Category Archive Communication

Bygautamsharma

I shall do it

Objectives

  • Prepare a speech that opens with a humorous story 
  • Personalize the story 
  • Deliver the story smoothly and effectively
Time limit: 5 to 7 minutes with a minimum qualification time of 4 minutes 30 seconds and a maximum time of 7 minutes 30 seconds.

I shall do it

Kumbhakarna slept for 6 months in a year. I am going to talk about a guy who just sleeps for 6 hours a day, but 10 hours at night!!


Fellow Toastmasters and guests.
It was an auspicious day and the time was 5 AM. The entire family had gathered at Chennai to witness the warming of my uncle’s new house at Anna Nagar. Every one of us including our cab driver was ready to travel from T Nagar to Anna Nagar to enjoy the occasion. But there was one guy who wasn’t ready and that was my uncle’s son Arvind. When we tried to wake him up in the morning, he said “I have an important coaching class at 7 o clock which I cannot skip. You guys carry on and I would be there by 9”.

We all said good bye to Arvind and carried on with our plans. The house warming started and was going on very well. Suddenly my uncle had a doubt. He asked me to call Arvind and find out what he is doing. I called him, he didn’t attend. I called him again, he didn’t attend. After 6-7 attempts, he finally attended the call and said [in a drunken voice]“Force = mass x acceleration” and disconnected the call.  Oh my god!! “Uncle he seems to be sleeping!!”. We tried again and again to reach him through phone and tell him that he is actually sleeping, but all in vain. That is when my eldest cousin, Murali and I took a step forward and said, “Don’t worry uncle, we will take the cab, go back to T Nagar, wake him up and bring him here”.

The time was 7:30 AM and we set out on our exciting mission – “Awaken Arvind”. We went back and found that the house was locked from inside and Arvind had also locked himself up inside an air conditioned cosy bed room. Ahwww!! What a Herculean task it is to wake this guy!! As a part of the mission “Awaken Arvind” Murali and I made several plans.

PLAN A – This plan was suggested by the Murali. “Gautam…Arvind is sleeping tight because the room is comfortable and air conditioned. Why not turn the mains off and make it uncomfortable for him so that he would start sweating wake up soon”. I looked at him and exclaimed… “What a great idea Sir Ji!!”!! We quickly went downstairs and turned off the main switch. We came back and stood near the main door of the house. Murali was proud at the idea he made and raised his eye brows, signalled me that Arvind would be awake in another few  minutes. We waited… 5 minutes passed … nothing happened…. 10 minutes passed… nothing happened… 15 minutes passed… we heard the screeching sound of a door opening. But we were shocked… because, the sound was from the opposite house… our neighbour, an old man opened the door and came out of his house He told in a faint voice, Senseless Chennai electricity board. Cutting power supply on a Sunday morning!!!”. Oh god,  we  had cut down the power supply of that poor old man’s house in an attempt to awaken Arvind. Plan A, miserably failed.

After many such plans that faced a collateral damage, we decided to make one more try… the last try… We collected all the utensils, spoons, chapatti makers whatever was available in Murali’s house. We went to Arvind’s place and through the kitchen window, started throwing these utensils one by one at the bedroom door, where Arvind was sleeping. I  told Murali “Machan… with these skills, you should’ve joined Indian Archery team… How do you manage to aim properly and throw them all exactly at the same point… i.e., the floor… none of your throws landed on the bedroom door”. He turned around and gave me a strange look. We had almost emptied all the available utensils. Nothing worked. We failed.
They were about to give up, go back and tell uncle that his son sleeps beautifully. It was then the bedroom door slowly opened. Arvind came out rubbing his eyes. On seeing Murali and me standing outside, he exclaimed “Hey Murali and me. What a surprise to see you here. What are you doing here at this hour. You guys didn’t go to the function? And hey you know what, I guess there is some cat or rat in the house. Because there are lots of utensils lying around!”. Murali replied, “Yes Arvind, the cat is me and the rat is Murali . Come on get ready, we will tell you the whole story during the drive”.

And when Arvind heard the story, he couldn’t stop himself from rolling on the floor and laughing. Not at what he did, but laughing at how Murali and I planned his awakening.

Max Kaufman once said, “The amount of sleep required by an average human being is 5 minutes more”. Arvind is a living epitome of this quote. Even today, the biggest challenge for someone in my family is to “Awaken Arvind”, my beloved cousin. 


