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CompWhenever I ask what will enhance your performance?  Among many answers I get is “Practice, Practice and Practice.”   Having said that some time you participate in a club meeting and you are hit by a bolt of lightning and “wow”  why did I not think of that?

Well my answer to the above question would also include “TOUGHER COMPETITION.”   And this is no guess but tested and proven response.  When you have the TOUGH competition, somehow you perform better than what you had ever dreamt of performing.   It’s like you had that reserve presence of mind, reserved stamina or hidden insight that was taken out of closet to resonate your performance many fold.

Next time you want to deliver a PROJECT SPEECH, a TABLE TOPIC or an EVALUATION; think of attracting the best performers for the spot of contest.  And then RECORD your performance, I am certain you would be amazed and say “IS THAT ME?” 

 

IceStep back two decades, I would attend 2 Toastmasters meetings in a month and that were my club meetings.  I had no idea on how the other clubs were performing.  Proximity drove my participation and perception.  Fast forward two decades, now I participate in clubs other than my home club.  I am a click away from every other club in my country and across the globe.  I am connected to more Toastmasters than full circle of 1 degree or two degree connections two decades ago.

And this is the magic of Facebook, Google and many other SOCIAL MEDIA platforms.  I can participate and watch Toastmasters meeting sitting in remote corner of the globe using many video platform including www.ustream.tv

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ComfortLast Friday  I was TMOD for Friends  of Yoga Toastmasters club meeting.  And my theme for the day was “Get Comfortable with UNCOMFORT”.  The delivery was about getting prepared for the future and I shared “8” rules to Future proof yourself.

I believe these rules are very important and relevant in current economic scenario and scenarios shaping our future.  To succeed you must stand out and the “8” Rules to standout are

  1. Stand out – don’t be copy
  2. Get Comfortable taking risks – everyday take one small risk
  3. 1 common phrase a week – Flavour your communications with common phrases
  4. Make everyday your “PAY DAY”
  5. Learn to use technology – location & time independent ( Future is location and time independent)
  6. Create work that can be duplicated, replicated and automated – Teach and share the process
  7. Learn Speed reading
  8. Increase your per hour results 10 times.

 

 

Practice to future proof yourself


March 4, 2012: Toastmasters International is a non-profit organization engaged in developing public speaking and leadership skills amongst its members.  The organization is for the members, by the members and of the members.  And one of the objective of the program is to spread the benefit by inducting new  members.

Every club has the mandate to induct new members and the new member’s effort is reflected in the club’s DCP points. On the flip side, District officer’s performances are measured by different criteria, including number of new clubs being set up. To achieve the milestone you must sell the programs benefit to new members to join the clubs and corporate communities to set up new clubs.

The simple process includes selling the benefits of toastmasters program and it’s a natural progression that takes its natural time period.  But what if you can hasten the process by influencing their mindsets and help members devote extra time on improving club activities and performance.

I believe you can hasten the process by influencing guest’s decision. And here I would share “6” pillars of influence identified by guru of persuasion Dr. Robert B. Cialdini and they are

  1. Reciprocation
  2. Consensus and Commitment
  3. Social power
  4. Scarcity
  5. Like
  6. Authority

RECIPROCATION: We are programmed to pay back a favor and it’s in our DNA.  Ralph Waldo Emerson rightly said “Pay every debt as if God wrote the bill”. 

TIP :When you invite guests, give them the Toastmasters magazine and or guest kits to take back and read.  Make them comfortable and let a senior Ex-Com member explain the program to him.  Ask him if he needs any other clarifications.  Treat the guest as you would a friend and if required arrange to drop him back at his residence.

CONSENSUS AND COMMITMENT: We as humans have an excessive desire to be consistent with what we have already done or said.

TIP :Get feedback from your guests at the end of the meeting  and let them fill out a feedback form that will also ask for them to write down what they liked about the program.

SOCIAL PROOF: If everyone is doing it, it is correct.

