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Archive for the ‘Preparation’ Category


 Think-BoxIn sales we are taught to UP-SELL – If our prospect purchases a Tablet Pcs; sell him 3 years premium support along.  CROSS-SELL – If your prospect buys Tablet Pcs; sell him a printer or a Camera along. 

The fundamental is “don’t limit yourself to the low hanging fruits.”  But cross sell and upsell to increase your share of customer wallet.  And I would like to apply this principle to Toastmasters platform as well. 

Toastmaster’s platform is a  BOX.  In TOASTMASTERS BOX members come together to invest positive energy to help and be helped in enhancing their communication and leadership skills.    But the buck should never stop here and we should invest that energy to Cross Sell.  What if we create two more boxes? 

  • FIRST BOX or PROFESSIONAL BOX: We step out of the Toastmasters box and invest in helping fellow members progress in THREE professional arenas   such as
    • FEEDBACK: Sharing our FEEDBACK on their professional status (This could be in the similar format of LinkedIn wherein we send feedback request to our connections)
    • PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT:  Recommendations on what professional course will help them to turbo charge the career.  It could be onsite MBA, an online marketing course or mentoring/coaching.
    • ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES:  Sharing economic opportunities and this could be new jobs in his domain; new companies coming up or new industry trends.
  • Let’s create SECOND BOX or FAMILY BOX: Wherein structured  discussion could happen in two areas
    • INVESTMENT: Right and viable investment in property; equity or others. 
    • FAMILY: Kids education or Health related benefits to avail and recommendations.  Or Tips & recommendations on Leisure or vacation. 

Good luck and begin Investing out of the box.


Year 1924,  there lived a farmer who owned acres of barren land.  He desired to be the biggest corn farmer in Town.  One day he was talking to his friend and his friend asked did you buy the seeds?  Next day farmer bought corn seeds and stacked up in his barn.  Couples of weeks later he met his friend again and proudly said I have sacks full of seeds in my barn.   Friend asked did you plant them ?  The farmer promptly returned and planted seeds and waited for the corn to grow.  But nothing happened, few seeds sprouted but died sooner.  He was extremely upset with his friend’s advice because he had invested his life saving and his desire to be the biggest corn farmer had died down too.  During the Christmas he made a visit to his friend’s house and chastised his friend for the horrible advice.  The friend asked did you till the land? Did you mix fertilizers before sowing? Did you water the land after planting? Did you protect the shoots when they sprouted?

Fellow toastmasters many a time we join TM club with a deep intent to become a BETTER SPEAKER but don’t participate.  When you don’t participate regularly you are like the seeds in the barn.  When you don’t practice, you are like the farmer who did not till the land.  When you don’t take up mentoring you are no better than the  famer who did not fertilize the land.  And when you don’t learn from the feedback you are like the farmer who did not water the land.  And when you don’t use the feedback judiciously you are like the farmer who did not build barn around his farm.





Best audience does not mean that you are a silent spectator; conversely it reflects you are the most active participant member of the audience.    I believe the best learning happens when you plan your participation; and absorb the learning compliant with your goal.   Hence let’s analyze how do I maximize my learning during the two hours of meeting when I am not the role play?

  1. Reach Early: Reach early and connect with members and guests.  Set your targets; what you want to achieve during your socializing; do you want opinion on Sales, new openings and so on.  
  2. Carry a Notebook:  You can depend on your memory to remember up to “7” things.  But you can trust your Notebook to recall any number of learning verbatim.  I carry Notebook and note down good quotes, exciting usage of words and use that in my blogs.
  3. Listen: This is important because when you listen, you learn and when you listen intently, you learn exponentially. Having said that decide what you want to pay attention to ? Good usage of words, humour, quotes or others?   During the Burj TM club meeting SAA shared the three taboos as follows.  “ You can use three topics on Sex , religion and Politics outside the club meeting”
  4. Observe Gestures: Observe speakers gestures that make an impression. Can you use those gestures in your next public speaking?
  5. Take Notes: Take notes during the meeting and begun noting down good usage of language, words or reference to books, URL and others.
  6. Question but in your Mind: Always questions the speaker.  What if he had put a pause? What if the speaker raised the pitch? What if he avoided reference to the TMOD?
  7. Applaud the Speaker Applaud the speaker.   There is power in applause; it encourages the speaker and in some strange way it also puts you in receptive mode.
  8. Give Written Feedback: Provide written feedback to the speakers.  A very essential process to hone your written feedback skills.
  9. Give Oral Feedback to the Speaker: Give oral feedback.  It’s an excellent process to give feedback and receive instant feedback reflected in the facial gestures.  Observe them closely.
  10. Compliment the speaker when you meet the speaker after the meeting.  This is important; it motivates the speaker and also forces you to find positives to speak about.

