Monday, December 14, 2009

Chennai TM Club Officer Elections - My pitch for VP of Education

Dear friends,

I'm very thrilled and honored to contest in our club elections for the VP of Education role.

All of us have joined toastmasters with a simple objective of becoming a better communicator and leader. My goal, as a VP of Education, would be to help you in achieving your goals faster and easier. If elected, I want to implement the 3M plan, that will steer the Chennai Toastmasters club to the next level of achievement.

The 3M plan focuses on

1. Mentoring
2. Meeting
3. Members' Goal Tracking


I would like to bring-in a process which formalizes the mentoring process that is followed today. During my term, there will be increased focus on the mentoring process and constant review of the progress with both the mentors and mentees.

In addition, I will facilitate regular educational sessions, with the help of seasoned toastmasters, to provide learning opportunities to our new members. This would be similar to the one provided by Ananth & Aditya recently, on "How to handle Table Topics". These sessions would be focused on common issues such as how to develop speech scripts, how to remember all the points in the speech, how to effectively achieve our communication/leadership goals.


Based on what I've observed in the last several months, we end up filling most of the evaluation roles just a few minutes before the meeting. This adds to the anxiety of the other role players. If given an opportunity, I would like to bring-in more enhancements to the process of assigning roles. This new process would include Member's individual goals, Member's availability information and Club's goals to effectively assign roles to members in advance and would provide an enjoyable toastmastering experience to everyone.

Members' Goal Tracking

I will work with each one of you to understand your short-term and long-term goals. As far as toastmastering is concerned, I will be your GPS, Odometer and Alarm clock - ALL in ONE. I will guide you (like your GPS) to effectively achieve your goals, gauge your progress (like an Odometer) and remind you about your goals (like an Alarm clock).

Friends, together we can reach greater heights, if we adopt the 3M plan. If elected, my role as a VP of Education would be to successfully implement the 3M plan, so that, we all can become better communicators and leaders.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Persuasive Speaker Project Manual Speeches

Here is the compilation of my Persuasive Speaker Project Manual Speeches.

Persuasive Speaker Project 5 - Are you a DAY DREAMER or an ACHIEVER? (Persuasive Leader)

Persuasive Speaker Project 4 - Why do I want you to be a Vegetarian? (Addressing the Opposition)

Persuasive Speaker Project 3 - Wanna be a REAL Competent Communicator? (Winning Proposal) 

Project 2 - Did that without any written notes :)

Persuasive Speaker Project 1 - Telling is not Selling (Effective Salesperson)

Also read:

Competent Communicator Manual Speeches

Entertaining Speaker Manual Speeches 

Storytelling Manual Project Speeches

Here is the compilation of speeches from toastmasters Storytelling Project Manual. 

Story Telling Manual Project 1 - Gratitude (The folk tale)

Story Telling Manual Project 2 - Everything happens for the good (Lets get personal)

Story Telling Manual Project 3 - Give it one more try (Moral of the Story)

Story Telling Manual Project 4 - Be Hopeful About the Future (Touching Story)

Story Telling Manual Project 5 - Everyone Makes Mistakes (Bringing history to life)

Also read:

Speeches by Management Manual Speeches

This is the compilation of all the "Speeches by Management" project manual speeches done by me in toastmasters club meetings.

Project 1 - Gross Domestic Product (The Briefing)

Project 2 - Baby Boomers (The Technical Speech)

Project 3 - Power of Asking Questions (Manage & Motivate)

Project 4 - War in Iraq (The Status Report)

Project 5 - Troop Surge in Iraq (Confrontation)

Also read:

Monday, August 24, 2009

Club level contest winner for the first time

Yesterday, we had our club level "Humorous and Evaluations speech" contest. I was ("forcefully") enrolled to the list of contestants for "Evaluation speech". 11 members had signed up for the Evaluations contest. This is my first time participation in the Evaluation contest. I picked up the lot and I was the 9th in the list. The "Test Speaker" was Shankar from Ford Toastmasters. He gave a speech on "Just Break It", motivating the guests to join Toastmasters. Once the speech was over, we were given 5 minutes for preparation. Then, the contestants were asked to go out. I had made all my observations and jotted them down on the paper. However, I couldn't come up with an impressive "Beginning" & "Ending". I was thinking about it for quite sometime. Finally, a thought crossed my mind. Why not use DTM and give a new expansion to it. Shankar had tried to market toastmasters with some drama. So, I decided to expand DTM as Dramatic Toast Marketeer. I adhered to the famous "KISS - Keep it Simply Short" principle. I had pointed out 3 things that Shankar did well & 3 things that he had to improve on. My evaluation had a clear introduction & conclusion. I tied the conclusion to the introduction. I felt that my flow was nice :) After delivering my evaluation, I thought that I'll atleast be in the 3rd place. Surprisingly, I was selected to be the winner in the Evaluations contest. The credit for this victory goes to my mentor "Warren Riley" (TGIF Toastmasters) who was constantly helping us to become better speakers. He spares his week end time to train the fellow toastmasters on public speaking. I'm very grateful to him and I miss his classes after returning to India.

