Categories
Speeches

Stand up

Stand up

The favourite toy of my daughter is “Miffy” the rabbit.

Miffy likes to draw and play with her friends.

My daughter loves to draw and play with her friends.

Did you have a special toy when you were growing up?

Contest chair, fellow Toastmasters and guests

I still remember that day in my primary school.

I was 6 years old and I was excited.

Excited, because it was the day we could take our favourite toy with us.

My favourite toy was “Steve” the monkey.

Steve had been part of me for many an adventure. In my imagination we had slept on roads, flown on airplanes and sailed on ships. Where this is an adventure, there is a villain!

The villain in this story was Big Sid. Big Sid was a bully. Not an ordinary bully, a toy stealing bully!

One day, Big Sid grabbed Steve. I pulled. He pulled. I let go. I did not want Steve to get hurt.

I was angry! Steve was my toy. I felt it was my duty to protect him.

How do I stand up to him? You see, Big Sid was two heads taller than me.

Nobody else in the school dared to stand up to Sid the Bully.

I mustered up some courage. I walked up to Big Sid, fear in my eyes, my teeth chattering and my legs shaking and squeaked “Please give Steve back to me”

Sid glared at me, looked at me like I was a fly and flicked me.

I flew and landed on my behind!

I did not know what to do.

Fast forward to the present.

My daughter who likes “Miffy” the rabbit also likes to fight. She attends a martial arts school for Brazilian Ju-Jitsu. We went to Chemnitz in the East of Germany for a contest.

My daughter and two of her white belt friends were in category A.

3 girls from a gym in Berlin turned up for category A.

These girls had braided hair and stared into space.

Friend 1 in Category A.

Braided hair girl wins the game with an arm bar in 45 seconds.

Friend 1 walks back with a visibly hurting arm.

Friend 2 in Category A.

Space staring girl wins the game with a rear naked choke.

Friend 2 walks back massaging her neck.

I look down at my daughter and her eyes are glazing. She does not want to fight. She does stand a chance against these braided and space staring fighters. I can see a teardrop forming in her eyes, rolling down her cheek and falling down.

My daughter’s coach walks up to her and holds her two hands and says the following.

  • It does not matter if the opponent is stronger.
  • It matters that you stand up to this opponent.

These words fire up my daughter and she walks up to the ring and faces her opponent.

My daughter in Category A!

The fight is over in 15 seconds with a triangle choke. My daughter walks back with a smile on her face. She lost the fight.

But on that day she stood up to her opponent and that has made all the difference.

Rewind to my primary school.

You remember Big Sid who had stolen my monkey Steve and also flicked me.

My music teacher Mr. Patrick had watched this exchange between me and Big Sid. He sat next to me and said

“In life, you and me. We face bullies. We face opponents who are stronger than us. But we can overcome the fear and stand up to them. He realized that I was too small to stand up by myself. So he added wisely – you can stand up with the help of your friends”

I looked up at Mr. Patrick and the realization dawned on me.

I asked a friend to help me. He knew how important Steve was to me. He convinced some friends and they gathered around me and stood up with me facing Big Sid.

And for the first time, I saw fear in the eyes of Big Sid.

Big Sid knew that the game was over and handed back Steve to me.

My daughter’s Jujitsu coach asked her to stand up to her opponent.

My music teacher Mr. Patrick asked me to stand up to my opponent with the help of my friends.

I encourage each and every one of you to

stand up for yourself

stand up for your friends

and stand up for those you love.

Categories
Speeches

Speech Energy

Photo by Nicholas Green on Unsplash

Where do you get your Energy for a speech?

I normally get it from three places – Content, Stage and Audience.

If my content has something that I feel should be expressed with HIGH energy then I use HIGH energy in my expressions, voice and gestures.

eg: “Hold on to your beliefs and your dreams will come true!”

If my physical stage encourages me to make my speech bigger in feeling.

eg: Do you feel the BIGness of a speech change when you are on a 5m stage compared to a 15m stage?

If my audience is silent then maybe there are two reasons.

  • One they are listening intently and reflecting
  • Two they are lost and in a different world

I need to increase energy if they are lost and get them into the speech

If my audience is NOT silent then

  • One they are chuckling or laughing and having a good time
  • Two they are booing and want me off the stage

I need to take corrective action to change the booers into believers


My online audience is on MUTE. They are silent both ways!!

The content is still the same if it is a prepared speech.

If it is standup comedy, you may change it based on audience feedback.

When the stage is virtual, I am romancing the web camera.

  • I look 1cm to the right of the web camera for the audience to my right
  • I look 1cm to the left of the web camera for the audience to my left
  • I look 1cm to the top of the web camera if I am looking for godly inspiration
  • I look 1cm to the bottom of the web camera if I am looking down in sadness

My neck is training in a range of 1cm micro movements to keep my focus with the online audience.

It is difficult to feel the energy from a muted online audience.

It is possible to look at encouraging and nodding faces but you don’t always get it because you are looking at the web camera.

The energy has to come from within.

The energy has to be imagined and increased and decreased on cue.

I love the Energy from the physical audience. My speech takes on new levels with a physical audience.

