Archive for August, 2010

This post is in continuation to my earlier post on Winning-Take 1. Earlier, I wanted to go one chapter at a time, which I like but now, I am going to pick chapters as I feel about it. So, the chapter of the discussion will be random but at the end of this series, I feel I am going to share a lot of myths and usual working professional style in conjunction with the book.

We are going to concentrate Take 2 on “Leadership”, one of the most confused and badly defined word in today’s corporate world. Well, we will first point out the the different traits the book discusses as the defining characteristics of “Leadership” and then discuss them all putting the present scenario around and break some of the common myths that we see around. Before that, let me be very clear, all managers are not at all “leaders” but all leaders are definitely good managers. This statement makes us ask why there is a question on “managers”. Well, because in the corporate world, unfortunately managers (or sometimes, Leads such as Project Leads, Team Leads) are named as leaders. I am sure one would have encountered a statement like this too often, “we choose to decide Mr. XXX to lead the team. Again, a wrong word all in all. It should be “manage” and sometimes, it just remains to few predetermined guidelines with no power at all. At times, I have heard my friends say to me, I don’t know what’s wrong with Mr. ABC. He was a good guy till he became a manager. Now, he feels as if like he owns us. In other terms, Hitler left his hierarchy as attitude of managers.

According to Jack Welch, the following traits define a leader:

  1. Leaders relentlessly upgrade their team, using every encounter as an opportunity to evaluate, coach, and build self-confidence.
  2. Leaders make sure people not only see the vision, they live and breathe it.
  3. Leaders get into everyone’s skin, exuding positive energy and optimism.
  4. Leaders establish trust with candor, transparency, and credit.
  5. Leaders have the courage to make unpopular decisions and gut calls.
  6. Leaders probe and push with a curiosity that borders on skepticism, making sure their questions are answered with action.
  7. Leaders inspire risk taking and learning by setting the example.
  8. Leaders celebrate.

Let us consider point 1. Three points become prominent here: Leaders evaluate, coach and finally, build self-confidence. Evaluate what? Evaluate making sure right people are in the right jobs, supporting and advancing those who are. There is an issue here in advancing. In my short career span, I have seen a lot of highly talented people going mediocre because his/her manager does not care about him. The general statement is: one is paid for doing something in the job, no matter it is a routine job. Well, be careful when you hear these words. These are kind of “signals”, signals that convey that you are at the wrong place and with a wrong person. Once evaluated, Leaders Coach, helping people improve in every way possible. And finally but most importantly, Leaders build self-confidence poring out encouragement, caring and recognition. Why point is important is that too many managers limit the people development to annual performance review and sometimes, just in discussions rather than being open in with the comparisons. Many times I have heard that don’t compare yourself, but then I have one question for all those: when one is given 4/10 and 9/10 in performance, then it makes me hard to believe one has not been compared because for simple reason that it is not a Mathematics course test, where you multiply right to get the right answer immaterial of what.

Point 2: Vision. This is one characteristics that will differentiate the leader from usual managers. Leaders possess visions and they don’t fear to communicate it. I feel visions should be loud and loud enough that everyone hears it. But no vision in worth the paper it’s printed on unless it is communicated constantly and reinforced with rewards. Only then will it leap off the page and come to life. Please don’t confuse vision with “deadlines” or “expectations”. We will take about them sometime later. Vision is something a leader visualizes for the benefit of the whole group for a long term. Visions can make a simple manager CEO and its group as the star performing group of the organization. And of course, please don’t confuse it with number of years that one has to stay with the organization. Generally, when an organization grows to a big size, the general rule dictates one has to stay for x years to be at Y position. This is not vision. Vision is something that will break these borders, redefining the rules of the game by setting news standards and if a general rule is x years, then in x-z years, one gets the position, where z is a substantial period.

