Archive for the ‘ToastMaster’ Category

I participated in the Area L1 Humorous Speech  contest on the peak of my busy month – October in 2010. I went with almost no preparation. September, October and November have been real busy months for me. There were lot of things at stake and still they are. Anyways, I am traveling in train back to Bangalore as you read this post. So, this post was pre-written than its usual time it was posted.

I did not win the contest but it was a pleasant experience. First of all, presenting my 50-member club felt so good. Secondly, competing with some toastmasters who were TMs for 5-7 years was a great experience. The learning I drew from the contest was immensely unique. Honestly speaking, I am bad at humorous category. So, this speech was really a contest for me: to challenge myself and attempt a humorous speech. Unfortunately, I am not able to get hold of the video recording but as soon as I get it, I will update this post. I am going to come stronger next time in the contest and hopefully be a better speaker than I am today.

Here is the script of the speech:

From ashrams to modern day schools and colleges, from obedient Rama to today’s Hrithik Roshan, from Kings to Khans, from Luv,Kush to Darsheel Safary, we, kids, have developed with India. But here is the catch 22: do we go to school only to study and be good?

Contest Chair, Esteemed Judges, Fellow Toastmasters and Guests, I, too went to school and that’s when I realized that: I know you might be thinking that I found my passion for computers and decided to become an IT professional but wait wait wait, that’s when I realized that I am a boy in true sense. You might think how? Well, in today’s world, genders are not decided by birth but by behaviors later. So, I realized I am a boy in true sense when I had my first crush on my lady teacher in Standard 5th.

From thereon, there was no stop. Shaher ki Ladki-Raveena Tandon to California Gurlz, Kate Perry disturbed my dreams until I landed up in Bangalore for my engineering. Dreams became true and I had my Kareena Kapoor. We all know “nothing come free in this world” but I never knew Girl-Friends come at a price just like a designer collection clothing line-up. Every weekend, instead of finishing my assignments, I had to wait outside to pick my girl up and in no time I had to run my hired bike, of course at the mercy of jealous yet friends, to go to places like Forum, Brigade Road, Dinners at Dominos: Poor chap going more and more poor every weekend. But here is the dilemma: Girl-Friends are like the menus of Leela Palace. No matter what you order to eat, you always tend to look at what others are eating. So, the moment I am in the Brigade Road, I see Katrina Kaif. All the three monkeys of Gandhiji desperately tried to empower me; don’t watch, don’t listen and don’t talk. Don’t watch because she was hotter and sexier than my girl, don’t listen because every time I opened my ears, she whispered:

Don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like me? Don’t you???

And Don’t talk because as a human tendency to always have better things in life, I would break up. That’s when I realized Dating is like a Pandora box. But I am a guy, after all. The ears opened and I heard her say:

I know you like me. i know you do

Then the second monkey freed himself and my eyes became binocular trying to get her as close to me as possible. And finally, the third monkey. I said to my girl: hey you are too costly, if I have to afford sonata, then why not give it a try for Mercedes. Aakhir yeh aaram ka maamla hai. After all, it is a matter of comfort. At that moment I realized from where Christopher Nolan stole the idea of “Inception” and made millions of dollars. The very next weekend I am back at my best: Reebok glasses on, sporting Denim Jeans and a cool T-Shirt driving the Honda City trying to find my Mercedes on the roads of Brigade Road.

As time passed, reality chained the fun. I got enchained in marriage. Honeymoon period is awesome when it is a love marriage. I could always find her saying:

I know I’m on your mind, I know we’ll have a good time;

I’m your friend, I aint lying, Look at me, you aint blind

But do honeymoon lasts forever? Nopes. I am at Brigade Road again and the scene repeated itself. I saw a hot girl in the Westside showroom and she was my ex but this time I had my wife with me. The girl whispered into my ears:

See, I know she loves you, I understand

I’d probably be just as crazy about you If you were my own man

Poor Deepak can’t help this time. No matter how hard 2 monkeys act, the third monkey completely empowered me making me speechless and dump.

My world suddenly became dark with no slightest of hope. I closed my eyes to evade the nightmare but it got opened only to realize that my nightmare was just a dream. Ammmo!!! What a relief!!! I am still a bachelor. Next day morning, it was a Sunday and I put on my Reebok glasses, sport denim jeans and a cool T-Shirt and I am back on the streets of Brigade Road. And the scene repeats itself with a little change (pulls up a chair and sits on it). I am the only judge of the fashion contest where every other girl approaches me on the fashion ramp and says to me but loudly:

Don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like me? Don’t you????

