Love – Life – Living

Echoes from the outskirts of the universe by “The Fringe Guy”

Archive for June, 2010

Persuade with Power

Posted by livin on June 23, 2010

Okay folks, I am done with P9 today. ! What a relief 🙂

I gave my 9th speech from the CC manual of Toastmasters today. Here’s a copy of the speech as-i-delivered-it. Hope you enjoy it:

Project 9: Why be here?

Imagine a place where there is immense love, respect, encouragement, support, learning, admiration, appreciation, recognition, excitement & development – a place of endless opportunities & possibilities, – a place where ideas take birth & are shared, – a place where your imagination takes flight, – a place where you come to speak & share & in the process discover yourself, – a place where the learning acquires a whole new meaning. That place, my dear friends is none other than, Toastmasters.

Mr Toastmaster & my dear friends,

If Toastmasters is such a beautiful place, wouldn’t you like to be a part of it? Wouldn’t you like to grab the endless opportunities Toastmasters throw at you? In the next 6 minutes, I am going to tell you that why you should join Toastmasters, why you should be here in this room, week after week, why you should actively participate in the meetings & club activities, why you should pick up your manuals and do your projects, why you should participate in the speech contests and why you should step up & be elected as officers?

There is a longer version of the answer & there is a shorter version too. If I were to give you answers to all the above questions in a single line, the answer would be: “You should do all of this for your own self development in order to achieve stellar success.”

The longer answer revolves around 3 aspects of Toastmasters: Communication, Leadership & People.

According to Jerry Seinfeld, “People’s number one fear is public speaking. And death is number two. This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”

But if you want to be successful in whatever you do – at home, at work or in life in general – you need to have superior communication skills.

One year ago, I was a very shy person & had the same number one fear as most people. I thought of learning salsa or even thought of getting married to get rid of my shyness but in both cases I would have to dance to the tune of my partner. So, I chose Toastmasters to improve my communication skills and since the time I have given my Ice breaker, I have developed the art of breaking ice with anyone. Choosing Toastmasters stands out as one of the best decisions of my life.

Whereas Toastmasters serve as the platform for individual growth by improving your communication skills, it serves as a platform for team growth by improving your leadership skills. As you step up and take different roles every week, you improve your listening, observation, presentation & decision making skills. I can vouch for this from my personal experience of 1 year of being the president of Cisco Vani toastmasters club. The perspectives I got, the situations I got into, the decisions I made, evolved me as a person. It was a huge leadership learning experience for me.

And the most important contribution of Toastmasters is the wonderful people it brings into your life. I have met beautiful people in Toastmasters. Had I not joined Toastmasters, I wouldn’t have met these people in my lifetime. Now they are part of my life, friends for life. Not only friends, you meet new clients, employers & even mentors through Toastmasters.

For instance, last year, when I wanted to file tax returns, I was looking for a CA. I asked my Toastmasters friend, “Can you refer me a CA?” And she gave me the contacts of 5 CA’s, on the spot & I was amazed at the vast network of Toastmasters. There are more than 12,500 toastmasters clubs and more than 250,000 members in over 106 countries.

When you come here week after week, you not only develop your communication skills, enhance your leadership & people skills but you also get wonderful ideas. Every week you hear SAA speech, Presidential speech, prepared speeches & table topics. There are so many ideas & experiences floating around. You pick these ideas one by one & work on them & see where life takes you.

So, here I leave you with one such Idea.

As Neale Donald Walsch said, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”. So step out of your comfort zone, do your projects, take up roles & responsibilities & bring out that passion in you. Nobody can stop you from achieving what you dream. Dream Big & be the Distinguished Toastmaster you always wanted to be.

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Get Comfortable with Visual Aids

Posted by livin on June 23, 2010


I gave Project 8: Get Comfortable with Visual Aids from the CC manual On 21st June in Cisco Vani Toastmasters club.

