Toast Masters Club is a place where one can hone his/her verbal communication skills, in a professionally guided environment. Interested? Want to know more? Check this out: http://www.toastmasters.org/
A club can be chartered (formed) with a group of 20 interested candidates. The club meets often in an organized way. Members take up roles as Speakers, Evaluators, Sargent at Arms, Treasurer, President etc. One would be certified as a Competent Communicator if he/she could successfully complete 10 speeches. These speeches have specific objectives and test a list of skills one would have to posses to be an effective communicator. They would be in an increasing order of difficulty and challenge. There would be evaluators and mentors who would assess and guide speakers through different levels of speeches.
We have a club that was previously active in my office. Today was the club’s first formal revival session and mine was the first formal speech.
My 1st speech – The IceBreaker: The objectives broadly were to introduce my self to the club members. Tell them what sort of a person I was, what I did, my ambitions in life etc,. The idea is to break the ice between the new member (me, in this case) and the club members. Here’s what I spoke:
My name is Bharath Reddy, I was born in a farmer’s family in 1982. My father is a BA in English and yet preferred to pursue agriculture. As a little kid I dreamt of becoming a farmer, a farmer who would use all the modern equipment and produce more than my father could.
Soon it was time for me to start going to school, and around the same time my dad started a plastics manufacturing factory. The idea of the factory was so fascinating that I wanted to grow up fast and make it a factory that made every thing that could be made with plastic.
When at school I was different from most of the kids. While all other kids played with their toys, I used to disassemble them and struggle long hours restoring them. My aim was to find out how the toys worked. My mom says I used to break toys right on the second day. Then on, I never lost the habit of dissecting every thing to make sure I knew how it worked. I still do. At school I was not the brightest of the kids but I was a quick learner. I was very talkative. Physics and Geography were my favorite subjects and as far as I can remember, cycling was the best part of going to school.
By the time I got out of school, cousins and elder brothers of friends, joined this new weird league of people called ‘software engineers’. Fathers were no longer our heroes; the ‘software engineers’ were, for obvious reasons. So here I was at this junior college that prepared us for engineering entrance. I was in the race but my longing to do something different landed me at the selections for the National Defense Academy. But it seemed they thought I’d better be a ‘software engineer’, I was sent back. By then I graduated from being a toy breaking lad to someone who took great interest in electronics, sound and music. I read and explored extensively about audio systems and technologies then.
I’m a much different person from what I was 4years ago. I talk less and think a lot! The better things are that I now have many more interests and hobbies than I ever had. I read, I blog quite a bit, I photograph, I love riding my bike and I still have my passion for music and sound intact. My ambitions kept changing all through. Now, I want to use my physical and mental faculties to I want to be a good human being. When I’m old, I would want to look back and feel I’ve not wasted my time but I’ve lead a meaningful life.
This was my Ice breaker speech. I wonder if I have broken the ice or taken too long till it melted.
The speech evaluator said that my talk was interesting and simple, but that I should have been more expressive rather than looking serious ( I was frozen actually). I used the notes as reference (allowed only in the Ice breaker speech!), I should not have. I did not move an inch from the podium. It would have been better if I moved about the stage while I talked. Bottom line is that I can speak well in public, if I better a few of my skills. This was a good start.
Please comment on my speech, be my evaluator, I would be honored.