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I gave my Project 10 Speech 2 months back. This draft was lying there for a long time now. I have been pre-occupied with my personal and professional commitments that writing posts on the blog almost took a second place and I could not return to it at all. But thats the past. I am back and I hope the posts are going to be regular hereon and so does my Toastmasters journey.

Inspire Your Audience
An inspirational speech motivates an audience to improve personally, emotionally, professionally, or spiritually and relies heavily on emotional appeal. It brings the audience together in a mood of fellowship and shared desire, builds the audience’s enthusiasm, then proposes a change or plan and appeals to the audience to adopt this change or plan.

The objectives of the Speech are:

  • To inspire the audience by appealing to noble motives and challenging the audience to achieve a higher level of beliefs or achievement.
  • Appeal to the audience’s needs and emotions, using stories, anecdotes and quotes to add drama.
  • Avoid using notes.

This is the first speech which I recorded and I hope to do so in my subsequent speeches also. So, after the video do find the detailed transcript of the video below it. And please feel free to give your comments. Your comments are very important for me as they will help me improve and grow.

I am walking from this side of the room to the other side. I need to get to the other side. The other side of the room is my destination.(pause) It takes me few minutes to walk. But what if I walk faster and in fact, run. I am going to reach faster to the other side. Do I, on seeing the landmark, try to create my own benchmark. Or do I slog around. And crawl like a snails’ pace. What would I do? And what would you do?

Good Afternoon!!! Dear Toastmasters and Guests, there are some people who have chosen to conquer all fears and obstacles right in front of them and run faster than the one who has set the record earlier similar to what we used to do in our school, by competing to come first in the class. These are great people– Great people who create history, great people who had succeeded because they choose to keep fighting till they beat their own expectations.

One such man is Sachin Tendulkar. He set his own standards and made it happen in reality. When he was young, Tendulkar would practice for hours in the net. If he became exhausted, his coach, Archekar would place a one-rupee coin on the top of the stumps and the bowler who dismissed Tendulkar would get the coin. If tendulkar passed the whole session, Archekar will give him the coin. Tendulkar now considers the 13 coins he won then as some of his prized possessions. On 11 December, 1988, aged just 15 years, Tendulkar became the youngest cricketer to score a century in the first class cricket.

He challenged and exerted himself. He did finally become the one of the greatest ever cricketer in the history of the game.(pause) He made the first double century of the one-day international, played the maximum number of ODIs and tests for India, made highest number of centuries in both Tests and ODIs. He fought for what he believed in: To be the little master blaster. To be the king of all records. He will always be remembered, and recorded, in the annals of history, as the epitome of courage (pause), perseverance and devotion (pause).

Forget the greats, let us take a simple example. There was a young man (pause) His name?(pause) Deepak. He had just registered himself as a Toastmaster with the Orators Club. It took him more than a month to gather courage to deliver his P1. The evaluators gave lot of areas of improvement. He was disappointed. He was (pause) frustrated.

That night, he went home, feeling very sad. He pondered. He wondered. And he remembered the story of his icon, the paragon of cricket-Sachin Tendulkar. And he, Deepak, should try to learn from Sachin. He should learn from Sachin’s devotion and commitment. He too must not let obstacles or whatever problems or adversities stand in his way. He must, overcome, even the most difficult circumstances by giving as much speeches as possible. (pause pause) He was determined, not to let his nervousness become his nemesis. Not to let it become his Achilles Heel. He should forge ahead swiftly. (pause) Strongly. (pause pause) Yes, that’s what he would.do. He would try to ask for as much advise as possible from senior toastmasters. He is going to do table-topics wherever and whenever possible, in every meeting, in every club, grabbing every opportunity. He must deliver speeches as frequently as possible. He must conquer this fundamental weakness as though this is the last thing he’s going to do.(pause) He must have (pause) the spirit and enthusiasm of the great (pause) Sachin Tendulkar. He should adopt the charismatic qualities of his club president and beat the best club record of CC.

