Inside this issue
President’s note .................................2
Interview with Avinash
The magic of mentoring…………….5
Magajmari is good!............................6
If I can.....................................................7
Shout outs for DCP goal accom-
Outgoing and incoming Executive
Int. speech contest and June 23rd,
2013 celebration pictures………..10
Find us online…………………………13
FAQ’s and Contact us………………14
Special points of interest
Interview with Avinash Agarwal
Magajmari is good!
April through June 2013 has been an exciting, opportune, and proud period for the
Mumbai Toastmasters Club (MTM)! Our Executive committee worked relentlessly
through the timeline to ensure that the Sunday sessions go on without a hitch. Be-
sides witnessing a range of speeches that MTM is famous for, the sessions wooed
members and guests alike through a versatile range of themes from social media to
super heroes to celebrating hundred years of Bollywood! While our members were
honing their skills on the podium, our club champions were busy battling it out at the
division and district level speech contests and won a fair share of accolades for the
club. Members’ enthusiasm for moving forward on their Toastmasters journey and
gaining stage time was evident from an unprecedented demand for speech slots! A
large chunk of the credit goes to Sanjiv Banerji, VP Education, for bringing his insatia-
ble drive and passion to the role. He went above and beyond in his efforts to serve
the club and its members and making speech slots quite literally ‘hot property’.
July 2013 will see a new batch of Executive committee take on the reins of the club
for the next six months. I wish a splendid tenure to the incoming team. Besides arti-
cles, tips, and interesting testimonials, the present issue covers an exclusive inter-
view with our International speech contest winner,
Avinash Agarwal. Please enjoy the issue along with
Mumbai’s incessant rains!
Vice President– Public Relations,
Mumbai Toastmasters Club
STEP UP! SPEAK UP! MOVE UP! April - June 2013
Club number 993448 | Division D |District 41
“MTM continues to remain on track to close yet another year as a President's Dis-
tinguished Club clearly showing that our progress is broad-based and driven en-
tirely by YOU, the members.”
A new term, a new TM year and new horizons beckon. As we prepare to
handover to the new Ex-com from July 1st, it's a good time to reflect on
what has been incredible year for Mumbai Toastmasters that promises
even more. The highlight of the year would definitely be our triumph at
the District 41 International Speech Contest, 2013. While we may have
lost his hair :), Avinash Agarwal won us many laurels by winning the
contest and becoming District 41's representative for ....wait for it....
THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP OF PUBLIC SPEAKING!!!! As he heads to
Cincinnati in August, Avinash has indeed put us on the Global Map of
Toastmasters International. Well done Avinash! Catch an interview
with the man himself and his tips from World Champion Darren Le
It is only fitting that a special fecilitation session for Avinash was held
at our 23rd June meet with an equally incredible cake. Catch some of
the photos inside if you were unfortunate enough to miss this. This was
also the TM Year (July 1st 2012 to June 30th 2013) that saw MTM put
together a tremendous humorous speech and speech evaluation con-
test that threw up many champions including Amit Kumar and Rajesh
Nair who stood 2nd and 3rd for the Humorous Speech and Speech Eval-
uation Contest respectively.
On other fronts, MTM continues to remain on track to close yet another
year as a President's Distinguished Club clearly showing that our pro-
gress is broad-based and driven entirely by YOU, the members. It is
your commitment to giving speeches and taking up roles that enables
us to achieve benchmark after benchmark. I hope the next term will
finally see us capture that elusive Golden Gavel. I request all the mem-
bers to work with the new Ex-com to achieve this.
Speaking of new Ex-coms, I can hardly think of a more worthy candi-
date to take over the President's role of this incredible club for the next
term, Amit Kumar - ACS, ALS, Founder Member of Mumbai Toastmas-
ters, Served as - Division Governor (2010 - 11), Area Governor (2009 -
10) , President of MTM, Vice President (Education) of MTM , 1st Runner
Up at District Level - Evaluation Contest 2012, and a whole host of other
laurels to his credit. Amit will serve as the club President for the term
starting July 2013 through December 2013. He is aided ably by a
dedicated, committed and passionate team comprising of Shruti Pandit
as VP-ED (she is also on track to complete her CC!), Akash Jain as VP-
Membership, Rimjhim Ray as VP-PR , Nidhi Sarag as Treasurer, Pinak
Majumdar as Sergeant at arms , and Sheshadri Shelvagi as Secretary.
