Archive for the ‘Success’ Category
Yesterday I was at Area contest – 57 with the most simplistic role play of Chief Judge. Simple off course that’s what I believe; until I found a detour.
I believe every role play is simple and straight forward until you find a detour. Because in times like these is the test of your capacity to extend justice to the role play. And yesterday was the day I found two detours. Having said that incidences like these bring in the learning and maturity.
Yesterday I learnet few things:
- When briefing don’t assume your team knows or would remember everything. Hence share important instructions even at the extent of sounding trite and boring.
- Request for feedback after sharing instructions.
- Invite questions on the role play. And if no question is forthcoming and to encourage initiative, bundle important information in a question format such as “I am sure you are aware that your ballot will be rejected if it does not carry your signature?”
- Invite suggestions and caveats from your team members. Trust the wisdom of Crowd Sourcing.
- Finally write down the list of instructions on a piece of paper you would like to share after all I don’t expect myself to remember it verbatim.
Wishing you a superb day ahead.
Best audience does not mean that you are a silent spectator; conversely it reflects you are the most active participant member of the audience. I believe the best learning happens when you plan your participation; and absorb the learning compliant with your goal. Hence let’s analyze how do I maximize my learning during the two hours of meeting when I am not the role play?
- Reach Early: Reach early and connect with members and guests. Set your targets; what you want to achieve during your socializing; do you want opinion on Sales, new openings and so on.
- Carry a Notebook: You can depend on your memory to remember up to “7” things. But you can trust your Notebook to recall any number of learning verbatim. I carry Notebook and note down good quotes, exciting usage of words and use that in my blogs.
- Listen: This is important because when you listen, you learn and when you listen intently, you learn exponentially. Having said that decide what you want to pay attention to ? Good usage of words, humour, quotes or others? During the Burj TM club meeting SAA shared the three taboos as follows. “ You can use three topics on Sex , religion and Politics outside the club meeting”
- Observe Gestures: Observe speakers gestures that make an impression. Can you use those gestures in your next public speaking?
- Take Notes: Take notes during the meeting and begun noting down good usage of language, words or reference to books, URL and others.
- Question but in your Mind: Always questions the speaker. What if he had put a pause? What if the speaker raised the pitch? What if he avoided reference to the TMOD?
- Applaud the Speaker: Applaud the speaker. There is power in applause; it encourages the speaker and in some strange way it also puts you in receptive mode.
- Give Written Feedback: Provide written feedback to the speakers. A very essential process to hone your written feedback skills.
- Give Oral Feedback to the Speaker: Give oral feedback. It’s an excellent process to give feedback and receive instant feedback reflected in the facial gestures. Observe them closely.
- Compliment the speaker when you meet the speaker after the meeting. This is important; it motivates the speaker and also forces you to find positives to speak about.
Once a renowned author said “Do more than Belong: Participate.” Hence be the best audience, PARTICIPATE.
The Toastmasters organization is around 84 years old, but amazingly it is growing younger every day. There was a time only MALE population above the age of 18 could participate and sometime in 1971 the forum was opened to women but off-course for the ladies above the 18 years.
Much later members debated and the opportunity was extended to younger generation under 18 years; under an exciting word called Gavel …”Gavels Club”. Now you observe Gavel clubs in numerous schools and it’s an education to watch the younger generation sharpening their saw in communication and leadership skills. The simple premise for the Toastmasters movement is “age is no bar for sharpening your communications and leadership skills.” You may be 8 years old or 80 years young; you have the right to join Toastmasters forum.
I am a strong proponent of Toastmasters activities and I realized the real benefits after I started visiting and sharing my experience in non – Toastmasters forums and activities. I realized why there is no failure in Toastmasters but LESSONS; that’s the spirit with which members grow in Toastmasters. In a typical crisp statement; members empty their cup. Members begin unlearning old habits to LEARN new habits.
- Members unlearn their stage fright.
- Members unlearn their confused & stagnant mindset.
