Archive for April, 2010

Okay, it has been two weeks since I delivered my Project 2 Speech. Once again, I repeat I am not a so good writer and I need ample time to write my write-ups. Considering my current commitments, I prefer to borrow the project speeches from Internet and deliver them with ease at the project speeches. This time I gave my speech at the Lexington Office and it was well received though I fumbled towards the end in the conclusion as I started running out of my time. This speech has been taken from here.

The objectives of the Project 2 Speech was:

The second Toastmasters speech project addresses organizing your speech. This article of the Toastmaster Speech Series examines the primary goals of this project, provides tips and techniques, and links to numerous sample speeches.

There are four aims for this speech:

  • Use an outline which aids understanding.
  • Transition smoothly from one point to the next.
  • Craft an effective speech opening.
  • Craft an effective speech conclusion.

These are fundamental skills that you apply to every speech you’ll ever deliver, whether it is a 2 minute off-the-cuff speech, a 15 minute business proposal, or a 60 minute keynote.

Transitions are the Key

Of the four elements, appropriate transitions are most lacking in the majority of presentations that I have seen. Most speakers have an introduction and conclusion, with supporting material arranged in some form of outline. But, there is often little in the way of transition phrases that link the speech together in a cohesive unit.

  • In a written piece (like this article), headings, bullets, and punctuation provide cues to the reader that help them understand the macro-organization.
  • In a verbal speech, use pauses and transition phrases to achieve this effect so that the audience knows when one point ends, and the next begins.

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Fellow Toastmasters, Mr. Toastmaster and Dear Guests This was what Shakespeare said in Romeo and Juliet many years back. Is really a name that unimportant? Or does it actually matter what name do you have? Let us see both sides of the names: names of persons, names of brands and names of places: we’ll explore them all.

If the names were really unimportant, why do companies spend billions searching for that key brand name? Why would politicians create such hullabaloo about changing the names of the cities and states? Why would parents go on surfing name databases endlessly before naming their children? Come on Mr. Shakespeare, even the name Rose has got an identity of its own. And you can find many sweet girls named as Rose after the beautiful flower. Not all girls named Rose are necessarily sweet-natured, but given a choice for a blind date, you’d surely like to meet a girl named Rose as compared to someone named let us say chickenpox. I know no one names her daughter that way, but if it were not for the name, why would you make that negative impression of the sweet girl named chickenpox even before meeting her? So isn’t it the name that’s driving the entire world?

After all, your name is your face to the rest of the world, it’s your first point of contact with a stranger; it’s your identity!!! Well, not if you’re named something like Michael in the United States or Deepak in India; In that case instead of being your identity, your name can give you a severe identity crisis. I’d like to mention again that there are 100’s Deepaks working in Oracle. We often have official mail interactions, in which the Developer Deepak writes to the Support Engineer Deepak and the program manager Deepak is marked a copy and it sometimes is confusing to figure out which Deepak’ s Action items are stated in the mail.

Anyways, coming back to the original discussion; whatever your name may be, it is in fact your prime identity. And in case of a common first name, it’s your full name or even at times nickname that’ll provide you that identity.

In the corporate world, perhaps the names have become all the more important. The choice of a good brand name is considered critical for the success of a project. There are names which are taken as ambassadors of quality and even a new product from an established brand is in high demand even before the quality of the product is known. One of the prime examples is Oracle Fusion. Before it is in the market, it has already created enough vibes in the market even though the launch has been delayed twice already.

A new height is reached when the name starts making the transition from being a Proper noun to a verb. The speech I’m delivering right now is supported by something known as Googling. Another example is that of the Adobe Photoshop. I believe everyone must be aware of the mantra in digital photography: Click it and then “Photoshop” it. The name has become a verb here!!! And it sells!!

So does it appear that the names are in fact the only things that matter? Was Shakespeare totally off-track when he made that remark? Are names really sufficient to take you to the path of success all on their own?

This may sound crazy, but there actually are people who believe that they can change their destinies by just changing their names. How many times have we heard how filmmakers like Karan Johar and Ekta Kapoor naming their movies with the starting letter “K” and actors, politicians, sportsmen and actresses changing their names. Just imagine how many of us will recognize who is Mohammad Yusuf Khan or by the name he is well famous – Dilip Kumar.