I repeated speech 7, Apple vs. Microsoft along with a presentation. Here is the slideshow: Apple vs Microsoft

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Research your Topic

Posted by livin on June 17, 2010

I gave my 7th speech from the CC manual of Toastmasters today. Here’s a copy of the speech as-i-delivered-it. Hope you enjoy it:

Project 7: Microsoft vs. Apple

That day when John came to India, I told him,

“Mr. Chambers, I am really concerned about what is transpiring around us”.

He asked me, “CD, what do you mean, can you explain in detail?”

I said John, “Apple has only 3-4 products & Cisco has all kinds of catalysts, nexus, IOS, XR, NX OS & what not, but still Apple is way bigger than Cisco in terms of Market Cap”.

“Yes I am aware of that CD”, said John. “But then what to do, they have Steve Jobs as their CEO”.

I replied, “Make me the CEO of Cisco. I daily eat apple in my breakfast “.

He said, “Okay, But then how to take care of Microsoft, that’s also pretty big”.

“Let them fight with each other & in the meantime let me grow Cisco”.

After we mutually agreed on this, we posed for the paparazzi following us.

Conversation with John got me thinking about both Apple & Microsoft & I decided to compare both the companies, neck to neck.

What struck me was the similarity in both these technology companies. Apple was established on 1st April 1976 while Microsoft was founded on 4th April 1975. Both the companies have been associated with a legendary figure – Apple with Steve Jobs & Microsoft with William Henry “Bill” Gates III. While Steve Jobs was born on 24th February 1955, Bill Gates was born in October the same year. Similarities just don’t end here. Both Jobs & Gates are college drop outs too. That’s an amazing amount of similarity!

I moved on to compare the financial numbers of both these companies. Apple boasts of market cap of 230 billion dollars, while Microsoft’s market cap is 224 billion dollars. If you look at the Annual revenue, it’s 51 billion dollars for Apple & 59 billion dollars for Microsoft. In terms of gross profit, Microsoft is way ahead of Apple where MS has 46 bd & Apple 17 bd. lastly, the total cash in hand for Apple is 23 bd & for Microsoft it is 37 bd. These are humungous numbers. Both are among the largest companies on this planet.

Now, let’s spend some time comparing their products. Apple has products in various categories. The legendary product Mac has a lot of variants: Mac, iMac, Mac Pro, Mac book. In the consumer electronics category, Apple has truly changed the dynamics of the market. In 2001, Apple launched the first ever iPod. Since then it has launched iPod classic, iPod nano, iPod shuffle & iPod touch. In January 2007, Steve Jobs revealed the long anticipated iPhone, a convergence of an Internet-enabled Smartphone and iPod. And then in 2010, Steve Jobs launched, what I believe is a work of Art, a beautiful device called iPad. The iPad is a tablet computer primarily designed to view visual content including books, newspapers, video and online media. iPad sold 2 million devices across 10 countries in just 50 days. That’s one iPad every 3 seconds.

Now let’s shift our focus on Microsoft products. Platform Products and Services Division of Microsoft produces Microsoft’s flagship product, the Windows operating system. It has produced Windows 3.1, Windows 95, 98, 2000, Me, Server 2003, XP, Vista & the latest & greatest of all, Windows 7. Though, Windows is famous for its notorious blue screen, it has revolutionized the home pc market by potentially putting the pc in every home. MSN, Bing, Windows Live, MSNBC, Visual Studio, SQL server are just some of the products offered by this division. The Microsoft Business Division produces Microsoft Office, which is the company’s line of office software. Entertainment and Devices Division produces gaming console called Xbox, computer games such as Age of Empires, Halo & Microsoft Flight Simulator series.

Impact of both Apple & Microsoft has been huge on technology in specific & society in general. Both the companies have changed the world in their own unique way. Both have created the technologies, products & services that have transformed the way healthcare, education, communication, collaboration and entertainment is perceived & delivered in today’s modern era.