I'm looking forward to participating in the Area contest.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Chennai Toastmasters Club

I joined Chennai toastmasters club on the 16th of May. It is the oldest toastmasters club in Chennai. Chennai toastmasters club is a group of 40 people - vibrant, energetic & enthusiastic. There is a mix of young, medium aged and matured folks. We meet on Sundays at 4.00 pm. The meeting goes on for about 2 hours. Yes! it is a bit long :) Our club had invited Aaron Watson (District 82 speech contest winner) to deliver his winning speech. His speech was awesome.

So far, I have been doing only minor roles in the club. Looking forward to deliver a speech soon. I want to soon complete my Advance Communicator Silver projects.

Also read:

Competent Communicator Speeches (Projects 1 - 10)
Persuasive Speaker Manual Speeches

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

Entertainment Speaker (Project 5) - My life in US - A Roller Coaster

AC - Entertaining Speaker (Project V)
Speech after Dinner
March 13, 2009


Steep climbs, deep falls, sudden twists & turns ... If I've to put my USA experience in simple terms, "It was a roller coaster". Wow ! What an experience. It was full of excitement, fun, adventures, and entertainment. Today, you are going to get a short peek into what was going on in my life in the last 6 years.

Beginning of the ride

I came to US in Oct, 2002, right after the bubble burst. I took my seat in the roller coaster, buckled up and got ready for the ride. When many immigrants were packing their things and leaving the country, I entered the country with lots of hopes and dreams. I felt like a firefighter marching into a burning house, when everybody in the house is running out to the doors.

Experience in Mobility Networks

I joined a start-up company in the valley. The company had lots of people, lots of hope - but, very little money in the bank. Our CEO was very optimistic. Every time we had an “All-Hands” meeting he'll tell us "Oh... We are doing extremely well. We are working on the last-mile of the technology and investors are very interested to give us money". This went on for about 6 months.

It was June 2003. We had an all-hands meeting, as usual. The CEO told that we are getting very close to raising funding and we may get a 'funding term sheet' any time. The next day, we didn't get the "funding term sheet" but we all got our "termination letters". Yes. My company couldn't raise funding. They filed for bankruptcy & closed the doors. Most of my co-workers were smart. They were already looking for jobs and they all had offers at hand. I strongly believed in the company and the CEO. I didn't expect the company to go under, this soon. I learned my first lesson about Corporate America - "Never blindly trust the CEOs. They are paid to be optimistic".

I managed to get into another job in a couple of weeks. That was a startup too. I spent my next 3 years with this company. I got a wonderful opportunity to manage a small team. The job also involved traveling to several places in Europe & North America.

MBA & Wedding

The ride got a bit more exciting in 2005. I signed up for 2 major things. I enrolled in a part-time MBA program and I signed-up for a full-time husband program. Yes. I got married. I thought I should prepare myself for a married life. The first thing that I did was I bought the book “Men are from Mars & Women are from Venus”. I read the book page by page, line by line, word after word. After reading the book, I thought I mastered the art of “understanding a women”. I thought I had learned all the tricks to keep my wife happy. Its 4 years since I'm married. Now, I feel, like writing a book. The title would be “Men are from Mars, my wife is not from Venus”.


My MBA course was very intensive. While doing my MBA, I realized that I've to improve my public speaking skills. A friend of mine introduced me to Toastmasters. I'm glad that I joined toastmasters. I set myself a goal of completing 10 speeches every year. This is my end of 3rd year and I'm completing my 30th speech in Toastmasters. I'm thankful to all the fellow toastmasters for helping me to be a better communicator.

I'm also very grateful to 2 people in Toastmasters. The second person is my “friend”. He introduced me to Toastmasters. If not for him, I wouldn't have had an opportunity to meet wonderful people like you. The first person is “Warren”. I'm proud to say that I'm one of Warren's students. His workshops made a very significant impact in my thinking and communication. I would've spent another 10 years to learn the stuff myself, that I learned in just 1 year, from his work shop. Thank you Sir !

