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Vol. 1, Oct 2017












ADVANCED TOASTMASTERS Area 41, Division H, District 105


The Champion’s perspective Dr. M P Katrak


7 Smile, Laugh, Live! Sunil Kottarathil



From the Editor’s Desk

Division Director’s message

Pratima Mishra

Althaf Ahmed



7 Barriers

Area Director’s message

Manoj Vasudevan, WCPS 2017

Hana Abdulhafiz

THE HUMDINGER Publisher Judith Serrao, ACS ALB

Nomad Benoy Joseph



President’s message

The Orange glow

Judith Serrao

Shuchita Udas



A Club like no other

Hobson’s choice & other idioms

Devlal Sahadevan

Manmohan Sreedhar

Editor Pratima Mishra, CC CL Editorial Team

Manmohan Sreedhar, DTM Shuchita Udas, CC CL Design & Layout Devlal Sahadevan, DTM

23 The Gallery



The Humoroids Advanced Toastmasters Club Officers 2017-18


VP Education

VP Membership

VP Public Relations


Judith Serrao, ACS ALB

Shuchita Udas, CC CL

Tessy Sajo, CC

Pratima Mishra, CC CL

Ceanlia Vermeulen, ACB ALB


Sergeant at Arms

TM Archana Manmohan

TM Sunita Pinto

HUMOROIDS ADVANCED TOASTMASTERS Area 41, Division H, District 105 We meet every third Wednesday at Ghee Rice Restaurant, Najda, Abu Dhabi, UAE.


From the Editor’s Desk

A Toastmaster’s journey: Make the most of it! Pratima Mishra, CC CL | VP Public Relations & Editor-Newsletter

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” : Marcel Proust.

I visited Toastmasters in the year 2009 along with a friend. During the meeting, I was gripped by the passion with which the speakers on stage spoke. Every person had an interesting story to share. It didn't take me long to join Toastmasters.

“Toastmasters give you the platform to be what you aspire to be.”

Trust me when I say that every day at Toastmasters has been an enthralling experience. Members come here to pursue or their own goals, but they are all bound by the thread of motivation to become good public speakers and leaders thus making an impact in their own and others’ lives. But what they take back with them is not only their improved skillsets but timeless relationships that develop along the way and that makes the aforementioned thread even stronger.

The knots in that long thread that hold it together and keep the machinery running are provided by none other than the regular active members. They make the most of what Toastmasters offer them and grab every opportunity that comes along their way, be it a speaking role or a Leader’s role. Each one of them has something unique to offer that will help them grow as leaders, and these leaders in turn become better in whatever they do. This is possible because Toastmasters give them the platform to be what they aspire to be. I believe that there is a lot more on offer from Toastmasters than just a platform to deliver speeches. So, when there so much to indulge in, why leave part of it behind? This newsletter is part of that effort to harness the many delights that our Club offers and to make the most of it. Happy reading! Pratima joined Toastmasters in 2010. She is an HR professional and is fond of singing, dancing, acting and photography. She believes in creating great memories through meeting people and making friends.


Last week I met a friend of mine after many years. During our conversation, Sarah (name changed) mentioned how frustrated she was in her current job at a large multinational company. “I have been working diligently for 3 years; they haven’t yet given me a promotion. I look around and see people getting ahead of me ‘out of turn’. They don’t even have half my ‘skills’. That makes me sick!” Does that situation sound familiar? What can you do? Unfortunately, working harder is not the solution. When you perform well in your job and know you are competent, in due course you expect to get new positions, promotions and pay raise. However, that doesn’t happen automatically. When you ask your boss, he/she says “The economy is bad. The organization is not doing well. We are advised to cut costs.” But, wait a minute. Have you noticed this – even when the economy is not doing so well, there are people who get positions, promotions and pay raises!

Manoj Vasudevan | World Champion of Public Speaking, 2017

7 barriers that might be preventing your career progression Why do these go to some and not to others?

Here are the 7 barriers that might be preventing your career progression. Barrier 1: Lack of Will Most people don’t feel that they deserve a promotion. They don’t think they are ready. Thought drives actions. They sometimes justify their lack of will and confidence, by giving excuses. “After my baby grows up (or graduates from college), I will be more ready for promotion.” “Things are going on fine. I don’t want to rock the boat.”