He practiced, and practiced and practiced. And he practiced until finally, one fine day, he is all set to deliver his P10 speech today. He knows that he is not the best, but he knows too that because he tried, he has improved and better the record. And that was what he sought: to improve, to overcome his own expectations and be a better communicator.

Dear Toastmasters and Guests, when we meet an opportunity, when we experience something new, there are two paths we can take. First we can say, “this is too much” and then retract, revert and retreat, wasting something more valuable than money – TIME. Or we can forge on with courage and tenacity by setting our own expectations and winnig over them. For those who forged on, they are men of foresight and determination. Men like Sachin Tendulkar. And there are toastmasters, like us, like you, like me. For if I’ve chosen to give up, to give up on myself, to give in to the pressure of my expectations and determination, then I would be wasting my time in toastmasters.

Therefore, let me remind you(pause), and myself, and everyone around, that for a seed to sprout and grow, it must exert tremendous effort to break out of its hard outer cover. And just like the seed, in order for us to sprout and grow, we must exert ourselves, forge ahead and break out of the hard tough obstacles that we faced to create histories.

I dream that with sincerity, conviction and righteousness, toastmasters make a difference.

I dream that with selfless desire to serve, toastmasters contribute to the development of our community, and ask nothing in return just like devoted and sincere Toastmaster, Reena Gujaral.

I dream that all of us here in this room will become virtuous leaders of tomorrow, the stars of future with zeal, enthusiasm and passion.

Join me and share this dream to create histories.

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My friend, Marquis Parker, featured me on his blog. It was regarding the Elevator Pitch post that I posted sometime back. I am not a business professional yet but he is and it means a lot to me when people like him give credits for what you write on. Read the below article for some amazing views how an elevator pitch can help you in your professional career. Master the tricks and I am sure you will leverage on it whenever required in your professional and personal life.

Thanks a  lot, Marquis for referring me yet again on your website. Its an honor for me 🙂

Read the full article here.

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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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The sixth Toastmasters speech project guides you to harness the power of your own voice.

The aims for this speech project are to use your voice to complement your message by enhancing your:

  • pace,
  • pitch,
  • power, and
  • pauses.

Your voice is the best tool in your delivery toolbox. You must learn to use it effectively to enhance your presentation.

My Speech was titled “Business Etiquettes” and though it is drawn from here, it has been modified a lot to suit my taste.

Last week, I went to the Forum Mall. On my way back, I stopped-by at the Men’s Room. It was late in the evening and the place was quite deserted.

As soon as I took the stance (act: sitting down), the gentleman in the next stall called, “Hey how u doin’?”. I was like “awwww”. In my entire life, I had never struck a conversation with anybody, while doing such an important business. I have no idea what got into me that I responded back, “I’m fine”. He was encouraged by my response and said, “So, what’s going on?” I was like – What do people do inside a loo (act: murmur). I said “Not much. Business as usual”. Then he said, “Hey, can I come over to your side, right now?”. Now I “panicked”. I decided to pack up and take the nearest exit. I said, “Hey Man I’m getting really late … maybe some other time …”. He said (act: talking on the phone) “Listen, I’ll call you back later. There’s an idiot in the other stall, who keeps answering back all my questions.”

This takes me back to another interesting incident a few months back. During a casual online conversation with a female friend, we got into an argument. Her point was “Men lack rest room etiquettes”. My first reaction was, “How do you know? Do you peep inside men’s room to see all the action?” She explained, “Not really, but whenever I’m passing by a Men’s Room, I find men coming out doing all sorts of things – buckling up, zipping up or even adjusting their underwears. It’s so Gross.” The first thing that came into my mind was Sachin Tendulkar in the cricket pitch but deep within me, I knew that it was true to some extent. Honestly, I was embarrassed. But I wasn’t quite convinced that it was an etiquette thing. I had a feeling that there was something else to it. I decided to do some research. Over the next few days, I talked to several male and female friends, relatives and colleagues. I even did some research online. The results were quite “astonishing”. Let me explain how.

