Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rhetoric 2012 - Division Governor Address

April 2012

District Governor DTM Saleem, LGET DTM Nina John, LGM DTM Nirmala Lilly, Brand Ambassador Bosco Abraham,
Division L Governor Pawas,

My dear Area governors, Club officers, Members and Guests

Welcome to Rhetoric 2012.

I would like to recognize the presence of my team members.
- Area Governors
- Club officers
- Mentors
- Past officers at the Division, Area & Club level
- Leaders without title (YLP, demo meetings, promotion of toastmasters, launching membership drives, helping clubs)

I take this opportunity to thank all of you for contributing to the success of Division G. Special thanks to my mentor DTM Lalitha Giridhar. I'm what I'm today, because of her.

"Small things make perfection, but perfection isn't a small thing".

  • Today, you are going to witness the performance of some of the BEST speakers in Tamilnadu who paid attention to those small details - that made them the STARS of Division G. 
  • Today, you are going to witness the leaders in action, the leaders who skillfully crafted Rhetoric 2012
(Also read: High Performance Leadership - Project Ideas / Requirements)

A leader isn't the one who delegates tasks to everyone and get the tasks done with a WHIP in hand. A leader is someone who leads from the front and supports from the back. The Chief Pilot of Rhetoric 2012 TM Dhanaraj is a true example of this. TM Dhanaraj and his team of volunteers did an outstanding job to make every aspect of TODAY's conference special.

Rhetoric 2012 is special for many reasons:

  • YOU! Got up so early on a Sunday morning, and came here
  • For the first time ever, the top 3 district officials are attending the conference together in Division G
  • This is THE last conference of the combined Division G which includes all the clubs in Tamilnadu
  • Last but not the least, Rhetoric 2012 celebrates the success of Division G

Division G is the first division to become President Distinguished in District 82. Division G is the first division to achieve all its district goals.

Being #1 is special... Being #1 in the #1 district is even more special.

Toastmasters, Division G is a huge castle, built with stones, marbles and diamonds taken from various parts of Tamilnadu. Division G is standing TALL and STRONG because of YOU. Every small success of yours is translating into a HUGE victory for Division G. Thanks for making Division G #1.

This is THE last conference of the combined Division G. My term as a Division Governor will be over in 2 months. But remember...

Men may come and men may go ! But toastmasters movement in Tamilnadu will continue to flourish forever.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How do you pick the right speech topic?

"I have so many topics at hand and so much content to talk about. How do I pick the right speech topic?"

This is the question that will come to your mind if you read the article "How to select a speech topic and write a speech script?".

Or, you may be invited to preside over a meeting or function... you may be the chief guest for an event. What are you going to talk about?

This article will provide you some guidance to select the right speech topic for your next speech in toastmasters (for that matter, any speech that you make!).

At a high level, you have to look into 3 key factors when selecting your speech topic.

  1. Your Audience
  2. The Occasion
  3. Your Abilities
Let us look at each of these factors.
  1. Your Audience: Any speech that you make is FOR THE AUDIENCE. Normally, you deliver a speech - to inform, to entertain, to persuade, or to inspire the audience. So, you have to always select a topic and prepare a speech with your audience in mind. This will help you to CONNECT with the audience better.  If you are going to deliver a speech at a old age home, you cannot be talking about "how to save money for your retirement". Similarly, if you are going to deliver a speech at a college you cannot be talking about "10 ways of enjoying your retirement". Some of the criteria that you should consider are - what is the average age of the audience, what are their interests, what do they already know, what topic would be interesting for the audience, what is the cultural background etc.,
  2. The Occasion: What is the occasion? Selecting a speech topic that suits the occasion is very important. For example, you cannot deliver a humorous speech at a funeral. You cannot deliver a serious speech at a wedding. Your speech topic has to match with the mood of the audience. In a toastmasters meeting, you are recommended not to use topics that are controversial such as Sex, Religion or Politics :) You can still pick topics such as "Corruption in India", without making ugly remarks about any political party or without making any references to any political leaders.              
  3. Your abilities: Do I have the conviction to deliver this speech? Do I have the capabilities to deliver this speech? These are the questions that you should ask when narrowing down your speech topic. For example, it will be hard for a member who does not come to the club meetings regularly to persuade others to come to the meetings regularly. Similarly, it will be hard for an obese person to inspire an audience to stay fit and healthy. A school teacher can talk about "How to talk so that kids will listen". An outstanding software professional can talk about "How to develop a defect free software". When you talk from your heart, your passion/conviction shows up and it will in turn keep the audience engaged and motivate them, too. An old person who finds it difficult to even walk is not expected to pick a topic that requires him to jump and do a drama. If you are someone who has difficulty in using good English, do not try to "artificially" include some GRE words or jargons into your speech. There is more likelihood that you'll forget those words during your speech. 
When it comes to selecting a speech topic for a toastmasters meeting, select from
  1. The topics you know
  2. The topics you love
  3. The topics that interest the audience and of course,
  4. The topics that help you to meet the project objectives
Let me explain those 3 circles (i.e., the Venn diagram) with an example. 