“I don’t want the promotion. I want to spend more time with my family.” “There is no point asking for a raise. They won’t give!” If you have a tendency to do that, you are probably ‘downsizing’ your dreams to justify your current predicament.

“Even people who consider themselves shy and introverted can build valuable networks.”


Manoj Vasudevan is the 2017 World Champion of Public Speaking. He is also a Next Level Leadership Readiness expert, management consultant and coach. He speaks at International conferences, Universities, and coaches leaders from all walks of life around the world. His books include the International bestseller “Mastering Leadership -The Mousetrap Way”

Food for thought: The higher your position is in your organization, the higher your power to delegate your work, the higher your rewards and the higher your control over your time. With the extra reward and extra time, you are able to do the things you love to dofollow your hobby, take care of your loved ones etc. Barrier 2: Lack of a Career Plan Have you ever taken the time to chart out your career? Wait... have you? Do you know where you want to be 5 years from now or 20 years from now? What skills will you need to perform well in that role? Have you been preparing yourself for such roles? Most people can't progress because they don't stay prepared to take on the next role. Food for thought: Spare an hour or two to think about your career plan. You will be glad you did. Your plan might change, but you need to be aware of what skills, exposure, and experience you need in the long run. Start building up your repertoire.

You see, soldiers don’t go into battle without their armor and weapons. Build your competence, particularly to lead, manage and persuade others. Your focus shouldn’t just be on staying employed, your focus needs to be to stay employable and promotable. In other words, stay ready for the next level. Barrier 3: Lack of ‘Pre-emptive Strikes’ Who else in the organization knows your desires and needs? Most people ask for a promotion during their performance review. That’s often too late!!! Let’s face it. Performance reviews are usually smoke screens, as the decision on you is probably made way before that. If you argue your case during performance reviews it is already too late. Your boss will defend and not budge. Someone else has already taken your share of cake and eaten it too. Food for thought: No one else can read your mind. Before you can receive, you need to ask!

Personally, inform your superiors and key influencers that you are expecting a promotion by the end of the year. For example: “I need your guidance for my career progression. I am aiming for ‘that position’ by this date. Based on your experience and expertise, could you please let me know what competencies I need to have to get ‘that position’?” Now, they will be inclined to give you “the expert advice”. This would also mean that you need to be committed to building those competencies, but at least you know what to shoot at! ( and your boss has a stake in your plan.) Barrier 4: Lack of Corporate Cheer Leaders Others in your organization need to know about your skills, talents, competencies, experience, and expertise. However, if you keep bragging about your fabulous achievements or keep telling everyone you are awesome, no one will listen to you or believe you. You need to get others to vouch for you. You need to do yourself a favor by building your internal network of wellwishers and cheerleaders. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time; it does need tact and technique. (a skill you too can learn.) Food for thought: Who will vouch for your competence, experience, and expertise? Remember, your network determines your net worth. Even people who consider themselves shy and introverted can build valuable networks. (Hint: keep giving value to people you meet, they will spread your good name.) (continued on page 18)


District Director’s message

Smile, Laugh, Live! Sunil Kottarathil, DTM | District 105 Director

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” : Maya Angelou

A Toastmasters Club is a powerful gift to individuals. It gives people confidence, leadership skills and the ability to effectively express themselves. Humoroids Advanced Toastmasters Club goes one more step ahead by adding humor in every meeting and providing opportunity to its members to improve on their humorous skills.

“Commitment, enthusiasm and dedication of the club members are the key to this successful journey.”

It is heartwarming to see the club reaching its sixth successful year. The innovative theme meetings and Twisted Topics will be remembered by the members and guests forever. Commitment, enthusiasm and dedication of the club members are the key to this successful journey.

The leaders have proved how an advanced club can also participate actively in Distinguished program and Toastmaster International membership building contests. Achieving 5 DCP goals and winning Smedley Award within the first quarter of the year itself is a testimony of this excellent journey.

Keep Smiling! Keep Laughing! Keep Young!