Point 3: There is an old saying, “The fish rots from the head”. It’s mainly used to refer to how politics and corruption filter down into an organization, but it could just as easily be used to describe the effect of a bad attitude at the top of any team, large or small. Eventually, everyone’s infected. An upbeat manager goes through the day with a positive outlook somehow ends uo running a team or organization filled with…well, upbeat people with positive outlooks. A pessimistic sourpuss somehow ends up with an unhappy tribe all his own. The right attitude makes a manager leader.

Point 4: With Indian attitude, becoming a manager (or so called leader) is a real power trip. Probably, more than an individual, it is our society that has imbibed this attitude but the issue is we resist to change. Such people relish the feeling of control over both people and information. And so, they keep secrets, reveal little of their thinking about people and their performance, and hoard what they know about the business and its future. With this attitude, they forget that leaders are leaders because people feel strongly about their leadership skills and not because someone is a Manager by the tag name. Trust plays a major role here but honestly, you know it when you feel it. It is that simple. Most importantly, leaders take responsibility for what’s gone wrong and generously pass around the praise. To be a good leader, never forget you weren’t give an crown, you were give a responsibility to bring out the best in others. For that, your people need to trust you. And they will, as long as you demonstrate candor, give credit and stay real.

Point 5: Leaders don’t fear to make tough calls because they don’t consider themselves to be in a popularity contest. I feel one’s gut feelings play a very important role here.

Point 6: When you are an individual contributor, you try to have all the answers. That’s your job – to be an expert, the best at what you do, maybe even the smartest person in the room. When you are a loeader, you job is to have all the questions. You have to incredibly confortable looking like the dumbest person in the room. Every conversation you have, must have “What if?” and “Why not?” and “How come?”. Questioning alone, however, is not enough. You have to make sure your questions unleash debate and raise issues that get action. At the same time, what distinguishes a leader from a manager is leaders know that saying something doesn’t mean it will happen.

Point 7: Winning companies embrace risk taking and learning. But in reality, these two concepts often get lip service – and little else. Too many managers urge their people to try new things, and then whack them in the head when they fail. And too many live in not-invented-here wordls of their own making. Leader set examples themselves if they their people to experiment and expand their minds.

Point 8: What is it about celebrating that makes managers so nervous? Maybe throwing a party doesn’t seem professional, or it makes managers worry that they won’t look serious to the powers that be, or that, if things get too happy at the office, people will stop working their tails off. One another eason is as if like they are spending fro their own pocket for the celebration. Whatever be the reason, there is just not enough celebrating going on at work – anywhere. What a lost opportunity. Celebrating makes people feel like winners and creates an atmosphere of recognition and positive energy. Imagine a cricket team winning the World Cup without champagne spraying everywhere. You just can’t! And yet companies win all the time and let it go without so much as a high five. Work is too much part of life not to recognize moments of achievement. Grab as many as you can. Make a big deal out of them. If you don’t no one will.

To summarize, the beat leaders care passionately about their people – about their growth and success. And we can find them comfortable in their own skins. They are real, filled with candor and integrity, optimism and humanity. Please don’t fall into the trap that leadership happens one day when one becomes a boss and gets the power to change the rules.

Disclaimer: In no form, the above perceptions can be related to any particular individual or organization. In case done so, I take no responsibility and the firm/individual will be doing so for its own insecurity, thus, proving the negative effects mentioned being followed by themselves.

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Today, I delivered my Project 9 Speech and won the Best Speaker Award for the session.

As for Project 9 Executive Summary, the ability to persuade people – getting them to understand, accept and act upon our ideas – is a valuable skill. Our listeners will mor elikely be persuaded if they perceive us as credible, if we use logic and emotion in our appeal, if we carefully structure our speech and if we appeal to their interests. Strcitly, avoid using notes because they may cause listeners to doubt our sincerity, knowledge and conviction.

  1. Persuade listeners to adopt your viewpoint or ideas or to take some action.
  2. Appeal to the audience’s interests.
  3. Use logic and emotion to support your position.
  4. Avoid using notes.

The general types of persuasion are: Inspire, Convince and Call them to action. I choose to opt for the last type because I felt comfortable in discussing about my community work and honestly speaking, it was easy and natural to me.