If I have to deliver a speech, I can easily select topics from the areas that I'm familiar with 
  • my personal experiences, 
  • my US life experiences, 
  • my personal problems, 
  • traveling, 
  • blogging, 
  • software development/testing, 
  • computer networks, 
  • politics, and 
  • toastmastering. 
Out of these topics, I love to talk about 
  • my US experiences, 
  • traveling, 
  • computer networks and 
  • toastmastering. 
However, if I start talking about "computer networks", the diverse set of people in a community toastmasters club may get bored. That leaves me with topics that are of interest to me as well as to the audience.  So, I would end up choosing a topic from my US experiences, traveling or toastmastering. 

If the project expects me to give an entertaining speech, I would very well pick the speech topic from my recent travel experiences. 

Toastmasters project manuals give you the flexibility of choosing your own speech topics. So, to the extent possible, pick topics that are of interest to you as well as the audience. 

Hope you have now mastered the art of selecting the right speech topic for your next speech. Happy speaking !

What kind of speaker are you in a toastmasters club?

What kind of speaker are you?!

We see a number of new members who join toastmasters to become better communicators.   I have carefully observed our members over a period of time and categorized them into 4 types of speakers.

1. Don't know how to load bullets into the gun

"Oh! My God … I have to give a speech this week in my club... and I couldn't think of any topic. I don't have anything interesting to share with others :(". 

These are people who have bullets and a gun in their hand. But, they don’t know how to load the bullets into the gun.

Read:  How to select a speech topic and write a speech script?

2. AIM, AIM, AIM ... type

"I'll sign up for a speaking slot only when I have a perfect speech ready. I will even wait for months together ... to get a PERFECT speech. I will sign-up for speaking role only when I get that impressive speech topic...". 

These are people who continue to AIM, AIM, AIM and NEVER SHOOT.

3. Shooting at the Dark type 

"I just have an hour before the club meeting and I have to speak. Nothing can be done now. Let me blabber something. Anyways, the evaluators in toastmasters meeting are very friendly". 

"I'm already too good at speaking. Why should I prepare for my speech? I just can give an impromptu speech"

These are the ones who just bet on their luck. They try to gamble and get results. They may succeed in the short run, but the strategy may not produce results in the long run. It neither helps them nor the club members.

Read: 5 wives and 1 Husband technique to develop a speech topic into a script

4. Shooting on the DOT

“I’ll sign up for my speech slot a month in advance. I don’t wait for finding one full day of time to write my speeches. I start writing my speech script in increments… whenever I find little time. I get my speech reviewed by my mentor, and rehearse it several times before I deliver at the club. I don’t want to waste the time of other toastmasters by NOT preparing for my speech well”

These are the ones who make use of the available opportunities in the club to discover their real best. They do proper home work and focus on improving their skills in a structured way. Over a period of time, they'll turn out to be extraordinary speakers. If you look around in your club, you can easily spot them.

Now, what kind of speaker are you?! What kind of speaker would you like to become?

Speech Writing - 5 Wives & 1 Husband technique

After selecting a speech topic, you may be wondering "What should I talk about? How do I come up with the content for my speech?". Don't worry! 

There are multiple ways of expanding a speech topic into a speech script.  A simple technique that can be used by beginners is 5 Wives and 1 Husband technique.  

Wondering, who the Wives and 1 Husband are? 