“A day without laughter is a day wasted” – Charlie Chaplin

DTM Sunil Kottarathil started his Toastmasters experience in 2009 with ISC Toastmasters. He was awarded the “Toastmaster of the year” in 2010 by the District. He lives in Abu Dhabi with his wife (who is also a Toastmaster) and two children. Sunil works as a Senior offshore construction Manager with NPCC.


Division H Director’s message

Althaf Ahmed, CC CL Division H Director | District 105

Man is a Child of His Environment: Shinichi Suzuki.

It is my pleasure to write a few words to Humoroids Toastmasters, the only Advanced Toastmasters Club in Division H.

“Our personality, our thinking is directly related to the network of friends and colleagues we mingle with.”

Our personality, our thinking is directly related to the network of friends and colleagues we mingle with. As we advance in our Journey of Life we need to constantly upgrade ourselves so as to move to the next level of excellence, the same applies to our Journey as Communicators, as leaders at Toastmasters. In this direction, Humoroids Toastmasters is doing an excellent job by serving the needs of those aspiring Toastmasters who seek nothing less than excellence. With your innovative themes, ideas, you not only test your creative minds, but also create enthusiasm in every Toastmaster meeting. This not only ensures that members look forward to attending the meeting but attract many guests as you spread the message of your success in your Toastmaster Meetings.

Thus Humoriods Toastmasters not only serves the needs of members seeking to reach the epitome of success but also create ripples in all forms of media in taking Toastmasters to everyone, thus indirectly serving the mission of Toastmasters that is “Expanding the network of Toastmasters - Making Effective Oral Communication a Worldwide Reality”. Increased number of Toastmasters leads to better communicators, better leaders, a better community and a better mankind with whom we interact daily. Wishing you all success in your Journey towards Excellence.

TM Althaf Ahmed lives with his family in Abu Dhabi and has been a Toastmaster since 2004. His wife Reena is a Toastmaster and their two children are Gavelliers. Althaf Ahmed works as a Proposals Manager with NPCC.


Area Director’s message

Hana Abdulhafiz, CC CL Area 41 Director | Division H | District 105

Shortly before his death in 1965 at the age of 87, Toastmasters founder Ralph C. Smedley reminisced: “As I look back at over half a century of connection with the Toastmasters movement, I am impressed by the fact that a simple idea put to work in so simple a manner, has grown into such an instrument for service for so many people. It must have met a real need.” I feel the same about Humoriods Advanced Toastmasters. It all started as a simple idea that has grown and will grow even further. Let me congratulate you on your first newsletter for this year! As an Area Director, it gives me an extreme honor and privilege to have Humoriods Advanced Toastmasters under Area 41. While we all join the toastmasters program for different reasons, at the end of the day, this program helps us to become better individuals and human beings. Hard work and commitment is what makes a difference in us. We become better communicators and leaders, which in turn develop self-confidence.

In today’s competing world, we all need to equip ourselves with the skills of communication and leadership in order to prosper. All of us have decided to improve our lives through improving our skills, but let me tell you, it is a difficult task. With Toastmaster’s program, by being surrounded with highly encouraging and positive members this difficult task becomes a FUN (Fantastic, Unique, Nurturing) platform! Humoriods is an example of fun-learning which in turn helps the members to improve their communication and leadership skills. It is said that you are equal to five people you spend your time with. At Humoriods it is quality time with quality people. Happy are the people who unlock their potential to find out what they can achieve and what they can offer to the world. Meet them all at Humoriods though this newsletter. Happy reading!

Hana Abdulhafiz became a Toastmaster in 2013 with NMC Corporate chapter. She lives with her husband in Abu Dhabi and works as a Corporate Trainer with NMC Healthcare.

“Happy are the people who unlock their potential to find out what they can achieve and what they can offer to the world.”


President’s message

Judith Serrao, ACS ALB Club President | Humoroids Advanced Toastmasters Humoroids Advanced Toastmaster Club has always been unique and distinctive; and this year within three months into the new Toastmasters year and we have achieved 5 out of 10 DCP points. I truly believe that we are going to have an awesome year ahead and we are here to support and encourage every member achieve their self set goals for improving their public speaking and leadership skills. I recommend that you focus on your progress and try and achieve at least one educational award during this year. I would like to thank our Immediate Past President, DTM Manmohan Sreedhar and one of our Founder Members, DTM Devlal Sahadevan, for their relentless support not only to me and the Club Officers, but also to each and every club member. The coveted Smedley Ribbon (for adding 5 Members in Aug-Sep) is ours, thanks to their tact and resourceful thinking.