One of the feedbacks, I got is to work on my voice modulation a little bit more and to get my speeches recorded. I am planning to do so from my P10 speech and I will share all the videos over my blog from next time 🙂


Will you Help us?

[Showed the poster of a small village school saying “We cannot afford Microsoft Windows, a laptop or even a Personal Computer, Can You Help us?]
They can neither buy licensed software nor afford to sustain expertise to teach computers in their schools.
But You Can ! And I earnestly call upon you to do so.

Dear Toastmasters and Guests, today I am going to talk about a project called “Free Software Movement Karnataka (FSMK)”.
This project is doing a yeoman service in ensuring the usage of free softwares and providing computer education in community and government schools.

Free Software is a matter of freedom, not cost. It is a matter of liberty, not price. The word `free’ in Free Software has a similar meaning as in free speech, free people and free country and should not be confused with its other meaning associated with zero-cost. Think of Free Software as software which is free of encumbrances. Think of it as delete: insert: swatantra software.

In many parts of India, we don’t have necessary infrastructure to educate children. So, forget about India as IT super-power or India Shining tags! Governments consider these investments as huge economic burdens. They don’t see any point in educating these kids with the latest technology. And we say, this is where the action is!!!

Computer Education for a kid born in a poor family is still a pipe dream.
So friends here is your chance to utilize your expertise and take your knowledge from cubicles to open communities by joining hands with FSMK.

How can you help?
Donate your old laptop or PC. Volunteer your time by registering as a FSF India Volunteer. Your generous donations will provide them with necessary hardwares. Volunteering your time will help train their teachers to create a conducive environment in their school.

You may ask what is the guarantee that my donations are well spent?
It is a very valid question! A project like this has to be run by trustworthy, effective and efficient people. FSMK is a non-profit organization committed to advocating, promoting and propagating the use and development of swatantra software in Karnataka. We regard non-free software as a problem to be solved, not as a solution to any problem. The Free Software Foundation of India (FSF India), the official Indian affiliate of the FSF, was formally inaugurated by Richard Stallman at the
Freedom First! Conference at Thiruvanathapuram, Kerala on 20 July 2001. Richard M. Stallman, a celebrated programmer, an accomplished hacker and founder of GNU Project, then working at MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Lab, left to pursue the Free Software Movement in 1984, inspired by the ideals of American independence: freedom, community and voluntary co-operation, which leads to free enterprise, free speech and free software.

On what basis do they select the communities for sponsorship?
These are the ones which are government schools; they belong to the poorest sections of society; their parents of the students are illiterate; they come from communities where deplorable practices like child labor, early marriage etc. are prevalent.

Will you come to know about the community you are donating to?
Yes. You can personally visit the establishments at any moment of time. Ambedkar Computer Community Center, where I work, is right opposite to your office at Tilak Nagar

Every moment, millions of underprivileged children are living with the hope that someday, someone would reach out to them with love to fulfill their dreams and aspirations.

Fellow Toastmasters and Guests, each one of you can be that special someone? Support Free Software Movement just at the price of your favorite pass-time or even without spending a single penny from your pocket!!!

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Last Sunday, I visited to participate in “The Art of Elevator Pitch” Panel Discussion at Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. The discussion was very informative. Honestly speaking, I did not know what is an Elevator Pitch before I decided to participate in the contest when I received an email from my Toastmasters International District. But I knew I am going to participate. So, I immediately replied to the email and got the preliminary round of questions. I am attaching the file with the answers here. Please do feel free to comment whatever you feel like.


What did I get out of the Contest?

