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Manama Toastmasters Club 2916, Area 3, Division C, District 20

July. August. September 2015 Surprise Article: Impressions from Vegas

Communicate Innovate Elevate Story telling draws us in: tips on the art of story telling

Memories that make us smile: New member’s reflections

Editorial Team

Victoria Cox

Biljana Davcheva

Mohammad Suleiman

Rashid Maymoon

In this issue

Victoria Cox

Welcome to the new issue of the Horizon! The new Excom is half way through its term, and the motto „‟Communicate, Innovate, Elevate‟‟ has already planted its seeds, taken its roots and produced its first tenacious sprouts. Communication has never be stronger in the MTM family. Not one, but two WhatsApp groups have been created so we can share our news, laugh at each other‟s jokes, play riddles– we just can‟t seem to get enough of each other… Innovation –we have seen some truly innovative meeting formats, twisted table topics and creative themes in the last three months. The bar has been raised very high inspiring Toastmasters to progress and elevate. Elevate to a new level –no matter how new or how advanced we already are. And there is something else, something extremely vital to our existence as a club, a binding glue without which none of our meetings would ever be possible- and it‟s none other than us working together as one team. I am often fascinated with how completely dependent we are on each other in our learning and achievements as Toastmasters – a journey during which our progress cannot happen alone. We need each other to be listened to, to be evaluated, to have our Ah-s counted and even to get our speeches timed and recorded. We need each other to grow and elevate. And I am even more fascinated by how, despite our busy family lives and work schedules, every single Saturday a small miracle happens when we step into the Crowne Plaza meeting room to become ONE. One club, one family, one learning force. We are indeed a Manama Team Masters club! This issue of the Horizon is yet another testament to our joint team effort with most members contributing to the newsletter one way or the other. Its vibrant and varied pages reflect the diversity of our club. In this issue you will find two new rubrics: Meet the New Member and Veterans‟ spotlight to learn more about the new comers and get some tips from the clubs‟ longest serving members. Don‟t miss the „Who moved my cheese‟ book review by TM Hannah Karanja, tips on Storytelling by TM Claire Cosgrove, Memories that make us smile by one of our newest members, Jeena, and a surprise treat from Vegas!! Enjoy reading and elevate!

President’s desk TM Laxman Rathore “If your action inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader”. - John Quincy Adams. So, what qualities do we consider when we think of a leader? While leaders have many important attributes, the one fundamental and universal quality is Communication and that‟s what our theme of the term is focused on. “Communicate, Innovate & Elevate” Our first and foremost objective is to offer opportunities to all members to practice & hone their communication skills, so that when important occasions arise, we will have the style, the sharpness, the clarity and the emotional appeal to influence other people. Second part of our theme is Innovate As the pioneer of Toastmasters clubs in entire Bahrain, our obligation rests not only in conducting quality meetings & achieving our milestones as it has been consistently done over the years, but also in motivating members, innovating new ideas and creating new bench marks. This helps to differentiate our club and makes us stand up and be recognized as PROUD Members of the Manama Toastmasters club….mother of all clubs in Bahrain. Third part of our theme is Elevate “When you concern yourself with elevating others, you actually elevate yourself” - G Batiste This quote truly suits Manama Toastmasters Club where members support each other in improving their communication and leadership skills. Through this method, we all elevate in each aspect of our life… socially,…. Intellectually…. and professionally. And remember

Individually we are one drop, but together we are an ocean So come, let’s communicate, innovate and elevate ourselves

July – August – September

TM Mohamed Suhail

TM Jonathan Watson TM Arfa Mudasser

TM Jeena John TM Yousif Younis

TM Mohamed Idris.