A wise old man once said, “We are what we continually do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

To top it all, we have an “All Women Team” of Club Officers, who are all charged to raise our Club to new heights.

Our Club is well known in our Division for being a Club overflowing with Leaders; we also want to be known as a Club for having Quality Toastmasters, who excel in everything they do be it speaking, listening, guiding, motivating and leading. A wise old man once said, “We are what we continually do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit". Good habits can be developed through repetition. By cultivating these few good habits of successful Toastmasters you too can be motivated to climb the ladder towards excellence: 

Be Encouraging

Be Respectful

Be Supportive

Be Optimistic

Be Punctual

Be Organized

As we march forward on our Toastmasters journey, let us first of all have fun and enjoy what we are doing, and let us brush up on our core values of integrity, dedication to Judith Serrao has been a Toastmaster for 10 years. She excellence, service to the member and respect is currently serving the Division as its PQD. She has for the individual. also served as an Area Director and a Club Coach.


A Club like no other! Devlal Sahadevan, DTM Sponsor & Mentor | Humoroids Advanced Toastmasters

“Will it work?” That question was there in the minds of many when we first made our ambitions clear to the toastmasters in Division H. The year was 2011. We were about to form the first Advanced toastmasters club in the division and it was going to be a club specializing in humor! Humor had many fans among toastmasters but the idea to form a club that was built around humor, didn’t sound possible at first. At least for a few. However, DTM Sunil Kottarathil who was the Area 23 Director at that time, didn’t have any doubts at all. The club that you are going to read about, owes a lot to him for his confidence, support and guidance.

The first email that went out to the toastmasters in June 2011 carried this sentence; “The club will help explore members' talents beyond what is usually accomplished through toastmaster clubs. Humor in the form of poems, skits, stand -up comedy, theatre...the possibilities are endless! In fact we are even visualizing toastmasters entertaining the general public in the near future if everything works out fine!”

Perhaps that promise worked. There was a huge response from the Division and the club had its first meeting on 18 September 2011 at ISC, Abu Dhabi. The theme of the meeting was a sign of things to come; “Winds of change”. I was the TME for the first meeting and it featured the prototype of “Twisted topics”, the session that became synonymous with the creative talent of the club much later. This session was handled by TM Sujith Vijayamohan and turned out to be the most enjoyable part of the meeting. There were 3 speakers; TM Ravi Moosad, TM Salim Sayyid and TM Santosh Shetty. The General evaluator was DTM Sudha Dutta. The business session chaired by DTM Nasef Dhafari saw a team of 7 leaders stepping up to the challenge was the new Executive committee of the club. As the attendees left, they were reminded to come back with a suitable name for the club.

“The Humoroids promised a lot, delivered most of it and is still seeking ways to do better.”

Devlal Sahadevan has been a toastmaster since 2006 and started his journey with Millennium toastmasters. He was the Founder President of Humoroids Advanced Toastmasters. He is also a Pathways Ambassador for the Division and the District 105 Leadership Chair. Devlal lives with his family in Abu Dhabi. He works as a Training & Quality Manager with an offshore services company.


After many ideas were discussed over a month,  the club was finally christened as Humoroids Advanced toastmasters, a name that is so cheeky that it brings a chuckle to most people even now when they hear the name! Members now call themselves proudly as Humoroidians! As Humoroids stands on steady legs as a 7 year old, it is worth remembering what happened during those years that made it what it is today. Here are a few facts that made the club so unique!

Since all the members were dual members, meetings were held only once a month. We meet only once even now

Almost every meeting had at least one humorous speech

Twisted topics, the club’s own version of Table topics became the signature session of the club, gaining fans far and wide

The club rarely met at the same venue twice since there was no fixed venue. Most of the meetings were combined meetings with other clubs and members of Humoroids went from one club to the other, spreading laughter and camaraderie.