Once a renowned author said “Do more than Belong: Participate.”  Hence be the best audience, PARTICIPATE.

Sharjah Cornish in UAE is one of the best places to take a morning stroll, not because it’s Cornish.  But simply because it has a walking strip and the greener patches around.  You can walk to your heart contentment and if you ever get tired you can rest on the greener patches or on the side benches.  And if you plan to engage in stretching exercise or Yoga, there is no better place than the green patches around.   Over all it’s a bargain deal.

My topic is not about Cornish; greener patches or morning walk.  But since the weather has improved in the past 10 days, the population of early morning walkers and joggers have increased exponentially and I believe it will improve further.   When during summer time we could spot 3 or 4 walkers distance away but now  you are practically rubbing shoulders.  You can spot young, old and kids. You can spot male and females.   

Why such increase in the number of joggers and walkers?   Is it now people are more aware of benefits of early morning walk?  Or people have more time?   None of the above, they were aware of the benefits and they have the same 24 hours.  The simple reason is that weather has improved, has become cooler and pleasant.  It has become enjoyable to walk.  You don’t sweat so much unlike the summer time.

What is the lesson Lesson is people are very much familiar with what is beneficial for them and what is not?   And they will exercise their choice where they experience more Comfort, Fun and EducationSo are your Toastmasters meeting experience is more Enjoyable and Fun?  Take a decision.



Running a full house in Toastmasters Club has become challenge but with right strategy and best practices you can run a successful Toastmasters club creating value and experience for the members.  I am sharing “5” tips on getting the house full at Toastmasters club.

  1. Maintain records: Maintain records for the members to review at the meeting hall.
    1. Attendance register
    2. Role players list for the past meeting and role players list for the future four meetings.
    3. Minutes of the meetings
  2. Recognition:  Recognize member’s achievements [Toastmasters, Professional and Personnel Achievements] and their special days during the meeting.
  3. Invite the key influencers:   If you want to get a gathering of 50 people it’s not important that that you talk to 100 people and invite them to your club.   Identify key “10” key influencers who have a serious larger circle of influence, to influence serious “50” other members.  Give them the reasons why they should take up role play in your club or how their participation will help them.  Then use their Klout to get houseful. Event managers are familiar with this methodology, hence they use this methodology effectively by getting key influencers to participate and attract the larger audience for events.
  4. Phone: It’s important to keep in touch with your members and likely prospect through email, social media but periodically pick up the phone and call.  The good old way of talking to key members helps to retain participation and increase membershipThis has many fold advantage such as
    1. Get verbal commitment to attend and participate.
    2. Make members feel important and special
    3. Get members feedback
    4. Proactively address any (-ve) feedback and concerns.
  5. Toastmasters Process: Getting members to attend and participate regularly in the club meeting is a science.  And with religious practice of process defined by the Toastmasters helps to achieve the objective.  Hence read, practice and conduct educational session on increasing participation and getting new members.

Enjoy practicing and reading………

Dec. 8, 2010 – Wednesday – Sharjah Toastmasters held their meeting in Rayan Hotel Sharjah.  I was slotted to deliver a 20 minutes educational session and had chosen the subject Made to Stick a book by Chip and Dan heath.

I was excited for three counts since it was the first time I had created slides with animation and effects.  Second , I had been preparing for the past 72 hours and felt the result had come out beyond my expectation.    And third, I absolutely believed in the efficacy of the concept of SUCCES from the book “Made to Stick”.  I was confident that I knew the subject like the back of my hand and felt that I needn’t prepare more.

My session was post break hence I was intently listening to the project speeches and other role play deliveries hoping to pick up  content to connect with the audience… a call back effect.  Promptly, after the 10 minutes break, Javed the TMOD introduced me and I jumped into the presentation.

No sooner had I completed 20% my of session, the timer put on the green light, reminding me that I had consumed 90% of my allotted time to present  20% of my presentation.  Need I reiterate “Confidence is good but preparation is better” ?

Enjoy Reading…….

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