Communicate. Collaborate. Celebrate.
GET READY FOR CONFLUENCE 2017
PQD RAVI TEJA ON “THE MAIN THING”
THE TOASTMASTER WHO SWAM THE ENGLISH CHANNEL
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
OVER STORY: THE OLYMPIAN OF PUBLI SPEAKING
OMMUNI ATE 98 FEATURES: MILIND SOMAN ENTREPRENEUR FOR SO IAL HANGE C
TM Bharati Ramineni, Hyderabad Toastmasters Hello Team! Appreciate your efforts in bringing out such an interesting newsletter. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Especially about Milind Soman and the cover story ( I'm a big fan of Aditya :-) . It helps to know that behind their success there is courage, planning and hard work. Wish you all the best! TM Pritpal Kaur, Palava Toastmasters Club, Mumbai (yet to charter) I thank you for sharing this article. DTM Aditya M is indeed an inspiration for budding toastmasters like me. His vision to use public speaking as a platform to inspire people to find their potential is commendable and I wish him all the success in this. This article has encouraged me to find my style for public speaking and not just copy paste what other great leaders do. His take on keeping his speeches simple and not sensational is very wise. Indeed, Simplicity is the ultimate Sophistication.
HUMANS OF D98: THE IMPA T OF TOASTMASTERS C
TM Rajiv Vassanji, Amdavad Toastmasters Club Very inspiring article which demonstrates the true power of faith and believing in your abilities when others don't. Well edited, thoughtful questions, succinct answers, and above all a relevant topic Being entrepreneur and keeping social purpose in mind. TM Kumar, Palava Toastmasters Club, Mumbai (yet to charter) Milind Soman, the ageless Greek God of fitness, continues to inspire many of us to take care of self and the community as a whole, leading by example and through various initiatives such as those mentioned in your article. A truly passionate person need not look for any support or backing, it follows wherever they choose to lead is demonstrated by milind in this article. May you run many marathons in the pink of health.. Thank you Soman thank you So much.
TM Vinay Prabhu Mhambre, Mapusa Toastmasters, Goa Lowell.... a good friend ... very good human... and the best speaker.... you are the motivation for most of us... I still remember the warmth you showed on the first day I came for the Toastmasters meeting and your passion for Toastmasters.... I am proud of being in the same club as you... and yes for rest of you all... Lowell has been our Area Champion at the humorous speech contest and the first runner up at the Division Level... Keep speaking and keep motivatingâ&#x20AC;Ś TM Mayuri Assudani, Nagpur Toastmasters Club TM Lowell, more power to you and kudos to your club members who encouraged you at every step. Recently at the Absolutely Toasted Toastmasters Club in Vancouver, I saw the same kind of encouragement and appreciation for a young man who too stuttered and stammered. But I saw his confidence level during speeches, as TMOD and as Topics Master. Needless to say, the Toastmasters Club is that one place where one is never discriminated but rather is pushed to do the best to one's ability. All the best for your future projects!
IN THIS ISSUE
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
ASK THE TRIO
COMMUNICATE 98 FEATURES
THE OPINION PAGE
CELEBRATING THE MILESTONES
18 HUMANS OF D98
23 WELCOME TO THE FAMILY!
25 THE C98 TEAM
26 BACK COVER ART
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 Ravi Parikh 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 HYDERABAD TOASTMASTERS HONOURS TM VENKATA FOR RECEIVING A PRESIDENTIAL CITATION 10TH SEPTEMBER
450TH MEETING OF TOASTMASTERS CLUB OF PUNE 7TH OCTOBER
ELAN TOASTMASTERS CELEBRATE DTM ALFRED'S 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY IN TOASTMASTERS 8TH OCTOBER
AMDAVAD TOASTMASTERS GIVES GOODIES ON MEMBERSHIP RENEWALS 8TH OCTOBER
150TH MEETING AND TABLE TOPICS MARATHON OF ORACLE HYDERABAD TOASTMASTERS 10TH OCTOBER
ICG TOASTMASTERS CLUB, GOA CELEBRATED ITS 111TH MEETING 12TH OCTOBER
150TH MEETING OF TECHMAHINDRA TOASTMASTERS CLUB (INFOCITY) 13TH OCTOBER
COMMUNICATE 98 IS GOING PLACES! IPDD DTM Chandrashekar DP at Everest Base CampÂ
COVER STORY TEAM INDORE
ONFLUEN E 2017 – AN ekNumber! FAREWELL C
District 98 may only be three years old, but we’ve grown rather fond of our conferences. They represent the epitome of the skills we celebrate in Toastmasters. Contestants battle it out to be crowned public speaking champions while leaders are made in making it all happen. Confluence, our semi-annual District conference, has always been my special favourite. Kicked-off from Hyderabad in 2015, Confluence brought with it all the creativity of a newly minted District, unveiling a mascot (go Toastie!), slick PR slogans, and a unique un-conferencing concept. The conference moved to Goa in 2016, where the hospitality, enchanting venue, and the charm of surf and turf enamoured us all. Now, as TI makes a decision to discontinue this beloved gathering of kindred spirits, the swan song of Confluence will be at Indore in 2017. What a conference feels like lies entirely in the hands of the convener. This is the person who sets the vision and leads the team to execute it. We catch up with TM Raunak Kulwal, Division B Director and convener for Confluence 2017, for a look behind the scenes.
