The longest 30 seconds… at a Toastmasters meeting

VaruShe was standing in front of the audience. She couldn’t utter a word for about 30 seconds. Those 30 seconds were like an hour for her. She was struggling to remember the rest of her speech having opened it with an interesting remark that captured the attention of the audience.

She started sweating though the meeting room was air conditioned. She could hear seconds ticking away on the wall clock behind her as those in the audience kept on glaring at her BUT, but… she continued to stand there… trying to recall what was in her preparatory notes.

Then suddenly something struck a chord in her mind and she remembered her next point which connected to another, another and another. And there she was, continuing her speech very confidently from that point onwards. Read more


What makes humor tick?

Humour exists not just for its own sake.

It can be thought of as the brahmastra that helps in making any speech powerful. The genius of the device is such that it can be used to convey any feeling, be it love, hate, anger, grief, jealousy, disgust, cynicism, and so on, and ironically, it can also be used in bringing down the impact of those very feelings, when deployed in a different way.

All the same when used well, it can work wonders by effectively communicating any subject. Case in point: Comedian John Oliver’s weekly show “The Last Week Tonight”.  While Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert established the style and foundation for satire and  sarcasm laced examination of “serious” subjects, it was John Oliver,  in this author’s opinion, who popularized it so much that his show is considered  a serious contender in the  category of mainstream journalism despite the anchor’s vehement insistence that it’s just a  comedy show. Oliver’s brand of humour  takes the form of sarcasm,  slapstick, innuendo and self-deprecation,  many a time. But it also  succeeds in telling the story of the day. It manages to  CONVEY. That’s a near perfect demonstration of what humour can do to any kind of  messaging.   

What makes humour work? For the sake of brevity, let’s examine the most important  components in a speech that gets humour working.   

  1. Conflict For any story to work, it has to stay within the boundaries of logic, even if its  basic premise is as unearthly as possible.  Conflict, a.k.a the second act, gets the audience’s’ interest and keeps them guessing until resolution, i.e. the climax.  A humorous speech or  story works along the similar lines. Even if the idea  is to  make the audiences laugh, a humorist should also get  them to  care. Once the laughter dies out, they should still be interested in  knowing  what  happens to the story.    
  2. Characterisation A corollary to the previous point, great characters help in making a story  interesting.  Great characterizations make humour a lot more situational. Those situations  can be made more relatable with the use of localisms, and cultural references easily  identifiable to the audience. It’s here that a humorist strikes the chord.    

While writing this piece, I was wondering if I should make it humorous for the reader, just as  a way of presenting the purpose of the article in a subtextual  manner. And that’s when I remembered another cardinal rule ­ No humour is better than bad humour. Bad humour,  short of getting a  few laughs, can create  controversies. Nothing leaves a worse aftertaste  than forced or misplaced humour.   

Unless an individual is very skilled, including humour in speeches takes serious thought and  preparation. When it’s done right,  it’s an excellent tool  to have in one’s communication arsenal.  

This article was first published on the Deccan Chronicle VIT’s blog section.




4 Reasons Why You Should NOT Attend Reverberation 2016

Disclaimer: Content of this blog post is a work of pure sarcasm. Readers are advised not to be mislead without understanding the underlying meaning of it. Please read it fully…



Aaaarrrggghhhhhh! These days, these are the two words that keep reverberating in our minds after every Toastmasters meeting! The PR and Registration fellows have been working hard to somehow make us all register for the conference. All their gimmicks, be it a troll or a blog post or even their speeches tempt us register for Reverberation, sometimes even more than once. But boss, wait!

Let me give you 4 good reasons as to why we should NOT attend this year District 82 semi-annual conference. Here goes: Read more

Toastmasters District 82

Toastmasters District 82 – #2 in the world!!

98 – That’s the total number of districts in Toastmasters International, excluding District F and District U.

Second best!

That’s us – District 82.  

As an ardent Toastmaster, I speak for all of us when I say our relationship with the fraternity is like a marriage.

When we – each of us – walked into a club, we were novices. We made new friends, found hidden talents and built memories in this forum. It hasn’t been all fun and games. We made mistakes – lots of it on stage. We fumbled and fell. But we forgave each other. And we grew in the process. Read more

How Ex-Com roles influence your career

How Ex-Com roles influence your career? – Part 1

What positive influence has being an Executive Committee (ex-comm) member had on your career?

Everyone has a reason to join Toastmasters. As evidenced by countless speeches, it leaves a mark on every individual’s life. We were curious about the extent of the part it played in helping members in their professional lives – whether in networking, finding a job, furthering one’s career, finding new opportunities, solving problems, showing leadership in times of crisis et al.

Toastmasters places a lot of emphasis on leadership. A good leader also needs to be a good communicator. An aspiring leader’s journey starts at the club level. Those are the Toastmasters’ equivalent of grassroots. It is where the real leadership training starts. Being part of a club’s executive committee requires the ability to have a vision, to shoulder responsibilities, to be empathetic, to be a good mentor/guide, and to carry the club baton forward from the previous team. These are some of the qualities that organisations expect from their employees. Having demonstrated them in a formal setting such as Toastmasters can potentially have an incredible impact in one’s career.

Therefore, we asked the past executive committee members of various clubs about their experiences in performing their roles. Let’s see what they have to say… Read more


View Point – Celebrations District 82 – July 2016


Sudash Liyanage, DTM
District Director – District 82, 2016-17

“DO NOT FORGET to ENGAGE, ENJOY & ENRICH as you participate in the Humorous Speech & Speech Evaluation contests”

Dear Friends

It’s time for celebrations. District 82 ranked No.2 in the World for the second time in a row!!

Congratulations for our leader DTM Sastharam Raveendran (IPDD) for steering the District in the year 2015/2016 with loads of NEW beginnings, enthusiasm and energy. Kudos to Sastha, his team, club officers and every member who contributed to the success of District 82. Read more

International President Elect, 2015-2016

District 82 with DTM Mike Storkey, Toastmasters International President-Elect

DTM Mike Storkey,
International President-Elect, 2015-2016.

“I urge everyone to step outside their comfort zone, step up to the challenge and seize the opportunity”

1. What was your first Toastmasters meeting like? Please describe it to us. And what convinced you to become a member?

The first Toastmasters meeting which I attended was the demonstration meeting of the Whitsunday Club in North Queensland, Australia. Lesley, my wife, and I were encouraged to investigate and found an enthusiastic group of young potential members together with a team of existing members from the sponsoring club all having a great time. Unfortunately the timing was not right for us and in fact it was two years later when we actually became members. Neither of us joined to improve our public speaking or to become leaders, but as we lived in a resort holiday town on the Great Barrier Reef there was little social life after the sun went down so the reason was do something socially together. We have not been disappointed.

Read more

Monthly Bulletin – August 2016 | District 82 Toastmasters

Monthly Bulletin – August 2016 of District 82 Toastmasters prepared by the PR Team of District 82 Toastmasters can be found below. It also comes with a list of events that are planned for this month. Are you all game? Please subscribe to for more updates from the district!

Monthly Bulletin - August 2016

Monthly Bulletin – August 2016