This is also the time to thank the past ex-com comprising of that incred-
ible paragon of energy, Sanjiv Banerji (VP-Ed), Mr, professional to the
T, Sachin Bhandary (VP-Membership), Mr so efficient you don’t even
realize the job is done Satish Poondla (SAA), Straight Shooter and dedi-
cated speaker, Krunal Shimpi (Secretary) and ofcourse the "I don’t
know how she comes up with these incredible flyers", Medha Dixit (VP-
PR) and last but definitely not the least, "I'll flay anyone who wastes a
cent of club money", Shruti Pandit (Treasurer). It has been a privilege
serving as your president and the learning from working with such an
incredible team has been all mine.
As I bid goobye to my post and we bid Avinash good luck for his incred-
ible journey in August, here's hoping that Mumbai Toastmasters moves
up from conquering the district to conquering the world in true Alexan-
President—Mumbai Toastmasters Club
AN INTERVIEW WITH AVINASH AGARWAL, MTM CLUB CHAMPI-
ON AND ORATOR EXTRAORDINAIRE!
Q. How long have you been with Mumbai Toastmasters?
Response: This year, I complete 2 years with MTM. But I have been with TM for the past 7 years, started right back in
Q. What according to you are the essentials to a good speech and how do you go about choosing speech top-
Response: There's only one rule as I see it- speak from the heart. And choose topics from your heart. Whether it's invest-
ment banking or adventure sports or environment-friendliness- you can make it a great speech by speaking from the heart
and connecting with your audience.
Q. What were the learnings on your journey from Club to District winner?
Response: Honestly, nothing's changed from the 'Club to District' journey. And yet, in a way, everything has. I am one of
those MTM fanatics who believes that competition at our club level is way fiercer than even the District level. As for win-
ning the competition, it has still not fully sunk in because it's a dream I had been chasing for years! All I can say is, "Samay
se pehle aur kismat se jyada, kisi ko kuch nahi milta..."
( right) with former
Q. Tell us something about your Stand-up comedy activities.
Response: I would like to credit TM Vikram Poddar, because of whom I got into stand up comedy. I had never
even considered standup or being a humorous speaker until I saw him on stage. And the only thing on my mind
was, "If he can do it, so can I!" He's one of my favorite speakers as well as competitors, and this is what pushed me
into comedy! It's been a year or so since I started, so there's many miles to walk, run and fall before I sleep!
Q. Could you share some tips with club members and readers on managing the nervousness and
anxiety before delivering a speech?
Response: I was fortunate enough to meet Darren LaCroix (former World Champion) before my contest speech
and this is the advice he gave me- "It's your frame of mind that matters most before your speech. Walk onto stage
as if this is your LAST speech ever, and see how you'll end up doing your best!" This is my advice to my fellow
Q. Would you like to share any other advice with our readers?
Response: Again, as Darren says, "Stage time! Stage time! Stage time!" That's all there is to it :)
“It’s your frame of mind that matters most before a speech. Walk onto stage as if
this is your LAST speech ever, and see how you’ll end up doing your best!”
Five speech tips from former Toastmasters world cham-
pion, Darren Lacroix !
1. Great speeches aren’t written but re-written
2. Don’t undervalue your life experiences. Share them!
3. Write your speeches deeper, so the message lives
4. Your last words linger. Make them memorable
5. Think “ How would I give this presentation if it were my last chance ever ?”
THE MAGIC OF MENTORING!
A Chinese proverb says “Give a man a fish and
you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and
you feed him for a lifetime.”
If we seek help from experienced and insightful people, we
can avoid making mistakes that waste valuable time, effort
and energy. Following through on this philosophy will help us
go further, faster! This is the concept behind the Toastmasters
What is a mentor?
A mentor takes a personal interest in and helps an inexperi-
enced person, offering knowledge, insight, perspective or
Most new members are not familiar with the club.
They need someone to explain the program to them
and show them how to prepare for various meeting roles.
They also need help preparing and rehearsing their first few
speeches. Mentors can supply the valuable personal attention
and ongoing support new members need.
