Saturday, September 20, 2014

Chennai Communicators Club Interview for 125th meeting newsletter

1.             On the 125th meeting of Chennai Communicators Club, travel your memory lane and ‘Reflect’ on the journey that CCC has gone through!! Which was possibly the best Excom team, accordingly to you who were the trend-setters? Some memorable events that you can share.

I have closely observed the growth of CCC over the last 2 years. From a flight that is just on the runway and trying to pick up speed with its jittery moments… today, CCC has successfully launched itself into the air and is at cruising altitudes. The pilots who have steered the ship - Divya Iyer/Dharma, Akshaya, Chandramouli and their team of co-pilots have done a spectacular job of ensuring that the flight continues to reach higher altitudes. Each Excom has brought in a new trend into the club. But the passion, discipline and dedication of the excom and members has never diminished.

2.            How diverse is community club? Community Club – Corporate Club – Which is better equipped to pose challenging opportunities for learning and club proceedings?

Community clubs are more diverse when compared to corporate clubs – since they are open to all.

Starting a community club is very difficult. However sustaining a community club is very easy. Starting a corporate club is very easy – however sustaining it is very difficult. Toastmasters program creates challenging experiences & situations for members to solve, thereby acquiring new communication/leadership skills. Every member who faces a challenging situation in Toastmasters has two options – (a) run away from it (b) face it with courage and transform. Both corporate and community clubs provide equal amount of challenging opportunities to its members. However, I see members of community clubs rising up more often to such challenges than corporate clubs.

3.            What motivates you to attend TMI sessions?

I joined Toastmasters in the year 2006. From someone who had the difficulty of thinking in Tamil, translating into English and then expressing thoughts… today, I am able to talk fluently in English.  The credit goes to the Toastmasters program and my mentors. I continue to attend Toastmasters sessions for 2 reasons:
·         I’ve got so much benefits from Toastmasters and I want to give it back to the community
·         Any Toastmasters meeting/event that I attend, helps me to acquire new skills and new ways of solving communication/leadership challenges. Toastmasters is a platform that brings “small, but continuous improvements” into your life.

4.               How to pick up a topic of common interest in a group and develop it?

Always pick topics that you know, topics that you love to talk about and topics that audience care. If you pick topics that are at the intersection of those 3 criteria – you’ll definitely be an admired / sought after person in any group. There is a famous ZigZiglar quote “People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care”. So, when you are in a group always pick topics that the members in the group, care about. When you show genuine interest in listening to others’ views, the topic will automatically get developed into a productive discussion.

5.             Being a DTM has helped you in your professional life in what way?


I don’t want to mislead members by saying “If you get a DTM, you’ll be successful in your career”. I know of several DTMs who completed their communication / leadership journeys for the “sake of just getting the DTM title”. I doubt their professional success.

Honestly speaking, the journey/experiences/opportunities that were presented to me when I served as the Division Governor, helped me to learn a number of communication/leadership skills which in-turn helped me to establish a successful career. From just a Technical Marketing Engineer in May 2009, I become a Product Manager, then a Sr. Product Manager and finally, Director Technology in Jan 2013. I attribute my professional success to Toastmasters. What my MBA program couldn’t do to my career, Toastmasters program was able to do J

6.               Who is your ‘Role Model’ in Toastmasters? Why? How one should chose their ‘Role Model’?
I have several role models in Toastmasters – both seniors and juniors. Many of the current/past District/Division/Area Governors are my roles models. I have learned “what to do” & “what not to do” from each one of them.
Some of my role models include volunteers such as Sharma Duraisamy (Medleys), Thanigeash (CTM), Thiagarajan Sir (Medleys), and Ramakrishnan Sir (Medleys) who inspire me with their selfless service, dedication, and passion to serve fellow Toastmasters. They never ask “What is in it for me… if I do this for you?”
Choose role models who continue to inspire you and help you to scale to greater heights.

7.             What is one important thing that any new Toastmaster should look-up to TMI?

Thomas Alva Edison once said “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”. It is true in Toastmasters too. I encourage new Toastmasters to sign up for a variety of roles (both communication & leadership) at the club level. It will help you to transform into a great person. After all, I was like you … 8 years back. When I started my leadership journey at the club level as a Sergeant at Arms, I was a Sr. Development Engineer at Ericsson with 8 years of industry experience. There is never a perfect time to start your self-development journey. So, never hesitate to sign-up and never procrastinate to deliver.