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From the Editor’s desk….

“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try”- Gail Dever

Words like these encourage us to try something new especially during this time of the year. Each day presents us with innumerable opportunities for growth. It’s up to us to recognise them and turn it to our advantage. Opportunities to learn a new skill, a new language, to take up a new role etc come our way very often. The fear of failure is one of the primary reasons that often pull us back from taking the first step. From childhood we’ve been brought up to strive for success in everything we do. Hence many a time this need for success prevents us from venturing into new paths in life. Don’t be scared of failures as life is too short to let fear take decisions for us. Gather courage to take the first step this year, learn from our failures and pave way to future success. Sharon Kuruvilla VP PR


President’s Message


Member Achievements

6 Division Director’s Message





By Cecily Thomas

Member Spotlight

8 Fighting Glossophobia


Club Events & News


Interview Segment

By Deepa Kurian

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE “We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.” EDITH PIERCE I was looking for an inspirational message for ‘Reflections’, when I suddenly came across poet Edith Pierce’s amazing words - “We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.” Divas, the New Year stands before us like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We are getting another chance to fill up the pages of this book, to do everything we want to do this year! Come January, we are getting an opportunity to fill up the first few pages of the book, by taking part in the Annual contest. Pick up your pen and pencil and recreate history this year by taking up fresh challenges in Toastmasters. How about writing each and every page of this book together as we go along our Toastmasters journey making it the bestseller of 2018. Set your goals high and do not stop till you get there! Let us put an end to our fears and doubts and start the New Year with confidence and courage. As Henry Ford said, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself”. Wishing you a New Year filled with new hope, new joy and new beginnings RADHA HARI Club President

EXCOM FOR YEAR 2017-2018

President – Radha Hari

Secretary –Arpita Trivedi

VP Ed–Nisha Varghese

Treasurer –Suja Samuel

VP Mem–Pragati Shenoy

Sergeant At Arms –Raji Nair

VP PR –Sharon Kuruvilla

Imm.Past Pr–Sowmya R

Web Master –Pari Sagar

TOASTMASTERS MISSION STATEMENT Toastmasters International is the leading non-profit organization devoted to creating effective leaders and communicators worldwide. Through its clubs, Toastmasters International helps people learn the arts of speaking, listening and thinking — vital skills that promote self-actualization, enhance leadership potential, foster human understanding and contribute to the betterment of mankind.

CLUB MISSION We provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth. TOASTMASTERS INTERNATIONAL MISSION We empower individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders.

DIVISION DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE When speaking of this very unique club Desert Divas TM, I deeply resonate with these words which are embodied in their own tagline – ‘Reaching for the infinite with unrestrained zest’. For a club which began way back in 2013 with only "divas" as they call themselves, I have seen this club grow and soar to great heights There was a lacuna in the Division for this kind of a rare club, and Desert Divas filled this gap. Being the Area Director for Area 33, Division J (2014-15) and the current Division Director, Division J, I feel proud to see the legacy its founding members are leaving. The presence of the founding members in every meeting is a strong indicator of the health of the club. I feel immensely happy to see the mentor-mentee program so very active in Desert Divas TM Club, something I strongly advocate and recommend to each and every club within our Division. Within our own division J, we are gearing up for the contest season and I am sure that members of Desert Divas will be right there with their best performance. I say to each and every member, participate, learn and grow because competition is growth. Contests at any level be it at area, division, district or International will make every Toastmaster better than what he/she is. Participate and enjoy the experience, oh yes do not forget to seek guidance from your mentor. And now with the New Year, new goals and new challenges will emerge, and I am sure that Excom of Desert Divas along with the support from the Area, Division and District and their unrestrained zest will take this club to much greater heights. Here’s wishing Divas success all the way. Keep growing, keep inspiring. Warm wishes Your Division Director filled with zest

Nelson Menezes, DTM Division J, District 105

Our members in the spotlight at other clubs


FIGHTING GLOSSOPHOBIA Glossophobia…. What’s that? Haven’t heard of it? Well neither had I until very recently when I discovered that I may be suffering from it. Glossophobia apparently is the fear of public speaking and stage fright is only one of the symptoms. Did you know that a normal person ranks Glossophobia over Thanatophobia or the fear of death?