Bygautamsharma

Table Topics Master

As a table topic master you play an important role. The theme of the entire meeting is purely your choice. You will be informed well in advance if you are assigned the role of a Table topics master for a particular meeting.
Select a theme for the meeting at least one week in advance and inform the Vice President Public Relations and the TMOD (There are clubs in which the Toastmaster of the day chooses the meeting theme. In that case you can skip this part). We request you to give the theme at least one week in advance because there are so many other things like preparing flyer, choosing word of the day etc to be done based on the theme.
If you think that you will not be available for the meeting, inform the Vice President – Education at the earliest.
Select topics based on the theme. Have at least 6-7 topics (depending on the number of table topics speeches that your meeting agenda will permit). 70% of your topics should be meant for members and 30% of the topics should be considerably easier to speak. You can use the easy topics for guests and new members.
Make yourself available at least 15-20 minutes prior to the meeting.
Your sequence is as follows:
  1. After the prepared speeches section, the TMOD introduces you.
  2. Acknowledge the TMOD, introduce yourself and give a brief overview of the theme and its purpose.
  3. Invite the first speaker and summon him in the following order – “Name, Topic, Topic, Name”.
  4. Repeat step 3 for all other speakers as well.
  5. Appreciate the speaker for his efforts at the end of every speech and encourage everyone to participate.
  6. After the session, hand over the meeting control to the TMOD again.
Quick Tips:
  1. Control any nervousness you may have. Project confidence on stage.
  2. You have to be aware of the time allotted for table topics section. Accordingly limit your speaking in between the speeches and finish the session on time. It is good to avoid giving personal opinions in between speeches. The role of a table topics master is just to invite speakers, give them a topic and ensure that most of the non-role players of the meeting get stage time.
  3. Announce the topic clearly so that the speaker understands it.
  4. Let the hand-shakes and transitions be smooth, natural and professional.

Bygautamsharma

7 common mistakes we do in table topics

Butterflies in stomach, bouncing between exhilaration and euphoria, increased energy, racing heart, accelerated breathing, anxiety, panic and excitement – if you are toastmaster with all these feelings, you are not in love, but on stage, facing table topics. 
Table topics gives you a wonderful opportunity to improve your quick thinking skills. All of us are naturally good table topics speakers. Our quick thinking skills come into picture in situations when we are caught by a traffic sergeant for violating traffic rules, when we are caught by our professors for not completing the assignments, when we are caught by our boss for coming late etc. However, while delivering a table topics speech on stage, there are few mistakes that we commit knowingly or unknowingly. I have listed below a few of those mistakes that we make often.

These are some of the mistakes that I have done and witnessed people doing them, especially in regular club meetings and club level contests. However as the degree of contest increases from club to area to division to district, we only see seasoned speakers on stage and these mistakes won’t be seen. It is good to avoid them right from regular club meetings and practice well as it might be of great help during contests. 

1.         Topic Please!!: At times speakers start delivering their speech and somewhere in between they lose track of the topic and they ask the Table Topics master – “Could you please repeat the topic”. This will strictly not be allowed in a contest.  It’s better to speak with whatever we have understood out of the topic when we hear it twice. By chance if someone from the audience, prompts the topic in between, it will lead to an invalid contest and hence it will commence from the beginning. 
2.         Using the topic as a buffer:  We sometimes tend to start the speech by repeating the topic once again which gives us a few seconds to think. This can be used as a last option when we don’t get any other thoughts to speak about. It is better to not start the speech by repeating the topic as it would give an impression that we are using the topic itself as a buffer and thereby taking time to think.  But it is good to repeat the topic in the middle or end of the speech as it would give an impression that we are remembering the topic well.
3.        Delayed start: We often start with “The topic given to me is…”. Or we conclude by saying “I would like to conclude my speech by saying that….”.Or at times we say somethings that delays the actual start of the speech.  I have seen speakers who give maximum respect to the audience especially when the topic is difficult. They start the speech like this – “Good morning contest master, fellow toastmasters, guests and everyone who is waiting to hear some scintillating speeches. A very good morning to each and every one of you present here. It gives me immense pleasure to stand in front of such wonderful audience and deliver a speech”. I have done this as well. All these are not advisable in a contest. Remember  the learnings from your CC#3 – “Get to the point”. Start with a question, story, anecdote, or a striking fact. But if everything is in vain and your mind doesn’t throw any thoughts for you to start speaking, you can buy some initial thinking time by using these techniques given by my mentor Distinguished Toastmaster Saro Velrajan. But again make sure that the delay is not more than 5-10 seconds.
4.         I am sorry:  At times we start saying that, “I actually don’t know what to speak on this topic, but let me talk whatever I know”. Or, we start with a sentence like, “I am actually a little nervous. Am not very clear with the topic, but let me try”. Kindly do not admit on stage that you do not know or you did not understand. Just speak whatever you know. There are times when speakers say, “I am sorry. I am not very clear about this topic” and they end up giving excellent speeches. The problem with admitting your weakness on stage is, the audience would shut their ears as you have told them that you are not confident about yourself. 
5.         Quick conclusion: This is a mistake that I do often. The moment I see the green card, I feel glad and contended that I am qualified for voting and I conclude my speech. Most often I receive feedback saying that my speech was too short. So kindly try talking at least till the yellow card and then start concluding.