Book Review

TM Hannah Karanja

WHO MOVED MY CHEESE? “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often”. ― Winston Churchill


or those who have not read the book, “Who Moved My Cheese” by Spencer Johnson, please

take an hour off your busy schedule to read it. Yes. An hour. That is how long it took me to read the book from cover to cover but the lessons in the book are so profound that they are worth every minute. It was no wonder that I chose to read the book for my project one speech from the Interpretive Reading manual. Without giving away too much, the book is all about change and how we deal with change. I certainly saw myself in each and every one of the characters in the book depending on the challenge that I was going through at the time.

As leaders, we have to accept that we shall, at some point or another, be confronted by change. After all, as a great philosopher once said, “The only constant in life is change”. We therefore need to accept that our cheese will move whether we like

The 7 insights about change from, “Who Moved My Cheese”

it or not. However, when our cheese moves, it is our chance to create “life as we want it” - It is our

Bottom line is, if my cheese had not moved, I

chance to step out of our comfort zone and re-

probably would never have achieved any of the

discover ourselves.


I was certainly confronted with a “moved cheese” moment in my life when I suddenly found myself

In a nutshell, though the book may seem

without a job. Right there and then, (well after the

oversimplified, it clearly emphasizes the fact that

pity party was over and the shock had worn off), I

we all have to be prepared for the complexities

decided to take the moment and run with it - I

involved in leading and supporting change be it in

completed my Master’s thesis, I went hiking in

an organization or in our personal lives. Dealing

Nepal and in France, I got my diving license, I

effectively with change is what separates the

finally achieved my dream of completing a half

leaders from the pack.

ironman and I even started learning a new language (Yeah! At my age. Believe it or not!)

So fellow Toastmasters, go out there and embrace change!

TM Hannah Karanja

Meet the New Member TM Jonathon Watson How did you find out about Toastmasters? I found out about Toastmasters through Joel Indrupati and Claire Cosgrove who I go to church with. What drew you to join MTM? I joined to achieve my dream of being as successful motivational speaker as I can be.

What challenges do you want to overcome? I want to overcome forgetting my speeches on stage and being more prepared for speeches. You mentioned your dream is to become an inspirational speaker. How will those skills you gain at MTM help you to make this career shift? The skills I'll gain at TM is to make sure any loose ends are filled. I'm already a teacher and have countless experience speaking in front of others. But it's all the small adjustments to make when giving a speech that I need to tune. I also want to make as many connections and networks with others to boost my career as an inspirational/motivational speaker.

You already managed to impress your fellow members with your speaking skills. What was the best feedback you received so far? The best feedback I've had was to stop grasping my hands while speaking. What is that one thing that you are most looking forward to in your Toastmasters' journey? The one thing I'm looking forward to in TM is gaining more and more experience in inspirational talking that I can get up randomly at events and start talking and referring back to past speeches that I've made. Experience is key.

Impressions from Vegas By : TM Biljana Davcheva Millions of people go to Las Vegas each year in hopes of winning money for a car, a boat, a house or maybe for a vacation, but this year 2368 delegates from Toastmasters Clubs all around the world descended on the city for the annual Toastmasters Convention and the World Championships in Public Speaking…..and I was fortunate enough to be one of them. While others were busy playing the slot machines in hopes of winning the jackpot, Toastmasters with badges, ribbons and name tags were walking down the long corridors at Cesar's Palace Hotel, networking, mingling and exchanging ideas with other like-minded TMs. From the moment you pick up your tag and the registration pack at the desk, you are thrown into this world of introductions and handshakes, exchanges of information and business cards with everyone trying to find out which club you belong to, how long you have been a Toastmaster, whether you are competing in the semifinals and thousand other questions related to the Toastmasters world. The opening ceremony was like being at the Olympic Games. Imagine a huge hall that can seat up to 3000 people and everyone trying to get a better spot not to miss a thing. During the ceremony, Toastmasters proudly carried the flag of their country when presented on stage while delegates cheered loudly…..and then an Elvis impersonator and show girls took to the stage just to remind us that we were in Vegas.

