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Archive for the ‘Toastmasters’ Category

Digital Transformation (DX)  is not a buzz word.  It’s how Technology is shaping our lives including Health, Self-development, Education, Entertainment, Finance and Toastmasters.  Simply to understand requires replacing our legacy mindset and having a Foresight.

Technologies such as CLOUD COMPUTING, SOCIAL MEDIA, VIRTUAL REALITY, AUGMENTED REALITY, ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, BIG DATA, FACIAL RECOGNITION, BOTS, ROBOTICS and many more are converging to disrupt our lives.  However, in this Blog, I am sharing my Opinion – “How  I see Digitalization Impacting Toastmasters Program  in next 2 – 4 years times.”  

  • TECHNOLOGY WILL FIND FOR YOU THE RIGHT CLUB: (BOT) You are flying from Dubai to Paris on a business trip. You land in Paris, finish your business meetings by 3:00 pm and your flight is at 4:00 am next morning.  You ponder and decide to attend a Toastmasters club meeting.   You speak to your VIRTUAL ASSISTANT (BOT) and ask him “ Please research an English speaking Toastmasters club within 10 Km radius of  my Hotel that has members from Banking community in the age group of 30 years – 45 years.”  Your Virtual Assistant promptly finds a club within a 10 KM radius, calls for a taxi and also alerts the club president that you are visiting.  And this is done seamlessly in a Flow.
  • TECHNOLOGY WILL ACT AS YOUR INTERPRETER: You reach the club venue but need directions to reach the club location. You stop a passerby and ask him for directions.  Since you don’t speak French you take the help of Mobile App.  Now your Mobile App Communicates with passerby and translates French response in English to you.
  • TECHNOLOGY WILL PROVIDE YOU A VIRTUAL AUDIENCE TO PRACTICE YOUR SPEECH:  ( Virtual Reality – Oculus Rift, Sony PSV, HTC vive, Samsung ) You are expected to deliver PROJECT 1 – ICE BREAKER next week.  You have a fear of Public Speaking.  You put on your OCULUS Rift and instruct it to download your club audience.  Now you can practice delivering your speech to your club members in a virtual club environment.  Your mind does not differentiate between Virtual experience and actual experience.  You can choose to deliver your speech to any type of audience including Heads of Asian countries or at the World TM international platform.  Virtual reality is being currently utilized to treat people of common phobia such as height, water, and others.  Virtual reality is also being utilized to alleviate the pain of burn patients during treatment.
  • TECHNOLOGY WILL PROVIDE YOUR AUDIENCE EVALUATION: (Artificial Intelligence) You want unadulterated feedback from your club members. You download an appropriate Mobile app on your iPhone. The Mobile app captures club member’s gestures during your project delivery and provides you deep analytics on how did your audience evaluate the speech and scope for improvements.
  • TECHNOLOGY WILL SELECT THE RIGHT TOPIC FOR THE TARGET AUDIENCE: (Artificial Intelligence, Social Media, Big Data): You are expected to deliver your Project -9 – Inspire your Audience speech but not sure what Topic to choose.  You request your Virtual Assistant to recommend you the right fit (Topic) for the Club audience.  Virtual Assistant runs through social media profiles of your club members and shortlists the Topic that will most likely appeal to the club audience.   Many heads of the nations have utilized services of technology companies to read sentiments of voters and shape them.  Check out “Big data and psychographic profiling helped Donald Trump win the US presidential election”
  • TECHNOLOGY WILL CRAFT YOUR PERSONALISED SPEECH: (Artificial Intelligence, Social Media, Big Data): Your Project Speech topic is ready;  now you have to craft the speech.  You scan the objectives of your speech into the Mobile app and instruct it to create  750 words speech and enrich it with your experiences experienced in the year 2014 – 2016.  Mobile apps scan your Social Media engagements between 2014 – 2016, picks up two incidences and immerses it in your 750 words speech.
  • TECHNOLOGY WILL REVEAL YOU JUDGES DECISION: (Artificial Intelligence, facial Recognition, Big Data) You are competing in the Area Contest and eager to find how judges have marked your delivery.  Simply let Mobile app read the Judge’s gestures and it will reveal Judge’s verdict before its announced at the close of the contest.

Now what I have shared in my blog post is not SCIENCE FICTION but a SCIENTIFIC FACT because its happening in some form in our world.  And time is not far when you will have easy access to such TECHNOLOGY CONVENIENCES to make you a better speaker.



SSelling-1I joined Toastmasters in 2001 @ Dubai Toastmasters Club.  I was impressed with educational manual that has shaped many careers.  And am still impressed with the Communication and Leadership educational course content that has virtually remained unchanged.

During the period new waves have come and communication paradigm has changed such as 2004:  LinkedIn was launched,  2003:  Facebook was founded; 2004:  Twitter was found; 2005:  YouTube was founded; Google + and list is endless.