6.         Explaining the topic: If the topic is “Life is beautiful”. How much ever you try to explain the topic, you will again end up in repeating the same point in different ways and varied sentence structures. Eventually you will be beating around the same bush. Never do that. More than trying to give a gyaan about the topic, give a supporting story, anecdote or an example to say why is life beautiful for you. Always remember, we love our grandparents for the stories the tell us and not the advice they give.

7.          Introducing the technique : There are many techniques of giving a table topics speech like telling a story, telling a joke etc. Almost all these techniques are very effective. But at times speakers come on stage and introduce what they are going to do, by telling “I am going to tell a story”, “I am going to share a joke” etc. It is always good to start smoothly transitioning into and out of the story/joke rather than telling the audience that we are going to do it.
Bygautamsharma

Toastmaster of the day

As a toastmaster of the day, the progress of the entire meeting becomes your responsibility. You are the sole controller of that meeting. This role would make you feel: “Yes it is my meeting!! My show”

You will be intimated well in advance if you are assigned the role of TMOD. You have to start planning all aspects of the meeting. It is now your responsibility to co-ordinate with all role players. If any role player becomes unavailable, you need to contact the Vice President – Education and find an alternate role player. The role players must have confirmed their attendance at least 3 days in advance.

Another important task is to prepare the meeting agenda using the template. You are required to check for the following details in the agenda.

  • Club number and the area/ division/ district to which the club belongs to.
  • Meeting number.
  • Venue, date and time of the meetings.
  • Club officers’ name and contact details.
  • Theme of the day and word of the day.
  • Names of role players, speech titles, project number.
  • Also kindly check if the alignment is proper. I know it sounds silly. But we miss this sometimes. 

On the day of the meeting, you are required be present at the venue at least 15-20 minutes prior to the actual start time. Ensure if all role players have arrived. Prepare appropriate speaker introductions. As mentioned above: it is your meeting, your show!!!

TMOD sequence is as follows:

  1. The presiding officer introduces you and hands over the meeting floor. Introduce yourself and welcome the guests and toastmasters to the meeting.
  2. Give a quick overview about the three sections of the meeting (Prepared speeches, Table topics and evaluations).
  3. Invite the general evaluator to introduce GE role and the TAG team as well. After
  4. this, the general evaluator will hand over the control back you.
  5. Begin with the prepared speeches section.
  6. Introduce speaker #1. Introduce evaluator#1 and ask the evaluator to read the speech objectives. Then invite the speaker to the speaking area.
  7. Summon the speaker in the following order- “TM Name, Speech title, Speech title, TM Name”
  8. After the speech, express your views about the speech in 1-2 lines. This gives an impression to the audience that you are listening.
  9. Repeat steps 5 and 6 for the remaining speakers.
  10. Call for votes, for the prepared speeches section.
  11. Introduce the table topics master for the day and hand over the meeting control to the TTM.
  12. After the table topics section, the TTM hands over the floor to you again. Appreciate the TTM for his efforts. Call for votes for Table topics section.
  13. Introduce the general evaluator once again. Once you pass on the control to the general evaluator, your responsibility as the TMOD ends.

Quick Tips:

  1. Be confident and control your nervousness.
  2. As a TMOD, you need to have a thorough understanding about the various sections of the meeting and the time frame allotted to each section. You have to take care if every individual section ends on time. If all the sections are ended within the allotted time, the meeting would successfully end within 60 minutes.
  3. Have at least three hard copies of the agenda. Try using used/one sided sheets to print the agenda. Save Paper!! Save earth!! You can!!
  4. You need to have a control upon any last minute changes in the agenda.
  5. Read the agenda 1-2 times before the meeting starts so that you can freely speak on stage rather than just reading the names and introductions from the agenda.
  6. Let the hand-shakes and transitions be smooth, natural and professional.
Bygautamsharma