- Members unlearn being introvert.
- Members unlearn the art of speaking monotonously.
- Members unlearn the power to ignore good body language.
- Members unlearn the power to ignore the power of time management.
- Members unlearn the power to be ignorant of good habits that matters most.
Members may unlearn the old habits but they are replaced by better habits. I always wondered, what is the trigger for such a change; when change is difficult ? Until I read the literature highlighting research. And I would like to share two of them.
- The first experiment was conducted between two groups of students; group A participants were asked to appear for a test and participants in group B were given a candy each just before they entered the exam hall. The result reflected that people who received candy before the exam performed better than the batch who was simply asked to appear for the test.
- In the second experiment the research group conducted a test in the classroom. When the result arrived they simply instructed the teacher that student A, B and C were exceptional students. But also reprimanded teacher not to show any favoritism in their behavior or school work towards the bright students. A year later once again they conducted the test and amazingly students A, B and C performed much better than other students in the class. The icing on the cake is that the result earlier in the year had reflected them as average students. How come sudden improvement in the three students when teachers had refrained from giving any favours ? It only goes to prove that somehow the teacher had outwardly or inwardly reflected appreciation of the students. And that sub- conscious appreciation had impacted their performance.
The above two experiments and many other prove beyond any doubt that motivation, encouragement, compliments and happy positive environment produces better and faster results from the participants . And Toastmasters values reflect and practice the said principals. Consequently members in Toastmasters grow by leaps and bounds. There are no failures but lessons in Toastmasters.
March 4, 2012: Toastmasters International is a non-profit organization engaged in developing public speaking and leadership skills amongst its members. The organization is for the members, by the members and of the members. And one of the objective of the program is to spread the benefit by inducting new members.
Every club has the mandate to induct new members and the new member’s effort is reflected in the club’s DCP points. On the flip side, District officer’s performances are measured by different criteria, including number of new clubs being set up. To achieve the milestone you must sell the programs benefit to new members to join the clubs and corporate communities to set up new clubs.
The simple process includes selling the benefits of toastmasters program and it’s a natural progression that takes its natural time period. But what if you can hasten the process by influencing their mindsets and help members devote extra time on improving club activities and performance.
I believe you can hasten the process by influencing guest’s decision. And here I would share “6” pillars of influence identified by guru of persuasion Dr. Robert B. Cialdini and they are
- Consensus and Commitment
- Social power
RECIPROCATION: We are programmed to pay back a favor and it’s in our DNA. Ralph Waldo Emerson rightly said “Pay every debt as if God wrote the bill”.
TIP :When you invite guests, give them the Toastmasters magazine and or guest kits to take back and read. Make them comfortable and let a senior Ex-Com member explain the program to him. Ask him if he needs any other clarifications. Treat the guest as you would a friend and if required arrange to drop him back at his residence.
CONSENSUS AND COMMITMENT: We as humans have an excessive desire to be consistent with what we have already done or said.
TIP :Get feedback from your guests at the end of the meeting and let them fill out a feedback form that will also ask for them to write down what they liked about the program.
SOCIAL PROOF: If everyone is doing it, it is correct.
TIP : Share with your guests the Toastmasters activities in your territory and globally; there are 96 Clubs in UAE and 110,000 clubs worldwide in over 90 plus countries. Invite them to Area contests, Divisions contests and let them observe the powers of participation and performance.
SCARCITY: Hard to get things are perceived to be better than easy to get things.
TIP : Make your guest comfortable, and introduce the program clarifying all the doubts. Invite them to join but make them aware that since this is members club, the membership is subject to concurrence by all the members.
AUTHORITY: People tend to obey authoritative figures.
TIP : Introduce your guests to the Club president, VP Education, ACM, DTM and let them do the selling. If you have an important guest visiting, invite your Area Governor or Division Governor and introduce your guest to them. A pitch coming in from an authority figure influences.
LIKE: People say yes to people they like or know. People also like people that have something in common with them.