WHAT S THE STORY BEHIND YOUR BID TO HOST THE ONFEREN E IN INDORE? ’
Organizing or event management comes very naturally to me. I got the skill from my family because when it comes to hosting things, we always want to outshine others. The dream of hosting a conference came to me when I attended Orations 2015 in Mumbai. I loved the entire experience and I thought to myself, this is how an event should be done. The persona of the convener really motivated me and I could never have imagined I would be in his place.
In 2016, the venue was fixed for Indore but at the last moment, the venue was changed to Goa. We Indoris are very emotional people and it hurt me that because of certain challenges we could not take the conference to my home city. However, these challenges made me strong and determined. During the District Council Meeting in Goa, I stood up and told the members that I wanted to host Confluence 2017 at Indore and my bid was accepted.
COMMUNICATE 98 | OCTOBER 2017
COVER STORY TEAM INDORE
WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR THIS ONFEREN E? HOW WILL THE ekNumber! THEME BE A PART OF THE ONFEREN E? C
The vision behind this Confluence is to have a District level conference in a Tier-2 city. We have seen the trend to host such conferences in big cities like Hyderabad, Mumbai, or Pune. The District has for the first time given the opportunity to host in Indore. Coming to the theme, every city has its own lingo and way of talking. For people in Indore, this term is used to denote high praise, something that is above awesome or beyond amazing. When you go around the city, you will hear this phrase said a lot and that is how we first got the idea to do a theme around the city’s lingo. Our aim is to provide an amazing experience for all members. All the delegates who are coming here should have that experience and go back and say that this was the greatest conference they attended. Everything about the conference – food, conference, accommodation, experience, we are planning an ekNumber! thing!
HOW ARE YOU MANAGING IT WITH SU H A SMALL TOASTMASTERS OMMUNITY IN INDORE? C
First, I work and live in Mumbai so I have to travel frequently to meet the teams. Also, we have only 2 clubs in the city as of now and even though they have great enthusiasm, the membership strength is less. Each member has to work for multiple committees. When we got the opportunity to host, for the first time we got double-digit registrations from Indore to attend the Eloquence Mumbai 2017 to see the conference. People came to see how a District conference is conducted and take those learnings back with them. It can take a toll on me sometimes because I have to guide the teams through and through about their roles and responsibilities.
IS THERE A BROADER GOAL OF HOSTING THIS ONFEREN E IN INDORE TO HELP DRIVE THE GROWTH OF LUBS IN THE ITY? C
One dream we had is that after this conference, we want to have 2-3 more clubs from both Bhopal and Indore. For the past 3-4 years, no new club has been added to the community here. In small cities, an additional challenge is that people are not aware of what improvements Toastmasters can bring in their life. Toastmasters is such an
COVER STORY TEAM INDORE amazing platform which has been helping me personally for the last 3+ years and I want to show Indore that same thing. We are coordinating with various colleges and companies in Indore. We are not looking to get anything from them. We just want them to come to the conference and see what Toastmasters is and what value it can bring to them.