And if the names were really that powerful, why are almost unimaginative company names like the ones named after the founders still popular? Hewlett-Packard and Bajaj are just few of such examples. Did you know that the Google brand, which we were discussing just now, is actually the result of a misspelling of Googol, the word for 10 raised to the power of 100? So if it were not misspelled initially, we could all have been happy Googoling stuff out whenever needed.

So what does all this lead us to? I still am confused: Do names matter or not? Digging a bit deep into it, we get to know that perhaps Shakespeare was at least a bit right.

I personally feel it works both ways. First you need to do your job, make your name and then onwards your name will make you out. So let us assume Google starts something new. It’ll have a definite advantage over any non-existent name in the market.

So Mr. Shakespeare, it wouldn’t have mattered if the flower were named something else in the first place itself, but now that the Rose has marked its name by becoming a symbol of Sweetness, love and beauty, calling someone/something as Rose does carry some weight and calling a Rose by any other name simply doesn’t make any practical sense.

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Recently, I got an email from one of my friends and it really touched me. This post is going to be a question for all of us out here busy to make our marks in our own way without realizing how we might be affecting others life. I hope you will like the story as much as I did.

A woman came home from work late, tired and irritated, to find her 5-year old son waiting for her at the door.

SON: ‘Mummy, may I ask you a question?’

MUM: ‘Yeah sure, what it is?’ replied the woman.

SON: ‘Mummy, how much do you make an hour?’

MUM: ‘That’s none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?’ the woman said angrily.

SON: ‘I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?’

MUM: ‘If you must know, I make  $20 an hour.’

SON: ‘Oh,’ the little boy replied, with his head down..

SON: “Mummy, may I please borrow $5?”

The mother was furious, ‘If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish. I don’t work hard everyday for such childish frivolities. ‘

The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door…

The woman sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy’s questions. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?

After about an hour or so, the woman had calmed down , and started to think:

Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $5 and he really didn’t ask for money very often.The woman went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door.

‘Are you asleep, son?’ She asked.
‘No Mummy, I’m awake,’ replied the boy

‘I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier’ said the woman. ‘It’s been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here’s the $5 you asked for.’

The little boy sat straight up, smiling. ‘Oh, thank you Mummy!’ he yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills.

The woman saw that the boy already had money, started to get angry again.

The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his mother.

‘Why do you want more money if you already have some?’ the mother grumbled.

‘Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,’ the little boy replied.

‘Mummy, I have $20 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow.
I would like to have dinner with you.’

The mother was crushed. She put her arms around her little son, and she begged for his forgiveness.

In short, It’s just a short reminder to all of you working so hard in life. We should not let time slip through our fingers without having spent some time with those who really matter to us, those close to our hearts. Do remember to share that $20 worth of your time with someone you love.

If we die tomorrow, the company that we are working for could easily replace us in a matter of hours. But the family & friends we leave behind will feel the loss for the rest of their lives.

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Yesterday, I gave my first ToastMaster speech – The IceBreaker. The only drawbacks in my speech were the pauses and oscillating around the podium like a pendulum. I hope I will improve on it in my upcoming speeches. My Speech was not original and was tweaked from this post to suit my requirements.

There is a lot of similarity between the two speeches but I prefer not to write my own speeches because even though I am a good orator, which I feel I am, I am not a so good writer.One another reason is the lack of time.  So, people familiar with the above post can ignore reading below unless they want to know a little bit more about me. I hope you like the speech and will incorporate this into your own speeches. During the course of speech, I had to cut down a lot when I saw the first yellow card in the third paragraph of the speech itself but on the whole, I am now researching on the topics and ideas for my speech 2.

Let me tell you all a little bit about The IceBreaker Speech and its goals before taking you through the speech itself:

Ice breaker (or Icebreaker) is a term which describes an activity which reduces tension and anxiety in a group. The Ice Breaker speech has three aims:

  1. Introduce yourself.
    Your ice breaker speech topic is you – something about your life, your job, your hobbies, your unique interests, your family, or any combination of these. You are an absolute authority on this topic, and everyone in the audience will learn something about you.
  2. Begin to conquer the fear of speaking in front of a group.
    It is nervewracking when speaking in front of a new group. If you feel this nervousness, remember that a Toastmaster audience is always supportive and understanding. Nobody is grading you, and nobody will mind if you stumble through 99 “Um”s and “Ah”s. If you get up, say something, and sit down, you have succeeded in this project.
  3. Provide a “base line” of your current strengths and weaknesses.
    Some new members have no public speaking experience, while others have years of presentations behind them. No matter where you fit into this spectrum, your goal is to improve from your starting point. This first speech helps club members gauge your current strengths so that they can make specific recommendations to help you improve.