Returning back to India

With all the fun & excitement going around, I didn't realize that my ride is going to come to an end. I have been thinking about going back to India for a while. But, I kept postponing the decision. At first, I thought I should go back in 2 - 3 years, then I thought I should go back before I get married, then I thought I should go back before I get a kid, then I thought I should go back with a 'business' plan, then I thought..., then I thought ... there was no end to the list. Well, finally I had to pull the plug.

The turn of events in my personal life made it easy for me. It took just less than an hour for me to decide. I booked tickets for my wife/daughter in the next 1 hour. I packed and sent them to India in the next 24 hours.

The last part of the roller coaster ride is very exciting. I cleaned up and sold my household items. Things sold pretty fast. Thanks to the recession. People love used items! We spent years and years to accumulate those items. But they all vanished in days. I found a job in India, too. I'm all set to go back. The ride is going to stop soon. I'm ready to unbuckle my belts in a few weeks from now.


Life in US taught me a number of things. I got a wonderful exposure both from a career standpoint and from my personal standpoint. I'm not the same person who entered this country 6 years ago. My dreams became reality and my hopes were fulfilled.

If I had not come to US, I would have been like a tiny little fish in a pond. Today, I feel like a shark, that can swim in a ocean. I know how to go with the tides and against them.

I'm quite excited to return back to India and meet my family & friends. The ride was quite exciting and memorable. I'm definitely going to miss you all. But, change always happens. I strongly believe, “every end is for a new beginning”.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Entertainment Speaker (Project 4) - The Importance of Change

AC - Entertaining Speaker (Project IV)
The Dramatic Speech
February 20, 2009

Today I'm going to talk about "The Importance of Change". You may be wondering ... Is this guy going to talk about the "change" happening in his personal life? Is he going to talk about the word "change" that is used often in politics? Hold your horses ... I'm NOT going to talk about any of those "changes". I'm going to talk about the importance of always keeping some CHANGE in your pocket.
Like most of you, I was quite used to the credit card culture. I never used to carry any cash in my wallet. I realized the importance of carrying cash, only when I made that trip to Seattle.

Toll Booth Experience

We took a flight from San Jose to Seattle. The flight landed in Seattle around midnight. We were so tired after our flight journey. We rented a car and drove to the hotel. There is something special about traveling with a kid. Right after you throw the kid into the car and start the vehicle they'll ask for one of the two things - either they want to get down and go "peppe" or they want to eat/drink something. My daughter asked for water. Unfortunately, we didn't have any water in the car. I had to take an exit to look for a shop. Right after taking the exit, I saw this small toll both. It was unmanned. I was quite surprised to see a tollbooth there. There was a signboard that said, "Please deposit 75 cents here". The machine doesn't accept dollar bills and accepts only coins. I had just two quarters in my wallet. My wife checked the bags, her purse etc., and we couldn't find any change. There were no lights in the near vicinity.
Handled Toll Booth Situation

There was a video camera sitting on the top of the tollbooth. It was smiling at us, eagerly waiting to picture us, making a violation. There was not even a single car/vehicle in that area. I got very frustrated. I spent nearly 10 minutes waiting there for someone to show up. My daughter started to cry for water. I was helpless. I decided to make a toll violation and pay the fines later. Suddenly, a light bulb went on in my head. I got off the car and looked down on the road. I found a glittering 25 cents coin on the road. I knew someone would have dropped a quarter when they were trying to pay the toll from their car. I thanked all the godly powers that dropped the 25 cents from the sky, just for me. I was lucky enough to find a quarter on that road. Otherwise, I would have paid a 100$ as fine. I learned my first "change" lesson - Always carry some "quarters" or "coins".
Trip to Vancouver

We spent a day in Seattle. The next morning, we got up and drove to Vancouver. We parked our car along the side of the road and roamed around in the downtown area. Around evening, we came back to the car. My wife & kid went to the back seat. I was the designated driver and I looked at the Google map for directions. It said, "Head northeast towards Main Street". First of all, I don't know which is "northeast". Second of all, I don't know where "Main Street" is. I was puzzled.
Man threatening for money

A gentleman walking on the roadside voluntarily stopped near my car and asked me if I need help with directions. He is a medium fit Afro-American. He looked very decent. He helped me with the directions and I was patiently listening to him. I was so happy and thanked him for his assistance. (You've to convey that he is talking to you from the other side)

He looked around inside the car and asked me for 5$. I told him that I don't have 5$ change. My photo camera was on the front seat. He immediately put his hand inside the car and grabbed my photo camera. He told that he'll give my camera back only if I give him 5$. I told him that I don't have change. All, I had was a credit card.
I don't know what to do. My mind went total blank. I was so tempted to ask, "Do you accept credit card?" :) I'm not sure if the guy carried a gun.