  1. Networking: I feel very good to network with some of the amazing people in the industry. Having entrepreneurial pursuits myself, it was just an amazing platform for meeting future business leaders (students of IIM Bangalore), Venture Capitalists such as Griffin David, Balaji and Ian Faria, Private Equity Players such as Samir Inamdar and many more. And of course, not to forget very enthusiastic Toastmasters. In fact, I got an invitation to speak over the IIM Alumni Toastmaster chapter and I plan to do so for some of my Advanced Communicator Bronze level, Speeches by Management Category.
  2. Special: The session became special in personal term also. After a very very long time, I had a crush on someone there. Let me tell you that I am not the one who can fall for anyone any time. Someone needs to be very special to match my frequency and vibrancy and I felt the same with someone there. It is a different case that I did not do anything at that moment of time, though I wanted to with all good intentions. Somehow I decided to hold back for some more time and if future will permit, I will do the necessary. No doubt, the girl is special and I could feel that. I call the girl as Miss AC. So, Miss AC, hope to meet you soon but in a different fashion
  3. Elevator Pitch: Well, this is the instant take away from the session. And I am going to discuss more in details on this with my version of the elevator pitch with the final case study.

What is an Elevator Pitch?

Elevator Pitch is a short speech of about 2 minutes, generally given by entrepreneurs to the VCs or angel investors. It derives its name from the fact that it takes exactly 2 minutes to go from the lobby to the top level where the VC has his office. And one gets just two minutes to leave the VC with the curiosity and quest. In my view, an elevator pitch is successful if you can get the business card out of the VC.

What kind Elevator Pitches can be?

I feel elevator pitches can be anything. It can be about yourself, a product, a service, a group, an organization and often related to marketing campaigns, branding and public relation activities. Why is it important? Generally, we don’t know with whom am I going to sit next to in my flight. We don’t get any clue with whom I am going to go in an elevator. So, suppose I bump into a potential VC all of a sudden and what I get is just 2 minutes to generate interest into me and my idea. In my view, it generates a lot of interest in the field of consultancy also. What do you feel how much time a CEO has when you are on a consulting project with the that CEO’s firm? Talk to the management consultants and I can bet most of them will say that they get the time to pitch their ideas and solutions exactly equal to the time one takes to walk from CEO office to his car. And trust me when I say that its not only your firm’s reputation that is at stake but also your own reputation and credibility too.

What constitutes a good elevator pitch?

  1. First and foremost, you must understand that elevator pitch is not your business plan rather it is the door to getting the funding for your plan by getting the business card of the VC or scheduling a meeting with the VC.
  2. Try to connect emotionally both at the personal and professional level. What I mean here is you should be able to relate your idea with the person and at the same time, take his curiosity level to such an extent that he makes the next attempt to reach to you. One very good example that I would like to cite here is taken from the real life experience of Griffin David, discussed during the panel discussion at IIMB.  Griffin David is a Venture Capitalist and an Entrepreneur in himself, who has traveled a journey from SemiConductor Chips to Potato Chips today. He is currently the CEO of Bread Basket Pvt Ltd, having founded it. He cited an incident where his team was pitching a business plan in front of potential investors. They somehow manage to connect with them prior to the meeting and went for an excursion to SONA in Europe. SONA seem to be known for a beach but a special beach-nude beach. They all went, enjoyed, in fact went to give a television interview also with only their heads showing up. But the effect of the trip was seen when his team was given 45 minutes for the presentation while others were given only 15 minutes. Did you see the difference what an emotional connect can make? In yet another incident mentioned by one of the panelist (sorry, I don’t remember who was it exactly), he mentioned that once in an attempt to raise money from a bank, he was facing lot of issues. One of his friend’s wife discussed the problem with the wife of the banker. The banker’s wife went and told his husband that the person in question is like a son to her and you must approve his loan. Ultimately, the loan passed. The panelist came to know about the incident much later in one of the parties. Can you guys relate now? Can you guys make what I am thinking? EQ is one of the biggest weapon and i fused properly, can do wonders in your not only personal but professional life also. We are all human beings and an angel investor or a VC is no exception. Our daily lives are full of emotions and almost 90% of the time, our decisions are based on our emotions and feelings.
  3. Understand your audience. This hold true in case of any speech. Each person is different. Understanding your audience will help in pitching your idea in the most effective way. How can you do that? Thats where your networking connections are going to work for you.
  4. As like an speech, according to me, an elevator pitch also has a certain format and guidelines: Be crisp and ensure brevity because at the day, you only have 2 minutes. Your introduction is your selling point. If you cannot connect with your opening statement, forget it. It is same as the FIRST impression is the LAST impression. So be very careful how are you going to begin. Be prepared with your best 3 points to support your statement. A lot of my management consultant friends tell me that the the RULE OF THREE is an accepted norm of making your points in a business setup. So, these three points should be your best selling points and should generate curiosity in the minds of the VC. At the end, end it with a strong conclusion. I feel the conclusion should not only be persuasive but also leave the VC thinking, thus, prompting him to give away his business card and seeking to get an appointment for a detailed discussion.
  5. Of course, do look out for your body language and voice modularity. Nothing can substitute an appropriate body language with good command over the voice modulation. This is where Toastmasters is going to help you the most.