WHAT AN MEMBERS LOOK FORWARD TO AT THE ONFLUEN E? IS THERE ANYTHING SPE IAL PLANNED FOR THIS LAST SEMI-ANNUAL ONFEREN E? C
There are a couple of things we are working on. The Sarafa food market in Indore is quite famous. Our idea is to have some unique experience, not following anything that any other conference has done. On the night of the 24th, we are planning to take the members on a Sarafa night walk. We are also thinking about taking a Heritage tour of the city. Coming to the entertainment segment, there will be something unique, not in the traditional way it is done at conferences. The people of Indore are famous for their love, warmth, and hospitality. Even keeping the theme aside, we want to welcome all members as our guests. Whenever they remember Confluence 2017, we want them to remember this hospitality. 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!
ASK THE TRIO
Q: CAN TOASTMASTERS OPEN AVENUES FOR NEW CAREERS/JOBS OR CAN BE CONSIDERED AS ONE? ANURAG KANODIA, TOASTMASTERS CLUB OF AMDOCS, PUNE
The Toastmasters program helps you develop speaking skills. Once you feel you have developed your speaking skills adequately, you may choose to pursue it as a career. The decision rests with you. There were many examples in our own Toastmasters community, few have become trainers, Speakers, Stand-Up Comedians, Successful Entrepreneurs etc., and Toastmasters have directly or indirectly helped them to flourish in their chosen paths. Arvind
Q: MY QUESTION IS THAT AS A CONTESTANT DOES WATCHING YOUR COMPETITOR’S SPEECH ADD ON TO YOUR PREPARATION? AMIT SAPAIYA, DIAMOND CITY TOASTMASTERS CLUB, SURAT
It depends upon your state of mind as a contestant and what happens to it when you are watching your fellow contestant perform. The best possible preparation for a contestant helps him to be inspired to run up the stage when he/she is called and deliver his speech with a sense of purpose and conviction. Anything that helps you do that, should be done. Ravi
Q: AMONG ALL THE LEADERSHIP ROLES TAKEN IN YOUR TOASTMASTERS JOURNEYS SO FAR, WHICH HAS BEEN THE MOST CHALLENGING ROLE AND WHY? SIDDHARTH SUMAN, DIVISION E DIRECTOR, TCS MAITREE SYNERGY PARK TOASTMASTERS CLUB, HYDERABAD
Siddharth, you haven’t addressed it to a particular member of the TRIO. So as District Director, I will take the liberty of providing you with my answer. In my tenure of ten years as a Toastmaster, I have assumed leadership roles from the club to the District level. Every role is unique and you encounter situations typical to that role. I consider these situations as opportunities to learn and this has helped me to grow. I joined Toastmasters to improve my communication skills and in the process met and interacted with many people both from within and outside (I mean corporate) of Toastmasters. With each interaction my enthusiasm to help members and clubs developed in me unconsciously, what I later came to know, service leadership. This, I believe, has stood me in good stead. As Charlie Chaplin has said: “You need power only when you want to do something harmful, otherwise love is enough to get everything done.” Arvind
Q: IS THERE A COMMON PLACE OF WIKI PAGE/CONFLUENCE PAGE WHERE ONE CAN GET ALL THE LATEST CLUB DETAILS WITH VPPR CONTACTS IN HYDERABAD? PENDYALA PRASAD, ORACLE HYDERABAD TOASTMASTERS CLUB
ASK THE TRIO I assume that by “all the latest club details” you mean name, meeting venue, day and time, contact person? This is available on the TI site www.toastmasters.org click on Find a Club and then filter your search with the parameters. If you want details like member strength/current DCP goals then you may visit the Dashboard. You can also contact your Area/Division Director. Arvind
Q: DO YOU AGREE THAT ALL TOASTMASTER MEMBERS ARE ENTITLED TO FAIR AND EQUITABLE CHANCE OF PROGRESSING FROM ONE LEVEL TO THE NEXT LEVEL IN VARIOUS TOASTMASTERS CONTESTS? I OBSERVED THAT AS PER THE CURRENT ORGANIZATION STRUCTURE, SOME TOASTMASTERS HAVE AN UNFAIR ADVANTAGE FOR PROGRESSING FROM CLUB-> AREA->DIVISION->DISTRICT LEVELS. I OBSERVED THAT SOME TOASTMASTER CONTESTANTS ARE AT A CLEAR ADVANTAGE AS COMPARED TO OTHER MEMBERS. PLEASE HAVE A LOOK AT THE FOLLOWING TABLE: AREA CONTESTANTS TOP WINNER CHANCE FOR PROGRESSING TO NEXT LEVEL M1 4 1 25% HIGH CHANCES A1 6 1 17% MEDIUM CHANCES B5 8 1 12.5% LOW CHANCES YOU WILL OBSERVE THAT A CONTESTANT FROM COMING FROM AN AREAS HAVING LOWER NUMBER OF CLUBS HAVE MUCH HIGHER CHANCES OF PROGRESSING TO THE DIVISION LEVEL AS COMPARED TO A CONTESTANT COMING FROM AN AREAS WITH RELATIVELY HIGHER NUMBER OF CLUBS. IS IT THE FAULT OF THE CONTESTANT THAT HE CHOSE TO BE A MEMBER OF A CLUB WHICH IS PLACED IN AN AREA HAVING MORE NUMBER OF CLUBS? WHAT IS CURRENTLY HAPPENING IS THAT AREAS WITH HIGHER NUMBER OF CLUBS ARE UNFAIRLY PENALISED WHILE AREAS WITH LOWER NUMBER OF CLUBS ARE UNFAIRLY PATRONISED. IN MY OPINION, NO MATTER TO WHICH CLUB/AREA/DIVISION THE MEMBER BELONGS, HE OR SHE MUST STAND FAIR AND EQUITABLE CHANCE LIKE OTHERS. SINCE ALL TOASTMASTERS PAY THE SAME MEMBERSHIP FEES, SHOULDN’T THEY HAVE FAIR AND EQUITABLE CHANCES FOR PROGRESSING IN THE CONTESTS FROM ONE LEVEL TO THE NEXT LEVEL? SUBRAMANYAM G. M., TCS MAITREE TOASTMASTERS CLUB, MUMBAI AND AMDAVAD TOASTMASTERS CLUB