A cheerful and confident person, with good command over the English language coupled with the ability to hold a conversation on a variety of subjects, and a chatterbox to boot, I thought the “Icebreaker” would be a cake walk for me. Nothing could have been further from reality when I went up on stage. There I was, nervous and anxious, with a stomach tied up in knots and palms slick with sweat. As I faced my audience with a well-rehearsed speech my mouth ran dry and knees wobbled. When I got off the stage that day, I knew I had to find ways to conquer my fears. Here are some tips that helped me deal with Glossophobia. 1. Acknowledge your fear: It’s easier to deal with the fear if you accept that you are scared. The sweaty palms and a racing heart which make you feel as if you are headed towards disaster, keep you alert and on your toes.

2. Get organized: Decide on the topic, organize your thoughts and your script. Take notes. It is best, to practice the speech out loud instead of just thinking about what you are going to say. This can help you to plan the pace for an effective speech. 3. Motivate yourself: Don’t ask questions like “What if I mess up?” “What if they don’t like it?” This will only add to your anxiety. Instead ask questions like “What if I knock it out of the park?” This will boost your confidence. 4. Listen to some greats: Listen to recorded speeches of great orators. The internet is teeming with it. Some of the great speakers I listen to are Shashi Tharoor, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Barack Obama. Learn from them but never copy them. 5. Your memory: The speech you have written is based on your thoughts and feelings about a subject. Your brain has produced it so you will remember it. Do not worry about forgetting. Once you get into the flow of the speech nothing can stop you.

By Deepa Kurian

6. The audience doesn’t know: The audience does not know what your speech is. So even if you do mess up by forgetting a point or changing the structure, they’ll never know. Just smile and continue like nothing went wrong. At the end, everyone is going to congratulate you for a wonderful speech. 7. The audience is not out to harm you: The people in the audience are not there to harm you. Always remember that. The instant reactions that occur in your body are just false alarms triggered by your mind at the sight of numerous people staring at you. Keep repeating this to yourself and you are good to go. 8. Never give up: Even if you do somehow manage to mess up, you will always have a second chance. There is going to be a next time and a time after that and one after that too. You will always have plenty of time to better yourself and deliver a spectacular speech again. So, there you have it folks, simple tips to deal with Glossophobia 101. Even if you fail to remember these points, just remember that there are a host of people like you who are struggling with the fear of public speaking. You are not alone. Keep working and you will overcome it.




BEING A TMOD When you receive a call or message from your VP Education asking you to be the TMOD for the next meeting, what would your reaction be? Your first response will be to say NOOOOOO…. You might be able to come up with umpteen number of excuses too…But pause for a moment there and for a change say yes to the challenge. For they say “You are not a true Toastmaster until you’re a good Toastmaster!” Being ‘Toastmaster of the Day’ (TMOD) is one of the most valuable experiences in our Club. It’s very challenging but at the same time it’s a very exciting role. The first time you try it, you will simply love the experience! Very recently I had the opportunity to take on the role of “TMOD”, believe me, it was a wonderful learning experience! Being a TMOD is like being the host of a Gala dinner where you showcase a variety of Speeches, apt evaluations and other interesting roles. Generally, the task of a TMOD is assigned to a member who is quite familiar with club meetings and procedures. Now let me give you a brief idea as to how to go about it…

THEME As the TMOD, your first task is to select the ‘theme’. The theme is the common thread that ties the entire meeting together. I’ve read somewhere that “Running a meeting is analogous to crafting and delivering a speech”.  Choosing an appropriate theme seems to be a laborious task for most of us. To pick a good theme, you can contact people individually, request guidance from the VP of Education, your mentor or even ask TMODs of the preceding meeting. If need be, ask the speakers what they will be speaking about. For Eg: for a meeting with all P1 speakers we had an Icebreaker theme!  Invitation: After selecting the theme, send out the meeting poster along with the theme, date, time and venue of the meeting to all the members at least a week in advance.  Agenda: Prepare the draft agenda (according to the template) in alignment with the role players list given by Vice President (Education). Later, with the approval of the VP(Ed)/President the final agenda is send across to all the members and hard copy of the agenda is kept ready for the meeting.