Every meeting had a theme and members and guests eagerly looked forward to attending a Humoroids meeting because there was something new happening every month. Members were always encouraged to experiment, improvise and bring in variety. Themes such as Moustache Poetique, Kofta Awards and Hair Hilarious showcased the unparalleled ingenuity of the Humoroidians. Humoroidians won many accolades at the toastmaster speech contests. TM Benoy Joseph won the inaugural Tall tales contest of the Division and TM Abhay Nimbalkar represented Division H in the International speech at DTAC 2016 in Bahrain.

The Humoroids has also become a true leaders club. Its members include the District 105 Director DTM Sunil Kottarathil, District PR Manager DTM Manmohan Sreedhar, District leadership chair for the year DTM Devlal Sahadevan (who is also a Pathways Ambassador), Division PQD ACS ALB Judith Serrao, Division CGD ACB ALB Ceanlia Vermeulen, and Area 41 Director CC CL Hana Abdulhafiz.

The Humoroids promised a lot, delivered most of it and is still seeking ways to do better. To do that, this year the club has selected an all-women team for its Executive committee, once again a first in the region. There would be plenty more “firsts” coming from this unique club. If you are a toastmaster or if you would like to attend your first toastmaster meeting, walking into a Humoroids experience shall reveal what that truly means!


The Champion’s perspective In conversation with the DTAC 2016 Humorous speech champion

DTM Dr. M P Katrak

DTM Dr. Katrak swept many off their feet with his wit and humor and set new bench marks by being the FIRST one ever from Abu Dhabi and Al Ain regions to have won 1st place at the District 20 Toastmasters Annual conference (DTAC) held in May 2016, in Abu Dhabi, bringing great pride to the Division. Here are the excerpts from an interview with him:

Tell us in brief about the Toastmaster’s Challenge.

“If you have the passion in your heart and the will to achieve it, you will go that extra mile by all means.”

In my opinion, Toastmasters equips you to deal effectively with the challenges in life.

What inspired you to participate in this contest? I have been a member of Toastmaster International since 2004. Every Toastmasters journey starts with a single speech and so did mine. Under the able guidance and leadership of my seniors, I participated and reached the District level competition winning a bronze for my Club in the same year.

It takes a leader to recognize the importance of communication and confidence required to not only run a successful business but also to lead a successful and satisfactory life. With that vision our Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Dr. B.R. Shetty has been instrumental in introducing the UAE to the Toastmasters International.

This victory was like a lion tasting blood, and there was no looking back ever after that. The competitive spirit in me makes me go for it every year.

We have NMC’s own Corporate Chapter running since the past 15 years under the patronage of Dr. B. R. Shetty.

“The title of my speech was “Shake it Up”, where I talked about bringing bad luck to anyone I shake hands with.

What was your topic? How did you feel on winning it?


I feel a great sense of achievement to have brought this laurel to my Club and the Division emerging as a winner from amongst 7 countries, 18 divisions, 88 areas, 354 clubs and 7837 toastmasters. The winning becomes even sweeter when the audience start recognizing you with your speech content and presentation skills.

Dr. Katrak has been a toastmaster for over 14 years and has been a winner multiple times at the Division contests. He works as a Consultant Surgeon at the NMC Hospital. His past time activities are Photoshopping and baking.

What was your experience and learning from this contest? Over the last 12 years I competed for 10 years. Reached the division contest every time and even reached the DTAC on 4 occasions. I experienced defeat on 9 occasions before I won this year. I learnt, never to give up.

Every defeat made me more determined to The words of praises and appreciation received compete and win the next year. from far and wide have made this victory very special and unforgettable for me” Any interesting moments during the contest that you would like to share?

How did you prepare for the contest considering you have a hectic schedule and As I mentioned earlier I used to practice my speech while driving. On my way to the venue I a demanding profession as a doctor? was practicing my speech with all my emotions I would simply say, “where there is a will, there in full flow. I stopped my car at the traffic signal. is a way”. If you have the passion in your heart Suddenly I saw a cop besides may car and the will to achieve it, you will go that extra instructing me to lower the window. He popped mile by all means. Yes, getting time was a his head inside, sniffed the air around me and challenge, so I practiced my speeches while asked, “Are you drunk?” I said, “No. Just showering, driving, walking on the streets and practicing my speech.” I can’t forget the look on lying in bed. It wasn’t easy, but I did it. his face. It was priceless.