Grammarian

Image source: Google Images


“Grammar is the greatest joy in life. Don’t you find??” ~ Lemony Snicket

Your role as a grammarian is to give this joy to every other club member. A good speech without proper grammar is like driving the costliest car on earth with adulterated fuel. The speech won’t progress well. Grammarian plays an important role in fixing the grammatical flaws of a speaker and encouraging him by pointing out his good usages.
Purpose
As the name signifies the purpose of a grammarian is to help the speakers improve their grammatical knowledge. And let them know their good and not so good usages of the language.
Expectations
Arrive early to the venue. In case you have any query regarding your role, get it clarified from the VP-Education or any other senior member. Note down the good usages, not-so-good usages and also note down the usage of “word of the day”. You are expected to come up with a “word of the day”(with meaning and usage) the moment you get to know the theme. The word of the day should be in line with the theme. Send the word of the day to the TMOD and VP-E well in advance.

You are expected to introduce yourself when called upon by the general evaluator. You can use the following lines to introduce yourself.

“Hello all. I am Toastmaster _________ and I will be playing the role of grammarian today. As a grammarian I will note down the good usages and not so good usages of English language. This helps the speaker to improve and evolve as a better communicator. The word of the day is _______. It means ________. It can be used in a sentence like_____. I will provide my report towards the end of the meeting when called upon by the evaluator”

Common mistakes and points to note

  • Always remember that you are a grammarian and not a grammar teacher. Do not talk too technically when you present your report. There are some grammarians who give a report like this – “Your Subject Verb Predicate usages were good. But in certain places you could have used simple past tense instead of past participle”. Our purpose is to let people know what went wrong and not to showcase our grammatical knowledge and use terminologies that many people in the audience would not understand. 
  • While presenting reports, it is suggested that you mention the speaker’s name and give him the credit for every good usage of English language. However, while talking about incorrect usages, it is not really necessary to mention the name of the speaker who spoke with an incorrect usage. If you mention what the incorrect usage was, the speaker who did the mistake will automatically realize. It is sometimes good to speak about bad usages offline after the meeting, especially when there are too many of them. 

Bygautamsharma

Ah – Counter

Image Source: Google Images

Imagine you are driving on a highway, which is devoid of heavy traffic. You have a 50 Kms drive ahead of you and there are two roads. One which is smooth and clean and the other which has lots of potholes, speed breakers etc. Which one would you love to take?

The case is similar while listening to speeches as well. People would love to listen to you speech only when it is smooth without ahhh, ummm and many other fillers. These involuntary sounds and pauses act as potholes and speech breakers and the smoothness of your speech would be lost. 
As an Ah-Counter, you help the speaker to make his speech smoother and enable him to get rid of all the potholes and speech breakers in between. Taking up this role manures your listening skills a lot. 
Purpose:
The purpose of having an ah-counter is to count the number of involuntary sounds and pauses uttered by the speaker and make him aware of it. Since these pauses and fillers happen without our consciousness involved, Toastmasters international feels that it is good to have a dedicated person who can note them down.
Expectations:
Arrive early to the venue. In case you have any query regarding your role, get it clarified from the VP-Education or any other senior member. You have to count the pauses, fillers and repetitive words used by the speaker and provide a report at the end of the meeting.
You are expected to introduce yourself when called upon by the general evaluator. You can use the following lines to introduce yourself:
“Hello all. I am Toastmaster _________ and I would be playing the role of Ah-Counter in this meeting. As an Ah-Counter I would note down all the unintentional pauses and filler words like Ahhh, Ummm, So, Like, You Know, Actually, Basically etc which disturb the flow and spoil the effectiveness of the speech. I will provide my report towards the end of the meeting when called upon by the general evaluator. Thank you”

Common mistakes and points to note
  • One important point to note is, the ah counter should know the difference between an intentional and unintentional pause. I have seen ah counters who count the pauses which the speakers use deliberately in their speeches to add value to their point. People playing the role of an ah counter for the very first time are advised to get an overview about the role from the Vice President Education of the club. 
  • If a speaker has 15-10 Ahhhs and Ummms in his speech, I would suggest the ah-counters to just say “Speaker #1, Toastmaster ______ had more than 5 Ahhhs in his speech”. Sometimes when the ah-counters give the exact count and say in front of everyone that the speaker has 19 Ahhs in his speech, the speakers are likely to feel hurt. After the meeting, as an ah counter you can meet the speaker offline and give the exact count which would definitely help him. But on stage while presenting your report please refrain from the saying the exact count if the number is high.

