Friday, August 24, 2012

An interview with DTM Saro Velrajan (article from CSF July 2012 newsletter)


AN INTERVIEW CONDUCTED BY MY MENTEE TM PRIYADARSHINI FOR THE CHENNAI SPEAKERS FORUM JULY 2012 NEWSLETTER .... RIGHT AFTER THE COMPLETION OF MY DISTINGUISHED TOASTMASTER (DTM) JOURNEY !


  1. WHAT IS THE SECRET BEHIND YOUR EVER CHARMING SMILE? 
I don’t worry about the PAST, I always plan for the FUTURE and I enjoy the PRESENT.  That could be one of the reasons for my happiness which gets exhibited as smile. When you are happy, you smile… When you smile, you are indirectly conditioning your brain to feel happy. I have been practicing this since my college days and this technique does work!
  1. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A MEMBER OF TOASTMASTERS?
Since 2006
  1. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO JOIN TOASTMASTERS?
I finished my MBA in 2006. I realized that I can proudly say that I’m an MBA graduate, only when I can talk like a Chief Executive Officer (CEO). That was my inspiration to join toastmasters.
  1. WHAT WAS YOUR INITIAL GOAL IN TOASTMASTERS?
I had the difficulty of expressing my thoughts in English. Though I studied in a English medium school, I never conversed with my friends in English. Even during college days, I never paid attention to develop my communication skills in English. So, I had the problem of always thinking in Tamil, translating that to English and expressing my thoughts. My goal was to get over that problem.
  1. HOW DID YOU BECOME A DIVISION GOVERNOR? UR MEMORABLE MOMENTS IN MYSORE AT THE TIME OF ELECTIONS
I had just graduated as the President of CTM and not knowing what to do next. My mentor DTM Lalitha pulled me into mentoring Amazon Toastmasters club. That was the beginning of my leadership role outside the club. In Apr 2011, I was thrown into the ring for Division G Governor election – I hardly knew what the role demanded. I was a new face in the District stage. Thanks to the hard campaigning done by mentor DTM Lalitha and some of our Division G friends, I became the Division Governor.

The most memorable moment for me in Mysore was when I stood up from the floor and nobody proposed my name as the candidate for 20 seconds. If nobody had proposed my name in the next 10 seconds, I cannot nominate myself from the floor for elections. Thankfully, DTM Lalitha & TM Rajeev Nambiar proposed my name and I became eligible to contest in the election for Division Governor J I’ll never forget it.
  1. WHAT WERE THE CHALLENGES YOU FACED WHEN YOU WERE THE GOVERNOR OF DIVISION G AND HOW DID YOU HANDLE TO OVERCOME?
The key challenge that I faced during the initial days of my governorship was… getting people to work for our division activities. Being a new person in the role, I had great difficulty in finding people to whom I can delegate. I realized that “leading by example” is the best way to inspire people to come and help you.  The things that Sandhiya & I did for the first OTP in July 2011 is still fresh in my memory…  I remember serving snacks, moving chairs from one hall to another, setting up projector/screen. On seeing that, many toastmasters voluntarily came and started helping. At the end of the OTP, I genuinely thanked all the fellow toastmasters who helped in whatever little way possible … in Facebook (using the “SPOT” recognition technique… presented in my Inverted Pyramid workshop). That did the magic J
  1. YOUR MEMORABLE MOMENTS BEING A DIVISION GOVERNOR.
Honestly speaking… all the time that I spent with fellow toastmasters are very memorable. I had the unique opportunity to work with a large number of toastmasters from a diverse set of clubs. 

Most memorable moments for me are
·         Youth Leadership Program that we conducted in Anjuman
·         Eloquence 2011 & Rhetoric 2012
·         OTP 2011 & 2012
·         All the demo meetings that we did in various places
  1. NOW THAT YOU HAVE ACHIEVED DISTINGUISHED TOASTMASTER DTM STATUS ,HOW DO YOU FEEL?
Happy! J  
  1. WHAT WAS YOUR BEST MOMENTS IN TOASTMASTERS?
My best moments are when I see my mentees participate in a contest or when they reach an educational milestone. The amount of happiness that you get is unmatchable.
  1. WHAT IS YOUR NEXT ROLE AND GOAL IN TOASTMASTERS?
I haven’t spent much time thinking about my next role in toastmasters.
My goal is to continue to help our members and clubs - by serving as a mentor/coach.

  1. SAY FEW WORDS ABOUT YOUR MENTOR/S AND MENTEE/S. DO YOU LIKE TO BE A MENTOR OR A MENTEE?
Today, I think I have 50+ mentees. On an average I review two speech scripts a day J Though I’m a mentor… I get to learn continuously from my mentees. The more projects they do… the more I learn from them. I like to be a mentor of my mentees… they are simply the best! They help me to continuously improve myself.
  1. A MESSAGE TO ALL TOASTMASTERS AND NEW TOASTMASTERS
You’ll get the fullest benefit of toastmasters program only when you follow 3Rs.

  • Regular – Regularly attend meetings & regularly do projects
  • Research – Read books, read newspapers, attend educational programs, attend contests and continuously learn new things by research
  • Rehearse – Rehearse multiple times before you do any performance in toastmasters

  1. WHAT DO YOU LIKE THE MOST ABOUT UR CLUB, CHENNAI SPEAKERS FORUM?
CSF is the 4th toastmasters club that I’m part of. Here is the top 3 things that I like about my club:

·         A number of young toastmasters who are very creative
·         Club officers are very committed to continuously innovate and improve
·         Weekly class room sessions  (one of its kind!)

Attending CSF meetings is like drinking Boost. It gives you instant energy!
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