Evaluation contest


Evaluate to Motivate

The second Toastmasters Club Officer Training in 2018-19 provides educational sessions for the benefit of the club officers.

I had an opportunity to do an workshop on “Evaluate to Motivate” from the Successful Club Series.

I had fun preparing and putting together the material for it.

I took some motivation from Mel Kelly for Evaluation speech templates and Florian Mueck for Feedback formulas.

We had a fun and interactive workshop with club officers from 4 to 5 clubs from Munich and Rosenheim.

Here are some pictures and the presentation itself:

  Presentation as PDF: Click here

Two Left Feet

Two left feet

I was born a great dancer.
Let me show you some sexy steps.
Contest chair, fellow toastmasters and guests!
I firmly believed I was a great dancer.
Don’t you think so?

In the last year of university, we had one chance to dance with women.
The dance that we had to do was a step to the left and step to the right.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it!
This is how, it looked on me.
Step to the left and step to the right.
Step to the left and step to the right.
Step to the left and step to the right.
Every time I took a step to the left, my right went along.
The dance club members made fun of me and said –
No, you cannot dance. You have two left feet.
They even called my dance moves “the duck walk”.
Until then I thought I could even do the moon walk.
Thank you.
Has anyone told you that you can’t dance, that you can’t do something that you love?

After university, I moved to Germany and I got a job.
In IT.
Like all Indians.
My love life was going nowhere.
How would it? In India, my mother would have found a woman for me.
My friend told me that you can meet women in dance schools.
I signed up for the basic course in Salsa, which would make me dance like Antonio Banderas.
The guy signing us up for the courses gave me one look and said:
No, you cannot dance. You do not have a dance partner.
In walked an Italian goddess. She was the teacher.
She looked at me and said – You look cute. You can dance with me. I know, I used to look cute when I was much younger.
She gave me a chance to dance.
Every time my right foot moved to the left, she moved to my right. When I saw her move to right, my right foot magically moved to the right too.
She had fixed my two left feet. It is amazing what Italian women can fix for you.

Charged with Italian charm, I went to dance in a bar to try out my moves.
I walked across the room, to a woman and asked her – Would you like to dance?
She told me she was thirsty and having a break.
Then I was looking out for somebody who did not look thirsty.
I walked to another woman and asked her – Would you like to dance?
She told me that the room was too hot to dance.
And I said, is it hot in here or is it just you? She didn’t seem to like that line. I don’t know why!
Finally, one woman took pity and danced with me. Halfway through the dance she stopped dancing with me. I don’t know why!
That crushed my male ego!
I took a LONG LONG break from dancing.
Did you take a break from something you loved and never got back to it?

Two years passed. I had forgotten the pain. I went back to another dance school.
There was no Italian teacher, but I saw this woman standing alone looking for a dance partner.
She had a drink, so she was not thirsty.
The air conditioning was on, so she was not feeling hot.
I asked her – Would you like to dance?
She looked down and said that she had two left feet.
Really! – “That is my line”.
Come on, let us try to dance.
Step to the left, step to the right.
Step to the left, step to the right.
This was working.
German women can fix things too!
Step to the left, step to the right.
Do four left feet make two right feet?
In our case it did, and we are still dancing.
Two people with two left feet got together and made it right.
 “Go out there, find your dance and give your dance a chance”