Yes, all Toastmasters are entitled to free and fair contests. The Speech Contest rulebook and the general District guidelines help us achieve that to the best possible level for any contest. The alignment of clubs to different areas is not done based on how many contestants the clubs would generate, but on the basis how best the District can help support the clubs to conduct quality and productive club meetings. In the above-mentioned example, the absence or number of other contestants does not affect the result. It is the presence of a well prepared and well-performing contestant that drives the result. Contest formats in Toastmasters are framed based on the best possible solution given the number of constraints related to administration, geography, interest, and reception of the program. You may be right in saying that if you are in a less numbered pool, your chances of winning are high. But who can decide before the contest that the less numbered pool is easy and the higher number pool is difficult? In the less number pool, you may have the next District Champion, while the pool having the maximum numbers may have everybody except one being disqualified or not competent enough. So as a contestant we should all be worried about one thing - “Content is the KING” and focus on preparing the contest and deliver it like a King, irrespective of however many number of contestants you may face. Ravi 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
TRANSFORMING LIVES KRUNAL SHAH CO-FOUNDER OF “THE DK ACADEMY” Krunal Shah, the son of a farmer, hails from a small village near Somnath, Gujarat. He is an entrepreneur based out of Surat, managing multiple businesses. He is the co-founder of “The DK Academy”, a learning and development academy where his forte is advising entrepreneurs about growth and management strategies. Like any other ordinary student, I got enrolled for Bachelors in Commerce in one of the colleges of Ahmedabad. I had no vision and mission at the time so I just cleared the exams for the sake of family and society. After graduation, I realized that I had to be responsible towards my career and appeared for the CAT exam. Due to a low score, I could not make to any B-schools of my choice in India. I flew to the UK and did my MBA in Finance from the University of Gloucestershire. I managed my stay and expenses by bartending and serving in restaurants. The hardships I faced for survival made me more responsible and accountable for my life. Gradually, the spirit of entrepreneurship started flowing into my veins and I decided to I come back to India to join my brother’s business and take it to a new level. However, entrepreneurship was not an as easy as thought. I realized that the most important thing in business is to sell yourself. So I joined a sales and marketing company, travelled 120kms every day, did door to door sales, and mastered the art of selling. To sharpen the saw, I then joined a business consultancy company that educated and consulted with entrepreneurs. I worked 16 -18 hour days and invested double the time that was expected from me because this was the place to which I was looking forward. I was quickly promoted and in less than 2 years, I grabbed the opportunity to educate and
consult 300+ entrepreneurs. In one instance, I was able to increase the turnover of a company from 30 crores to 300 crores through my expertise. I was now very sure about my vision and goals. I decided to quit my job and plunge into entrepreneurship. This was not easy though. The company did not accept my resignation seeing my performance and promised to promote me even higher. Now the fire in my belly had risen to another level, nothing could stop my wings and I finally quit after submitting resignation five times. Right now, I am working as a Virtual CEO with four companies out of which one is incurring huge losses. Turning them around requires tough practical decisions. Saying bye to old employees to promote fresh ideas and young leaders for company’s benefit is difficult. The experience has taught me a good amount of emotional intelligence. My vision is to own 400 companies worldwide in different sectors. Right now, I am a partner in “The DK Academy” and own a kiosk in PVR. A bakery and organic farming will find their inception soon. My mission is to generate future leaders across the nation through these 400 companies. I am a day-dreamer and dreams never let me sit idle. I believe that amount of risk taken is directly proportional to confidence. A message to the young, talented, and enthusiastic leaders: “Dream the unseen, walk the unknown and achieve the miracle. The future you see is the future you get.” Edited and compiled by Malvi Take a moment to give us feedback for this article, or the issue HERE. You might get published in Letters to the Editor!
