Speakers digest february2012
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  • 1. CSF, Issue No.4 ,February 2012 1
  • 2. Editorial Why a newsletter? What is the purpose of a newsletter? Is it to showcase the writing abilities of Toastmasters? Or is it a part of PR drive to increase membership? A newsletterTable of Contents does serve both the purposes, but there is an- other factor that makes a newsletter an impor- tant aspect of a Toastmasters club; preservingFrom the President’s our memories in a colorful way. It is a way todesk -3 record our journey with Toastmasters, it is a window to look back and cherish the beautifulWhat is Toastmasters moments and lessons we gathered from thisInternational? -4 great movement. Would you like to remember who you wereFabric of Toastmasters-5 with when you were younger? (If you think you are not young, you are not getting youngerBook of the Month –6 anyway.)Do you want to absorb the collected wisdom of every Toastmaster session? Do youTestimony Corner –7 want to celebrate the celebrations of the past? If yes is an answer to any of the above questions, you need to contribute to the clubCommunication when news letter. Writing is not the only way to―Leading without a contribute to the newsletter; you can contrib-Title‖ -8 ute by reading it, by providing constructive criticism to improve the quality, by appreciat-Collected Wisdom - ing the contributors , and also by sending it to your friends outside the realm of Toastmasters.Table topics template–11 Special thanks to VP-PR , TM Jananee forEditors choice- providing me the opportunity to learn aboutSpeech of the Month – myself. A simple thanks is insufficient to12 acknowledge the efforts of the core Newsletter team, TM Abhilash, TM Rohit and TM Aarthi. It has been a pleasure working with you guys.Grammar Granny –13 Every month, the newsletter team puts inThe Chosen one –14 hours of effort to come up with something that will take you only minutes to read. Do read it,The Month that was –15 and do write back to us. TM Nijil Chandran Editor 2
  • 3. From the President’s deskDear Readers,A few weeks ago I was watching a Television Reality Show. It was a cooking con-test for amateur chefs around the world. In that particular episode, there were 4contestants competing. The episode was a team contest., so the four of themwere split into 2 different teams, each team having two cooks. Now this is howthe split was done – Two out of the four were comparatively more experienced.They had undergone training, and had a knack over technique. The other two had not undergone any training. The only cooking they had donebefore was for their families – at home. They had not studied any Professionaltechniques. Both professional cooks were put into one team (lets call it Team A)and the non-Professionals were put into the other (Team B). The challenge was tomake a French dish (that I can’t spell) within 70 minutes. The whistle blew, and their time had begun. The Anchors went to the teams andasked them what their strategy was :Team A – ―We’re going to use the advantage of our tech-niques. Professional cooking will make us win.‖Team B – ―We don’t really know what the right techniquesare. We’re just going to cook from our Heart.‖70 minutes were up.Team A’s dish looked like a still from a cooking-magazine.Team B’s dish didn’t look that appealing . It was time forthe Judges to taste the dishes, and announce the result.Here’s what they said – ―Team A’s dish had it all right – the ingredients,presentation, everything was great. But Team B’s dish hadsomething unexplainable. The taste was just astounding.‖Team B won. When asked what the secret of their success was, Team B said – ―We cooked thisdish with a special ingredient – Love.‖ And how true is that, for every walk of Life - Toastmasters included! We take uproles, deliver speeches, and participate in contests. We prepare our scripts; usevarious techniques; and practice ardently. But if we just add that one special in-gredient; our Speeches, our Role-Plays will be taken to a new level altogether.That one special ingredient of Love. So in this season of Love, let’s make it a point to fall in Love – with our Scripts,with our Speeches, with our Role-Plays, with CSF, with Toastmasters!Signing off with Loads of Love,Arna ChuganiPresident 3