Standup Comedy

My name is Ranjith. I come from India and of course I do IT support.
How many doing IT support here? Okay, How many software consultants here?
(Pick one and ask what they do. Do you have neck pain?)
I had neck pain last year. So, I went to my house doctor.
How many of you have heard of the term “house doctor”? In Germany, your family doctor is called the house doctor. The first time I heard it, I thought the house doctor is the one who treats you at home. When I called my house doctor and asked him when he could visit me at home, he said that would not be possible. I made an appointment with him for my neck pain.
He checked my neck and said, you are Indian – Do Yoga.
I said, I am Indian – that is why I do not do yoga.
Yoga is what we export to countries like Germany.
I tried Yoga in Munich once for 90 minutes.
They did Yoga for 90 minutes.
No talk, no messing about, just plain Yoga and I was half-dead by the end of it.
In India, if the yoga session is for 90 minutes.
You start around 30 minutes late.
You do yoga for 15 minutes, have a tea break for 15 minutes, do another round of yoga for 15 minutes and then talk for last 15 minutes.
We talk, mess about and by end we are still alive.
And that is how we achieve inner peace!
Back to my doctor. He said, forget the Yoga – do swimming.
I grew up in India with quality entertainment.
Hollywood movies with George Clooney, Bollywood movies with Shah Rukh Khan and Baywatch.
I always wanted to be a lifesaver like David Hasselhoff and preferably run behind Pamela Anderson.
So, I put on my gear for the swimming pool.
I got out my faithful Birkenstock with socks.
To complete the picture, I needed a bag.
Not just any bag, I bag which would advertise that I was integrated, that I had arrived in Germany.
I picked up a shining ALDI bag.
Somehow my Birkenstock and ALDI combination did not go well with the police car that pulled over.
They stopped me and said “Ausweis, Bitte”. Who takes their identification card to the swimming pool?
I heard the Germans even take the Ausweis to the Sauna. Where would you possibly keep it?
I waved my Aldi bag and showed off my Birkenstock sandals. the police officer did not look impressed.
He said again “ausweis, bitte”
I put in my hands in my pocket to take out my wallet.
I was glad this is Germany. if it was the us, I might have been shot for putting my hands in my pocket.
I come from India. I thought I should give them a small bribe so that they let me go.
But i remembered the German integration course which said that you should not bribe the German police.
If you are polite and have the paperwork, the German police will leave you alone. i had the politeness, but was missing the paperwork.
The police said I will have to go with them for a ride.
I was so excited. I had never been on a BMW car. this was brand new BMW car with blinkers and sirens.
I was so important that one of the policemen opened the door for me. they even locked my side of the door so that I do not fall out.
One sat next to me for company. one was driving. I thought it was pretty cool to be chauffeured around.
I was hoping that the blinkers and sirens would go on, but I was not important enough.
the police took me to my apartment and checked my passport. what happened afterwards surprised me. I was walking to the swimming pool when they stopped me. now they drove me all the way to the swimming pool and dropped me in front of it.
I must say, the German police are really great, if you are polite and you have the paperwork.
to all the Indians and brown people, if you want a free ride to anywhere in a shining BMW, come to me for some fashion advice



Be yourself



I´d worked a very long time to get where I was in life. I studied hard, graduated from university and had reached my dream. Jobless.

Contest chair, fellow Toastmasters, guests and those who have been jobless at some point in your life.

I was an Indian, with a masters of IT – there were two options:

  • stay in India and become a Service Desk operator – hello, I am John and how may I help you?
  • go to Europe and open an Indian restaurant – Would you like the chicken tikka masala, sir?

I had done a few jobs during the holidays, but none of them went well:

  • The first one was in an orange juice factory. They began squeezing me, then I got canned because I couldn’t concentrate.
  • Then I was a woodcutter. I couldn’t hack it so they gave me the axe.
  • I tried to be a tailor, but I wasn’t really suited for that.

My first attempt at finding a proper job was in the last semester of university.

Day 1 – 50% of my classmates found a job. Except me.

I told myself your first job is not your last job. The first woman you meet is not your wife. I wish I had got that job on the first day.

Day 2 – 75% of my friends found a job. Except me.

Gold was gone, silver slipped away – maybe I was born for Bronze.

Day 3 – 99% of my classmates found a job. Except me.

A place on the podium was long gone.

Things could not get worse than this or could they?

Everybody walked up to me with pitiful eyes. Ranjith, you will get that job. “Loser”

Even the cook in our canteen told me. Ranjith, eat up. You will need the strength for the days to come.

I DID need it. After University, I walked the streets of India for three months trying to get a job. I was fed up. Maybe I did not belong to the promised land of software, and I should get back to making curry!