The convention itself was a combination of educational sessions (this year with Dana La Mon, Patricia Fripp, Darren LaCroix and Tim Gard), presentations and speeches, but the pinnacle of the whole gathering were the semifinals and the finals of the world championships in public speaking. In the semifinals,96 hopefuls from all over the world were vying for a place in the final. The marathon sessions of semifinal speeches (I listened to 30 speeches in one day) held from 2:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. showcased quality speakers giving their best to get to the finals….and then only 10 of them made it.

One of the highlights of the convention was the Golden Gavel award presented to Professor Mohamed Younis, a Nobel laureate in Economics, who enlightened us with his speech on microfinancing and how he tried to help poor entrepreneurs in Bangladesh. His calm posture and soft tone of voice carried the message of a man who is determined to help the humanity by making small steps and yet doing great deeds. The day of the final felt like preparing for the marathon at the Olympics. Again, delegates descended on the Octavius Ballroom to witness „the battle of the great speakers‟, where one of them would be crowned „a Cezar of the Toastmasters‟ World‟ i.e. the new world champion in public speaking. Everyone had their favorite in the final and you could see some delegates supporting one competitor and others cheering for another. In the end, the power of words of Mohamed Al Qahtani, made him victorious and he took the title of „ the best speaker‟.

After the lights of the stage had dimmed, the convention ended on a high note, with a gala dinner where the new ex-com members and the new president of the organization were introduced. Toastmasters danced to the tunes of the Roaring 20es well into the night, with a promise to meet again next year in Washington D.C. As I was leaving Las Vegas, looking at my „first timer‟ name tag, I realized that it was nice to be a part of a group of people who have so much in common and who meet every year with a common purpose in mind…..that no matter what race, creed or culture you come from, the power of words unites us to meet again, to exchange ideas and to show the world that the 90 year-old tradition of Toastmasters will carry on.

TM Amina AlHajiri


Memories are one of the strongest things that make a person smile, even for decades. Money can buy material happiness, but the pleasure of a helpful human being around us creates good times in our life. The pleasure of sharing the memorable incidents of life brings an unexpected amount of happiness and Friends and family are the great players in

sometimes it tears you apart. Time, days, years and

binding us in enjoyable time, that makes us

people fade but memories don’t, they could be held up

smile, laugh out loud and at times makes tears

higher and although we never want to believe, those

roll down our cheeks. The days that are

days won’t return.

cherished leave good thoughts in our hearts. It’s impossible to regain back those times and they

As Dr. Seuss quoted “sometimes you will never know

would remain as a memory in our minds. These

the value of the moment until it becomes a memory”.

days are created out of experience. At times, we

Couple of years back, a group of six friends travelled

should just close our eyes and look back at those

to the hill station. This destination was known for

days. This could be a better strategy to overcome

plantations of teas and spices. When we look at the

the moods developed in bad times. It’s a force

place from different angle, it could be one of the

that leads us to live in more cherishing and

greenest places on the earth. It was the time when it

charming ways. During our school days, we

was raining and there was thunder. The friends

would deliberately sit on the back bench to pass

travelled by bikes. Suddenly in the mid of the journey,

out secret messages, hide homework and answer

it started raining and the thunder was scary. Traveling

sheets from the strict teachers and guardians,

started to be more adventurous. The speed of the

attempting to play sports and become winners,

bikes, made the hair blow and rain drops were prickly.

dreaming of success etc. “OH” the days just

Clothes, travel bags, valets were completely wet and

slipped through my hands and they came back at

muddy. Ultimately after 10 hours, the adventurous

the time of loneliness. Sometimes I wish we

journey came to an end. The situation was scary, but

could just go back and create more cherished



refreshment and smile to our face.






The much awaited Bahrain Marathon Relay is just around the corner. So far, a total of 16 members have signed up for the challenge. We are super excited that we have managed to get 16 club members to sign up. However, we want more! Our aim is to have MTM members on standby in case of any last minute drop outs or injuries. We hope this will not happen, but we want to be prepared.