Bygautamsharma

Timer

Image source: Google

Most often people consider the role of a timer as a trivial role. The role may seem simple, but it has high significance. Even if the world champion of public speaking is delivering a speech, only the timer has the eligibility to signal him to conclude. So, please feel proud if you get a chance to play this role, especially in a contest. 
Purpose
The purpose of having a timer in a meeting/contest is to keep a track of the time taken by each speaker. The timer has to ensure that all the meeting sections start and end on time. 
Expectations
As a timer you are expected to know the time limit of the speeches which would be delivered on that day. The basic time limits which all timers are expected to know are:

  • CC #1 – 4 to 6 minutes
  • CC #2 to CC #9 – 5 to 7 minutes
  • CC #10 – 8 to 10 minutes
  • Table topics – 1 to 2 minutes
  • Evaluations – 2 to 3 minutes
Apart from these basics, there are certain speeches which have varied time limits. Kindly get to know from the speaker or the Vice President Education of your club about them. If you are playing the role of a timer in a conference, there would be educational sessions spanning upto 45/60 minutes. In that case, meet the educational speaker before his session and get to know from him about the time and also ask him when to show the flags (Green, amber and red).

In a regular toastmasters meeting, you are expected to introduce yourself when called upon by the general evaluator. You can use the following lines to introduce yourself.

“Hello all, I am Toastmaster _________, the timer for this meeting. As a timer, my role is to keep a track of the time taken by each speaker and the time taken for each session. The time limits are 5 to 7 minutes for a prepared speech, 1 to 2 minutes for a table topics speech and 2 to 3 minutes for  an evaluation speech <If there are any other speeches/sessions, mention those time limits also>. At the minimum qualification time I would show the green flag. At an intermediate time I would show the amber flag and when the time is up I would show the red flag. Once the red flag is shows, the speaker has to conclude his speech in the next 30 seconds. I will provide my report at the end of the meeting when called upon by the general evaluator. Thank you”

Common mistakes and points to note
  • Sometimes when we play the role of timer, we get carried away by the speeches. As a result, we might miss to keep a track of time. This happens especially in a contest when we witness scintillating speeches that often captivate our attention. We need to ensure that we do justice to our role. 
  • In a contest, if the speaker is about to exceed his maximum time limit and get disqualified, we tend to show facial expressions out of concern for the speaker. If the speaker notices this, he might lose confidence during his conclusion. As a timer, our role is to only keep a track of the time and not to signal the speaker by any means that he is about to get disqualified. 
  • Dropping the timer cards once the speaker notices it is another mistake we often commit. Once the green flag is shown, it has to be up till the yellow flag goes up. Even though the speaker notices our flag, we are not supposed to drop the flag. 


Bygautamsharma

Inspire your audience – “Bye Bye Pooja”

Project Summary: An inspirational speech motivates an audience to improve personally, emotionally, professionally or spiritually and relies heavily on an emotional appeal. It brings the audience together in a mood of fellowship and shared desire, builds the audience’s enthusiasm, then proposes a change or plan and appeals to the audience to adopt this change or plan.
Objectives:

  • To inspire the audience by appealing to noble motives and challenging the audience to achieve a higher level of beliefs or achievement.
  • Appeal to the audience’s needs and emotions using stories, anecdotes, and quotes to add drama.
  • Avoid using notes.

Time Limit: 8 to 10 minutes with a minimum qualification time of 7 minutes 30 seconds and a maximum time of 10 minutes 30 seconds.


Bye Bye Pooja !!!