 Research your theme. The TMOD is allotted around 10 minutes of the meeting (5 minutes before break in the beginning and 5 minutes in the end) and roughly another 5 minutes for introducing the role players and speakers. All great speeches begin with a great introduction. Give a bit of background or history regarding your theme and also use this time to explain why this theme is so close to your heart (You can use suitable pictures etc to enhance your message) Prepare your script in such a way that it covers the core value of the theme and also has a take away message in the end.  Dress up the meeting -It is suggested that you use your imagination, for eg: if your theme is Christmas, use terms related to the festival throughout the meeting and let the members get the feel of Christmas by decorating the place accordingly (Additionally, you can have a dress code and also try to incorporate some games to make it more fun and festive)  Co-ordinate with the other Role players: 

Ask the Word Master to pick a word that’s relevant to the theme. Prepare questions related to your theme and get to know your team members - the role players like the Greet Master, Timer, Shoot master, Ah Counter, Word master/Grammarian as well as the Speakers, Table Topic master & Evaluators. During the week, you may get in touch with each role player (optional) and speaker to find out something interesting which you can use when introducing them (most probably related to the theme). Speakers’ speech titles are also noted down and included in the agenda. Once your theme is set, get in touch with your Table Topics Master. Make sure that her questions or activities are aligned with the theme. For example, if I chose the theme “Digital revolution”, the Table Topics could be on related topics for e.g.: If one day you didn’t have your cell phone, what would you do? Or something like “What is the one gadget that you wish had not been invented?”

TIME MANAGEMENT It is the Toastmaster’s duty to handle the time throughout the meeting. Timings are accurately laid out in the standard agenda format. Work in tandem with the timer to ensure that the meeting adheres to the time scheduled on the agenda. If at any given time, a session is exceeding the time limit, the President at her discretion can ask the TMOD to end or curtail that session. Your script along with agenda details can be sent to your mentor who is always there to guide and support you to bring out the best in you.

Before the meeting:  Arrive early at the meeting.  Place a copy of your agenda in front of each table setting.  Hand over the feedback envelopes for (i) Speakers (ii) Table Topic Master (iii) TMOD (iv) General Evaluator and Best speaker, Evaluator and Table Topic speaker envelopes to Sergeant-at-Arms (SAA).  Check the devices - laptop kept on lectern, projectors and ask the Slide Compiler to run the slides once on the screen.  Meet the Timer for any last-minute instructions.  Wish the role players and speakers of the day before the meeting and see where they are seated.  Check whether all role players and speakers are present, if not inform the SAA or President. The success of the meeting is now in your hands!

During the meeting:  Preside the meeting with sincerity, energy and decisiveness, taking your audience on a pleasant journey and make them feel that all is going well. Always lead the applause.  Transition is very important as it keeps the meeting sailing along smoothly through different segments. While introducing the role players and speakers, shake hands when they come and exit the stage, you can take a place near the lectern while the function is on.  Always conclude by giving a recap of what happened during the meeting and also thank all the role players who helped you in conducting it successfully. Just like how you conclude a speech have a take home message for the audience too if possible.  The Sergeant-at-Arms in the beginning and the President in the end are like two pillars of the club taking care of the TMOD during the entire course of the meeting. You are in control of the meeting till the General Evaluator comes on the stage. With great honor you can sign off and invite the General Evaluator to evaluate the meeting. The feedback from the members and evaluation from the General Evaluator helps us to gauge our performance level and identify areas of improvement. Accept it and be ready for another challenge. Looking forward to seeing new members take up this challenge. Have a memorable journey in Desert Divas.

By Cecily Thomas

Travelling Toastmasters

Our VP PR Sharon Kuruvilla in Paris, France

Our Club Debate Team reached the quarter finals of Inter Club Debate Contest conducted by Division J

Arpita Trivedi

Sheetal Ramchandani

Smitha Vaidya

Winners of our Club Meetings Oct2017- Dec 2017  Best Speaker – Nisha Varghese  Best Evaluator – Sudarshan Seshadri

Winners of 84th Meeting with the TMOD Vandita Ramesh

 Best Speaker – Gomathy Ram  Best Evaluator – Sujatha Dilip

Winners of 85th Meeting with the TMOD Maria Chandravarkar

 Best Speaker – Raji Nair  Best Evaluator – Sujatha Bhat  Best TT Speaker - Bindu

Winners of 86th Meeting with the TMOD Shirley Sebastain

 Best Speaker – Sharon Kuruvilla  Best Evaluator – Nisha Varghese  Best TT Speaker - Shyam

