attained Bliss TM ABHISHA THAKER, AMDAVAD TOASTMASTERS

Birds were chirping; leaves were rustling In the garden where I was walking With earplugs in my ears Little did I know what I was missing. Shining with gold and orange lights The valley which was pink and white With purse in my hand and my eyes on shops Little did I know what I was missing. The air was fresh and new; the flow of warm breeze Inviting with their mere presence; the pink and white flowers Locked myself in hotel rooms Little did I know what I was missing. Everything which I was seeking, was around me But I was looking it elsewhere The moment the unique experiences of nature touched my soul I attained bliss in its purest form

Take a moment to give us feedback for this article, or the issue HERE. You might get published in Letters to the Editor!

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COMMUNICATE 98 | JANUARY 2018           


THE WIRE

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7 1. CLUB OFFICERS' TRAINING PROGRAM, DIVISIONS A, B, AND M | 13TH JANUARY 2. CLUB OFFICERS' TRAINING PROGRAM, AREA A2 | 21ST JANUARY 3. CLUB OFFICERS' TRAINING PROGRAM, DIVISIONS C,D, AND P | 20TH JANUARY 4. CLUB OFFICERS' TRAINING PROGRAM, DIVISIONS E,F, AND H | 21ST JANUARY 5. TOASTMASTERS INTERNATIONAL MID-YEAR TRAINING FOR DISTRICT TRIOS, COLOMBO | JANUARY 6. INTERNATIONAL CENTRE GOA (ICG) TOASTMASTERS CLUB ORGANIZED A BLOOD DONATION CAMP | 7TH JANUARY 7. JOINT MEETING AND CLUB OFFICERS' TRAINING PROGRAM, AREA A1 | 7TH JANUARY

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COMMUNICATE 98 | JANUARY 2018           


WELCOME TO THE FAMILY!

1 GEP TOASTMASTERS CLUB 3RD JANUARY

HUL R&D TOASTMASTERS CLUB 1ST JANUARY

CHATTERATI TOASTMASTERS CLUB 1ST JANUARY

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COMMUNICATE 98 | JANUARY 2018           


CONTEST OF THE MONTH

FIRST PLACE Dear Me, How was 2018 for you? I guess, it was unlike 2017 totally. In 2017, you toiled hard to accomplish the goals that were set by others. 365 days, 365 experiences, 365 lessons learnt! By now, you are well trained to live your passion, your dreams, isn't it? Many unexpected events took place this year. You really handled them very well with care. And did you help that poor kid who was stealing and begging for bread and butter? She deserved to get the right education as she is really brilliant enough. Proud of you that you helped her get on the right track! You were tagged in "n" number of memes and trolls in the social networking sites. You laughed at yourself for those, didn't you? Of course, you can spread more laughter if you know laughing at self. Anyway, bidding adieu to 2018 on a good note. See you in 2019! Thanks & Regards, Always yours, Me, Self

MONIKA PATTANAIK TCS BE@T TOASTMASTERS, GANDHINAGAR

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TM Disha Ghoshal  Accenture Hyderabad Toastmasters Club

Communicate 98 January issue designed by Fatima. Cover design by Ruchika

"Owl"

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