Dear Taostmasters and Guests, the Ladies Room is somewhat of a “Cocktail Party”. Women go there in pairs and sometimes groups, they chat, they mingle, they gossip, they giggle. They even primp themselves. Some Ladies Rooms, even have waiting lounges, with nice sofas, music and magazines. Now, you might think did I ever peep inside Ladies rooms? Well, Tom Cruise has to enter when he was wooing his girl in “TOP GUN” and I am not even Tom Cruise. So, I had to try harder. You can try your imaginations go wild but let us come to Men’s room, things are totally different. I’m not talking about the obvious differences but the whole social thing. When it comes to the Men’s Room, it is all about one thing – BUSINESS – you go in, do your business and get out ASAP. There is absolutely no “socialization”. Just like there are “Rules & Etiquettes” in any business setup, Men’s Room also has its own set of “Rules & Etiquettes”.

First of all, the “General Rules”:

  • Do not invite your buddy to go with you. It sends the wrong vibes around you.
  • Do not make eye contact.
  • Do not initiate any conversations once in the Men’s Room.

Next comes, what we call the “Urinal Etiquettes”: As you enter the facility, you must quickly familiarize yourself with the layout and make a decision as to which urinal you will use. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • If there is a row of urinals, you must take the one farthest away from the door of the rest room.
  • If this urinal is taken, you must take the one furthest away from it.
  • When encountering an empty group of three urinals, never take the middle urinal. This will render the rest of the urinals unusable and is the height of rudeness.
  • Never ever take the urinal in between two other men. *Exception: Crowded sporting events or a Movie Theatres.
  • Only enter a stall if you need to do big business. Entering a stall simply to urinate will cause others to wonder what you are afraid of. It is considered “unmanly”.

Going back to the original question, do you still think that men lack rest room etiquettes.The answer is a firm “NO”. It’s not about etiquettes, it’s about “Business”. From the early childhood, we men have been trained to follow these etiquettes and our tendency is to do our business and exit the facility ASAP. Many a times, in this hurry to exit the facility, we fail to fully cover up.

This reminds of a very famous book “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” by John Gray. In this book, the author says that men and women are like two different species from two different planets. They really need to take time to understand each other better. Dear Toastmasters and Guests, that’s the ‘mantra’ to happy relationships.

Just for FUN, you can try this questionnaire to understand your urinal behavior and whether sciety could help you. Do let me know how you fared in case you do take the test: URINAL ETIQUETTE TEST.

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Today I delivered my P5 Speech. The original source of the speech is here. I did modify the speech at lot of places to suit my taste. The speech was very well appreciated and I won the “Best Prepared Speaker” for the session.

Is your body dead when you speak, or does your constant motion give your audience headaches?

Does your face signal fear or does it signal excitement for your topic?

Do your hands vibrate, or do they punctuate your words?

The fifth Toastmasters speech project encourages you to make every body movement enhance your speech rather than detract from it.

The project aims at complementing our message with our body during delivery. Specifically, we need to be aware of our:

  • posture,
  • body movement,
  • facial expressions, and
  • eye contact.

If we aren’t aware of our body language, we are missing an incredible opportunity to improve our effectiveness as a speaker. So here goes my speech titled “The Journey“:

One of my friends recently appeared for a driving test in California. After he cleared the test, the officer on duty congratulated him and remarked that he was known for disqualifying Indians in the test. My friend was bewildered and wanted to know the reasons for the same. The officer assured him that he finds most of the Indians concentrating too much on the road. At times, they’re not exactly aware of the fact they can look at places beyond the straight line of traffic. He often finds them not enjoying the journey, but rather going along the traffic.

I, personally, feel that he was right, at least to some extent.

We keep flowing along the traffic, barely realizing where we need to go. I’d go further to say: at times, we’re not even willing to stop for refueling, even when we’re running out of fuel. We fail to realize that our car is not exactly in the best shape and perhaps it seriously requires servicing to cope up with the demands of traffic. Now you may think that I am exaggerating a bit, but actually I’m not.

Dear Toastmasters and Guests, it’s the journey of life I’m talking about. Life’s a journey, the mundane tasks that we keep on doing daily are the road, you’re the car and you’re the driver as well. . What I personally feel is that we’re concentrating so much on the road that we’ve forgotten to enjoy the journey or even to try to know where the road is taking us.

Now think of it again:
Are we not just going along the traffic? Most of us picked science, because this is what the toppers opt for. Then picked engineering because this is what Science students go for. Then, opted for Software jobs because this is where the money is. And yeah, many, many of us wrote GRE or CAT because this is what the best of the engineering students do. Just go back and think, at which point you chose your lane yourself? Oh right, some of us actually did, but most of us, just chose to follow them. Flowing along the traffic has become a second nature to us.