Winners of 87th Meeting with the TMOD Cecily Thomas

 Best Speaker – Ria Devyani  Best Evaluator – Nisha Swahney  Best TT Speaker – Lulua Ahsan

Winners of 88th Meeting with the TMOD Arpita Trivedi

 Best Speaker – Deepa Umashankar  Best Evaluator – DTM Sujith Sukumaran

Winners of 89th Meeting with the TMOD Shoba Murthy

 Best Speaker – Raji Nair  Best Evaluator – Lulua Ahsan  Best TT Speakers – Pragati Shenoy & Usha Mohan

Winners of 90th Meeting with the TMOD Sharon Kuruvilla



Two inspiring women DTMs of our region, who were instrumental in starting women’s only clubs in our region, speak about their challenging yet fulfilling DTM journey.

Introduction to Toastmasters Mallika: My husband Ram had heard about Toastmasters way back in 1995 and we had an opportunity to hear about it personally on Nov 2, 1995. That date is my first tryst with Toastmasters and will forever be etched in my mind. The first club in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, that we started and chartered is the 'Dubai Toastmasters' club. It got chartered on 24 Apr 1996 and I was the founder

treasurer! Ram, my husband is the Founder President of the Toastmasters in Dubai and the Northern Emirates. Ours was the second club in the UAE, the first one is in Abu Dhabi! Lorraine: I joined Toastmasters in 2010. I always wanted to be a Toastmaster as my Dad was a Toastmaster. Finally in New Zealand in 2010 I had the opportunity to join my first club.

Could you tell us a bit more about your toastmaster journey. Mallika: It has been a long journey. As they say, we the founding members had to learn it the hard way, on the job!! Since there was no precedent, we followed the handbooks and the rules very closely and monitored the progress of the members and the club with a fine toothed comb. Our club and its members were like a family and we were there for each other, helping and increasing our potential!

Lorraine: In 2012 I entered the International Speech Contest in New Zealand and won 3rd place International Speech Contest. This was District 72s 50th Anniversary as well. In 2013 I started to spend more time in Dubai. I assisted on the Division Team when Sami Herbawi was the Division Director. Duing that time I worked to charter the Corporate Clubs: both Shell Clubs, McDermott and Schumberger. In 2015 - 2016 I was Area 7 Director for Division B. 2016 - 2017 I was the President of the first Online Club. Toastmasters recognised Online Clubs from March of 2016. Firebirds Collective Advanced Online Club has a very international member base and has supported the chartering of 3 more clubs. In 2017 I Won 3rd place in the International Video Speech Contest in Vancouver, Canada. This was the first entry of an online club to the Video Speech Contest. 2018 I Sponsored and am currently a member of the hybrid club “Be Bold for Change� in Dubai

Would you say Toastmasters has helped you with your career or in other facets of your life and how? Mallika: Of course, it has helped in myriads of ways. Firstly i would like to say that it had a great impact on our family....since both of us are toastmasters, our children (two daughters) grew up seeing and listening to us...when we used to practice our speechesđ&#x;˜ƒ and they went on to become gavelliers and then toastmasters in their own right. Surely there was a huge impact on their lives too......both of them have turned out into good individuals with immense leadership qualities and great communication skills! As a Professor, I have found it quite easy to integrate with students, both with their academics and otherwise. I have learnt to give a patient ear and help the students with their issues and problems. Lorraine: It assists me greatly in learning to speak to a global audience as I meet and speak in clubs around the world.

DTM Journey What did you enjoy most about your DTM journey? How much time did you take in achieving the DTM status? Mallika: It has been a very satisfactory journey, where I have experienced each facet of this journey by thoroughly absorbing all the objectives and requirements of each of the speeches in the communication manual and then in the Leadership path as well. I must say, i am my severest critic and wouldn't compromise on quality! My DTM was achieved on March 1, 2004. Lorraine: I received my DTM in 2015. It took me 6 years. I enjoyed the diversity in the challenges that the DTM offers in both communication and leadership.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced on the road to becoming a DTM? Mallika: I would not progress if i was not satisfied with my speech presentation and it was an unwritten rule that we members give no leeway if the objectives were not met. For me, this journey was one of achieving! I had to be a much better individual than what I had started as. So an 8-year journey to becoming a DTM was fraught with many challenges, nothing that couldn't be worked out! But at the end, the achievement was very satisfactory. AND just because, i have achieved my DTM, does in no way mean that there is nothing to improve or learn. For me, learning is a continuous work in process! Lorraine: Completing the High Performance Leadership Project was challenging because I didn’t really understand it at first. But it ended up being my favourite leadership challenge.