“Gautam… This is not our job… Just keep going?”, shouted Pooja.
The year was 2006. I was studying 10th standard. Rainy evening. Serene Climate. Something that is perfect for a lovely cycle ride. And I was happily riding on my cycle along the streets of Coimbatore. Of course Pooja was with me.
Few metres ahead, I saw people curving around a particular spot on the road. “Must be a pothole”, I thought. We all know what Indian roads are famous for Bumps, potholes and speed breakers everywhere. As I went close by, I found that it was not a pot hole. It was a small, cute street dog, who was badly injured. I could see blood oozing out of his leg. Nobody was ready to care for that creature and that is why people curved and went by. I didn’t want to be like them and I stopped my cycle near the dog to help.
Good evening fellow Toastmasters and Guests…
That is when Pooja shouted at me and asked me to get going. I looked at Pooja and said
“Pooja, the poor creature is much injured. And my heart doesn’t let me leave it unattended”
“You think you are smart? Generous? Kind hearted? After all a dog. Just keep going”
“What if something happens to the dog? It is unable to move being in the middle of the road”
“If you think you are smart call the blue cross, they will come and take care. Wasting time for a dog is something I can’t agree to. Can you start pedalling your cycle and keep going?”
“But Pooja….”
“Do you also see that you are wearing a new shirt? Do you want to spoil this nice Allen Solly shirt for this useless creature? Do you think you are mother Teresa? To win a noble price for peace and being kind hearted? Or do you think you are emperor Paari who cares for plants and animals on road?”
“Poojaaa…stop….. I give up. I am not helping this dog. I wonder how. Every time I try doing something good, you stop me. And you are so good in arguing, that I lose to you every time and give up. God knows when you will let me do what my heart says.. Let’s go”
Fellow toastmasters and guests, meet Ms Pooja… My… My…. My…. “Alter Ego”. Pooja is my alter ego. For those of you who do not know what an alter ego is, “An alter ego is a personality within every human being who generally stops you when you try doing something good, scares you when you try doing something noble and threatens you when you try doing something great. How many of you have experienced this situation where you thought of doing something good, for example starting a business and a voice from within says, “Do you think you can do well? What if you lose money? What if you fail?”, and many such questions. That is alter ego my dear friends. Right from childhood, whenever I wanted to make a good decision, Pooja was there to spoil that.
For a long long time, I was disturbed by pooja and was craving for an opportunity to get rid of her. The next day after this incident, I went to school and met my class teacher, Mr Senthil, a simple honest and friendly teacher. I explained the whole incident that happened the previous day asked him, “Sir, Every time I try doing something good, a voice from within stops me. Have you faced such situations in life and how did you overcome”. He smiled at me and said, “Gautam. The only way to say good bye to your pooja, is to focus on what is right and never let your thoughts wander”.
Frankly speaking I never understood what he meant by focus, until a time came when he himself proved to me that all we need is to focus on what is right. It was the time when we were left with just two months for our 10th class final examinations. Senthil sir had 2 goals. One was to get a 100 % pass status in a class, where many students were from financially poor conditions and illiterate families. Second, he wanted me to be the school topper as I was his favourite student. He tried all possible ways of making us study properly. Scolding….beating…..punishing. Nothing worked and none of us showed progress. Finally he decided to choose a different path. He started motivating us to do well. He showered unconditional love believing that would make us study well. Every morning he would get up at 4 AM, and call each and every student to wake him up and make him study. After a few days we started thinking, “When this person can get up at 4, just for making us do well in our exams, let us study well at least for his sake”. We started improving in our academics. After a few days, he even started organizing evening study sessions for all of us, wherein he would make us stay in school till 9 PM at night. And yes, he would get us yummy snacks for us to eat… at his own cost. We thought again, “When he does so much for us, let us study better for his sake”. And finally through kindness, he achieved his goals of getting a 100% pass status and making me the school topper.
I went to him and asked, “Sir, how did you do this. Didn’t you hear an inner voice which said – Don’t waste your mobile bills by calling everyone everyday at 4 AM? Or.. didn’t get you an inner voice telling you not to spend money every day and get us something to eat? Don’t you have a Pooja like me?”. He smiled as usual and said, “Gautam. You need to just focus on what is right and never let your thoughts sway towards anything else. What is right for me as a teacher is to make you study well. I focussed on it. When you focus, you find different ways of doing things. I found my way through love and I achieved”.
His words struck me so powerfully this time. I took this lesson from him and started focussing on what is right for me. Soon after finishing school, I wanted to choose computer science group. Pooja came in between to suggest me something different. I focused on what I felt is right. I still chose computer science and I am here in TCS. Soon after I entered TCS, I wanted to join Toastmasters. Pooja came in between to ask a hundred questions, “Do you really want that? It costs a lot, is that ok?”. I focussed on what I felt is right, joined toastmasters and I am here before you as a speaker. And now, it is long time since I met Pooja in my life.
Ladies and gentlemen, each one of you would have come across such situations, when you want to do something really good. Something really worthy. But a voice from within threatened you and stops you from doing what you really wanted to do. You might have thought about starting a business. You might have thought about coming to our club meetings regularly. Or you might have thought about becoming a great inspirational teacher like Senthil Sir. And all of you might have a Pooja in your life who stops you from achieving your dreams. Next time you encounter your Pooja, all you have to do is FOCUS on what is right and say “Bye Bye Pooja !!!”