Did I say communication & collaboration in the last sentence? That reminds me of John again & our mutual understanding about the next CEO of Cisco. That evening, I assured him that in the next 5 years Cisco will be way ahead of both Apple & Microsoft because we have “The Communication Hub” at Cisco in the form of Cisco Vani. !

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Vocal Variety

Posted by livin on June 14, 2010

I gave my 6th speech from the CC manual of Toastmasters today. Here’s a copy of the speech as-i-delivered-it. Hope you enjoy it:

Project 6: Honeymoon Blues

Honey, where should we go for our honeymoon? Should we go to Malaysia, Mauritius, Maldives, Manali, Munnar or Mysore? This was my question to my fiancée after I failed to decide on my own even after doing 10 days of 24×7 extensive research on the history, geography, civics & economics of all these places. She shot back & said, “Let’s go to Malaysia”, and I was stunned. Here was a girl, who couldn’t on her own decide which color suited her better, or did that dress look good on her, or should she buy sandals with high heels or long boots. And in whiff of a second, she decided “Malaysia”.

Mr. Toastmaster & my dear friends,

I asked her further, “Honey, How did you decide on Malaysia so quickly?” “Well, I want to go to the topmost floor of Twin towers in Kuala lumpur.” And, I asked, “And push you from there, you dumb ass”.  I realized, I asked one question too many.

But this got me thinking about the decision making process itself. What I was following was analytical, logical, deliberative approach where you collect all the data points, map them into a 10×10 matrix & then follow a decision tree to converge on a decision. And what my fiancée used was an intuitive, gut based approach where you follow your heart, your intuition & the answer feels just right to you.

As they say, Devil lies in the details. And here the devil for me was the cost. Even after revising my budget 4 times, I still couldn’t buy tickets in a budget airline or book a budget hotel in Malaysia. Should I fly by Malaysian airlines or Air Asia? Air Asia is cheap but unreliable & Malaysian airlines is expensive but on time, more reliable airlines. I asked her, why do we have a choice in this world? Why everything has pros & cons? Why can’t we have everything in an all inclusive package and that too for free? She replied, “For that, you should go to bed & sleep because that can happen only in dreams & not in reality.”

Decision making is a constant struggle between your heart & mind. Your heart “feels” that this is a right thing to do but your mind is always bothered by thoughts like “isn’t that too expensive?”, “what will people say? “Will I look good?”

Like when we were deciding on which hotel to book in Malaysia, I felt that Hotel Goodtime looked really nice & we will have a gala time there, but my mind was doing cost benefit analysis. But when your priority is to have a quality time with your partner & especially when it’s your honeymoon, mind takes a back seat.

But that day, when she flew to Bangalore to meet me, my mind didn’t take a back seat but went into overdrive & pulled off a stunner. She wanted to have candle light dinner at a calm place. She suggested “Royal Orchid”, “Leela”, “Zuri”, “Windsor Manor” among others. I looked into my pocket & said sure, why not & took her to “Mayura Sagar” which is just next to my house. It was raining heavily & was very dim there too the only difference being that it was not a candle but a zero watt bulb. But the love in my heart blew away all the fire in her head & made that a perfect romantic dinner.

Sooner or later, husbands become dumb after marriage & I am no way an exception to that rule & hence I decided to become one before marriage itself.  To decide each & everything related to my honeymoon, I would go to google.com. The searches would be something like this: “Where should I go for my honeymoon” & the result would show me a picture of dabur honey & the map of moon. I realized I am not the only dumb person on this earth, google.com is dumber than me.

I don’t find myself alone in this sea of indecisiveness. I am swimming alongside William Shakespeare who once famously said “To be or not to be– that is the question”. I really wonder where Shakespeare would have gone for his honeymoon. But to overcome my indecisiveness, what I need is a device similar to iphone or ipad, a device called “idecide”, a device which can decide everything for me. Can you tell me from where can I get that device?

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