We are not all cut from the same cloth


We are not all cut from the same cloth,

               but together we make a beautiful quilt”

All of us are not cut from the same cloth.
The differences that we have are much more than our similarities

Yet, when we get together as a team to work towards accomplishing a task, these differences vanish into thin air.

We believe in the greater strength we have when we combine our forces and do not worry too much about individual brilliance.

We learn from each other, we consider no one is above another, nor is anyone superior to another. We are all equal team members of one Toastmasters family. Read more


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.



D82 Featured Image

The power of positivity

The power of positivity is amazing! Can you remember the first speech that you delivered at your club? Regardless of it being the Ice-Breaker or impromptu, I’m sure you could recall every moment of it; the torment of being stuck, literally and physically, perspiring like a fountain while the throat being parched like a desert, having a belly full of butterflies and most importantly thinking “Why am I making myself an embarrassment?”.

Read more

D82 Featured Image

Lessons on giving a great speech from a runner-up at the World Championship of Public Speaking

The world champion of public speaking. This is a title sought out by many Toastmasters across the world every year. Yet only ten individuals will even have a chance of returning home with this title. How exactly did these individuals come close to such a feat? Tons of hard work is the short answer. The long answer will vary depending on which of these individuals you ask.

Read more

Photo credits: Theewra

12 Impromptu speaking lessons from a District champion

You swallow your fear, you walk on stage and take a topic. The table topics master reads out the topic and now as you face the audience, you have two minutes to think of a great speech and deliver it.  Just like prepared speeches and presentations, Impromptu speaking has their own set of challenges. We do Impromptu speaking every day, whether it’s at a table topics session or simply when you have to tell your boss why you’re late for work. But how do you conquer these challenges with Impromptu speaking and become a master at it?

Read more