Click here to watch the speech video of “Bye Bye Pooja”
Bygautamsharma

Persuade with power – “The red gold”

Project Summary: The ability to persuade people – getting them to understand, accept and act upon your ideas – is a valuable skill. Your listeners will more likely be persuades if they perceive you as a credible, if you use logic and emotion in your appeal, if you carefully structure your speech, and if you appeal to their interests. Avoid using notes, because they may cause listeners to doubt your sincerity, knowledge and conviction.
Objectives:

  • Persuade listeners to adopt your view point or ideas or to take some action.
  • Appeal to the audience’s interests.
  • Use logic and emotion to support your position.
  • Avoid using notes.

Time Limit: 5 to 7 minutes with a minimum qualification time of 4 minutes 30 seconds and maximum time of 7 minutes 30 seconds.


The Red Gold

Winter afternoon, heavy lunch, sleepy lectures, boring professor. I was finding it difficult to control my eyelids which were like romantic couple separated from each other. They were trying to join again and again, but I was preventing them. I was wondering how to get rid of this situation. That is when I heard an announcement, “Dear Students!! Blood donation camp is happening in our college today. Interested volunteers are requested to assemble at the auditorium”. My eyes gleamed and so did the eyes of many others in the classroom. We knew that this is the only opportunity to flee away from the clutches of this monotonous professor. We stood up and said, “Saarrr… Blood saarr.. donation saarrr”. He frowned at us and showed an expression which looked as if he had indigestion problem, yet he reluctantly agreed.
And there we were, in the auditorium, filling pre requisite forms, not even knowing what is blood donation and what are we supposed to do there. All of us were 18 year old Ice breaker blood donors then. After filling the form, they took us to another room where I found a bunch of beautiful doctors, holding the donor’s hands and asking a lot of questions. I was eagerly waiting for my chance. Who would want to miss the chance of being hand held by a beautiful girl? Typical guy you know. My turn came and the doctor asked a few questions about my health and wrote the word, “OK” in my form. At last it was time to donate. I was made to comfortably lie on a bed and blood was taken out. At the end they gave some fruits, dates and other eatables. I ate well, but still told my professor that I was feeling weak and bunked the whole day. I was feeling very proud, not because I donated blood, but because I bunked a day’s classes. I was feeling so happy not because I had saved someone’s life unknowingly but because I was hand held by an angel. I never knew that donating blood means a few minutes to me, but a life time to someone else. Fortunately or unfortunately, my name was added to the list of active donors from my college, which I wasn’t aware of.
Few months passed, and one of my college mate’s dad was undergoing an open heart surgery. They were in need of blood immediately. I received a call from the college NSS supervisor asking me if I could help. I was a little hesitant, but they managed to convince me by explaining the situation.
Once again I was there in a hall, filling forms, hand held by a doctor, donating blood and eating fruits. It wasn’t an ice breaker any more. It was happening for the second time and was very ORGANIZED. But something different happened at the end. The girl, whose dad needed the blood, came to me with tears in her eyes. She was high on emotions. She couldn’t utter a word but her eyes did all the talking. She thanked me from the bottom of her heart for saving her dad’s life. She joined her palms and uttered the words, “Feels like god has come in your form to save my dad. Thank you brother for your timely help. May god be with you always”.
That is when I realized that it is not bunking classes that matters, it is not being hand held by a girl that matters. What matters when you donate blood, is you become a Demigod for the recipient. You become a hero for them, or rather a super hero who has saved their life when required. The happiness and smile that you see in their face when they thank you, makes you feel divinely human. I realized that donating blood means a few minutes to me but a life time to someone else.
I realized that the best benefit I get out of donating blood is happiness. But my mind didn’t leave me with that. It pushed me to investigate and find if the donor gets other benefits too. I asked my best friend google and found that the donor has a lot of health benefits as well.
I am going to share few benefits, post which you would all feel like doing this act.
  1. Blood donation improvises heart health by reducing the amount of Iron in the blood. Increased iron content increases the chances of heart disease. If you donate blood regularly, you reduce the chances of heart attack by 88%.
  2. Blood donation enhances production of new blood cells which help your body to stay more healthy and active.
  3. Donating blood on a regular basis helps burn calories. Study says that donating one pint of blood burns 650 calories.

Having known all these, I became a regular donor and donated 8 times in the last 4 years. I realized that drops of tears of a mother can’t save her child, but drops of blood sometimes can. I am happy and proud every time when I think that I am instrumental in saving lives. A guy who started donating blood just to bunk classes is now a regular donor. What are you waiting for, fellow toastmasters and guests. Register yourself with a blood bank, donate blood, save lives!! It means a few minutes to you but a life time to someone else. Will you spare these few minutes to save a life?