I don't know if I have to shout. In the mean time, my wife who was sitting at the back, searched through her bags and found a 20$ bill. I gave the guy a 20$ bill to get my camera back. We immediately left the place and drove back to Seattle. It took us a while to recover from this impact. If I had carried some "change" in my wallet, I wouldn't have had this terrible experience. I would've silently given that guy a 5$ note. This was my second change lesson.

I realized the importance of carrying some change in my wallet, after our trip to Seattle/Vancouver. These days, I always carry some cash.

Ladies & gentlemen ... Whether you believe it or not, "CHANGE" is important. Always carry some change in your wallet. Remember ... The greenback is at times more valuable than the plastic.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Entertainment Speaker (Project 2) - New Year Resolutions

AC - Entertaining Speaker (Project II)
Resources for Entertainment
January 2, 2009

Madam Toastmaster, fellow toastmasters and dear guests. Happy New Year!!


How many of you take New Year resolutions? How many of you stick to your New Year resolutions? It is not very surprising to see lesser number of hands. Research has shown that 90% of the people give up on their New Year’s resolutions, before the end of January and guess what, majority of the remaining 10% give up before the end of the year. The initial enthusiasm you see in January vanishes soon like a piece of butter placed on a hot pan. Today, I’m going to give you some tips to effectively reach your New Year resolutions.

Try “to GET” instead of “to GET RID OF”

Many a times New Year Resolutions fail because “People try to desperately RUN AWAY from their bad behaviors”. Instead of RUNNING AWAY from something, focus on RUNNING TOWARDS something. The only time RUNNING AWAY FROM SOMETHING works is when you are chased by a hungry dog.

When you try hard to UNLEARN your bad habits, you focus too much on the BAD than focusing on the GOOD. For example, when delivering a speech, the more you focus on getting rid of nervousness, the more nervous you become. Instead, you should focus on how you would feel if you deliver the speech successfully.

Quit Smoking Resolution

One of the prominent New Year resolutions is to QUIT smoking. Zig Ziglar, the powerful motivational speaker was a “three-pack-a-day” smoker. Cigar was almost like a 6th finger in his hand. He had a New Year resolution to quit smoking. I think he was so passionate about that resolution. He took the same resolution every year for more than 20 years. He had tried to quit many times using every tool and technique he heard about. He tried all the things from applying “patches” to destroying the “matches”. But as long as he was trying to QUIT, he couldn’t break the grip.

Finally, he changed the approach. Instead, of trying to QUIT the habit of smoking, he developed a dream to become a non-smoker. He fell in love with the idea of breathing clean air instead of smoky air. He wanted his body and clothes to smell nice instead of smoky. He decided to start acting and thinking like a non-smoker, and when the thinking took hold he simply quit smoking.

Get support from your friend (or) spouse

How do you sustain your newly formed habits? Get help from your spouse and all your friends. Ask them to “remind” you. They’ll do it very sincerely.

Dan’s story

I read an interesting story from a book. Dan, a young man in his early 30s took a New Year resolution of getting up early and do jogging. He asked his wife to wake him up at 5 o’clock in the morning. Every day, his wife gets up at 5 o’clock sharp, wakes him up and goes back to sleep. He was very happy that his wife is very supportive to reach his goals. But, do you know the real reason why Dan’s wife woke him up everyday? Dan snores a lot during sleep. If she wakes Dan at 5, she can get at least a few hours of peaceful sleep in the morning.

Your friends and spouse will remind you promptly about your goals – if not for selfless reasons, they’ll do it at least for their selfish reasons. After all, they get some credit too, if you become successful.


New Year Resolutions are easy to make – but hard to sustain. Experts say it takes 3 weeks to develop a new habit and 6 months for it to become a part of your life and just 1 week to completely give up. Giving up a resolution is THAT easy. Focus on what you WANT TO BECOME than focusing on what YOU DON’T WANT TO BECOME. Get the help of your friends & spouse. If you follow these, 2009 is going to be the first year where you will be reaching all your New Year Resolutions.