Nothing much changed in  Toastmasters Educational manuals, it  stood the test of time.  But I believe changing technology and shrinking world, demands introduction of new technology and new paradigm of conducting meetings.  Such changes would bring in the spirit of entrepreneurship and attract Millennials to the program.   If  I may say Toastmasters should introduce new educational manuals with 5 project speech to address the Digital world.

PROJECT # 1 : YouTube: The project objective would be

  • To record and edit 20 minutes of an educational session conducted in the club meeting.
  • Use necessary tools to edit and publish on YouTube
  • Use camera facing techniques
  • Current Smartphones are equipped with powerful camera and editing software to make the movie. Such as movie “Tangerine” was shot on iPhone 5S and done professionally.

PROJECT # 2: Hangout, WebEx, Skype: The project objective would be

  • Conduct a webinar for 20 minutes for the club members
  • Use the right technology (Hangout, WebEx, Skype) & techniques to invite and broadcast the webinar
  • Invite general public and other Toastmasters
  • Learn the proper webinar techniques

PROJECT # 3: Sound Cloud: the Project objective would be

  1. Record 7 minutes speech and make it available as a podcast
  2. Learn and use the current technologies for Podcast
  3. Learn to use the microphone for voice modulation.
  4. Play the Podcast in the club meeting and evaluate.

PROJECT # 4: WordPress; Tumblr; Blogspot: The Project Objective would be

  • Learn to Blog
  • Share  techniques and Experiences to write a Blog post.

PROJECT # 5: Upstream: The Project objective would be

  1. Live Stream the meeting proceeding to the external world
  2. Use Proper audio and video Techniques.

Above necessitates use of technology and address the Digital economy. The above project will also help people monetize their toastmasters skills from anywhere around the globe. And that could be the next manual – “Monetizing Toastmasters Skills

DTAC_winnersAcronym DTAC stands for District Toastmasters Annual Conference.  And this time District 20 DTAC 2015 is being held in Dubai.  The objective of the conference is two folds

  • Organize contest between the best speakers of the Divisions in the District.
  • Hold elections for the next District Council.

But why should you attend DTAC 2015 is a questions that you must ask yourself?  And am sharing my power tips – why?

  1. EDUCATION: Three days of watching Districts best speakers on stage is equivalent to 365 days of learning from club attendance.  A perfect opportunity to pick up nuggets on speaking, body language and content creation skills.
  2. LEARN FROM CONTESTANTS: Connect and Interview contestants.  How did they Participate, Prepare and Practice for the contest. Learn from their experience.
  3. BE THE JUDGE: Learning happens when you are involved and having fun.  Hence bring Judging sheet along and Judge the contest.   Predict winners.  Its fun.
  4. NETWORK: Great opportunity to network with TM across 7 countries.  Network with 30 New Toastmasters every day of the 3 day event.  Your network is your net-worth
  5. NETWORK OUTSIDE THE TM BOX: Don’t limit your discussions to Toastmasters but probe what others do professionally and is there any common denominator you share professionally with others?  Take your discussions outside the TM domain.
  6. FUN: DTAC 2015 has a Gala dinner on May 29, 2015 – a perfect opportunity to unwind with Toastmasters community across the 7 Countries. 
  7. DISTRICT COUNCIL ELECTIONS Every club President and VP Education participates in the District council elections.  And they must attend to exercise their voting rights on behalf of the club members.  It’s a brilliant opportunity to witness Parliamentary machinery in action. (Valid for TM Carrying Voting Ballots)

Good Luck and Great – Education, Fun and Networking at DTAC 2015.


DTACRaising funds for an event shares many similarities to raising equity for an enterprise wherein you are expected to persuade the financier to bet on the future of the company.  And am sharing my lessons on raising funds for DTAC 2015 that will guide prospective fund raisers.

