Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Chennai Speakers Forum - Time Management Interview



1. How do you get people to fall for you at your very first interaction?


I treat people, as if I’m meeting a good old friend after a long gap. I genuinely listen to them and try to help them in whatever little way possible. I make them feel special by appreciating their achievements. For example, if someone says “My wife doesn’t allow me to go out on Sundays. However, I managed to come out to attend this meeting today”… I’ll say “Wow! I’m completely impressed by your passion towards improving your speaking skills”.

Even if I see a district governor or a division governor standing near to me when I’m talking to a new person, I don’t divert my attention towards the “biggie”. I continue to talk to the new person or will introduce the new person to the “biggie”. I’ll make sure that the new person gets my fullest attention and service, when I’m talking to them.

I have served as SAA two times in my club. One of the roles of a SAA is to meet & greet members and guests. I think I had picked up this skill by playing the role of the SAA religiously J

2. What according to you is time management?? What is your secret?           

 “Time management” is not just about using your available time effectively. It is also about learning to say NO to certain things, prioritizing the critical vs. not so critical tasks, spending time on tasks that are inline with your long term goals/aspirations, setting right expectations, keeping others informed when you anticipate slippages etc.,.

I read the book “7 habits of highly effective people” early on in my life. There are few books that are life-changing and “7 habits of highly effective people” is one such book. It taught me how to manage time effectively.

3. You are known for your mentoring skills, tell us how you manage to find time for your mentees in your packed schedule?

I allocate at least 2 hours for toastmasters everyday and most of my time is spent in mentoring members and clubs. Mentoring includes helping mentees to come up with speech topics, speech script reviews, in-person rehearsals, helping mentees to understand “how to handle certain situations in their club or office” etc., I have nearly 60+ mentees and I review approximately 2 speech scripts a day.

Consciously, I’ve stayed away from district leadership roles because it would prevent me from spending quality time with my mentees. I also don’t waste my time in “non-core toastmasters activities”. For ex., if toastmasters plan for a weekend picnic or go out for a movie outing, I don’t join them there J

Looking back, toastmasters has become more of a habit to me like walking, bathing, and eating J

4. What made you a time lover? What inspired you? What is your routine for the day? Is there a day that you did so much work because of time management that you felt like superhuman?

10 years ago, I read this quote somewhere "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming 'WOW What a Ride!'". Earlier, I used to party, chit-chat and unnecessarily waste time. This quote made me to realize that I should effectively use time to achieve my dreams. I’m a strong believer of “Small, but continuous improvements done over a long period of time will produce HUGE results”.

I get up at 5.30 am and go to bed at 9.30 pm or so. Before going to work in the morning, I do some exercising, check my personal emails, read news papers, FB comments and review speech scripts. I leave home by 8 am sharp. I leave from office in the evening by 4.45 pm. I try not to get distracted by Toastmasters activities during my work time – I just respond back to short emails or quick phone calls. If I know that a particular call is going to take 30 mins or so, either I don’t pick that call or I tell them that I’ll call them in the evening J

I spend 1 + 1 hour on my commute everyday and I use my commute time for Toastmasters calls. I reach home by 5.45 pm or so. I spend some quick time with family (hardly 30 mins!) and start taking care of office emails & personal/toastmasters emails. When I find time in the evening, I write blogs (www.saroscorner.com) or read books.

I’m yet to become a super human J May be, I was pretty close during the days that lead to our district conference - Ovation 2013.

5. If someone wants to manage time in the best possible way, but is not sure how to do it. What advice would you give that person with dreams to manage time?          

Read “7 habits of highly effective people” – Steven Covey. He does a brilliant job of explaining how effectively you can manage time and prioritize your tasks. Steven Covey also tells you ways of achieving your dreams/goals in a systematic way.

6. Time and tide wait for no man; have u ever missed a tide???

So far, NO! But, I have a big dream to achieve in my life. You should ask me this question 10 years from now J

7. What is the reason behind you to continue being a Toastmaster?  

Before I joined toastmasters, I used to think in Tamil, translate that into English and express my thoughts. Even, if I have to order something in English in a restaurant… I used to rehearse it once in my mind before asking the bearer. Today, I’m able to think in English right at the first time. The credit goes to Toastmasters. People who watch me speaking today, wouldn’t believe that I had the problem of speaking in English once upon a time.


Toastmasters has given me so much in the last 7 years. I feel that being part of Toastmasters and helping youngsters learn communication/leadership skills is a way of serving the community. Even today, I continue to learn new things, by serving our members and clubs. These are the things that keep me active in Toastmasters.
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