Women in toastmasters Topics which women choose for their speeches - Do u feel there’s any difference? Mallika: Haha....i would have loved to answer ...topics that men choose...most of the time they are quite predictableđ&#x;˜ƒđ&#x;˜ƒ I feel women relate from the heart and hence the topics that they choose and the way they present it are obviously quite vibrant .However we all know Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus, and I think we must embrace and appreciate the differences! Lorraine: Women should find their passion and speak on that. Sometimes women do not feel comfortable to share as much but it is through our authenticity that we can touch hearts and share deep messages.

Role of your Home club and your mentors in the journey

Women in leadership positions:- Is it more challenging than for men?

Mallika: The Dubai Chapter is the mother of all chapters and i am proud to have been part of forming it! Of course, there has to be growth and I have since moved along and have been part of starting the Star of Arabia Club and the Desert Divas Club. Most of the people who have been my mentors have long moved away.

Mallika: People talk about 'Glass Ceiling', many of us have experienced it. No doubt, it is challenging for women, but i surely believe that it is getting better. There are many Women leaders who are a great inspiration for all of us. I think, if we believe in ourselves, armed with our knowledge and meticulous work, we can surely create a difference in the world!

Lorraine: My original home club is Taupo Toastmasters in New Zealand. My mentor Toni Sharp is a remarkable lady and continues to inspire me. The mentors I have are not one person but a collection of many. I learn from people at all stages of their journey. We all have something to offer each other.

Lorraine: I have known many women leaders in Toastmasters. I do not think it is more challenging. We are each on our own journey in Toastmasters to become the best version of ourselves, not to compare ourselves with others.

What’s your opinion on all women clubs or do u think it is better to be mixed? Mallika: I totally believe in it.... 'Desert Divas' club is a testimony to itđ&#x;™‚ any doubts???? Lorraine: I have been a member of a couple of women clubs, an Advanced Club in New Zealand called “Cupcakesâ€?, which supports women in business and leadership positions out of Toastmasters. And also “Be Bold for Change TM Clubâ€? in Dubai. Both clubs welcome male guest speakers and mentors. I like to see a diversity in the types of clubs that exist so having all women clubs is one good option. It’s then a good idea to be a dual member at another mixed club if possible.

Your Message If you had one piece of advice for aspiring women DTMs what would it be? Mallika: Once you have achieved DTM, please help many others around as many ways as possible. Educating others will help create a better world, and you would have played your part well in the role of your life. Lorraine:It is your journey to become the best version of yourself and to develop skills in communication and leadership. In all projects aim to develop skills that are used outside of Toastmasters. The DTM is a point on a journey. The real value is when we apply what we learn to our lives , both personal and professional. The DTM journey is an opportunity to develop skills so we can make a greater impact in our world.

I am looking forward to starting Pathway and working through the new Pathways program on the journey to DTM. I also enjoy visiting clubs around the world that are online or include remote access to people who want to visit their meetings.

What’s Next? You have accomplished so much— being Club President, being a district officer, and then the DTM status— what’s next for a DTM? Mallika: It is a never ending journey. I have always believed in catching them when they are young. I could say that I have been one of the first members to conduct Youth Leadership Programs in in Dubai way back during 1996-2000. Even now, I work with young adults and I feel I have been able to make a difference in their has been the most satisfying part of my life!

Lorraine:I enjoy assisting speakers with their CC manual by sharing the Mentoring Videos that I made. These are found on this Playlist st=PL1iT5lkRQEAndEH8uxk1XelnnlqiEfjjK I hear from people from all around the world who are working on speeches. I continue to enjoy supporting my clubs as they develop communicators and leaders. I have been fortunate to travel and speak at different conventions including Bali, New Zealand and Moscow, Russia. In 2018 I am looking forward to attending the D51 Conference in Kuala Lumpur and also the combined D59 and D95 Convention in Athens, Greece

Reflections Dec 2017  
Reflections Dec 2017