But then, a friend of mine talked to me and suggested I get an internship instead. Internships. I thought internships was for losers or for those who were interested in the white house.

I got an internship and at the first day at work I witnessed this:

Anna was smoking away in front of the company and a colleague asked her if she read the warning that “Smoking was bad to health”. Anna said, “I am a programmer. I do not worry about warnings, I only worry about bugs”.

I looked at that and I realised that I understood that conversation. This was a place where I belonged.

From a place where I belonged, I decided to go all the way to Germany. Was it for the Beer, the Bratwurst or the blonde Bombshells? No, I was a teetotalling, vegetarian virgin till I came to Germany.

I started belonging after I came to Germany.

I lost my first job in three months’ time, not knowing the difference between permanent and probation period.

But then I started to like my future jobs and belong in them.

I joined a wine tasting group even though I did not know the difference between a Riesling and Rioja. Did I belong amongst these professional wine tasters? I must have. I met my future wife in this group and also someone who liked my curries.

Life sometimes takes you through challenges, but you end up in a place where you feel like you belong. Like all the shy speakers, sociable speakers and sensational speakers who feel like they belong at Toastmasters.

Go out there make curry, try internships, work on jobs, drink wine, find a life partner! Go out there and belong!


Hold On

One fine morning in the year 2012, a teenage girl takes a bus to school.

There was HOPE in her mind, MUSIC in her stride, and HAPPINESS in her heart.

A young man, enters the bus, calls out to her, pulls out a gun and shoots her


One of the bullets enters her forehead and exits through her shoulder – shattering the HOPE, stopping the MUSIC and halting the HAPPINESS.

Contest Chair, Ladies and Gentlemen

This teenage girl was Malala. Malala raised her voice for the education of girls in a traditional society in Pakistan. A society which believed that women were made for bearing children, for cooking in the kitchen and worshipping God.

What would you do if somebody shot you?

Would you crumble and let go of the belief dear to your heart or would you enlist help to shoot down your enemy?

This teenage girl said “I am Malala” and I am not afraid to hold on to my belief. In her 15 years of mature wisdom Malala said “I do not want revenge against the person who shot me, I just want education for his daughter and all the children in our society”.

One fine morning in the year 2002, a young man walked to work.

There was HOPE in his mind, MUSIC in his stride, and HAPPINESS in his heart.

While at work, a woman walked into the room, called out to him and said


Those three words hit his head and travelled all the way to his heart – shattering the HOPE, stopping the MUSIC and halting the HAPPINESS.

This young man was ME.

I had had the naive courage to travel from native India and take a new job as a software engineer in Germany.

Here I was – FIRED!

If somebody fired you, would you either want to get a new job or go back home?

In my 22 years of immature wisdom, I decided to land another job in the tough terrain of Continental Europe!

The first month passed

My confidence was waning

The second month passed

My strength was fading

The third month passed

My belief that I could succeed in Europe was disappearing

And then I did what real men do when they are in trouble.

I called my DAD.

My dad listened to me. And he told me

“Son, Hold on to your belief. Come back when you are winning”.


In life, when I doubt my beliefs, I always remind myself of the words HOLD ON. Those two words helped me stay on my job search and I did find a job.

Malala now goes to school in Birmingham in the UK and dreams of becoming the Prime Minister of Pakistan, bringing education to all the children in her country.

I have climbed many a job ladder and dream of starting my company with branches in India and Germany.

I am happily settled in Munich with my wife and my daughter.

My two year old daughter holds on to my little finger when we go for a walk.

She holds on to every word when I read a book to her.

She calls me even when she is not in trouble and holds on to every solution I give her.

She will grow up and become one of you.

You have faced the trials and tribulations that life has thrown at you.

Your past troubles were overcome by holding on to your beliefs.

Your present achievements are a result of passionately holding on to your beliefs.

And for the future I want to give my daughter and you the inspirational words of Rudyard Kipling:

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
  To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
  Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”