THE MAIN THING DTM RAVI TEJA MARRAPU PROGRAM QUALITY DIRECTOR, DISTRICT 98
channel. Record speeches that can be used for future reference. Publicize the meeting within your organization or community.
“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing” – Stephen R Covey. The trickiest part of this quote is to understand what this “Main Thing” is. Fortunately for Toastmasters we know what it is - our “Toastmasters Club Meeting” which is our most important connection to the Toastmasters movement. It is the best place to learn how to constructively communicate with confidence, to lead by being part of an ecosystem, and to create a productive and positive environment. When we researched why certain clubs had to close down, we narrowed it down to unhealthy club meetings. Due to competition for DCP points or to keep up with the pride of the past, club meetings are often neglected. So at this juncture, we need clubs that can set an example for the rest to follow. We, as club leaders, need to re-focus on conducting quality meetings. Imagine a new member who has just joined your club. Maybe he wants to improve for an appraisal or he is unable to speak his mind to his family or clients. Just like we joined Toastmasters to improve ourselves on stage or to learn to lead a team, think about whether your club meetings are allowing that new member to achieve his purpose of joining the club. This will help you understand why your club meetings are important. Here are some suggestions on how to ensure meeting quality, which will help us be PROLIFIC in conducting Toastmasters meetings: Prepare - Planning makes everything smoother so always prepare well for a meeting. Make sure that an agenda is prepared and followed to the minute. Inform everyone well ahead of time, keep the venue ready, ensure the meeting starts and ends on time, and be ready for possible deviations. Resolute - Ensure that you have the club meetings no matter what. Never cancel a meeting once announced. Online - Videotape speeches and upload them to your video
Learn to improve - Consider your meeting role as a chance to improve and help the speakers. Consider yourself a friend and guide to help them. As an Ah Counter, observe more keenly, or as a Table Topics Master, improvise different ways of conducting Table Topics. Inviting Guests - Your guests are first-timers, who have shown an interest in your club. Make them feel special and clarify any doubts they may have. Make sure you take their details and duly invite them for all Toastmaster programs happening in and around the city. Fellowship - Do not just come to a meeting and disperse. Meet members over tea or lunch. Have regular club outings and meetings at offbeat sites. Try to bond and create a friendly and positive environment. Inform about future meetings - At the end of a meeting, ensure that everyone is informed about the next meeting and invite role players there itself. Also, invite both members and guests for District events and encourage them to visit other club meetings. Conclusion - Conclusion of the meeting is key! Assess each speaker, understand the pattern of mistakes the speaker repeats and advise accordingly. Ask for feedback, check what worked, what did not. Work on the feedback, maintain a feedback register and make sure that everything is noted. These are just a few ways of having an effective meeting. If we all focus on the “The Main Thing” we will find ways to make it interesting so that we have successful meetings in our club and half of our problems will be solved. Let’s all pledge today that we shall set aside at least 30 minutes in our EC meetings to discuss the past and the future of our club meetings. Let’s all pledge to talk about a wonderful speech we heard, an effective evaluation, or an efficient role player. Let’s all pledge once again to recognize and promote the culture of having the best Toastmasters Meetings in our District.
Edited by Disha; 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!