Click here to watch the speech video of “The red gold”
Bygautamsharma

Get comfortable with visual aids – “Shortcuts can cut short your life”

Project Summary: Visual aids help an audience understand and remember what they hear; they are a valuable tool for speakers. The most popular visual aids are computer-based visual aids, overhead transparencies, flipcharts, whiteboards and props. The type of visual aid you choose depends on several factors, including the information you wish to display and the size of the audience. Visuals must be appropriate for your message and the audience, and be displayed correctly with ease and confidence.

Objectives:

  • Select visual aids that are appropriate for your message and the audience.
  • Use the visual aids correctly with ease and confidence

Time Limit: 5 to 7 minutes with a minimum qualification time of 4 minutes 30 seconds and maximum time of 7 minutes 30 seconds.


Short cuts can cut short your life 

[The ppt used for this speech is given as images appropriately in between the script]

[I’ll be walking with a newspaper in my hand and uttering the following] 

A female in early 30s died in a road accident in Gomtinagar area. 32 killed in Assam road accident. 6 killed, 20 injured in Karnataka road accidents. Software professional loses life while crossing railway line…. These are some of the common headlines we come across, almost every day in newspapers these days. It is disgusting and disheartening to know that India stands first in the globe in terms of road and rail accidents. There were 3,94,982 accidental deaths in the country last year out of which over 2 lakhs were just due to road and railway accidents. This is equivalent to losing almost the entire population of the city of Pune every year. If we look at the root cause of all these, the primary reason is “WE”. Our carelessness and the shortcuts we follow. I am going to discuss about five shortcuts which could cut short your life.

SHORTCUT #1: Shortcuts while crossing roads and railway lines:

Though the government has constructed comfortable, wide and spacious foot over bridges, there are some lazy morons who cross the railway lines and busy roads. To some extent I would accept this if it was committed by an age old person who cannot climb stairs, but most often people who do this fall in the age group of 15-29. Kindly use foot over bridges, for friends, this is one shortcut which can cut short your life.

SHORTCUT #2: Shortcuts to office and home:

It is a universal truth that we have a tendency to start late from home in the morning. As a result of this we are always in a hurry while driving. Many times I see people driving too fast, driving on one way roads, crossing the median at wrong place, overtaking other vehicles in a flyover, overtaking other vehicles in a deep curve and many other shortcuts. This is one of the major causes of road accidents in our country. Kindly do not violate traffic rules, for friends; this is one shortcut which can cut short your life.

SHORTCUT #3: Shortcuts to saving fuel cost :

We all know that many companies including our own TCS is promoting the concept of car pooling. But no company has ever promoted something called Bike pooling. Still, there are many who do this crime. I call this a crime, or rather an equivalent crime to murder because it may jeopardize not only your life, but also the lives of many. It is important to save fuel and save cost but not at the cost of your life. Kindly do not overload your vehicle, for friends; this is one short cut which can cut short your life.

SHORTCUT #4: Shortcut to giving status reports


This is a very common problem that India is cursed with today. We see many people on road giving status reports while driving. Various kinds of status reports for that matter. It may be a status report about project to your boss or your client, status report to your spouse, facebook status updates while driving etc. This is a very serious problem, because mobile phones distract the drivers attention which eventually leads to accidents. There is no hurry or shortcut required here. Park your vehicle in a corner of the road and then take calls. Much better option would be to reach your destined place and then take calls or update facebook status. Kindly do not use mobile phone while driving, for friends; this is one short cut which can cut short your life.

SHORTCUT #5: Shortcut to experiencing quality music 


Roads and railway lines are not the places to prove that we are AR Rahman fans or Michael Jackson fans. There are always better places to prove it. I was shocked when I heard that few of our own TCS employees lost life just because they were listening to loud music while crossing the railway line. They couldn’t hear a train approaching them and pathetically got run over. Kindly take time and leisurely listen to quality music and not while driving or crossing roads and railway lines, for friends; this is one short cut which may cut short your life. Fellow toastmasters and guests, please understand that god has given us just one life for everything. One life to stay happy, one life to enjoy, one life to laugh, one life to cry, one life to love each other, one life to prove your abilities and just one life for everything. If these short cuts are going to cut short your precious life, why follow them? Why lose your life and give an emotional burden to your kith and kin. Why lose life without achieving what you wanted to. Friends, I request you all to repeat after me, “I pledge to be a safe road user. I will avoid taking shortcuts and prevent my life from getting cut short”. Thank you and over to you toastmaster.


Click here to watch the speech video of “Shortcuts can cut short your life”