  • 4. What is Toastmaster International? Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadershipdevelopment. Our membership is 270,000 strong. These members improve theirspeaking and leadership skills by attending one of the 13,000 clubs that make upour global network of meeting locations. It is also one of the most cost-effectiveskill-building tools available anywhereHow Does It Work?A Toastmasters meeting is a learn-by-doing workshop in which participants honetheir speaking and leadership skills in a no-pressure atmosphere.For more details visit: http://www.toastmasters.org/What can you expect at Chennai Speakers Forum (CSF)? Did you know ?With a membership base of more than forty five toast- CSF has already wonmasters within four and half months, CSF is one of the five DCP points sincefastest growing community clubs in Chennai. inception.Apart from general regular meetings under TMI guide- Who are our Clublines, we have an hour of optional classroom session sponsors ?before every meeting. S. Karthikeyan Saro VelrajanThis is what our VP-PR Jananee had to say about what you Club Missioncan expect at CSF: The mission of a Toastmasters Club isHere...you can "Challenge Safely and Fabricate" yourself. to provide a mutuallyHere...you can "Change, Succeed and feel Fabulous". supportive and posi-We gather every week to grow by standing up, tive learning environ-We gather every week to grow by speaking up, ment in which every individual memberA safe place to challenge yourself has the opportunityA cushioned room to track your progress. to develop oral com-A place where stress is a trespasser! munication and lead-A place where communication is THE HERO! ership skills, which In turn foster personalSo thats why We all are here! growth and self confi- dence. 4
  • 5. The Fabric of Toastmasters In everyones heart there is a dream of excel-ling in public speaking. This dream is best metwhen he or she joins the movement called Toast-masters like I did in march 2009. Since then it’s been just learning, learning andlearning. Sounds interesting right? For me it is wee beyond just learning. I havebegun to understand what makes me want to at-tend meetings after meetings every weekendwithout being bored or burnt out. Now what is it that makes people like me turnup weekly for such self development meetingsknowing very well the structure of the meetingsis the same every week, month and year. I did some soul searching and came out withmy answers as to why it is so. What I realized isthat its not just about taking part in these meet-ings that makes you a better public speaker and Did you know ?leader but it is a sense of belonging with yourpeers of different age groups that matters the Chennai Speakers Forumsmost. very first International speech and Table topics con- The camaraderie, the attitude of treating your test will be held on Marchfellow Toastmasters as contemporaries and help- 4th 2012 And the contesting each other to excel is what I believe the fab- chair for the same is noneric or foundation on which the movement of other than our beloved TMToastmasters is firmly embedded. Rajeev Nambiar. That camaraderie and right attitude accelerates To quote him on the impor-the growth of a novice speaker to become better tance of contest,communicators and in turn better leaders. ―Judges determine who goes home with the Trophy but they cant determine who Cheers!!! goes home as a winner. So -TM Rajeev Nambiar discover the winner in you.” Be part of the contest, as a contestant or as a role player or as audience. The best of best is awaiting you! 5
  • 6. Book of the Month — Life of Pie by Yann Martel This book should be read not because it is a Man Booker prize winner, but because this is a book which will make us realise that fiction does not necessarily lie in other galaxies or timelines, nor does it lie in the past or the future or in other species, but can be found right in our backyard in our day to day life. Piscine Molitor Patel, abbreviated to Pi is just another teenage boy with no special powers or upbringing. Born in a middle class South Indian family, which owns a zoo in Pondicherry, Pi has a very normal life when one day everything changed. Being stranded on the Pacific Ocean on a flimsy boat is enough to make most people drown in despair. Imagine what would be the state of a boy stranded on the high seas in the company of eminent species of the animal kingdom- A Zebra, an Orang-Utan, A Hyena and A Royal Bengal Tiger!! Trivia Life of Pie, a 3D fan- tasy adventure film based on a novel with same name is scheduled to be re- leased in December, 2012. The cast includes two famous Indian actors Irfan Khan and Tabu. What follows is an unimaginable yet possible, unbelievable yet awe-inspiring,distressing yet inspiring tale of a boy much like any one of us. 227 days, 356 pages of unadulterated fiction, touching moments of life everyoneof us has gone through at some point or other, written in simple language whichtransports us right next to the boy sitting on the raft, with the tiger staring at him. The author has bought to the front the bare minimum required for human sur-vival and at the same time has explored philosophical implications and ideas withoutgoing off the track. Gems of philosophy/spirituality are sprinkled across the bookwhich encourages reflection and contemplation, a welcome respite from the monoto-nous existence on the seas. Read this book for what it has to offer, have no expectations from it, start it withan open mind and I am sure you will truly know "Life of Pi". - TM Rohit J 6