TIP : Share with your guests the Toastmasters activities in your territory and globally; there are 96 Clubs in UAE and 110,000 clubs worldwide in over 90 plus countries.  Invite them to Area contests, Divisions contests and let them observe the powers of participation and performance.

SCARCITY:  Hard  to get things are perceived to be better than easy to get things.

TIP : Make your guest comfortable, and introduce the program clarifying all the doubts. Invite them to join but make them aware that since this is members club, the membership is subject to concurrence by all the members.

AUTHORITY: People tend to obey authoritative figures.

TIP : Introduce your guests to the Club president, VP Education, ACM, DTM and let them do the selling.  If you have an important guest visiting, invite your Area Governor or Division Governor and introduce your guest to them.  A pitch coming in from an authority figure influences.

LIKE: People say yes to people they like or know.  People also like people that have something in common with them.

TIP : Find something in common with your guests and start your conversation with this as your basis;  it could be school, college, place of residence or anything that becomes an ice breaker.

Getting new members and setting up new clubs are part of the leadership development and the more effectively you perform this activity, the better leader you emerge.  Use the powers of the six pillars of influence to maximize the positive outcome.  Reciprocate; commitment and consensuses; Authority; Scarcity; Like and use the Social proof.

The tallest oak tree in the forest is the tallest not just because it grew from the hardiest acorn; it is the tallest also because no other trees blocked its sunlight, the soil around it was deep and rich, no rabbit chewed through its bark as a sapling, and no lumberjack cut it down before it matured.  – “OUTLIERS the Story of Success” By Malcolm Gladwell

However  “Outliers”  by Malcolm Gladwell  is not about trees and forest; it is about opportunities and exercising those opportunities.  And what Malcolm Gladwell shares is  no rocket science to reflect why Toastmasters progress in life by leaps and bounds; they  progress because the platform provides opportunities to become a better communicator, a better leader and a better person in life.   The platform also provides the process and the motivation to lead and communicate with your audience and bring changes in your life and others.

Now my questions to you is, do you see those opportunities and exercise them?    I recall relocating from Bahrain to Dubai in 1996.  And being  three months infant in Bahrain Toastmasters club,  I joined then newly formed Dubai Toastmasters club.   To show my commitment I paid-up my quarterly dues in the first meeting.    However during the second meeting I started visualizing and comparing former with the current Toastmasters club meeting.   And promptly rationalized that my new club will not benefit me and crafted an excuse to quit Dubai Toastmasters club. 

Many years later in 2001 when I went back to Dubai Toastmasters club.  The meeting was house-full, replete with energy and powerful speakers.   My fellow Toastmasters of 1996 batch had progressed to CTM; ATM and accomplished leaders.   

What happened ? Where did my visualization go wrong?   Analyzing closely it dawned that my visualization cost me the opportunity time of five years because I looked outside to make a life changing decision. I set others as my benchmark,   I rationalized my decision on performance of others whereas my decision should have been based on my needs and hence set my benchmark.  I missed the opportunity. 

Malcolm Gladwell in “OUTLIERS – The story of success” also shares  another rule,  to achieve the level of mastery associated with an expert in anything,  a 10,000 hours of practice is required.  So it is not only about opportunities,  its also about putting in long hours into the process and the two steps are equally important in your life.  My learning in Toastmasters started in March 2001 when I committed to take up the role play of assistant VP Education and then progressed to VP Education; Club President; Area Governor and Division Governor.   During my journey in toastmasters many Toastmasters have crossed my path and every one of them has been a teacher in one way or the other.  My challenge has been to identify learning from each one of them and exercise them and grow into the tallest OAK  TREE.

 

Toastmasters International has changed many lives.  People who swore to have no talent for public speaking are delivering keynote and motivational speeches.  People who thought it was a waste of time have morphed into DTM’s and persuaded hundred of others to join the forum and people who believed in “I, me and mine”, have been mentoring and helping others to succeed.  What can you expect to learn from Toastmasters Program? As an analogy let me share my five point learning. 