For the sake of those of who are new to the club and are wondering what the excitement is all about, let us take a moment to explain what the Bahrain Marathon Relay is:

• • • • • • •

The Bahrain Marathon Relay is an annual sporting event organized by Bahrain Round Table. This year, the race will be held on Friday, the 27th of November. The race consists of 16 legs, approximately 3 kilometers each. The race starts and ends at the Bahrain International Circuit. The race starts at 10am and ends at 3pm. Companies, clubs, schools, etc. are welcome to participate This will be the third consecutive year that Manama Toastmasters will be taking part.

What’s in it for us? A lot! To name just a few: • We get to meet outside the usual formal club meetings • We get to exercise and stay fit • We get to spread the word about Manama Toastmasters and the Toastmasters movement. (Truth be told, TM Prashant Renghe joined Manama Toastmasters after a chance encounter with TM Guraz Wankadia during one of our training sessions last year)

Who can join? You don’t have to run like Usain Bolt to be part of our team. You just need to be self-motivated and commit to running/walking 2km to 3km at least twice a week. As the race day draws closer, we will have training sessions in Arad Bay and we will start pushing a little harder; the walkers will start jogging, the joggers will start running and the runners will start sprinting.

It may feel a little awkward at first to sign up for this race. Don’t worry. We’ve all been there. It gets easier as the day approaches and you will be amazed as to the number of people who will be out on the roads training for the same event. No matter what your goal is: to get fit, to meet new people or to just challenge yourself, you can rest assured that this is an event that will be well worth every drop of sweat (and believe me, in this humidity, there will be buckets of sweat.)

If you are interested in joining our team, please contact VP PR Victoria Cox or Team Captain Hannah Karanja. For those who will not be taking part, please mark your calendars and come out on the day of the race to cheer us on.

Veteran’s spotlight TM Guraz Wankadia Dear TM Guraz, you have been a Toastmaster for 18 years. (since 1997) How did you first become involved in Toastmasters? Through friends who were already TMs. In fact, I had at least 6-8 friends who had told me about Toastmasters, but I did not join immediately. Then, I moved into a 4-bedroom apartment in Adliya with 3 other executive bachelors. Guess what? Two of them were Manama Toastmasters members. .. TM M.V.A. Krishnan and TM Tissa Hewavitarne. They would always talk about the meeting after returning from the club & I got hooked. I have never once looked back since.

What have been your highlights so far? OMG. In 18 years, how do I select highlights ? One that instantly comes to mind is this: I competed in GTAC 1997 (Gulf Toastmasters Annual Conference) representing MTM only 5 months after joining the club. I won first place in the Humorous Speech Contest. It was a euphoric moment. Maybe this qualifies as the biggest highlight. But, there are many. We may need a few pages to put them all here. What is the public speaking achievement that you are most proud of? A couple of my speeches in the past have brought tears to people in the audience. (Sometimes even amounting to audible sobs). I feel proud of those speeches since I believe that if you can touch the hearts of the audience, you have won more than just a trophy.

How far are you from becoming a DTM? No idea. I am not in a hurry to reach anywhere. I am just enjoying the ride. For a more practical reply: I am CC, ACB, CL. What was the most embarrassing moment in your public speaking and what did you learn from it? In one of my early joke master assignments, I told a joke about pizza and no one laughed. Then, after a pause, in an attempt to make it work, I tried to explain the joke. Yet, nobody laughed. It was very embarrassing. Then, I said: “This joke session is not working” and everybody laughed (at me).