Okay, now you followed the herd and are in a lane, which you try to call as your own. Not a problem, as long as you know how to enjoy the journey. Frankly speaking, I don’t, but I’m trying hard for it. But even for those who do feel that they’re enjoying the life to the max, I sometimes feel that the enjoyment has become too mechanical, having a drink or two with people, having a lunch at a mall, watching a movie at a multiplex are typical ideas of enjoying life for most of us. But what we miss in this fast pace of life are the small joys of life. The small joys, when you see a smile on someone’s face and know that a little appreciation from your side is the reason for this. The small joys, which come along when you do something meaningful without expecting anything in return. And if you try for it, the opportunities are plentiful. Try doing something for your alma-mater for instance. You may not yet be in a position to increase the wage of your subordinate substantially, but sometimes just calling them up and saying “Good job, guys” is all you need to do. A pat on the back can do wonders to them and the joy in their voice may be the joy that you may be looking for yourself. In the words of our Munnabhai, Jaadu ki Jhappi dene ka maangta, Maamu!!!

At times, I find myself running out of fuel. But it’s these small joys that provide me the fuel to keep going. Enjoying the journey can be real hard if you don’t take regular time off to refuel yourself.
And well, even if you choose the right lane and get the fuel regularly, our cars do wear out with time. May be you’re no longer happy about the way the car’s doing. It may be time that it needs some servicing or may be a complete overhauling. And what do I mean by that in real life? Simply that, may be your current skills or life-style are not sufficient for you to move forward or to keep you happy. Try to keep learning. Join a music class, start a quiz club, think of learning a foreign language, write a blog or simply participate enthusiastically in the orators sessions with outmost proactiveness. Keep doing something that helps you polish your mind and makes sure that you’re simply vegetating away. Well, I need not tell this to anybody here; everybody sitting here surely realizes the value of maintenance and that is the reason we all are sitting here. But remember, even for the best of the cars, timely and regular service is mandatory.

Dear Toastmasters and Guests, if you’re the car, you’re the driver as well. The journey can be meaningful only if it’s you who’re driving your car to the right path, get the fuel regularly and get it serviced at regular intervals. Wish you all a very Happy, successful and meaningful journey!!!

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Today I delivered my P4 Speech. The original source of the speech is here. I did modify the speech at lot of places to suit my taste. Even though I did not clear the speech in the first attempt due to lack of little bit of preparation and a strong conclusion,  the speech made me famous across the Orators Bangalore Club and I received overwhelming response from a lot of people.

The fourth Toastmasters speech project guides you to use simple, but descriptive language in your speeches.

The aims for this speech project focus on your selection of words and phrases:

  • Choose words and grammar which communicate clearly.
  • Choose words and grammar which appeal to the senses.
  • Eliminate jargon.

A general approach could be to choose any of the following approach:

1. Choose Descriptive or Story-based Topics

Any topic can work, but to flex your speechwriting muscles, choose a topic which lends itself to vivid descriptions. Speeches based around stories or experiences will challenge you to select words and phrases to transport your audience from their chairs to the setting where your speech takes place.

2. Use Sensory Language

Make your audience see what you see, feel what you feel, taste what you taste, smell what you smell, and hear what you hear. In short, draw upon all five senses to create a completely immersive description. Transport your audience to a movie theatre by describing:

  • Sight: the dizzying special effects of the martial arts scene
  • Smell: the wafting aroma of buttered popcorn
  • Sound: the booming surround-sound effects which made you jump from your seat
  • Taste: the sweet licorice Twizzlers which melt in your mouth
  • Touch: the claustrophobic squeeze of your knees pressed into the seatback in front of you

3. Use Repetition Wisely

Repetition of phrases throughout a paragraph, and repetition of sentences throughout your speech make your speech memorable. Wrap your speech around a signature phrase.

4. Avoid Topics About Words or Language

Toastmasters typically choose the topics which are about words or some other aspect of language, like poetry or figures of speech.

However, I recommend against choosing this type of topic. Rather than talking about words, let the focus be on your use of words, phrases, and grammar. Similarly, for project 5 (your body speaks), you should choose a topic that allows you to use your body, not a topic that is about body language. Further, in project 8 (get comfortable with visual aids), you will learn more by using visual aids to enhance your message rather than talking about projectors or flip charts.