What are your plans for the future? Toastmasters has no age or time limits and hence I will be continuing my journey ahead with them. The sheer joy of communicating and public speaking keeps me motivated to participate every year. It is also time for gratitude and I intend to continue mentoring my fellow Toastmasters and help them achieve their goals.

I am also in the process of starting a Gavel Club for children between the age group of 12 to 18 years. Nothing better than helping them start early and get ahead! Your message to fellow Toastmasters Follow your dreams. Never accept defeat until you’ve made your last attempt, and never make your last attempt until you have succeeded. Remember that being a champion is not just winning, but also accepting defeat with grace. Why should people join Humoroids Advanced Toastmasters club? Each club has its own style. If you have a dual membership you get to know new toastmasters and the style of the new club. The beauty of Humoroids club is that all the members are dual members. So over a period of time you learn the tips and tricks of various clubs and no two meetings are the same. The icing on the cake is the Table topics being replaced by Twisted topics and the latest addition of a Roastmaster. If anyone comes as a guest for the meeting, I am sure they won’t be able to resist joining the club.

“As Toastmasters, we are constantly looking for stories, experiences and ideas to share with our colleagues and the world.”



TM Benoy Joseph

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” A quote by renowned traveler, Ibn Battuta. This is so true and an excellent tip for any Toastmaster. As Toastmasters, we are constantly looking for stories, experiences and ideas to share with our colleagues and the world. What better way to stimulate the mind and your creative juices than by injecting some travel to foreign lands in your life! I love traveling, and have been to 33 countries to date. My wife and I have traveled to over 20 countries along with our daughter, ever since she was five months old. We do not travel just to tick off a country on the map, but to immerse ourselves in the places that we visit by soaking in their culture, enjoying their food, appreciating their history and their uniqueness. Traveling can change you and help to recreate a better you. It will open your eyes to see beauty in diversity. It will help you to appreciate the differences and, above all, it will encourage you to try new things and eliminate the fear of the unknown.


TM Benoy Joseph became a Toastmaster in 2015. He was the winner of the inaugural Tall Tales contest held in Division H in 2016. He is a Process Safety Expert working with ADNOC. Benoy lives with his wife and daughter in Abu Dhabi.


Humoroids Advanced Toastmasters: Club Status, as of 1 Oct 2017 Club Alignment


Region 11

Base: 20

To Date: 18

Goals Goals met: 5

District 105

Required 20

Distinguished: 5

Division H

20 members or a net growth of 5 new members

Select Distinguished: 7

Area 41

Chartered on 26 Sep 2011

Presidents Distinguished: 9

Goals to achieve


To Date


Education (A maximum of 6 will count toward DCP credit.) 1

Competent Communicator (CC) awards



1 CC needed


More Competent Communicator (CC) awards



2 CCs needed


Advanced Communicator (ACB, ACS, ACG) awards




More Advanced Communicator (ACB, ACS, ACG) awards



1 AC needed


Leadership Awards (CL, ALB, ALS) or Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) awards




More CL, ALB, ALS, or DTM awards



Membership 7

New members




More new members



1 new member added

Club officers trained June-August



First Training Period achieved

Club officers trained December-February



Second Training Period 4 needed

Membership-renewal dues on time



Club officer list on time



Training 9

Administration 10

The higher you want to go in the organization, the broader your experience needs to be.

18 Even the sporting legends have coaches and mentors. As Tennis legend Boris Becker said “We can’t possibly know everything ourselves. Feedback is the breakfast of champions.”

Food for thought: If your aim is to climb the corporate ladder, you shouldn’t cling onto your chair. You need to search for the ladder and prepare for the climb. Do your work well, but keep an eye on your personal goals too.

Barrier 7: Lack of Self-Education (continued from page 5)

Barrier 6: Lack of Courage

Barrier 5: Lack of Mentors and Coaches

Most people are afraid to lose their jobs. That fear of loss controls their actions. Their actions are largely focused on making themselves indispensable and impressing others with their efforts. They keep politicking. They keep information to themselves. They prevent others from acquiring their skills, so as to make themselves indispensable. While that looks logical, that is ineffective.