What are the other potential areas where elevator pitches can be useful?

Well, when I sat and thought about it, I never knew I could relate it to so many circumstances. Some of the areas where I feel an elevator pitch can help you are DATING, JOB INTERVIEW, PROMOTIONS in jobs and PROPOSALS (e.g an author pitching his book to the publishers or a story writer pitching his story for a movie to a producer). The most interesting among the list is DATING. Imagine you are standing alongside a beautiful girl (say Katrina Kaif) and you have got one shot at her before she disappears in the world of invisible strangers again. Your 2 min shot can give you the mobile number or a date. On the other side, a bad pitch may land you in prison, labeling you as a stalker. In other words, 2 minutes can decide whether she is going to be your life partner. Similarly, each one of knows, the way one walks and introduces himself is the 75% success of the interview. Imagine yourself in an elevator with CEO of your company and you know your skills are not well utilized by your current boss and you get only 2 minutes to showcase what you got and you can do for the organization if given the right opportunity. Finally, here is my version of the elevator pitch that I wrote for the case-study presented at IIMB for the finalists:

Case Study: ElevatorPitch_Stage2_CaseStudy


My Elevator Pitch: Would you like your girlfriend/wife to look like Katrina Kaif or Toon Toon? If given a free hand, wouldn’t you wake up early in the morning and go to gym with your wife to keep her in shape more than yourself? One will walk with broad chest and full prestige if your girlfriend/wife is good looking and smart. So, wouldn’t you like her to look good in her office too? I am sure you will.

I am Rita and I propose to bring an exclusive line of garments for women for office wear. From college to an office, from home to a boardroom, I present to you an elegant and exclusive design of apparel for Indian women. I am sure you will agree with me when I say that women spend more than men on looking good and beautiful. The most prominent proofs are endless research on spending habits of men and women and the time a woman spends on dressing up. And of course, not to ignore your own wallet and the savings you barely manage to make at the end of the month. No more sarees or executive shirts and skirts from Allen Solley or so, Rita & Co. will bring a premium line of designs exclusively designed to the taste of Indian women. Recent feedbacks from the students of IIM Bangalore, who have already taken the designs to their summer internships have felt more comfortable and confident filled with positive energy after wearing my designs.

So, what are you waiting for? Tighten your seat belts as we, together, can bring a sea wave of changes with Rita brands flaunting in offices and board rooms and change the image of a working Indian women to a more confident, elegant and stylist business women.


Hey, please feel free to comment your views on the elevator pitch. I would love to hear from you 🙂

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I delivered my Project 8 Speech on using visual aids effectively on 05-Aug-2010 and won the Best Prepared Speaker Award for the session.

Visual Aids help an audience understand and remember what they hear; they are a valuable tool for speakers. The most popular visual aids are computer-based visuals, overhead transparencies, flip charts, white-boards and props.

The type of visual aid you choose depends on several factors, including the information you wish to display and the size of the audience. Visuals must be appropriate for your message and the audience, and be displayed correctly with ease and confidence.

  1. Select visual aids that are appropriate for your message and the audience.
  2. Use visual aids correctly with ease and confidence.