  • 7. Testimony Page - Kiran It all started on a fine day when one of my close friends came home and started working on his laptop. I thought he was going to connect his to my PC and set-up the connection for some game. But after a while I was astonished to see him do something really useful. He was preparing an agenda for a "TOASTMASTERS CLUB‖ meeting. Yes, the Toastmasters Club was Chennai Speakers Forum! I joined the club as soon as my friend ex- plained what exactly it does or rather what ex- actly the members do. As a person open to speak with close friends and people whom I felt comfortable with, I thought this would be an op- portunity. When it came to speaking in front of an un- Did you know ? known audience I used to tremble, shiver and please do add all the words having similar Kiran gave his long pending meanings! I was badly in search for a platform like this wherein a persons skills can be vastly Icebreaker in February, and boy improved. was it not worth the wait. Yes, the Toastmasters Club is a Non-Profit Filled with humor, subtle varia- Organization that helps every member to im- tion of voice, and quality con- prove his/her public speaking and leadership tent ,an Icebreaker from sea- skills. soned Toastmaster. Though it has been just a few months, my ex- It is a tradition at CSF to give perience with Toastmasters has been fantastic. standing ovation to every I’m sure there will be so much more learning in every meeting and we ourselves could sense the speaker embarking on their CC difference. I feel that this is something that we journey. all should experience to understand the impor- tance that it holds in our lives. Congratulations Kiran! Cheers! - TM KiranWhat did they say about January Newsletter?I went through the Newsletter. A product of sustained hard work.Kudos to the Editorial Team.- TM T.R.Thiagarajan 7
  • 8. Communication when “Leading without a Title” Civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Father of our nation, MohandossKaramchand Gandhi, Social activist Anna Hazare. How do these individuals in-spire people to work for a common cause? How do these individuals mobilizesupport of a large number of people?They are not the Presidents or Prime Ministers of the nation. They are not CEOs ofa large corporation or associated with any political organizations. They were notborn into a family of leaders. They neither had large sums of money nor a formalauthority over peopleSo, what are the tricks that these leaders used to attract people and influencethem for their cause? How were they able to LEAD WITHOUT A TITLE? They knowhow to effectively CONNECT, COLLOBORATE AND CONGRATULATE.ConnectI read a quote recently ―Whenever people get together, problems get smaller andcommunities get better‖. What an interesting quote. It highlights the importanceof team work in serving people. Our leadership skill is put to the best use, whenwe ―Connect‖ with people and work together as a team.So, how do you connect with your team, when you are a leader? When you are ina gathering, take the first step to introduce yourself to others.Always, greet people with a warm and pleasant SMILE. CONNECT, Make them feel SPECIAL COLLOBORATE Make them feel IMPORTANT CONGRATULATE... Make them feel you CARESay, you are in a club meeting and you see a fellow toastmaster entering the hall.You can just say, ―Good morning Sir!‖ (or)―Hello Thiagarajan Sir! How are you? It is a pleasure to see you today. Welcometo the meeting. We were missing you so much‖Staying connected with people is like farming. In farming you plough the land,sow seeds, water the field, remove weeds, and add fertilizer at the right time.Similarly, you’ve to invest your time in maintaining the relationship and stayingconnected with people – by appreciating their accomplishments, by listening to their needs, and by re-enforcing their belief that they are important 8