Benefits of mentoring for new members:
Learn the program and club customs (CC and CL manu-
als, club meeting roles, membership opportunities)
Develop confidence and improve participation in club
Quickly learn speaking skills to advance faster
Benefits of mentoring for experienced members:
Refine and revitalize existing skills
Learn new skills
Benefits for mentors:
Learn new information and perspectives from those you
Keep your knowledge and skills sharp
Receive recognition and appreciation by fellow members
Benefits for clubs:
Improved member retention
More satisfied members
If you are a new member to the club, please reach out to the
club’s VP Education for support.
“I believe there’s an inner power that makes winners or losers. And the winners
are the ones who really listen to the truth of their hearts. “ ~ Sylvester Stallone,
MAGAJMARI IS GOOD!
My VP Education journey
-by Sanjiv Banerji
When I took over as VP Education, MTM club on January 1st, 2013,
I had heard that its a thankless job, consumes a lot of your time, a
hassle, a pain, etc. The Gujarati word 'Magajmari', sums up in one
word, the impression most people have about this role. I didn't
know the job well, but after I jumped into the role, I was deter-
mined to do a good job.
The first thing I did, was to work on my mindset. I was going to
turn this 'Magajmari' job to my advantage. This was not going to be
a thankless job. I was here at Toastmasters to practice various
skills, so what skill could I practice in the role of VP Educa-
tion? This train of thought threw up a whole slew of things to do.
There was no time to ponder over whether it would be thankless
or not. It was no longer about being 'thanked'. It was about me
using this role to develop a priceless quality 'the Abundance Men-
tality' and help my members develop the same. In a world full of
'Getters', we would practice being the 'Givers'.
Then, I changed another paradigm. I decided that this was a great
opportunity to practice the running of a business. So, the club be-
came my business. The members were my valuable custom-
ers. The speech, role bearer slots and the value addition I provided
to my member-customers would be the product.
The greatest challenge faced by any VP Education, is filling up the
agenda, week after week. I was determined not to let this become
a drag on me. But how would I do it?
The answer lay in a very strong database of members and their
speaking activity. I fired up my excel sheets and created simple
lists that allowed me to precision target members who had not
stepped up on stage in 30 days, in the past 3 months, and since the
beginning of this year. I took great care to make sure every mem-
ber had a mentor. If there was a delay in assigning a mentor, I
made sure to inform the members that I would be their mentor till
they got an official one. Besides offering to be their mentor, I of-
fered to be their friend, advisor and even helper. Speeches started
flowing in for feedback from my members at the rate of 2-3 per
week. Was this 'Magajmari'? Nooooo!! It was an opportuni-
ty! While helping my members, I honed my own feedback
skills! How true! When you teach once, you learn twice!
Another thing. Dale Carnegie said: "A person's name is the most
beautiful sound to his / her ears". Using mail-merge in gmail to
customize many of my emails by addressing each member by
name, was very effective.
Next, people will buy your product only if others are also buy-
ing. This is the 'Full restaurant' syndrome. My club's agenda, dur-
ing my tenure, was Not going to resemble an 'Empty restaurant'!
I achieved this by offering my members 6 week blank agenda
sheets to nominate themselves for various slots. They liked the
idea of being able to plan ahead and started filling up the agen-
da. First, it was the speech slots that started vanishing, then the
TAG roles, then the GE and TTM role and finally, even the 'dreaded'
TMOD role! Our Club's speech slots started getting filled within
minutes! The record for all 6 slots getting filled, is 10 minutes! To
me, it was a Tirupati-like situation. There was so much demand,
but I couldn't increase the supply.
Now this kind of rush towards a product (agenda slots) doesn't
happen in isolation. Awareness has to be created. And the aware-
ness has to be based on 'Self-interest'. My Sunday morning ser-
mons to my members were all about creating awareness about
why they were at the club, what they could get out of speaking,
why speaking could give them almost all that they desired, putting
speaking at a higher priority in their lives, etc. I also focused on
universal themes like punctuality, integrity, commitment, team-
work, not complaining, grabbing opportunities and staying
ready. In my most recent address to my members, I asked them to
find positive stories about people, and then 'talk behind those peo-
ple's back'. This is exactly what I was doing. Talking about peo-
ple. And the medium I found to do this, was perfect - the
Minutes! What a marvelous opportunity to shine the spotlight on
the positive qualities displayed by my members week after
week! While most people would consider doing the Minutes to be
'Magajmari', I saw it as a great tool for recognizing my member's
As I come to the end of my tenure, every single speech slot and role
bearer slot is full. Most of my members are fired up and stepping
up for almost any role! Brand new members are stepping up for
the 'dreaded' TMOD role!