They are 

  • What
  • When 
  • Where 
  • Who
  • Why 
  • How

Let us take a simple topic “My favorite vacation” and try to ask these questions.

      1.      What am I going to talk about – “My favorite vacation”
      2.      When did I take the vacation – “I was leading a hectic life because of my work pressure. I      was hardly able to spend any time with my family. My family members were bugging me to take them somewhere. I decided to take a short break from work and go for a mini vacation from my workplace”
      3.      Where did I go for vacation  “I considered going to Kodaikanal, but didn’t chose it because it will be crowded. Moreover, we had been to Kodaikanal several times in the past. We wanted to go to a new place this time… After lots of research, we zeroed-in on Coorg. I heard from my friends that Coorg is a very nice place for vacation”
      4.      Who are the people that accompanied for your vacation?
      5.      How did you make all the arrangements?
      6.      What are the places in Coorg that you visited? How was your experience?
      7.      Why is the vacation to Coorg very memorable/favorite for you?
      8.      What did you do for dinner/lunch? Where did you go?
      9.      Why do you (or) Why won’t you recommend the audience for a trip to Coorg?
     10. What are some advices that you’ll give to the audience when they plan for the trip to Coorg?

If you try to answer all the above questions, you can easily come up with a 5 – 7 minutes speech.

You can take any topic and expand into a speech script with the 5 Wives and 1 Husband technique. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Methods to organize your speech evaluations

There are multiple ways of organizing and presenting speech evaluations. I have outlined some techniques below:
  1. Sandwich style – Start commenting about nice things -> areas of Improvement -> nice things
  2. Chronological order – Start commenting on Introduction, then Body of the speech, and then Conclusion
  3. Speech objectives focused  – Read out your answers to the questions at the end of the project  given in the speech manual (Technique appropriate for beginners in speech evaluations)
  4. Theme based evaluations – “Listening to your speech was like watching a movie…”  
  5. Acronyms based organization - Your speech had SUPERB ingredients. S  for STORY, U for UNIQUE MESSAGE, P  for PERSUASION, E for ENTERTAINMENT, R  for RHETORICS and B for BODY LANGUAGE.
(Also read: CRISP Speech Evaluations)

Toastmaster of the Day Script - 7th Oct 2012 (Chennai Toastmasters Club)

Toastmaster of the Day Worksheet

    DATE: 7th Oct 2012 Word of the Day: consummation
    Theme: Miles to go before I sleep
          1.      Accept control from President and thank him/her for the introduction. 
          2.      Introduce theme of the day and word of the day. Encourage the speakers to use them during the meeting. Ask the audience to applaud when the Theme of the day and word of the day is used by the speakers.
Fellow toastmasters and guests! Good evening…
We are going to have a spectacular evening today. Completing your DTM is harder than climbing Mt. Everest.
For every 1000 people who attempt to climb Mt. Everest, only 165 people succeed.
For every 1000 people who attempt to complete their DTM, only 3 succeed.
Very few people have the perseverance to bring their DTM journey to completion.
That leads to our Word of the Day.
WOD: consummation - To bring to completion or fruition
Example: Kartik Srinivasan is going to consummate his DTM journey with his final speech today.
For those of you who are starting your journey…. All you need is extraordinary Determination, Toughness and Motivation… that will get you the DTM. Get started now, because there are miles to go before you sleep. That is our Theme of the day.
TOD: Miles to go before I sleep

         3.      Explain the flow of meeting and the 3 segments (Prepared speeches, Table Topics and Evaluation) for guests.
    Climbing Mt. Everest is done in 3 stages:
·         Climbing Mt. Everest requires lots of preparation, rehearsals, fine-tuning, and mentoring. In toastmasters, similarly we have “Prepared Speeches”. Members come prepared with their speeches according to the objectives given in a speech manual.  
·         When you do the climbing, you may run into situations that you might not have prepared for. For ex., falling rocks from the mountain top – how do you handle them? Similarly, in toastmasters, we have Table Topics. It provides an opportunity for members to sharpen their impromptu speaking skills. It trains them to handle the falling rocks.
·         Edmund Hillary was able to climb Mt. Everest successfully, because of the support from the Sherpas. Similarly, in toastmasters, we have Evaluators who help the speakers to identify their strengths and areas for improvement.