  • 9. Collaborate―Leadership is not about the Leader‖ said Wing-Kun Tam, International Presidentof Lions International. It is very true.Verbal – “I/You” ratio.When we collaborate with a team, we tend to create an impression that we aredominating, self-centered and egoistic. How do we avoid that impression?There is a simple technique called I/You ratio in communication.The most powerful communication combines both intellectual and emotional con-nections. Intellectual means appealing to educated self-interest with data andreasoned arguments. We are good at that.Emotion comes from engaging the listener and answering their unspoken ques-tion – ―What is in it for me‖? … by frequently using words such as "you" and ―we‖.For example, dont say, ―I met the District Governor last week. I was asked to or-ganize a conference. I have to form a team. I’m looking for people. If any of youare interested to join the organizing team, let me know‖.Instead, you can say ―We have a tremendous opportunityto serve our toastmasters and perform a number of lead-ership roles. Our District Governor has given us the taskof organizing a conference. We need a large number ofvolunteers. Each one of you is qualified to be a roleplayer. Will you be able to join me in this mission toserve, learn and grow?‖Look at the impact that it creates.Leading by example TM Saro How do you inspire people to follow your cause, without verbal communication– ―leading by example‖. Let me give you an example. Joe Girhard is a Guinnessrecord holder. Joe worked for General Motors and he holds a Guinness record forselling the most number of cars, not just one year, not just two years but con-tinuously for 15 years in a row. In one of the interviews, he was asked ―Joe! Howwere you able to sell more cars, when your colleagues in the dealership had ex-actly the same opportunity as you?‖ Well! It was simple. He said, people watchwhat you do … much more than listening to what you say. Many of my colleagueswere selling Chevrolet, but there were driving a Honda, Toyota or a Volkswagencar themselves. But, I was selling a Chevvy and also owned a Chevvy. When myprospects see that I believe in the product that I sell, they tend to buy it fromme. I just walk my talk and that made the difference.‖What an excellent example of leadership? Leaders just don’t preach the world toact; they ―lead by example‖. When you do it, others will get inspired and auto-matically follow you. 9
  • 10. CongratulateGenuinely appreciating the performance of your members!! I read a book called ―How to teach so that kids can listen‖. The book talks about―How to motivate kids to get repeatable behaviors?‖. The author says ―Don’t justcompliment your kid, but compliment them for a specific reason‖.For example, instead of just saying ―Son! You did a fantastic job‖, you should say―Son! I like the way you are keeping your room neat and clean. You are saving alot of time for dad and mom. Great job‖. When you communicate the specific rea-son for which you are appreciating them, they remember it better. They feel ―I’mgetting this appreciation because I kept the room neat and clean‖. You can usethe same technique for adults also. After all, we were also kids once upon a time.For example, instead of saying ―Ramesh! You did a great job of conducting an eyecamp‖, you can say ―Ramesh! You displayed extraordinary commitment, teamwork and service mentality by organizing the eye camp. You were able to make ithappen despite the challenges you had in mobilizing funds. You are trustworthyand I can rely on you every time. Great job‖. At times, folks will come to you and ask for feedback ontheir performance. ―How did I perform Sir? What can I Saro Velrajan is theimprove?‖ Our, natural tendency is to either say ―You governor of Divi-did a great job‖ or to you would start listing a long list of sionv G. He is alsomistakes they did. But remember, volunteers are spend- one of the two CSFing their spare time to help others. Each one of them is club sponsor ? Whotrying to do their best. is the other one?When giving feedback to your team or team members, highlight the areas they did well highlight the areas they could’ve done better end it with appreciation of their good workThe LAST impression is the LASTING impression. When giving feedback, alwaysEND WITH A HIGH NOTE.Leaders can be MADEI strongly believe that leadership is something that can be learned. Leaders don’thave to be BORN. Leaders can be made – all we need to have is the determina-tion to be leader. If there is one magic pill that we can swallow before going tothe bed and wake up the next morning as a GREAT LEADER, everybody will beleaders today. But Leadership requires constant practice with persistence, pa-tience and passion, you can be a great leader too. When you follow these simpletechniques to effectively CONNECT, COLLABORATE AND CONGRATULATE PEOPLE,you are going to be a Leader everyone would love to work with. - TM Saro Velrajan 10