What advice would you give to those who are just embarking on their public speaking journey? . What you give, is what you get. The more time, effort and dedication you give to your TM career, the more and better you will learn. TMs is a DIY program. So, just like swimming, you cannot learn public speaking by reading a book. You have to “do it”. We hear a lot of TMs these days complaining that they don't get good mentoring. Then, I have also seen a lot of TMs asking for help with projects, only for me to find out that I am willing to give the project more time and effort than the mentee himself / herself. There is no magic formula. "No Pain, No Gain". What, in your opinion, could Manama Toastmasters do to produce more champions? Members: Planning, Preparation & Practice, Practice, Practice. Excom: Plan more contests & workshops. Play one World Championship speech every meeting, either during the break or after the meeting is over. Then, analyze it. 9 speeches per TMI World Championship multiplied by past 3 years = 27 speeches. That’s a whole 6-month term @ MTM. Finally, I wish ALL our members a Great Toastmasters Journey.

September 2015

TM Claire Cosgrove

TM Shubhashree Srinivasan

TM Claire Cosgrove

Storytelling draws us all in


ell me a bedtime story, please. How did it happen? How did you fell? It goes like this. Once upon a time …. These are all statements either requesting a story or opening a story. Expressions we have used since our childhood and continue to use throughout our lives. The story. The power of the story. The mystery and intrigue within the story. The motivating story. The encouraging story. The empowering story. The story with a message. The story anyone can understand. Cultures around the globe have their stories that tell of their ancestry, their life journey, their struggles, their sorrows and their joy.

Because we are relational creatures, even though we hide behind our mini-shields such as i-pads, i-phones and i-pods, we love to hear a story. WHY? Because it brings us into the real world. It brings us into the point of excitement or danger or fear or compassion. Stories excite our emotions, feed our imagination, satisfy our need of knowing and understanding. The story typically is a picture composed of words but it can also simply be a picture. But storytelling is a craft, it’s an art, it’s a skill that can be perfected. And so Toastmasters gives us endless opportunities to share and tell, cultivate and craft. That is why our evaluators recommend that we include a personal story. Sometimes the project objective states that a story should be included, even two stories. Stories allow the listener to be present in the moment of excitement and adventure. Be part of the action, sense the danger, the thrill, the suspense all without any threat to self. But boy, can a story open our mind, tear at our heart, wrench our emotions, tickle us into jovial laughter of soulful tears. And the beauty is that we remember the story. We are able to retell the story. We are able to analyze and understand the story.

It’s the winner. So we can all be the winner. Just as our world champion of public speaking, Mohammed Al Qahtani, spoke on the power of the word. Let us grab the take home message. Stories illustrate the point. The words we choose and how we choose to use the words give the power to your message. And storytelling is one tool to maximize the power of the spoken word. For example, if you are new to a role, you could quickly learn from already collated stories. People who have been in roles for a few years have a wealth of experiences and lessons under their belts – they are full of stories waiting to be told. Why do people engage with a story? Storytelling is essentially about making meaning. As we listen to or read others’ stories, we integrate our own experience by trying to connect the stories to something we already know. Stories are a readymade turbo-boost for learning. They tend to fasttrack us into learning-through-experience by making us the safe observer rather than the daring driver. Stories convey much more than facts. In this information age of ‘high-fact’ diets, they are often an antidote, a respite. They help us make sense of, synthesize, the information that bombards us. Through the telling of human stories, we get better connected as humans, understanding that emotions and the unconscious mind are every bit as important as rational thoughts and our conscious selves. For me, hearing a colleague or a friend tell a story about overcoming a challenge or achieving something means more than listening to hours of sanitized facts and PowerPoint presentations. I do want to hear the facts, though – I’d just prefer it in a story-based sandwich, inedible bits and all!