Ripple Effect: It’s never too late when it comes to self development.  Every small or big thing you learn has a ripple effect in other areas of your life.

Parkinson’s Law:   It says that “The demand upon a resource tends to expand to match the supply of the resource.”  Hence, plan your activities with a start and end time and stick to it.  Because activities that have no time measure, will expand to occupy your valuable time. 

B+ : You can choose your friends and choosing positive friends is a blessing in disguise.  You are most productive when you are in the company of positive people, you learn better, perform better and your impact increases by many folds.  B+ and maintain a positive company. 

Pay it forward: Zig Ziggler once said that if you want to succeed in life, help others to succeed.   An old saying also says….. “Teaching is twice learning” So go ahead help others succeed and share your learning with others.

Boomerang effect: Never under estimate the power of motivation, words of encouragement and how they can impact the lives of people.  They cost nothing but have the most impact. Sprinkle your communication with words of encouragement and motivation, because what you give always comes back and it’s called the Boomerang effect. 

And in conclusion, I would share words of Past International President Helen Blanchard, If you get out of Toastmasters all that there is to get out of Toastmastersyoull never get out of the Toastmasters”

 

 

November 30, 2010; it was an early morning when I opened my gmail account; I had received an email notification titled “What is your 20/20 vision” from the sales Guru Bob Urichuck.  It read………..”Many of you have connected with me on LinkedIn after attending one of my speaking engagements, sales seminars or discovering my Disciplined for Life program. As you know, it is important for you to be able to answer these questions”:

  • Do you know who you are?
  • Do you love what you are doing?
  • Do you have what you want out of life?
  • Do you know what you want out of life?
  • Do you wake up and jump out of bed every morning eager to face the challenges of a new day?”

And this churned my thinking as I attempted to answer the above questions.   I promptly opened another email with an attachment from the Burj Toastmasters club, and my eyes zeroed on to the top half of the meeting agenda that provided me with the clue to the answers.

My eyes narrowed down on to the theme of the club “Empower Yourself”.  The club had a crystal clear theme and reflected what club wanted to achieve in the years 2010/2011.  I opened another agenda, this time it was the Oasis Achievers Toastmasters club and the theme read “Victory belongs to those who persevere”.  Then another one and it read “A club with a difference” I realized that this could be the simple exercise of answering questions or this could be a wake up call.

Now the question I pose to you is; do you have a theme to your life?  And if you do, are you on the path that will give you a score of 20/20 on the Bob Urichuck questionnaire.


Enjoy Reading …….

There are numerous motivational theories including McGregor theory of motivation; Maslow’s hierarchy of needs; Frederick Herzberg‘s two-factor theory but the best motivational theory is a “sincere words of appreciation”.  I remember an ice breaker at a Toastmasters meeting, wherein the speaker shared his life story in 6 minutes and what left a marked impression on me and the speaker himself, were the words of appreciation given to him by his teacher in his early school days.

The story goes as such, the speaker was the worst student in his class, failing many times. During the forthcoming exams the class teacher was worried that due to this one student – the speaker, the class result would fail to be impeccable.  However the student (Speaker)  worked hard and managed to pass with flying colours.  Now it such happened that the teacher used this student’s example to encourage students of other classes.  “He is a true example of how hard work pays off; if he can do it, so can you.” This feedback of his was passed onto him (The Speaker) by a friend who happened to attend that class.  The second hand feedback motivated the speaker to put in more hard work and excel thereafter and so he did.  The second hand sincere words of motivation propelled the speaker because those simple and profound  words became his internal voice that kept propelling him to perform and excel.

On the flip side I believe there is another kind of motivation that we generally find in sports  or high impact events.  The coach, mentor, trainer who propel and continue propelling the target to perform and excel.  Having said that, this motivation is an external voice and your performance lasts up until you are being fed this motivation –  unless the performer internalizes this voice.   So is your motivation internal or external ?

Watch a brilliant piece on External voice… external motivation


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