  1. REVENUE TARGET: Foremost identify what is your target to raise funds. Identify the upper and lower limit.
  2. EXPENSE HEADS: Broadly identify the expense heads such as meals, entertainment, printing, Newsletter for the event. And explore if any of the expense head can be directly sponsored by a corporate.  Few corporates may like to pay for expenses rather than write out a cash cheque.
  3. TEAM: Get a team on the SPONSORSHIP BUS. Choose members who are passionate for the cause and philosophy of the event.  They may not necessarily come from the sales or marketing background but are self-motivated.
  4. PLAN: Sit down with the Team Members 
    1. SPONSORSHIP PACK: Create a sponsorship pack wherein various sponsorship value brackets and benefits will be scripted reflecting total amount to be raised.
    2. LIST One: Create a list of 100 potential corporate.  Prioritize them and distribute among the team members with measurable target (Time and value).
    3. LIST Two: Create a list of 20 high value potential leads for Title sponsorship.
    4. SALES CYCLE: Identify the sales cycle time right from first contact to money in the bank. This is important to mitigate the risk.  Normally for such projects sales cycle is 3 months and more.
    5. TRAINING: Conduct a training for the team members; share your sales pitch and likely target title within the corporate. Explain sponsorship pack with benefits, mode of payment, terms & conditions and what is expected from the corporate, post receiving the sponsorship amount such as logo, advertising message and other guidelines.  Train your team members to handle OBJECTIONS – we don’t have budget; VP is out; we  sponsored an event last month or a similar event;  We don’t benefit from such event; This event has no value for us;  We can sponsors X amount (Peanuts ) for Title sponsorship,; the benefits are not enough, my boss is not convinced and so on.
    6. BACK PLAN: Think and document a backup plan. Secondly when, how and who to raise the red flag when anything goes wrong.
    7. BANK ACCOUNT: Open a bank account and document the process to remit sponsorship amount.
    8. REVIEW MEET: Arrange a periodic meet with your team. The meet motivates team members and you will observe the most vital results come immediately after the  review meet.
    9. NEGOTIATION: People will negotiate hence Create your negotiation bucket list
  5. CORE TEAM: Other than sponsorship team ensure everyone in the Core Team is acquainted with and contributes towards raising funds. They are your strongest allies to raise funds.
  6. VOLUNTEERS: Spread the word among volunteers for potential leads.
  7. CORPORATE TOASTMASTER CLUB: Go back to Presidents of Corporates Club and request funds.  They are the soft target or let’s call it low hanging fruits.
  8. DISTRICT OFFICERS: Speak to and share sponsorship document with District officers such as Area and Division Governors.
  9. CLUB, AREA AND DIVISION: Take a speaking slot at Club level, Area level and Division level and appeal for funds and leads. Go back and remind them again.  Show them how they can raise funds or identify leads. Do the thinking on others behalf.
  10. DIGITAL WORLD: Get your web site and Facebook page up. Use them to increase awareness and request for sponsorship.  This is your 24×7 marketing engine.
  11. THANK YOU: Acknowledge in writing people who influence indirectly or directly to raise funds.



  1. Have a plan, a backup plan and time to raise red alert.
  2. Begin prospecting early.
  3. Request help, leads and ideas for raising funds from your toastmaster’s community and friendly corporate.
  4. Learn from the lessons of the past events. Speak to the last team who raised funds.
  5. IDENTIFY WHAT’S NOT WORKING: Go back review and revise DELETE what’s not working and focus on what’s working.
  6. Remember sponsors may commit and back out. Deal is not done until money is in your account.  And when money is in the bank give your sponsors exceptional service and assure them of the value out of the event.
  7. Don’t be disheartened if nothing seems working. Adjust your SAIL because SUCCESS is round the bend.

 Please feel free to add comment to improve fund raising.



ImpactYou have taken up the challenge to drive the next meeting and now is the day to perform THE role of TOASTMASTERS OF THE DAY. Audience is looking forward to a great time. How can you help them? Here are few tips to enchant them

  1. TIME MANAGEMENT: Help Begin, Carry and Close the meeting on Time.
  2. Meet, Greet and Shake hands with members and Guests. Connect to make them comfortable and confident.
  3. GUEST INTRODUCTION: If the guests are not recognized by the presiding officer, take it upon yourself to recognize the guests and give them a brief on what is expected from the meeting. At the end of the meeting ask them for their FEEDBACK.
  4. TMOD: The best TMOD is the one you don’t remember. He invests energy in making participants look great and feel appreciated.
  5. THEME: Give a theme to your meeting and be consistent with it from the beginning till the end.
  6. APPLAUSE: Lead the applause when a speaker comes or leaves the podium.
  7. LEAD: Lead the charge to making the meeting exciting. Get everyone pumped up and keep them up during the meeting. While the speakers are the stars of the show, you are the lead cheerleader.
  8. STAY IN TOUCH: Get in touch with every role play and brief him what is expected and find if the role player needs any help or special considerations.
  9. BACKUP PLAN: Avoid delay in meeting because a role play has not turned up on Time. If a member with a role is late – even if you’re still expecting them – get a backup for the role in case they don’t make it.
  10. CONTENT: Find interesting facts, quotes, trivia related to the meeting theme to interject throughout the meeting.
  11. Me Me and Me: Avoid loads of personal anecdotes.
  12. STARS: Your speakers, evaluators and Table Topics participants are the stars to make the meeting memorable. Your job is to make sure they feel comfortable, confident and connected when come to the podium.
  13. INTRODUCTION: There are three things you must include in the introduction: Presenter name and TM title, Project manual and name, Title of the speech.
  14. OBSERVE: Finally strictly observe members and guests before and during the meeting. Identify one good thing or initiative taken up by a new member or guest and recognize him during the meeting. For example if a new member extends a helping hand in setting up the room or a guest helps distribute the agenda.
  15. FEEDBACK: Finally request written feedback from your audience on your role play. reward every feedback with a small token of appreciation. ( It could be any stationery items such as a pen, stick on or others)

Good Luck for your next TMOD role play


Last month while conversing with a Toastmaster I inquired about a fellow Toastmaster.  I was told he had lost his job.  In another meeting I was told that another fellow toastmaster had migrated to Canada considering his kids had moved out for higher education.   This got me thinking, how well do I know my fellow Toastmasters, how well do I know them beyond the precincts of Toastmasters meetings?