The easiest way to navigate the corporate maze is to have a corporate mentor (someone in the organization who has gone the path you like to take) or a career coach (someone with expertise in developing your potential and guiding you to your career goals). If you don’t have one, get one. It is not only nice, it is sometimes necessary. Sometimes an external coach is better than an internal mentor, as the assistance will be free from internal politics and bias. You get the much needed objective outsider's perspective. It is sometimes needed because, the higher you are up the career ladder, the less likely you are able to know the real perception others have about you. Food for thought: Even the sporting legends have coaches and mentors. As Tennis legend Boris Becker said “We can’t possibly know everything ourselves. Feedback is the breakfast of champions.”

Why? You are not indispensable. No one is. Even Steve Jobs was kicked out of the company he founded. What you need to focus is to keep broadening your skill set and widening your exposure. Let someone else take your job as long as you are ready for a better job. The high achievers are usually those who are willing to prepare their replacements. By clinging onto your job for long periods, you are definitely keeping your job, but you may not be learning much. There is an opportunity cost as you could be learning useful things in a better position.

Most people stop their learning after they graduate. Others look up to their organizations to teach them new skills, tools, processes, and techniques. They do not develop a habit of self-education. Selfeducation is usually the best education. You can choose what you want you to learn, how you want to learn, from whom you want to learn and what depth you like to go to master something. If you are waiting for corporate training, that training is usually tailored to the organizational goals and limited to your immediate scope of work. They are often designed to teach you what you need, to do your current job better. Nothing more. It doesn’t necessarily prepare you for your next level. Be aware of that.

If you aim to progress quickly, the following skills are necessary irrespective of your industry, position or years of experience. You need to master the Five Core Skills given below. 

An ability to connect with people (break the ice, build rapport, carry a conversation and be remembered)


If you have seen someone who is less talented flying high in your organization, it could be because they have overcome these 7 barriers. The one question that remains to be asked is this:

An ability to communicate (present persuasively, speaking effectively in front of groups and have structured conversations with anyone)

An ability to network (to know and be known)

An ability to lead (to inspire, guide and mentor others)

An ability to sell (your ideas, opinions, product or service)

Food for thought: Most successful people were not born with these skills. They learn these. Personally, I have seen hundreds of people from different nationalities who turboboost their careers and transform their lives through learning these skills. These are skills you too can pick up easily if you wish to. If you have read this far, you are far ahead of most people. Most people do not pause to reflect on these reasons and take immediate corrective actions. Instead, they sit down and complain about their circumstances! (no time, no money, no energy, no need, "no one loves me" etc.)

The Toastmasters District hierarchy The Member Sergeant At Arms

Are you getting what you truly deserve?


The Chariot, the Charioteer, and the Horses


One of the things I tell my leadership coaching clients is this. (This is what I told Sarah too) You have to take charge of your career direction, pace and progress like a charioteer who takes charge of his chariot and horses. Otherwise, you are leaving your career to chance.

You are letting others control your time, your mood, energy, and destiny. Remember to grab hold of the reins of your destiny! The distance between who you are and whom you want to be is what you are doing about it!

VP Membership VP Public Relations VP Education President Area Director Division Director District PR Manager, Finance Manager, Club Growth Director Program quality Director District Director

(Re-printed with permission from his article on LinkedIn)


The Orange Glow Shuchita Udas, CC CL | VP Education

“Wherever I lay my hat is my home”, crooned Paul Young. A vagabond with a happy heart to be sure. But my idea of a perfect home starts with the house having plenty of light and ample cross ventilation for fresh air. Then of course the comforts we choose to furnish it with .Then comes our creativity in the décor and cementing it all with lots of fun and laughter and love.

“In the right light, at the right time everything is extraordinary.”

Almost a year passed. We settled down easily adapting to our new environment. One fine day I took a day off from my work. Being an early morning creature I finished my domestic chores and also scrubbed the kitchen clean, otherwise a night routine. I switched off the light and stepped out leaving behind a fresh lavender scented kitchen.