Before giving you the script, I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed this project speech particularly because it gave me a lot of confidence in using various props in a very effective manner. So, here we go:

”Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink. ” These are the famous lines of Samuel Coleridge.

Water is a basic necessity for your survival. It adds to years to your life.

Wisdom is the next level of necessity. It will add life to your years.

Dear Toastmasters and Guests, you can acquire wisdom from your teachers, friends, enemies, parents, strangers, animals. Almost from anybody.
You just need to be open enough to receive it.
But don’t think only living things can teach you something. You can find your Gurus even in common day-to-day things.
One such lesson I learnt from thus LCD projector. I struggled for 3 weeks to give a project 7 speech, which happened to be a computer presentation and i could not find any projector available during that time. So even though the project 8 speech was about using visual aids, I decided not to give a power point presentation.

I have brought my props. So let’s get started

<Here I took out a currency note and asked one of the Toastmasters in the audience>
This is a thousand -rupee currency note. Suppose I say I will give it to you. Will you take it? Yes you will.
What if I fold it and give it to you? Will you still take it? Yes you will.
What if crumple it and throw it in a dustbin? Will you still take it? Yes you will.
It doesn’t matter what I do to this money. It is still a thousand- rupee currency note. It still has its value.
Similarly so often in your lives, you will be crumpled, trampled, ill-treated, insulted, and yet, despite all that you will be still worth the same. Don’t let such things lower your self-esteem. Hold yourself high!

Having held your self-esteem you need to be live in peace with the world. And to live in peace with the world, what better object can there to teach you that be other than this humble pencil.

This pencil can write many correct answers, write interesting stories, and draw beautiful pictures. But can it do it all alone? No, it needs a hand to write.
Similarly you will be doing great things, but you must never forget that there is a hand guiding you. We call that hand God or a Supreme Power and for those who do not believe in God your own consciousness that always guides us.

Now and then, the pencil becomes blunt and can’t write properly. So you must stop writing and sharpen it.

This makes the pencil suffer a little, but then, it becomes capable of writing again. So you, too, must learn to bear certain pains, sorrows and setbacks, because they will make you a better person.

What if you make a mistake while writing?

The pencil will always allow you to use an eraser to rub out any mistakes and correct it. This means you must be open to accept your mistakes and correct them.

Friends, you just had your lunch and Snack break is still some time away. But let us learn something from a very common foodstuff.

Bananas! Believe me Bananas can teach you the meaning of life.

I have three of them here – A Rotten one, A Raw one and a Ripe one.

Rotten banana – Its life is gone. It is past. You did not utilize to the full. Now it is now too late!

Raw banana – This is the future. It is not ready yet. To do certain things you need to wait till the moment is right.Learn to be patient where you need to be. They say “Sabr ka fal meetha hota hai”. If you are patient, the results will be sweet.

And the Ripe Banana? This is the present moment. Make the best use of it. Just learn how to gobble it up without fear or guilt.

Dear Toastmasters and Guests, don’t you agree that there is a profound wisdom underlying common objects. As one of my friend penned down these few lines for me:
“Wisdom, Wisdom, everywhere,
In everything under the sun;
Wisdom, wisdom, everywhere,
You just need to seek and learn. “

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Sorry for the delay, guys. I was completely down with viral fever and bad cold. Basically, everyone has been either going down and has been recovering from viral fever i n the office. My roommate got it but I could resist the attack for more than week and fell to it last weekend. It took 5 days of antibiotics and rest with almost no work to recover. But I did push myself to go through my P7 and P8 speeches last week to make out for the losses of the slots. without wasting any more time, here I go.

For me, Toastmasters Speech 7 was a computer presentation and I won the Best Prepared Speaker award for the session. So, here I have the uploaded the same presentation here.

The speech will be more effective if we can support our main points with statistics, testimony, stories, anecdotes, examples, visual aids and facts. We can find this material on the Internet, at a library and in other places.

Use information collected from numerous sources and carefully support points with specific facts, examples and illustrations, rather than with just your own opinions.