The Chief Sherpa in a toastmasters meeting is called the General Evaluator
         4.      Introduce the General Evaluator (based on the meeting theme) and ask the General Evaluator to introduce     his/her team:
1) She is a software professional working for Amazon
2) Her hobbies include dancing
3) Her biggest achievement is becoming the state level badminton winner.

    Please join me in welcoming the General Evaluator for today    TM Manvi Mehta

         5.      Regain control from General Evaluator. 
         6.      Inform the audience that you are starting the prepared speeches segment.
         7.      Prepared Speeches
Speaker #1
Project Details
Manual:  CC
Project #:  #1
Project Title:  Ice Breaker
Speech Title:  Ice Breaker
Introduction of the speaker (based on the meeting theme)
1)  She is a home maker

2)  Her hobbies include reading and listening to music

3) She is actively preparing for her IAS exams.

Before I call ____________ Mamatha _________to the stage, may I request the evaluator of the speech TM Prasanna V. to read the project objectives?

Speaker #2
Project Details
Manual:  CC
Project #:  #1
Project Title:  Ice Breaker
Speech Title:  Who am I?
Introduction of the speaker (based on the meeting theme)
1)  A software professional working at HCL Technologies.

2) He loves Chennai, but hates Chennai traffic

3) His biggest achievement is learning to speak in Tamil.

Before I call TM Unnikrishnan to the stage, may I request the evaluator of the speech TM Rajesh Natarajan to read the project objectives?

Speaker #3
Project Details
Manual: CC
Project #: 2
Project Title:  Organize your speech
Speech Title: 24 Hours
Introduction of the speaker (based on the meeting theme)
1)      He is a software professional working for HP

2)      His hobbies including reading self-development books

3)      His biggest achievement is receiving the Best Employee Award in his office

Before I call ____________Speaker #3_________to the stage, may I request the evaluator of the speech TM ______________________________ to read the project objectives?

Speaker #4
CT Thomas
Project Details
Manual:  Special Occasion Speeches
Project #: 5
Project Title:  After Dinner Speech
Speech Title: 
Introduction of the speaker (based on the meeting theme)
1)      He used to be a weather man

2)      He loves to eat and sleep

3)      His biggest achievement is celebrating his 89th birthday

Before I call CT Thomas to the stage, may I request the evaluator of the speech TM Ravi Baskaran to read the project objectives?

Speaker #5
TM Kartik Srinivasan
Project Details
Manual: Speaking to Inform
Project #:  10
Project Title:  An Abstract Concept
Speech Title:  Don’t Trust Me
Introduction of the speaker (based on the meeting theme)
1) Freelance trainer

2) He loves globe trotting

4)      His biggest achievement is producing his Son J

Before I call TM Kartik Srinivasan to the stage, may I request the evaluator of the speech TM Deepa Bharatkumar to read the project objectives?

         8.      Ask the timer if any of the speakers are disqualified due to time. Ask the audience to vote for the Best Prepared Speaker.

         9.      Introduce the Table Topics Master (based on the theme of the meeting):
1) He is a software professional working for TCS
2) He loves to spend time in Facebook.
3) His biggest achievement is becoming the club level humorous speech contest winner

     Please join me in welcoming the Table Topics Master for today TM Pramodh G

        10.  Signal the Table Topics Master to end the session when the time limit is reached / exceeded.
        11.  Regain control from Table Topics Master.
        12.  Ask the timer if any of the speakers are disqualified due to time.  Announce eligibility. Ask the audience to     vote for the Best Table Topics Speaker
        13.  Invite the General Evaluator to conduct the evaluations segment
        14.  Regain control from General Evaluator.
        15.  Final remarks (try to end with a BANG). Not exceeding 1 minute.
This is indeed a special meeting. Was it remarkable? Rhetorical? Resonating?
We are so lucky to have 6 out of 10 DTMs from Tamilnadu (Nina, Aditya, Sastha, Oommen, Saro, & Kartik). Climbing Mt. Everest is difficult. But, if you have the Determination Toughness and Motivation, you can be a DTM too and reach the mountain top.
I thoroughly enjoyed the meeting and looking forward to the future meetings.