Toastmasters is a community of members working towards excelling in life.  Which other fraternity has such a powerful minded community of people?  I could think of no other.  And then I was promptly reminded of Sales phrases Upsell; Cross Sell; Low hanging fruits and so on.   

Low hanging Fruits: Coming from a Sales background I realized that I was connecting with fellow Toastmasters at TM level only i.e. what role they were playing and their Toastmasters journey, nothing beyond that.   This networking road map was obvious and did not require extra effort.  Rather I was plucking LOW HANGING FRUITS.   I was not UP SELLING, I was not connecting at a professional level.  I was not Cross selling, I was connecting at a social level.

When I sat down to introspect; we have over 100+ clubs in UAE and considering a membership status of around  20 members per club, the total membership should around 2000 members.  People pay premium to attend networking events simply to exchange business cards; whereas at TM  club meetings we have an opportunity to connect at a much deeper level.

My message is that networking is a powerful tool, provided we network beyond TM activities.  Because networking is not only shaking hands, exchanging cards or chit chat.  Networking is finding gold while helping other people succeed.  So why pluck the low hanging fruits? Why don’t we CROSS SELL i.e network at a professional level.  Why not UPSELL i.e. what stops us networking at the Social level.

The next time you participate in a club meet, arrive 30 minutes early and

  • CROSS SELL ie. Network at a professional level.  Connect with 5 TM’s at a professional level.  Find out what do they do professionally, how did they got into their profession, what skills are required to be in their job and finally how you can help them grow.
  • UPSLL i.e Network at a social level.  Agree to meet at Starbucks for a cup of coffee and nurture this relationship into a familyet together.  Ask how you can be of help to his family.

Maturing from LOW HANGING FRUITS to CROSS SELL and UPSELL is 360* networking.  And remember, UAE has around 2000 Toastmasters whereas globally there are 292,000 members in more than 14,350 clubs spread in 122 countries.  POWER; Use it or lose it.


 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.

TM-x-tra Many a time I meet professionals and they say I am also a member of Toastmasters club but I don’t attend the meetings.  It’s like saying I have a tread mill at home but don’t use it.

Toastmasters International is a wonderful platform of progressive professionals that has changed many lives.  People who swore to have no talent for public speaking are delivering keynotes and motivational speeches.  People who thought it was a waste of time have morphed into DTM’s and persuaded hundreds of others to join the forum and people who believed in “I, me and mine”, are mentoring and helping others to succeed.  What can you expect to learn from Toastmasters Program?  Let me share my SEVEN STAR learning. Read the rest of this entry »



Medical science says that human body produces 4 types of happy hormones/neurotransmitters.  And when our body is under producing or not producing those hormones; medical practitioners prescribe external drugs to supplements those happy hormones.  They are 

  1. ENDORPHINS: These are strain, pain and fear masking hormones or neuro-transmitters.  When a marathon runner is competing Endorphins masks the pain creating a high to complete the run.  That’s why runners feel the pain next day or after some hours of completing the run.
  2. DOPAMINE: Dopamine controls the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine enables us not only to see rewards, but to take action to move towards them.  Such as when we complete the marathon.  
  3. SEROTONIN:  You feel the surge of Serotonin when you receive applause for your achievements.   The good thing is that the receiver and provider both feel the surge of Serotonin when applause takes place.  Serotonin is a mood enhancing neurotransmitter/hormone.
  4. OXYTOCIN: This hormone/neurotransmitter is responsible for creating bond between friends, family and loved ones.   You feel surge of Oxytocin when you are among the loved one.

Read the rest of this entry »

EnglishThis morning I messaged Vinod Mattamel to forward me Dreams Toastmasters club meeting agenda.  And he responded I am emailing it you followed by the message “You would like to do a special role?  Or a creative Word Master? What you would like to do?? Or a creative Listener???”

He had responded like a professional; he emailed me the agenda but triggered my curiosity.  I was planning to attend half meeting but ended up attending the full meeting.  I had the role play of Ah counter and listen master wherein the theme of the day wasBACK TO SCHOOL” and word of the day was TUTELAGE.   During the course of the meeting I realized I was falling back on my role play so decided to share my tutelage in English language instead.  And here follows my tutelage.

Read the rest of this entry »

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