Well, here then I go with my P4 Speech:

It was a nightmarish nightmare. Desiring to see Anushka Sharma in my dreams and dreadingly getting ToonToon instead. It was like finding a desert all of a sudden amidst western ghat’s evergreen rain forests. Waking up one day to find out that Bangalore’s darshini outlets won’t serve Masala dosas anymore.

I was dejected, disgusted, and devastated. I had fallen short and failed, no matter how fervently I tried. The news gave me bigger shock than the one Saurav Tiwary and Robin Utthappa would’ve got when they got to know that they were not selected for the T20 World Cup despite amazing performance at the IPL3! No matter how hard I tried to hide the fact, it kept popping up in my mind… just like Amitabh Bachchan’s ads pop-up in every other TV channel no matter how hard and quick you press buttons of your remote control.

Dear Toastmasters and Guests, the fact is… I am… a 3-speech toastmaster. I couldn’t come up with one more speech! I just couldn’t write a speech no matter how hard I tried! It looked like I could do anything else… I could look as macho as Hrithik Roshan; I could make more news than Rahul Mahajan; I could even grow taller and muscular than The Great Khali, but… I couldn’t come up with one more speech! I was, I am, and I will be a 3-speech toastmaster! I could even bear a 21-day fast, but not this tormenting truth!

It was tough to take terms with the reality! All the fun and frolic in my life faded away. The otherwise-evergreen factors in my life – enjoyment, excitement, entertainment – their existence evaporated. Wherever I went, whatever I did… this fact that I’m a 3-speech toastmaster hit me on my face all the time, like Himesh Reshammiya hits us with his voice. I started feeling more miserable than ‘Sanjay Saawariya Bhansali’! I no longer could enjoy pan-fried noodles at mainland china – the tempting tasty thing I love more than my life.

Even coffee didn’t give any kick! My days were as miserable as days in office when the vending machine was out-of-order! Roar of a tiger I heard at National Geographic channel didn’t interest me either, it only indicated that even an animal could get more vocal than me. In the menu cards of restaurants I kept searching for words to use in my speech. Even a 3D movie at gloriously grand PVR gold class didn’t bring down my grimace.

Well, you might want to know what I did to overcome this problem. Ask me what not I did! At times I took a crystal clean white sheet, wrote the title of my speech on top… underlined it, made a flowery box around it, overwrote it using another color pen… and I wrote the lyrics of ‘dard-e-disco’ underneath!

Some times I would come up with a great opening, write it enthusiastically… but then my mind would go as blank as Rani Mukerji’s world in the movie Black. It felt like Sehwag, hitting fours and sixes in the first over, and then getting out cheaply at gully in the second!

Someone once told me ‘you can get a speech topic everywhere, even in a casual conversation with your friends’. So, I started watching for words when my friends spoke to me. Soon my friends started avoiding me; they said ” Deepak, Man…you are worse than an irritating LIC agent!

I searched for ideas in every nook and corner of my world. I started looking for one-liners and anecdotes in the hoardings instead of enjoying a Priyanka Chopra or a Kareena Kapoor picture! I suspected my own sanity when I realized that I was looking for vocabulary even in Barbara Mori interview in TV! Newspapers, magazines, movies, and even horrible TV reality shows… I desperately searched everywhere for inspiration… in vain!

Dear Toastmasters and Guests, I may have to live rest of my life with this fact that I’m a 3-speech toastmaster, just like Salman Khan and Vivek Oberoi live with an Aishwarya Rai… sorry, Bachchan dump. They say ‘failure is the stepping stone for success’. But for me, this failure is like an elevator stuck midway while I’m in it. I can only take heart to say that this horrendous truth is a humbling experience. But this humbling experience gave me the courage to speak out my feelings as a speech. So, you don’t hesitate to speak and don’t worry about the topic and content. At the end of the day, your thoughts are going to be your idea and content of your speech and your feelings are going to make the speech. Open your heart and march. On the face of this earth, I will have to wait for few more minutes to know whether I jumped the fourth hurdle to the race to become a competent toastmaster.

PS: This Speech was very well appreciated at the IBC building, resulting in 15 IM requests congratulating me within half an hour of completion of the session. On my second attempt, I was awarded the “Best Speaker” Award for the session.

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