Hello everyone my name is Deepak and I think life is like a box of chocolates… you never know what you’re gonna get… Well almost.  If you’ve watched the movie Forest Gump then you probably recognize the quote.  To be more precise, I think life is like a box of chocolates and it is our job to find the sweetest and tastiest chocolate in the box.  This is a philosophy I live by and today I would like to share how it has shaped my life.

I was born in West Bengal, grew up in 6 states of India – Orissa, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and Maharastra. As a child I grew up with an insatiable curiosity and a love for stories.  Naturally I gravitated towards movies, television and video games.  I loved to dream about epic medieval battles between knights and wizards, passionate romances between princes and princesses, and the bold and courageous deeds of superheroes.  I’ve always been interested in stories and adventures, but it wasn’t until I reached high school that I began to understand that it was possible to bridge the gap between reality and my beloved world of dreams.

My story starts with my father, who came from a small remote village to city to pursue his dream of becoming, famous, wealthy and influential; he studied Medical and eventually stumbled upon what we call the world of living GODs.  As a child I remember watching my father constantly working in a government hospital amidst improper infrastructure and support; the only time he wasn’t in the hospital was the time he used to find to play with us, help us with our studies, dining or sleeping. It was his dedication that I never went for tuition ever in my whole life.  Though I didn’t understand my father’s work, I remember how focused he was and how he excited he used to become whenever someone used to ask him about his operations and the new machines he used to get for the hospitals; during middle school he developed the bad habit of forcing my friends to sit down and listen to him talk about his inventions.  My father’s passion was so contagious that during my final year in high school, I decided to work with him on a the devastated areas of Orissa Super Cyclone and that was the first time I understood the power of passion; through his passion for helping my father was able to develop unbelievable relationships with most people; it was his passion for helping in whatever possible way for a better world that gave him the power to turn his ideas into reality.

During those times, I stumbled upon the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, a famous American philosopher and writer who wrote a well-known essay Self Reliance; in it Emerson says: “Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another, you have only an extemporaneous, half possession.”  His words became the impetus for self discovery and I began to pursue my own interests and passions – Computer Science. There were instances when I had to fight with my father for not taking up medical stream.

Over the years I’ve come to understand myself much better and I’ve also learned a great deal from my mistakes.  Looking back I realize how immature I was in not accepting my father’s wisdom and advice; but at the same time, I understand that I needed to walk my own path even if it meant upsetting my father.  Life truly is a long and bumpy roller coaster ride.  However, it is because of those bumps and turns along the way that I have been able to find my passion in life, which is to develop software for such a great company like Oracle.  There is nothing more important to me than that. The world we live in today is so complex and so full of possibilities that interesting discoveries can be found almost anywhere if we are only bold enough to look.

Though I’ve only lived for 27 years, by following my interests I’ve had the good fortune of stumbling on a number of truly fascinating people in my life: I’ve met a man who changed the picture of India in the world in the field of Information Technology – Mr. Narayana Murthy; I met people in remote villages of my state where forget about the road and basic amenities but in fact, they could barely manage food once in a day; I’ve met a man who was a mafia gang member, got arrested and sentenced for 5 years and then became an entrepreneur and today owning one of the most famous hotel of Bhubaneswar; a lady who devoted her whole life to the well being of the people around – Mother Teresa.

I like to think of life as a treasure hunt in which we are all participants looking for the biggest, brightest and most beautiful treasure of all.  If life is like a box of chocolates, like Forest Gump says, then our duty as treasure hunters is to find the very best piece of chocolate in the box.  The piece I am searching for is a life of interest marked by challenge, success, passion, love, and service.  We are all treasure hunters of life looking each searching for their own unique gem.  Thank you for listening to my story and I wish you all the best of luck on this treasure hunt called life.

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