With time to spare I decided to get ahead on my My new house had all the requisites of a perfect weekend chores and get the grocery shopping done. I returned home by mid-morning. I let home but for a small peeve. The kitchen stood myself in and stepped towards the kitchen to in almost darkness with no light whatsoever. I drop the bags. figured that the total time spent in the kitchen will not exceed 3 to 4 hrs max…plus my workI stopped dead in my tracks. ing time will be early morning and late in the evening. So natural light will naturally be scant My kitchen was bathed in a soft orange glow. by then. No reason to let go of an otherwise The light was streaming in from the window of perfect apartment. the exhaust fan. In the warmth of that soft glow my freshly scrubbed kitchen looked almost We moved in and slowly the flat transformed ethereal. into a home. The walls no longer enclosed an empty space but it was our little nest that encompassed our cherished belongings, daily routines including fights, pet peeves and of course yes, my dark kitchen.

And then the soothing smell of oud wafted in, probably from the neighbouring flat.


I just stood there transfixed, drinking in the sight. I left the bags at the door. It would be diabolic to step in and disturb the harmony therein. As I pondered on the picturesque setting I was filled with warmth. Like the first blush of spring, a happy thought prevailed. My kitchen was not dark. It was just that at a different time it was bathed in a soft glow so warm that none of my other rooms had it. And so it is with life. We just assume things without pausing to consider the other side of the coin. We build our opinions around it and more often than not harbour negativity within us. As Aron Rose says “In the right light, at the right time everything is extraordinary”. I suppose we just need to pause and ponder about the other side too. My pet peeve collapsed like a pack of cards. Now every time I step into my kitchen, it is with a renewed vigour, the energy of that soft orange glow…!

Shuchita Udas joined Toastmasters in 2006. She works as a Financial consultant with Nexus Insurance brokers . She currently serves as the VP Education of Humoroids.

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Hobson’s Choice and other idioms Manmohan Sreedhar, DTM

But his rental terms included the caveat that one can only hire the horse tethered nearest the stable door. He did this to prevent people always choosing the few best horses leading to their overuse. The choice his customers were given was in effect 'this or none'; quite literally, not their choice but Hobson's choice. If my boss were to tell me either do it his way or quit, I have a Hobson’s choice!

Language becomes colourful and exciting through the uses of idioms and phrases. There is often confusion of what is a phrase and what is an idiom. We tend to use these terms interchangeably. A phrase is a sentence where the individual meanings convey the overall meaning. In a sense, all what we say or write are phrases. It’s just a group of words that go to convey an idea directly such as a ‘herd of horses’. Idioms are phrases too - but are trickier to fathom as the individual word’s meanings do not convey the meaning of the phrase per se. Idioms have a story or a concept attached to it which is not self-evident. Idioms therefore would be grasped only by those who know beyond the meaning of the individual words. ‘Hobson’s Choice’ is a very expressive idiom for those who know it. Obviously, all would understand that Hobson is a person’s name and of course the meaning of choice. But do we all know the meaning of this idiom? Many know that ‘Hobson’s Choice’ means a situation where apparently there are several choices but that the choices are an illusion and there is only one possibility before you. Let’s look at the curious story behind this idiom.

In the 16th century Thomas Hobson ran a flourishing horse rental business in Cambridge, England. Hobson rented out horses, mainly to Cambridge University students, but refused to hire them out other than in the order he chose. When a customer walks into his stable he sees dozens of horses creating an illusion of choice.

"Moonlighting" is a one-word idiom which means having a second job, often illegally. Moonlight here implies night time and that the second job is done after the regular day time job.

“Language becomes colourful and exciting through the uses of idioms and phrases.”

‘To give an arm and a leg’, ‘An Axe to Grind’, ‘Doubting Thomas’, ‘A piece of cake’, ‘A taste of his own medicine’. ‘Getting down to brass tacks’, ‘Giving someone the sack’ and ‘Giving one the cold shoulder’ are but a few of the hundreds of idioms you could research. It will open a whole new world and enrich your language and that of those who you address.

Manmohan Sreedhar has been a Toastmaster since 2009. He works for ADNOC as Technical Integrity Department Manager. Currently he serves District 105 as its PR Manager. Manmohan lives in Abu Dhabi with his family. His passions are photography and debating.

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