But there have been some murmurs of dis-satisfaction too. Some
people complained (not to me) that they were not getting speech
and role bearer slots. If I were to do the role of VP Education
again, I would definitely try to remedy this situation. Not by in-
creasing the number of slots or creating mammoth sessions! No.
I would remedy the situation, by doing more of what I have been
doing. Encouraging people to persist, to persevere, to 'stay ready'
when opportunities appear, to 'chase the slots' of life. Very often in
life, things don't come to us on a platter. We have to persist, perse-
vere and be ready. Our Club is a great place to practice these quali-
As I hand over the baton to my successor, I end with the words of
Zig Ziglar that guided me through my tenure as VP Education: "If
you help enough people get what they want, you'll get what you
For feedback and suggestions , please reach Sanjiv on: sanjivba-
If I can’t I must…and If I must I can…Sounds vague doesn’t it?
At first glace, it really did sound disconnected to me, until sud-
denly an incident flashed across my memory.
Well, let me try and explain. This incident happened when I
was still a small kid of about 10 or so. During my summer va-
cations we used to have a family ‘ritual’ of going to our native
place, Trichur in Kerala, where my grandparents lived. Being
an ancestral property, the place was a huge 2 storied mansion
with mango trees, palms and hibiscus plants among various
other trees and foliage in the huge compound. A kitchen gar-
den with a well in the backyard, jackfruit plantations and a
huge pathway leading to the portico completed the typical
postcard kind of mansions you would find in Kerala Needless
to say, me and my cousins enjoyed ourselves running around
the trees and prancing around the huge open spaces.
So on one such vacation afternoon, doing my sorties’ in the
compound, I suddenly found myself up on a mango tree. I
don’t distinctly remember how I had the urge to climb the tree
for I was not a particularly adventurous kid. But as I was ex-
ploring the views and the whereabouts from that huge tree, I
remember seeing one of the most beautiful sights in the world!
A squirrel’s nest with tiny squirrels huddled and cuddled on
top of each other. I attempted a count, and for that I needed to
get a good view from the top. As I started climbing up, from
one branch to another, a weak branch gave way, taking me by
total surprise. Suddenly, here I was, hanging by the strength of
my arms, the ground literally slipping from my feet. For a mo-
ment I was thankful, that at least my grip was strong enough
to prevent the fall.
The moment’s euphoria vanished in seconds, as I assessed the
situation from up there! Beneath me was a 10 feet drop if not
more. The nearest branch was too far off for my legs to reach. I
knew if I were to fall I would surely break a couple of bones.
My cousin had had a fracture on the elbow last summer, and
his vacations were pretty bust that time. The prospect of ruin-
ing my vacations was even more dampening than the pain I
would go through. It was then that I realized that I had to get a
handle on the situation, and prevent the fall. The only way out
was to somehow hoist my legs and entwine the branch, com-
mando style so that my back was parallel to the ground. This
was the only way I could move forward with both my legs and
arms to the main trunk.
The point is that if someone had told me before hand that this
was the only way, I would said ‘that’s impossible’. I CANT! But
this was a crunch situation and there was only one way to
prevent broken limbs and a horrible summer. I HAD to get my
legs up on that branch.
The first attempt was futile. My legs wouldn’t reach that far
above. My arms were giving up. I reckoned that if I could
swing my legs and build on momentum, maybe I would make
it. And so I released my legs as far back as they would go and
hoisted with all my might. My legs just about touched the
trunk. It was a small victory, but I still hadn’t gotten out of this,
nevertheless this gave me just that little confidence to try
again! And this time I MUST, come what may. Again the back
lift and the hoist, and I got one foot firmly, the other foot
slipped. But the one foot was good enough, to get the other in
as well, I just about made it. I had done it!!
I MUST and so I CAN.