EXPRESS AND IMPRESS TM BEENA MATHEW, NAGPUR TOASTMASTERS CLUB
“Evaluations and competitions help you beat the worst and bring out the best within you!” This is the story of how I realized it. “Mom, it’s good you lost the contest!” my elder son Stefan softly whispered into my ears as we travelled back from the Division Table Topics Speech Contest at Hyderabad this year. Actually, I was expecting him to congratulate me for doing so well and reaching that level of the competition. So what my son said did not go down well with me for some time. But then the words that followed cleared everything for me. “Mom, all this while, you have been in a secure world of admiration from your students and are used to their applause and appreciation. This gives you little scope to discover your areas of improvement and you remain complacent! Now you need to outgrow yourself and challenge your comfort zone.” I introspected and since then, have learnt to break the stereotypical teacher’s image. For this, I am thankful to evaluations in Toastmasters. Evaluations are value additions because you are instructed to continuously improve. Prior to joining Toastmasters in September 2016, I had been running an English Communication and Soft Skills training academy in Nagpur city for more than 25 years. I was always on one side of the table evaluating and training my students from all walks of life. But in Toastmasters, the tables were turned. Here, I was being evaluated as a speaker. My evaluators advised me to experiment with my voice and use different varieties and intonations while speaking. They asked me to fine tune the magic in my voice.
As I started following their advice, I realized that there are so many things which teachers like me can learn. Firstly, many teachers have a monotonous voice and speak in a commanding, raised tone. Not only does this make the students feel left out, it also drains the teacher’s energy. In Toastmasters, I learnt that you do not always need to be loud in order to be heard. You need to pause, reduce your volume abruptly, and be aware of your pitch and volume. I have shared this with many fellow trainers and helped them to conserve their vocal energy and draw the attention of their students. In addition, my evaluators also advised me to use hand gestures judiciously in my speeches. The result is that I include these aspects of verbal communication in my trainings and workshops. My students absolutely love it! These nuances of voice modulation and creative communication have helped me go through a subtle makeover professionally. I am thankful to my evaluators in Toastmasters as well as Toastmasters competitions for inculcating in me the art and science of more effective speaking. Edited and compiled by Taaha
Take a moment to give us feedback for this article, or the issue HERE. You might get published in Letters to the Editor!
WHY WE NEED A MENTOR TM VIBHA PANDEY, HITACHI CONSULTING PUNE TOASTMASTERS "That would be the last change", was what Manisha, my mentor, told me as she reviewed my Project 9 script. This was my 3rd storyboard and I was scared that more were to come. She continued, "Dear Vibha, it is perfect with respect to an Indian audience, but what about an international arena?" And now she was making a point. Mentors have a way of seeing more of our faults that we would like. It's the only way we grow. I am sure most of you will agree. More than that, I felt great that as per her opinion, my speech could someday be delivered on an international forum. Manisha defines the word "mentor" for me. I have now completed my Competent Communicator manual and Manisha has been there every time I delivered a speech - be it in the club, or outside the club. My journey in Toastmasters has been the result of a true mentorship by Manisha. Recently, I participated in a Speech Evaluation Contest. I could not make it to the top spots, those who would go further up to the Division level. "You don't have to win to be a winner", is what she whispered as she came up to me. That day Manisha made me see the hope inside myself when I was blinded by the loss at the Area level. She pushes me to walk that extra mile, take that extra effort, and script that extra line
which adds a punch to my speech. Playing a dual role of teacher and connector, a mentor can offer their skills and expertise, introduce you to a talent that can fuel your domain and help you get closer to your target audience. My mentor willingly shared her network with me, taking me to events and making introductions that led to many opportunities I would not have otherwise had. Mentors have the experience you can learn from. Manisha made sure I never repeated her mistakes. She was one of the first Toastmasters from our club who completed her CC, CL, and ALB. Even though she is not an active member these days, she still remains my mentor, my saviour, and my go-to person. Having a mentor is not a sign of weakness. It shows you are smart and driven enough to succeed. I feel fortunate to have had this experience and am now in a position to return the favour to others that are just starting out. 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!
