The joy of Participation!

The humorous and evaluation contest were scheduled today in our Wordsmiths toastmaster club. That’s something I sweared to win when I participated in it an year ago :). At-least even two weeks back I vowed myself to prepare and give my best for the contest even if its not going to be a winning speech. (I haven’t improved much in toastmaster scales and got to work on it!). But I lost a week (Including last Saturday and sunday ) to the viral infection and I was in no position to attend the meet ; The question of contesting doesnt arise at all. In fact i was starting to feel better today.

Since the club bag was with me I asked Vivek to pick it up before the meeting. He pleaded me a lot to come for the meeting but I did not heed to his words.Vivek was worried that only two contestants are available for todays contest. Being a active member of a less active clubs requires extra energy and Vivek has plenty of it. That makes him a lot better.It was Sastha and Vivek who kept pinging me and dragged me to todays meet. I was attending it after a making a deal that I will only participate in evaluation contest.

Hari was the contest chair and he was briefing the participants and there were five of them. Hope Sastha and Vivek told all the other speakers the same thing that they told me to make this contest happen. Lalitha Mam opened the meet describing the contests and handed it over to the contest chief judge Sastha. Sastha – Young in age but senior in experience; He passed on the stage to Hari who was the contest chair. Ranjith from caterpillar toastmasters was the designated speaker and his speech was challenging enough to evaluate.

Once again It was made clear to me that I need to concentrate more on my presentation skills. I had my points on evaluation clear but couldnt present it well and missed out lot of points which I had noted down in paper. Later I had a chit chat with veteran Ravi on how evaluations should be organized. He suggested to model it as any other speech with an introduction,body and conclusion. Evaluation is one of the most important art in toastmaster since its the place where we learn to appreciate and also criticize others constructively both of which are must in any corporate situation and we certainly do less of both. Among the contestants Vivek alone was close to toastmaster standards and I feel we need to improve a lot in standards.

Next was humorous contest and RamPrasad was the first to open.He was also a instant speaker today but that was rarely evident in his speech. He had narrated a story on why Honesty is not the best policy. He brought out humour at regular intervals by narrating a finely woven story on career. Especially the way he quoted about the job in the middle of street – traffic controller drove non stop laughter in us. It was amazing to see him turn the serious tale on career in to a humorous speech. Rest of the speakers including me were betting on some well circulated jokes and nothing appealed much.

Nina Mam flashed in towards the end and was asked to give an inspiring speech which she did to her best as usual. “It up to you to come to toastmasters with a teaspoon/mug/bucket …… toastmaster has lot to offer!”. That for sure would have inspired us to bring big containers to toastmasters next time:).She also insisted that toastmasters is not just for communication skills but also a place to groom leadership skills. Yep Sastha and Vivek were testimonials to it. You should have asked them how they felt for pulling todays show from almost an impossible stage. Vivek and RamPrasad were winners of the day. But it was the Toastmasters movement which is the real winner which brought in people like Lalitha,Hari,Ravi,Thomas Sir to make this event happen. Also not to mention SasthaRam and Vivek must be the happiest hearts back home. I was also equally happy for participating in it rather than my earlier decision of skipping it.

Toastmaster is synonymous to non-stop learning! As Nina Mam said the more you involve in it the more you reap from it.So true.!Let me wish my club members all the best for the area contest ahead!

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