  1. Collect information about your topic from numerous sources.
  2. Carefully support your points and opinions with specific facts, examples and illustrations gathered through research.

Toastmaster Project Speech 7

The script is as follows:

I worked on my project speech from home last night, but today I could not access the file from office – it was stored on my home computer. I captured a few good ideas for Table Topics, but I could not find that file – my files are scattered across 3 different computers. I drafted a speech for speech contest – unfortunately, my hard drive crashed and I lost that file. My friend forwarded a hilarious joke to me and I thought “WOW! I can use it next week when I play the Toastmaster of the Day” – but I could not find it in my mailbox when I needed it.

Do any of these situations sound familiar?

Have you ever wondered whether there’s a better, more efficient and effective way to manage our Toastmasters content?

Exactly 3 months back, I asked this question to myself and put forth the problem statement like this – “I want to access all my Toastmasters files from any location and any computer, so that I never lose a thought“? As soon as I posed this question, the answer was obvious – Internet. Internet is everywhere. I said “If I could put all my Toastmasters files online, then my problem is solved. Even better, if I could directly create, edit and store my files online, then I would be as free as a bird.” To find my answer, I turned to my most trusted companion – Google. Within a few minutes, I found the magic wand that I was looking for – Google Docs

Toastmasters’ Library

My first impression was that it was nothing more than an online Notepad. But I decided to give it a fair chance to prove itself, and it did not disappoint me. Gradually, I found myself accumulating material like jokes, quotes, short inspirational stories, table topics, etc. Not only was I working on my next project speech, I started drafting ideas for my next 3-4 project speeches. To my own surprise, within 2 months, I had built up a library of 50+ documents. Slowly but surely, Google Docs was growing on me.

Simplicity & Performance

Simplicity & Performance was what I was sold to. It is simple, fast, responsive and let’s you concentrate on your thoughts, rather than the bells and whistles of the tool. It gives you all the common MS-Word like features and some that even MS-Word does not provide.

Import / Export Files

You can import / export document to and from multiple formats like MS Office, Open Office and PDF.

Revision History

It has an extremely powerful revision history tool. As you can see it has recorded nearly 400 revisions of my document.

Ready-made for Toastmasters

Now here’s a look at some features, which really sealed the deal for me, and are ready-made for Toastmasters just as a tailor makes a cloth with proper measurements.

Online Collaboration

Online sharing of documents. Imagine that you have drafted your speech and want to have it reviewed by your mentor. Forget about email attachments. You can now share the document online with your mentor.

Online Publishing

You can even publish your speeches on the internet so that anybody, including your club members, can read them online. What’s more, you can directly publish your documents to your blog.

Word Count

Once you draft your speech, you can run a word count on your speech. From my experience, I found that my speed is about 100 words per min. So, if I have 7 mins for my speech, I should keep my speech around 700 words.

Readability Score

How do you tell whether your speech would be easily understood by your audience. Google docs provides you a readability score, which is based on a test used in the US to prepare academic content. It uses a scale of 0 to 100. The lower the score, the more difficult it is to understand. A text with a readability score of 65 is easily understandable by an average 8th grade student. So, as Toastmasters if we can keep the readability of our speech to around 65, we have a good chance of putting our message across to listeners successfully.

Online File Storage with Google Docs

Yes, Google Docs now allows online file storage. You can upload and store any file upto a size of 1 GB on Google Docs, and access it from anywhere, anytime. So upload all your Toastmasters related content online (even speech videos) and take a giant leap toward Toastmasters24x7 paradigm.

Toastmasters is not just about Public Speaking and Communication, it’s also about developing your Leadership skills. Constant self-improvement and effective personal organization are traits of good leaders.

As technology evolves, trick is to tame it and use it to our advantage. Google Docs is one tool that can really help you bring about improvement in your process of management of Toastmasters content, and make you a more effective Toastmaster, overall.

Just a word of caution – Online Data Security is always a matter of concern when storing personal content online. So, I advice not to store any sensitive / confidential personal or work related content online.

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