HUMANS OF D98
ENJOY THE JOURNEY TM SAMEER PATIL TCS MAITREE TOASTMASTERS CLUB, MUMBAI
Toastmaster Sameer Patil is a member of TCS Maitree Toastmasters Club in Mumbai. He successfully swam and crossed the English Channel in a solo, one way swim on the 16th of September, 2017. This is his journey, in his words. It was dark - darker than I could ever remember. The water was freezing and so were my hopes with each passing second. I didn’t know much time had passed...10….20 hours? I was feeling as if something had gone wrong. I had no sense of time or place but just my goal. I could see distant lights like an oasis in the desert but no one knew how near or far the destination was. Everywhere I looked there was water, an infinite amount of it, and then I felt it - that sudden rush of relief. I could stand in the water, I had finally touched the ground. I never knew if I was fond of swimming because I didn’t have a chance. I learned swimming from my cousins when they threw me in the water in our small village. It was the survival of the fittest, or maybe I had found my calling. Time passed and I grew up, eventually relocating to Mumbai over 10 years ago. It was Mumbai that gave wings to my dreams and passion, both in swimming and in public speaking. More often than not, people have asked me, “So Sameer, we understand swimming, but Toastmasters? What is the connection?” But does there need to be a connection? And if there does need to be one, what is mine? I distinctly remember I was a regular guy working in an MNC and concentrating on my swimming. But then I was not as confident back then as I am today. Toastmasters has made me confident and outgoing. It not only helped me evolve as a speaker but even as a swimmer. When I was in Dover, England
before my swim, there were a lot of people from all over the world. I interacted with them, exchanging ideas and learnings for my upcoming swimming challenge. And even though swimming is an individual thing, you need interaction to prepare for the journey, both before and after. Swimming transformed me. It made me more disciplined and a better planner. However, it was Toastmasters that taught me no matter how painful things are, good things are always painful. Initially, Toastmasters was painful for me. I wasn’t a good speaker and so on. But it taught me a lot and I grew as a person and I stuck with it. I applied the learnings from Toastmasters to swimming, setting small goals and gradually getting to the bigger ones. You can always find a connection, a learning in whatever you do. If I were to sum up my learning in one line it would be to “Enjoy the Journey!” Because when you are enjoying something, you put in your maximum effort without realizing it. Success is not something easy, you have to work hard for it. Reflecting back, even Toastmasters is the same. I wouldn’t have reached this far if I had quit. Swimming the English Channel was a lonely journey filled with painful hardships. I was alone for 15 hours and 19 mins in the dreadful, cold windy sea. But it made me a humble person, it made me appreciate things and appreciate myself. Edited and 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!
THE OPINION PAGE
BEING PATIENT WILL TAKE YOU PLACES DTM NITEASH AGARWAAL, DISTRICT PR MANAGER, DISTRICT 98 After a lot of hesitation, I joined Toastmasters in 2011. I was blown away by the first meeting. I was excited to speak and take advantage of the opportunity to stand on stage and be seen by leaders of my company. My Ice-Breaker speech was not good enough to be remembered, but the encouraging words by my Site Leader motivated me to discover myself in Toastmasters. Being a Leo sun sign and of the millennial generation, I wanted everything to happen instantly in my career. I had been appreciated for my work repeatedly which sowed an aspiration in my mind to become a Team Leader. It was just 3 years into my career when, in my chat with the Site Leader, I discussed my career aspirations and how quickly I would like to get into the management. The advice he gave me was that I was too young and being patient will take me to places in my career as there is a lot to learn. While I never understood the depth of it but Toastmasters made me understand it. I have served at Toastmasters over the years from a Club Officer to now as a District Public Relations Manager and maybe as a Trio member in future. One thing I realized was how quickly I was able to climb the ladder of leadership something I always wanted to happen with my professional career. But if you ask me today, I feel it would have been better had I slowed down. It's like a 'Been there, done that' feeling. This is when I was reminded of those words by my Site Leader 'Being patient will take you places'.
I see that today, the average age of a Toastmaster is around 45 across the world. But in India, it's 25-35 and moving towards 20-30. While it's a good sign of people learning public skills and experiencing leadership at such a young age, it's also impacting the organization as we are seeing an influx of immature leaders who are reaching to the top serving positions so quickly that it's affecting the functioning of Toastmasters. Also, it is leading to an expectation gap between these generations as their ideology towards looking at one subject is so different. Whereas on one side, we see experienced leaders believing in ‘Slow and steady wins the race’, younger leaders believe in ‘instant implementation without thought’ which has the following problems: > Damage due to their decisions is irreversible > Lack of commitment > Keeping bad company > Blaming others Overall, I am happy to have experienced so much in Toastmasters but the thought of slowing down should a person get into a leadership position quickly always keeps me wondering.
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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