  • 11. Collected Wisdom—Table topics TemplateNervous and breathless in a table topics session ? Check out the all new mind-map to get your ideas flowing.So how do I read a mind map ?The word in the middle is the central point, and the green clouds represent thesub topics, and the red clouds are the actual idea triggers.Try to elaborate your Table topic based on any one of the below. Mix and matchand practice a lot until you become an expert!Source : The classroom sessions from CSF. No rights reserved, you can use it asyou like. 11
  • 12. Speech of the month—Break the shackles It was a fine Friday morning. I woke up at 7 AM to prepare a presentationfor my project. By 8 AM, I started driving to my office. Gentle morning breeze,lovely music in my ears, beautiful sun shining amidst those clouds, a climate bal-anced between summer and winter and the lovely OMR! While I was feeling like a prince on his horse, there was a sudden change inthe scene. The car in front of me stopped and skidded. I was cornered betweenan auto and a gutter. My right hand hit the backlight in the car as it crashed intopieces. In fraction of a second, I was on the road and blood was gushing out ofmy hand. All these 4 fingers were cut and I fainted. Toastmaster of the day, fellow Toastmasters and dear Guests, when I wokeup, I was inside the operation theatre. I was able to see everything around me asonly local anesthesia was given. The doctor who treated me deserves a mention.She was stitching my hand and suddenly her phone rang. She answered the call,it was from her daughter. I heard the doctor scolding her daughter for bad scoresin the exams. While I wondered on the uniformity of the ―Mom‖ factor, my handwas shivering in panic. What if those scores result inscars in my hand! Somehow the operation got over and Editor‟s note:the nurse showed me my fingers. It was like lumps ofmeat stitched together. The doctor asked me my pro- The new feature –fession and I told I am a software engineer. Speech of the month will bring out the She said, ―Thankfully, your hand will get cured in editor‟s choice best2 months and it will be fit enough to type‖.―What! Typ- speech of theing! What about my regular life, playing, writing, driv- month.ing etc. ― ―Why are you worrying, I told you will be ableto type, what more does a software engineer need! TM Abhilash‟s CC#9Anyway, do physiotherapy and try your luck. Good „Break the shackles‟luck!‖ is the speech of the With those encouraging words from her, I re- month.turned to home. My hand was immobilized with Plasterof Paris for 2 months. Where ever I went, I had to golike this (Snake-like posture of palm). You can imagine the fun my friends andcolleagues would have had with this. They branded me unfit for driving. When they opened the covering on myhand after 2 months, I saw my hand shrunk and weak like corpse shrimp! Pa-thetic, I was not even able to lift it properly. I went for physiotherapy; they toldme if I followed their instructions, I can gradually get well. But it was not easy tosee the slow progress and my dreams to be back on the bike shriveled. A few days later, I went to a temple. There I saw an elephant tied to a pillarwith a chain. I went near its Mahout- its care-taker, and asked ―What assures youthat such a massive elephant can be held tied to this small piece of Iron chain? Itcan break that easily anytime!‖ 12
  • 13. Speech of the month—Break the shackles He answered calmly: ―When this elephant was young andmuch smaller, I used the same chain to tie it. At that age, thischain was enough to hold it. As it grew up, it is conditioned tobelieve that this chain can hold it and it never tries to breakaway!‖ Bingo! That meant much more than an answer, much be-yond a single elephant; it was a statement to mankind! This so-ciety attaches to every human, a chain of limitation. It puts youin shackles just because you failed once and says that: you arenot fit to study; you are not fit to work; you are not fit for mar-riage, and the list goes on… In this competitive world, where, there are family andfriends all around you constantly putting you down, de-motivation is ubiquitous!But is there any real chain that can hold you? Your teacher is not God to call you astupid student. Your manager is not God to call you a bad performer. Your doctor isnot God to decide what your hands are meant for! You are the God! You hold theUltimatum to your destiny! The very next day, I began to break the shackles that held my right hand.For the next 1 month I did strenuous exercise. I believed I can play. I believed Ican drive my bike again. I put my beliefs to action and today, my friends, my righthand is no different from any of yours. I drive myself to wherever I want to go. Myright hand is the rightest-hand! Now, how many of you have these shackles around you? Is this society in-stilling fear in you to reach out to your interest? Give them a damn right now! Dothe thing you fear the most! Break the shackles and live your Life! - TM AbhilashGrammar Granny Tip of the month from Grammar Granny. Fewer: Use fewer when youre referring to people or things in the plural fewer things, fewer people, fewer women, fewer cars Example: People are buying fewer books. When to Fewer people are smokers these days. use less and when to Less: use fewer. Use less when youre referring to things that cant be counted Heres how less time, less air, less money to get it Example: right. Its a better job but they pay you less money. People want to spend less time in traffic jams. 13