Years later when I pieced it together, it all suddenly made
sense, and that too in a very powerful way indeed. I can’t… so I
must…and If I MUST…I surely CAN! .Trite but so true. I had
motivated myself to overcome what seemed like an impossible
For feedback and suggestions , please reach Vijay on:
IF I CAN’T I MUST…AND IF I MUST I CAN
- by Vijay Vishwanathan
APPLAUSE AND GRATITUDE FOR MEMBER ACCOMPLISH-
MENTS TOWARDS THE DISTINGUISHED CLUB PROGRAM!
Goal 1: Two Competent Com-
1. Mr. Provin Kami
2. Mr. Vikram Poddar
Goal 2: Two more competent
1. Mr. Aditya Sharma
2. Mr. Vijay Vishwanathan
Goal 3,4,5,and 6: Advanced Communi-
cator Silver, Advanced Communica-
tor Bronze, and Competent leader
1. Mr. Amit D Kumar (ACS)
Goal 3: Advanced Commu-
nicator Silver award:
1. Mr. Amit. D . Kumar
Goal 4: Advanced Commu-
nicator Bronze award:
1. Mr. Narsimha Murthy
Goal 5: One competent lead-
er award :
1. Mr. Avinash Agarwal
Goal 6: One more compe-
tent leader award:
1. Ms. Geeta Pillai
OUTGOING AND INCOMING EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Incoming Executive-Committee (L-
R): Kunal Khanna, Amit Kumar
( President ), Shruti Pandit ( VP
Education), Akash Jain ( VP
Membership), Nidhi Saraf
( Treasurer ), Pinak Majumdar
( Sergeant at arms), Sheshadri
Savalgi ( Secretary ), Chitra
Ex-com member not in the picture:
Out-going Executive Committee
and their buddies (L-R): Manoj
Kalyani, Pinak Majmudar, Kunal
Khanna( Club mentor), Ruchin
Bhavsar, Sachin Bhandary ( VP
Membership), Shruti Pandit
( Treasurer ) , Medha Dixit( VP
PR), Chitra Raghavan ( Club
mentor), Nidhi Saraf, Sanjiv
Banerji ( VP Education)
Ex-com members not in the
picture: Krunal Shimpi, Satish
Poondla, Vikram Poddar
INTERNATIONAL SPEECH CONTEST AND JUNE 23RD,
2013 CLUB CELEBRATION PICTURES!
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than
by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the
trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. “ ~ Mark Twain
Please share your greatest success as the Vice President Membership for MTM club.
Its good to take over something that was running well in the first place. I think that ensuring process-
es were followed and clear demarcation of responsibilities between myself, Manoj- who was a fantas-
tic buddy and Shruti- the treasurer- was probably a good thing- though I don't term it as a success.
Please tell us about the greatest challenge you faced in this role.
Tracking members who joined, ensuring uploading their membership is uploaded meant that we had
to track membership applications well. but challenge clearly was the renewal. That's the high point of
the VP membership term. I had the feeling many times that we would erode our membership by half
as members did not proactively renew.
If you could start over as the VP Membership, is there something you would like to do differently, and if
Nothing really. I was lucky to get a good handover, to find a great buddy and independent authority
with guidance provided by the term president- Vikram Poddar. Yes, may be I would have liked to find
more time to understand how the membership base could be kept consistent.
Any tips/suggestions for the incoming VP Membership.
Many, but I’d rather do that in person with Akash :)
Please share your greatest success as the Treasurer for Mumbai Toastmasters Club.
The greatest success that I had was an influx of funds due to high number of new members
joining the club and also many renewals happened during my tenure.
Please tell us about the greatest challenge you faced in this role.
My greatest challenge was to keep track of incoming as well as outgoing funds to the
minutest of detail.
If you could start over as the Treasurer, is there something you would like to do
differently, and if so why?
No, nothing as such.
Any tips/suggestions for the incoming Treasurer.
Keep your spirits high. You are going to learn a lot about fund management from this role.
