• pravin kumar

Observe to learn

This blog will not be about my boring monologue sad story. I will continue writing that story in future blogs- yes, I love to bore you people. This blog is about one of my other passion, "Toastmasters" If you are hearing the "Toastmasters(TM)" for the first time, you are really missing something big in your life. Toastmasters have helped me a lot in my life. I will write about my TM journey and how it has helped me overcome my depression in my "sad, depressing series". This blog is about my today's learning because of toastmasters. I attended my club TM meeting yesterday and participated in table topics, the topic which was given to me was "Why to follow when I can lead". I disagreed and believed you need to follow people before you start leading. So, in my opinion, first, follow and learn and then lead. This idea was negated successfully by the general evaluator that you should not be part of the crowd, but I still believe I was right from my perspective, and she was also right from her perspective. Yes, this is a conundrum; how come two diametrically opposite views, and both could be true from my point. I guess the only difference is she is intelligent, and I am mediocre; hence I need to follow before I lead. My point was from the point of mediocre hence I observe to learn then I follow.

The opportunity "observe to learn" I got today when I became a timer for TM area level international speech contest(ISC). I have not participated in my club-level ISC contest; hence I was not part of any ISC, making me a loser. I wish I would have participated in the contest; nevertheless, it is sometimes okay to sit back, observe, and learn many things.

As a timer, I needed to be extra cautious today, and hence my concentration level was very high today. I listened to every speaker's speech with high concentration and learnt a lot.


The first speaker was "TM Aditya Gupta," his title "What are you looking for" I always wondered ever since I have joined TM which speech is a perfect speech; this was one perfect speech. Everything in this speech was brilliantly crafted. The speakers' vocal variety, energy, use of props, content, command over the language everything was spot on. Apart from these qualities, the "Haka Dance" mesmerized me. His speech taught me not to feel shy; do whatever you feel like you are the boss when you are speaking, and hence do not be scared in front of the audience.

The next speaker was "TM Roli Sinha." I was listening to Aditya first time, but I had the opportunity to listen to Roli when I joined her club professional speaker as a guest; she was TMOD that day. Hence I had an idea she is an outstanding speaker. What I saw today surpassed my expectations. I have no words to describe how magnificently she explored her inner conflict and fought with "ilor," and won the battle with flying colors. Switching her voice between "Roli" and "ilor" took my breath away. I was wondering how someone can do that. She has shown remarkable grace at the stage, and her oratory skills spellbound me. Her speech had a message do not quit, the task will be uphill, but you have all the potential to achieve what you want to achieve.

The third speaker was my club mate bubbly girl "TM Swapnil Bhatt". I have been observing her's rise and rise in TM for a year. A remarkable girl, her passion for her self-improvement, I can see in her's speech. I loved the speech, loved her confidence, the stage presence; everything was perfect. My learning will be confident, you could be a novice, but you can win any battle if you are confident.

The next speaker was "TM Laxmi K Raman," her's speech taught me one thing "you should feel happy by making others happy." I really enjoyed her's speech thoroughly.

The next speaker was my clubmate TM Vikas. His topic "Never listen to naysayers, listen to your heart." Like TM Swapnil, I have seen how much Vikas has improved; his central message "never quit" resonated with my life; hence I loved every part of his speech.

The next speaker, "Irfan Rashid," was an amazing good speaker. However, he mixed many facts and fiction and considered that Jeans wearing middle class is bereft of India's real issues, which I'm afraid I have to disagree with. Still, my learning will be with ease he was able to speak on the complex issue. I would have never considered taking the social issue which ail India, because of him maybe I will take these complex issues and put a different perspective and obviously will hope no one will label me.

The next speaker was "TM Vignesh Reddy," titled "It is all about perspective," a beautiful perspective he had; I really enjoyed his stage presence, confidence, content. I have learned one thing from his speech is his content, the way he can connect things was truly remarkable. The central idea "our goals is to bridge the gap between have and have nots" was beautifully crafted.

Last but not least speaker was "TM Sandeep Taneja" his title "Who to follow" was another content-driven, amazing idea to connect your life with the evolution of your "sense of humor" I would have never able to think about this type of content for a speech.

This is one hour of amazing learning session where I learned many things by observing. If I need to summarize, the following could be my learning:

  1. How to feel comfortable at the stage (Virtual Stage).

  2. How to be confident in front of people.

  3. How to do voice modulation.

  4. How to write an amazing script.

  5. How to link your life experiences with your scripts.

  6. How rich language could help you.

Though I wished I would have participated in the ISC but sometimes it is okay to sit back and observe to learn. My winner list is different for me: Roli and Aditya followed by Swapnil, but in a true sense, all were winners, and someone put it right we, the audience were losers.

Thankyou Toastmasters



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