TIP : Find something in common with your guests and start your conversation with this as your basis; it could be school, college, place of residence or anything that becomes an ice breaker.
Getting new members and setting up new clubs are part of the leadership development and the more effectively you perform this activity, the better leader you emerge. Use the powers of the six pillars of influence to maximize the positive outcome. Reciprocate; commitment and consensuses; Authority; Scarcity; Like and use the Social proof.
Toastmasters International has changed many lives. People who swore to have no talent for public speaking are delivering keynote and motivational speeches. People who thought it was a waste of time have morphed into DTM’s and persuaded hundred of others to join the forum and people who believed in “I, me and mine”, have been mentoring and helping others to succeed. What can you expect to learn from Toastmasters Program? As an analogy let me share my five point learning.
Ripple Effect: It’s never too late when it comes to self development. Every small or big thing you learn has a ripple effect in other areas of your life.
Parkinson’s Law: It says that “The demand upon a resource tends to expand to match the supply of the resource.” Hence, plan your activities with a start and end time and stick to it. Because activities that have no time measure, will expand to occupy your valuable time.
B+ : You can choose your friends and choosing positive friends is a blessing in disguise. You are most productive when you are in the company of positive people, you learn better, perform better and your impact increases by many folds. B+ and maintain a positive company.
Pay it forward: Zig Ziggler once said that if you want to succeed in life, help others to succeed. An old saying also says….. “Teaching is twice learning” So go ahead help others succeed and share your learning with others.
Boomerang effect: Never under estimate the power of motivation, words of encouragement and how they can impact the lives of people. They cost nothing but have the most impact. Sprinkle your communication with words of encouragement and motivation, because what you give always comes back and it’s called the Boomerang effect.
And in conclusion, I would share words of Past International President Helen Blanchard, “If you get out of Toastmasters all that there is to get out of Toastmasters, you‘ll never get out of the Toastmasters”
When was the last time you had a conversation with a four year old kid? Did you connect? And if you were lucky, you would have noticed that no sooner you kneeled down and talked to him from his level of eye contact…. You both connected.
But why is that when you talk down to him, he pretends to listen and does not. Why does the kid openly reflect that he is uncomfortable? This is clearly because that is how we are biologically engineered.
In the last four weeks, while attending club contests, I realized that many speakers who delivered a speech with good content did not fare well with the judges marking. I wondered why until I myself occupied the judges chair and realized that no sooner you are expected to judge the speech, your judgment comes under one umbrella…………. “Did the delivery connect with the judge or not.” If it did, the speaker could be marked higher than if the speaker did not! This may sound a bit confusing but I would like you to imagine
Speech # 1 Scenario: A Toastmaster delivers a speech stating that at 6 years of age he was hit by a car and thrown away wherein he had to miss 30 days of schooling.
Speech # 2 Scenario: Toastmaster delivers a speech stating that this November when coming out of the club meeting, he was hit by a car and thrown away wherein he was hospitalized for 30 days . Now my questions to you is – Which speech scenario would you mark higher?
Enjoy Exploring……& welcome comments….
Toastmasters and Corporate
December 17, 2010 Division – B [District 79] conducted a club officers training and subsequently a few of the district leaders discussed the challenges faced by the Clubs. If I may put them in four bullet points, they are;
- Getting new members
- Forming new clubs
- Declining memberships
- Members participation in the club meeting
There could be many solutions to the above challenges but while sitting on my computer the day after, I realized that corporates face similar challenges but disguised in management jargons……………
- Customer acquisition
- Up sell in the customer’s account
- Employee retention
- Employee engagement
My objective for making a comparison is that it’s an opportunity for Toastmasters to study successful corporates [Google – why employees prefer office’s to homes & Google 20% time, SAS – their 13th time in the list of the 100 best companies to work for, Zappos – why offer tours, 1-day training and a 2-day culture boot camps for visitors, Qualcomm, NetApp and others] and emulate those tactics in Toastmasters.