Toastmasters

Starting today, I’ll be posting my prepared speeches for the Toastmasters Competent Communicator projects on this page. The purpose of posting here is not only to archive all my speeches at one place, but also to get inputs on the content from the visitors. (We do get oral and written evaluations in the TM meetings themselves, but additional evaluations don’t hurt. 🙂 )Further, The postings can also provide some inputs to new toastmasters googling for some ideas.

First project is titled: The Ice-breaker. The expectations from this one are quite simple: Just start speaking before an audience, learn what skills you already have and get the audience to know you better.

So here goes my project #1 speech. Titled: Racing towards Infinity. Delivered on June 26,2007

Do you remember that thin bespectacled guy in your class, ever so shy, ever so reserved, interested mostly in academic stuff? This was what I was when I was in my school.
Madam Toastmaster and fellow Toastmasters,
I am here to walk you through the journey of my life from that thin, geeky, reserved bespectacled student in my school days to…… well a thin geeky reserved bespectacled software engineer at Adobe.

I’ve titled this journey “Racing towards Infinity” Partly because it reflects my attitude to life. That life doesn’t have anything called as final destination. You’ve to keep achieving your mini-targets and keep on aiming for the higher ones. Another reason for the title is that I never miss a chance to publicize my blog. Google for this phrase and the first link that you get is mine.

Anyways, my life has many facets: an ardent reader, a passionate quizzer, a pathetic player of cricket or for that matter any other game. But I’ve decided to focus on one major aspect: me and public speaking, with glimpses of other events in my life.

The journey started about 25 years back and in yet another example of that generation’s obsession with Mr. Bachchan, my parents decided me to name me “Amit” Can you imagine I was one of 5 Amits in my branch and in first year, three out of four in my room were “Amits” Even presently, I am one of the 6 Amits in my team and the 29 Amits in Adobe India.

Carrying on, in my school days, I used to be good student. But when it came to public speaking, I always developed cold feet. But I never cared enough for that. I never thought that there’s anything in life that can not be attained by topping the class. First time I realized this seriously enough was in Class IX, when we were bidding farewell to our seniors. I had written a childish poem wishing good luck to the parting class. The program organizer really liked the effort and asked me to recite that in front of my classmates. I faltered and finally the organizer had to ask me if I’d mind if the poem in the main program is recited by anybody else. I hardly had any option left after my dismal performance.

Well.. schooldays got over and the next was the golden period of my life:: engineering at MNNIT, Allahabad. College-days!! Even a mention of those makes me nostalgic. Surely, those were the best days of life. Even for a geeky soul like me, the college-life represents four years of undiluted fun, life-long bonds of friendship, lots of learning and yes, if time permits, some studies.

It was towards the end of my first year, when I discussed with my close fiend Abhishek about the need to develop our communication skills. That was the beginning of “The beautiful minds”- a group of six guys and two gals formed with a common objective of learning to speak better. TBM was surely one of the best things that happened to me in my college life. We met every Sunday and held Group discussions and debates. TBM helped me find my voice. Right, the voice was quivery, the legs still shaky. Still I could muster courage to stand up and speak, when forced to do so. The initiative part was still missing.

Through campus interviews, I landed up a job at Computer Associates. Among other things, I found time for another geeky taste of mine: Quizzing. On meeting Sundar,a guy who had represented CA in a couple of quizzes, I told him that I’d love to start a Quiz Club at CA, but I don’t dare to do so because I’m a terrible speaker. Sundar told me about this great organization called Toastmasters International. He had been to the meeting once or twice and told me about how it functions. Particularly he stressed the importance of taking initiative alone and suggested that often taking initiative can give you the needed confidence. I could not start the Toastmasters @ CA, but I did organize one quiz at CA with acceptable level of success in term of public speaking.

After a year-long stint at CA, I decided to switch and landed up my dream job: the one at Adobe. Well… the dreams can be eye-opener at times. Just kidding, the last one year has really been a good learning experience for me. So once I was settled in my “dream job”, I asked myself “What next?” I decided to pursue my dream of becoming a better speaker and Toastmasters was the best option available. Fortunately many others shared this dream and Adobe management cooperated. The result is in front of you.

So finally here I am delivering my icebreaker and I know there are many things that I need to improve. I do target getting to the CC and CL levels next, but I’ve not marked any final target at which I’ll be satisfied with my communication skills. Because as they say, the race for perfection has no finish line

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10 Comments on Toastmaster Project #1: Racing towards Infinity

  1. Bhavya says:

    interesting story. was fun reading it 🙂

  2. Geetha says:

    Brilliant IceBreaker Speech! In my 9 years with TM I have heard some well written Ice Breakers and this is one of them.

    You seem to be a person who has a lot to share and can put it well in words and sentences. This means your battle is only with your butterflies (Not sure of your style of delivery – but if you unleash your passion for expressing your delivery will be great too)

    Great Job!

  3. Thanks Geetha for your compliments!! It’s always a pleasure to be appreciated by a TM veteran. 🙂

    Do keep dropping by.. I’ll posting my projrcts 6-10 shortly. (Yes, I’ve completed my CC 🙂 )

  4. […] Racing Towards Infinity by Amit Bhatnagar […]

  5. praveen says:

    Your speeches sound very knowledgeable and very very well prepared.
    As someone who is going through the same process of improving my speaking skills can I ask how long did you take to prepare this speech? Did you write it once and reviewed it many times?

    • Hey Praveen
      Thanks for your words of appreciation.
      As for time taken, it varied a lot.. but most of the time, the topics I chose were something I was really interested in or something that I had discussed either recently (See the opening of my Project #4) or quite often with my friends (Project #2 and #3 are examples of this). So for topics like these, it didn’t really take a lot of time to jot down my notes.. But yes, at times,there were certain refinements to the draft, specially when I wanted to add a twist/surprise-factor in the speech. And for the initial speeches at least, I rehearsed the delivery with my roommate, who often gave comments for the content too, in addition to the delivery.

  6. i am, amie says:

    Hi Amit, I was trying to find TMs in Bangalore and landed on your blog. I found your speech/write-ups interesting! Can you suggest how I can find the rite TM club?

  7. shashank says:

    Hi Amit,
    very nicely written.
    I am also from MNNIT Allahabad. I am pass out of 2007 batch.
    Which year did you pass out from MNNIT?

  8. Padmaja says:

    Great Speech Amit.. Just came across yours and found it very interesting

  9. Rita Kapoor says:

    Bravo Amit…Very interesting & well written speeches..thoroughly enjoyed reading them. 🙂

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