Archive for the ‘ToastMaster’ Category

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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Today I delivered my Project 3 Speech of Toastmaster and it was well appreciated. Again the main source of the speech is here. At the same time, I feel the time is coming that I have to begin writing my speeches of my own soon. Till then, let me manage as there are too many things in my kitty now.

The Objectives of the Project 3 Speech were:

The third Toastmasters speech project stresses the importance of clearly identifying your target objective, and then maintaining precise focus to achieve it. The basic aims for this speech project revolve around being focused and precise:

  • Determine your general purpose.
  • Focus in on your specific purpose.
  • Ensure that the entire speech maintains focus on your objective.

The Easy Part: Get to the Point

The first task is to get to the point. Before we generate an outline or our first draft, we need to make sure to know our purpose precisely. Make sure we can state it in a single simple sentence.

The Harder Part: Stay Focused On the Point

The much harder part — and the part that many speakers struggle badly with — is staying focused on the point.

No speaker intends to stray from their purpose; rather, it happens quite accidentally. Somewhere between getting to the point and writing the first draft, a collection of off topic elements are inserted into the speech.

  • It might be an off-topic opening anecdote which is “too good not to share”.
  • It might be some jaw-dropping statistics that are only remotely related to the topic.
  • It might be the latest whiz-bang effect in PowerPoint that is glitzy, but content-empty.

Find these extraneous elements, and eliminate them while editing our speech. Every element of our speech must reinforce our purpose. Each time we edit our speech, our goal should be to sharpen the focus.

Did you know that if you’re being forced to withdraw money from ATM at gunpoint, you can inform the police by entering your pin in reverse?
Or that Coca-cola logo is a secret message directed against a particular religion and the blasphemous message is clear if you hold the logo in front of a mirror?
And of-course, you know that Bill Gates is sharing his fortune and you can be a beneficiary if you choose to forward a certain mail?

All of these seemingly unrelated examples are: appealing, interesting and informative; But the biggest connection is: Source of all of these are chain-emails and at the same time each of them is incorrect.

Ms. Toastmaster, fellow toastmasters and Dear Guests,
My speech today is to urge you to break-the-chain:: to stop being part of chain-emails.
Well, not all chain-mails are bad. My grudge is against the mails that seek to lure or threaten the recipient into forcefully continuing the chain: the ones, which are meant to spread hatred, superstitions, misinformation or simply to continue the chain. Yes, I’ve even seen a chain saying: let’s see how far it can get; just add your name to the list and forward it to your friends. Can it get any dumber than this??

At this juncture, many of you may be feeling what harm an innocuous forwarded mail can do even if it’s factually incorrect? This is what many of my friends argue. But believe me it’s more dangerous than it looks.

To start with, it can make you look like an idiot. Sample this: I got an email from one of my juniors asking me to forward it to 10 guys and then press F6 five times. The mail claimed that after this, the name of my Secret admirer will appear on the screen. Such garbage coming from a software engineer!! I stopped reading his mails after that.

Many of us, who normally do not forward unsolicited mails, often give in to the emotional appeals and consider our job to the society done after forwarding such mails. I believe that most of us must have at some time received a mail regarding Red-Cross donating a cent for a cancer-struck child or for some 9/11 victim. What we don’t realize is the fact that we’re in fact causing more harm to the reputation and work of such organizations by forwarding unverified information about them. And then, they need to spend hundreds of man-hours for refuting the contents of the mail.

Coming to more serious effects:
Remember: often the original context of the mail is often lost in a chain and if some legal issue crops up and the mail is traced back to you, then you can be considered the author of that mail. Are you prepared to take that risk? Let us take a fictional scenario of Mr X, working for Microsoft, India, who gets a hoax-mail regarding a new virus attacking Windows XP. Mr. X forwards it to some of his friends thinking what’s wrong with being cautious. His friends forward it claiming “This comes from one of friends, who is working for Microsoft.” It won’t take more than two-three steps of the chain for that to become “This comes from officially from Microsoft” Very soon, MS is contacted for verification and when they trace the mail to their own employee, do you think it’s going to be easy for Mr X. I’ve read about employees losing their jobs on similar grounds.
Things can get worse for people who fall for such imaginary ideas. Think what can happen if you try the ATM trick and the tech-savvy robber gets to know that you were actually trying to inform the police.

Now that I believe I have managed to convince you against the dangers that this menace poses, here are some ideas to counter it.
The minimum we can do is not to be the source of any such message. A 2-minute search can reveal its falsehood. There’re sites like Break-the-chain and Hoax-slayer dedicated to the cause and they’ll give you scientific reasons why the particular message is hoax. But don’t stop at just ignoring the mail. If you’re able to establish the fakeness of the mail, do attack the source. Reply to the sender, mention the links and request him to write a damage control mail to recipients of this mail as well as the person from whom he got the mail. I know this may create a kind of reverse-chain, but this surely is worth it.
Further if you really like to forward something, ask yourself if you’re ready to be identified as the original source of message. Such simple steps and you’ve done your bit against this menace.

Dear Toastmasters, the e-mail is one of the best things to have happened to mankind in the field of communication. Let’s be responsible users and not abuse this great communication tool. We just need to use some common sense and follow some simple steps to Break-the-chain every time we encounter one!!!

PS: I was awarded the “Best Speaker” of the session for this speech.

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

The objectives of the Project 2 Speech was:

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

There are four aims for this speech:

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

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

Transitions are the Key

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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