Capturing authenticity I think we have an important choice to make about the type of stories we tell and are willing to listen to. Do we really want to use sanitized storytelling to hoodwink our staff into creating a future corporate narrative that they are never going to engage with? Or do we want people to listen to real, unfiltered stories, and then be able to make up their own minds about what those stories mean in relation to their own experiences? If we consider storytelling as a neutral tool – just as we would, say, a paintbrush or a mobile phone – then it is what we do with storytelling that makes it potentially a good or bad influence. Gathering real stories in business So where does that leave us? How do we, in a practical sense, use storytelling in business? Maybe we need to ease up on the overuse of contrived stories to deliver a particular message, and instead focus on capturing real stories that actually happened, in all their emotional complexity. If someone knows that they are listening to a real story that has had a real impact on someone’s life, it has more chance of unlocking a deep connection and becoming a catalyst for change. If I know that a story is contrived – I’ll just filter it like any information that doesn’t resonate with me. A story isn’t a story until it is told. It is only funny when people laugh. It is only sad when people cry. It only has impact when people wonder in amazement. So, by telling a story, you are doing something not only for yourself but for the listener too – authentically, honestly, openly and transparently. To implement storytelling in your organization, consider these tips:  Keep it Informal and light-hearted  Offer anonymity  Lead by example – owners and

   

senior management tell their stories first Provide a simple tool Don’t set too many rules (length, content, etc.) Don’t criticize Have a theme of the month, but make it fun (e.g. how you learned your hardest lesson, the funniest mistake you learned from in your career) Debrief the stories at team meetings – what do they mean to you?

The big advantage of living in the technology-savvy 21st century is that it’s much easier to capture stories than ever before. We can blog, podcast, interview, record, and publish most types of stories faster than it can take to post a letter. We can also easily set up searchable archives and start to use innovative technologies such as natural language processing, data mining and data analytics to really capitalize on the stories we have all yet to tell. So go on, what’s stopping you? The truth is out there...


Ali Hassan Ebrahim William S. Barnett

Sheela V. Pai

August Barry Dunne Ali Hassan Ebrahim Joel Indrupati Lettisia Sarah Cherian Prashant Renghe Rashid Ahmed Maymoon

Abdulrahman I. Awadhi Tamara Mitchell Victoria Cox

Zakaria M. Sulaiman Afaf Zain Alabedeen May Abdul Aziz Monther Noaman Al Shurbaji Barry Dunn Mala Tarraf Abdulrahman I. Awadhi

September Hannah Karanja

Toastmasters International is a nonprofit organization governed by a Board of Directors elected by the members.

The first Toastmasters club was established in 1924 in Santa Ana, California by Dr. Ralph C. Smedley who conceived and developed the idea of helping others to speak more effectively Through its member clubs Toastmasters International with over 292,000 members attending one of 14,350 clubs in 122 countries helping men and women improve their communication and leadership skills.

Toastmasters International Headquarters are located in Rancho Santa Margarita, California. Visit for more information.

Manama Toastmasters Club established in 1964, is the oldest in the Middle

East. Our club is registered under the Ministry of Social Development (reg. no.74/C/C) and is affiliated to Toastmasters International. Our mission is to provide a mutually supportive and positive environment in which every member has the opportunity to develop communication and leadership skills which, in turn, foster self-confidence and personal growth.

Excom July- December 2015

Laxman Singh Rathore President

Victoria Cox VP Public Relations

Anup Sudhakaran Sgt@arms

Tanaji Ahmed VP Education

Barry Dunne Secretary

Amina AlHajiri VP Membership

Somaya Al Jowder Treasurer

VP Education Subcommittee: Khalid AlQoud, Guraz Wankadia, Kishore Babu, Hannah Karanja VP Membership Subcommittee: Prashanth Gudibande, Fatima Saleh, Claire Cosgrove VP Public Relations Subcommittee: Khalid Amin, Biljana Davcheva, Mohammed Sulieman, Prashanth Renghe, Chris Noronha, Rashid Maymoon Secretary Subcommittee: Chris Noronha Treasurer Subcommittee: Shubhashree Srinivasan

Sgt@ arms Subcommittee: Rashid Maymoon, Prashanth Gudibande

Meetings: When? Every Saturday What time? 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm Where? At the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain

for more information:


Or our website:

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