All the best :)
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE INTERVIEWS
“At MTM I feel like that kid who has just discovered his latent powers, like a hero
and developed the "Voice of Steel" that can tear through the inhibitions of a per-
son and motivate an audience to a better way of thinking. “
What do you think is that power, which
a man or a woman feels when he
stands in front of a thousand peo-
ple? The power and the ability to influ-
ence a million minds. To bring about
That in my opinion is the power of
Public Speaking, the power of the lead-
ers and what better way to hone that
skill than at Toastmasters, especially
Although my journey at MTM has just
begun, in this short span, I have
learned so much, and I believe it is a
great community of a myriad of people
from all walks of life, from leaders to l
learners and we all come together for a
common purpose of battling our fear of
public speaking and learning leader-
At MTM I feel like that kid who has just
discovered his latent powers, like a
hero and developed the "Voice of
Steel" that can tear through the inhibi-
tions of a person and motivate an audi-
ence to a better way of thinking.
At the end all I wish is to be a better
speaker and a leader one speech at a
time. All thanks to Mumbai Toastmas-
It was in the month of October last
year that I attended my first Toastmas-
ters meeting. I was working as a teach-
er, in an autistic school. Despite being
honest, god-fearing, and empathetic
towards everyone around me, I felt
hurt and shattered as people tried to
belittle me . I’ve gone through a lot of
ups and down since childhood and it
wasn’t easy while I tried hard to keep
myself strong and not to let anyone
harm me. After a point, I decided that I
wanted to work towards being strong-
er and more confident.
One of my cousins suggested that I join
Toastmasters. I attended the first
meeting as a guest and then decided to
join as a member. I was very low on
confidence and suffered from severe
stage fright. For the first three months,
I made it a point to attend every Toast-
master meeting. I simply sat and
watched the proceedings and felt hap-
py being part of a group of supportive
and positive people. At this time, the
club’s Vice President Education, Sanjiv
Banerji came to my rescue. He became
my mentor and encouraged me to take
various club meeting roles and pushed
me to give my project 1 speech. His
patience, encouragement, kind words,
and faith in me helped me overcome
my initial stage fear. I have finished my
Project 1 speech and have taken on
many club roles. MTM has been a
blessing for me! It has helped my per-
sonal growth and provided me a plat-
form to express myself in a warm and
Vice President Membership: Sachin Bhandaryfirstname.lastname@example.org
Vice President Education: Sanjiv Banerji|9819953046| email@example.com
Vice President Public Relations: Medha Dixitfirstname.lastname@example.org
President: Vikram Poddaremail@example.com
Treasurer: Shruti Pandit|9190043485| firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary: Krunal Shimpi|918898210246| email@example.com
Sergeant-at-Arms: Satish Poondla|919920039327| firstname.lastname@example.org
Amit Kumar | email@example.com
In case of any feedback/suggestions regarding the newsletter, please write in to :
FOR ANY QUERIES, PLEASE REACH OUT TO:
Mumbai toastmasters (MTM) club FAQ’s
What is Mumbai Toastmasters?
It is the largest Toastmasters community club in
Mumbai city, set up to provide a supportive and
positive learning environment for public speaking.
Can I join the club?
Yes, the club is open to anyone above 18 years of age,
and interested in improving his/her public speaking
skills. For further queries regarding joining, please
contact VP Membership.
When does the club meet?
The club meets every Sunday morning from 10:00
AM– 12:30 PM.
What is the meeting venue?
On the 1st, 3rd, and 4th Sundays of every
month, we meet at :
Seminar Hall, National College, Linking Road,
On 2nd Sundays every month, we meet at: CCD,
near Golibar Maidan, Santa cruz (E)
What is the dress code?
Smart casuals/ Semi Formals
Do I have to pay a fee if I come for a meeting?
Yes, any guest interested in attending a Mumbai
Toastmasters session has to tender a nominal fee of
I stay very far from Bandra/ Santacruz. Can I
still join the club?
Yes, you’re most welcome to do so. However, given
the challenges with commuting within Mumbai city,
we would encourage you to explore other local Toast-
master clubs in and around your area of residence,
and then make an informed decision.
What happens at the MTM club meeting?
The agenda for a Mumbai Toastmasters club meeting
comprises of the following:
1. Opening address by a member of the Executive
2. Guest introductions
3. Role bearer introductions and roles summary
4. Prepared speeches by various club members
5. Table topics / Extempore session
6. Tea break
7. Prepared speech evaluations
8. Result announcements and closing
Mumbai Toastmasters Club
Creating speakers| creating leaders