  • 14. The Chosen one - Suresh Babu , We miss you!We remember you enrolling as a member soon after your first visit. What madeyou to take that instant decision to join Toastmasters? Right from my childhood, I felt that stage fear acted as an obsta-cle in putting across my thoughts. Last year, I felt that the same started affectingmy professional growth; hence, I decided to find some way or the other to get ridof it. I heard about Toastmasters and then came as a guest.What made you come forward and grab every opportunity to perform inToastmasters meeting? I strongly believe that Practice makes a man perfect. Just to getrid of my stage fear and to communicate effectivelyWhat do you feel Chartered Accountants-Toastmasters combo can do? Great combination to do wonders especially in career front. Suresh Babu ,What is the most fun stuff about your work and how do you see a Charteredyourself performing in that situation? Accountant , Being in the client facing industry, I need to interact is an enthusi-with clients to provide optimal solutions. Despite having the astic Toast-mindset, to expect the unexpected, there might be some situa- master whotion were clients arise some queries for which I don’t know the duringsolution at that moment. Initially, it was little embarrassing to Chennaisay, ―I will get back to you‖ but later I felt it is fun to handle Toastmasterssuch type of question in a convincing manner. Still, a long way days was very active. This isto go. what he hadIf you were to create to a totally different world, what kind of to say aboutplace would that be? when TM I am really confident that God would never dare to Aarthi caughtoutsource his work and stay unemployed. up with him.If you were to talk about Toastmasters to your Chartered Accountantsfamily what will you tell them about Toastmasters? I will give a brief introduction about Toastmaster in terms of publicspeaking and leadership skill development, but, definitely invite them to attendthe meeting as a guest to feel the difference.We understand that you are caught up in your work / personal circumstances .What can the club do to advance you in the projects? Let me sort out few pending stuffs and join our Toastmasters familyat the earliest. Anyways, thanks a lot for offering me the helping hand. - Interviewed by TM Aarthi 14
  • 15. The month that was... The editorial team of CSF congratulates the following members for theiroutstanding achievements in the month of February. DTM Aditya Maheshwaran — For winning the Rotary young achiever of the year award TM Arna Chugani and — For Becoming Competent Communicators officially. TM Abhilash Annadurai Other notable winners of February:Date Best Speaker Best Evaluator Best TT Speaker TM Arna Chugani TM Saro V TM Krishnan5th February Chidambaram12th February TM Karthik S TM Saro V TM Sandeep19th February TM Abhilash DTM Aditya M DTM Aditya MEvents of February: CSF’s first International speech and Table topics contest dates were announced.The contest is chaired by TM Rajeev Nambiar. Best Role player award introduced in the third meeting of the month; the firstever Best Role player award was bagged by TM Aarthi for her General Evaluatorrole. Online edition of January Newslet- ter release. 15
  • 16. Office Members: Chennai Speakers Forum President :meets every Sunday @ 10 AM TM Arna Chugani.At Ruby Hall, Presidency Club. (bubbly_arna@yahoo.co.in)Class room session happensbetween 9 AM -9.45 AM before VP - Education :every meeting. TM Pravin Mani.If you have any suggestion, an (pravin1314@gmail.com)opinion or a perspective to VP - Membership :share with the Newsletter team,write to us, we are listening. TM M Mustafa Azeez. (mohammedmusthafa@gmail.cFeel free to contact us at om)Editor: VP - PR : TM Nijil Chandran TM Jananee R Nijil.mail@gmail.com (jaramakrishnan@gmail.com)VP-PR: Secretary : TM Jananee R jaramakrishnan@gmail.com TM Gurumurugan. (gurumuruganindia@yahoo.co.i n) Treasurer : TM Vivekanandan. (vivek.acs@gmail.com) Sergeant At Arms : TM Nijil Chandran 16