I am learning to love the Online audience. The Energy is locked away with the online audience. It is my responsibility to take my speech to new levels to get the attention of an online audience.

Where you do get your energy for your speeches?

Categories
Speeches

Know your audience

Toastmasters International – Fact Sheet (2020-21)

When making a speech to an audience it is important to know them.

Why?

Let us take the Toastmasters organization as an example. The statistics presented here are from the fact sheets published by Toastmasters International.

Age appropriate speeches for an audience are very important. When the average age is 46 years, making speeches about “nursery rhymes” might not be relevant. Maybe for a small group of the members who are parents.

When 78% of the audience have a Bachelor’s or Higher degree then it is safe to assume that the audience is intellectual and will be moved by intelligent argumentation and logic. Not to forget a personal story and emotional connection every now and then.

Toastmasters International – Fact Sheet (2020-21)

Till District (Country/Countries) level, your speech will have to also reflect some understanding of local culture and traditions for the connection with the audience. Once you cross the District border and your speech is being made in front of an international audience it is good to know that 52 percent of the audience is from the Americas. The story, the development, the humor and the message should be able to cross borders.

Knowing your audience and making a speech that fits is a challenge.

But getting your facts right and being prepared is half the job done!

Categories
Speeches

I, me and myself

Jafar(Disney)Character.png
Jafar (Aladdin) – Wikipedia

In the Disney movie “Aladdin” the villain Jafar comes out with a line wherein he says “Tell me about myself”.

I love this line!

How many of us love to talk about ourselves?

Especially when given the chance to make a speech with a personal story or with a hero’s journey.

I like to do the following exercise with my speeches.

Make a count of the number of “I”s, “Me”s and “Myself”s in your speech.

Here is a sample from one of my speeches:

Spoons and Forks – Ranjith Venkatesh | Speaker Shine

Number of “I”s: 21

Number of “Me”s: 7

Number of “Myself”s: 3

This speech has 659 words in all. Let us skip the “Me”s and “Myself”s.

The number of “I”s is 3% of the words in the speech.

If it crossed 10% the speech would make Jafar proud.

At 3% it is not high but still one has to see if there is a reason for “I”s to be where they are in the speech and if they are adding value.

How about your speech?

Is it about you or is it about your audience?

Categories
Speeches

Popit

Photo by Anna Bondarenko from Pexels

I asked my daughter why does she like the new craze in kid toys – “POPIT”

She gave me the answer in a triad.

Firstly, the POPIT is FUN

I ask myself, are my speeches fun?

I catch myself adding humour after the speech has been written out.

I catch myself adding a funny anecdote to lighten a long process discussion.

I catch myself adding an agile game which is fun during a multi-day hackathon.

FUN is so important but very often an afterthought.

“Secondly, the POPIT fights BOREDOM”

What are the different things we do to fight boredom? If we are bored, are we enjoying what we do. Let us give that a break and assume we are bored for the sake of argument.

I fight boredom by walking to the coffee dispenser even when I am wide awake.

I fight boredom by reading some news between two important meetings.

I fight boredom by pinging a colleague on slack and asking them how they are doing.

BOREDOM is a reality that needs to be fought.

“Thirdly, the POPIT comes in bright colours, makes a pleasing sound and provides a nice touch feedback”

Do our speeches speak to different senses?

The POPIT is very often made in bright neon or rainbow colours.

When you press each convex surface, it makes a pleasing POP sound.

It also provides a nice touch feedback when you have POPed a POPIT and you want POP more.

When our speeches can be filled with FUN, fight BOREDOM and speak to SENSES we have a winner.

Go get a POPIT and start your next speech!

Categories
Speeches

Spoons and Forks

The heavenly smell of spices reminded me of home.

The rice and shining red curry invited me in for a feast.

My stomach purred like a cat in anticipation.

I was 18 years old at the college canteen in the north of India.

We were given cold stainless steel spoons and forks to eat with.

I was hungry, but angry at the same time as I did not know how to use spoons and forks.

Satisfying my hunger was so near yet so far.

Contest Chair, Guests, Toastmasters and those who love eating with your hands

It was my first day at college and it was dinner time.

Rice and curry was on the menu.

My face lit up like a 5 year old welcoming a Happy Meal at McDonalds.

Everyone around me was eating the rice and curry with a spoon and fork.

Coming from the South of India, we eat with our hands.

I did not know how to hold the cutlery.

I felt ashamed.

Have you ever felt ashamed when people around do something differently or better than you?

Have you ever felt that you had to hide your true self?

I wanted to be true to myself.

But, what will they think of me?

Will they think that I am not sophisticated?

I was afraid of the fork hurting my mouth.

I am Indian but had NOT done the sword swallowing training yet.

I stuck to the spoon alone and finished my dinner quickly, in only 2 hours.

One of the boys sitting in front of me asked

„Don‘t you have spoons where you come from?“

Another boy chimed in

„Look at your head move while eating!

That is quite a sight!!“

I felt my face go red not because of the spicy curry.

I felt ashamed.

Many years later, I attended a cultural awareness session in Germany.

In Germany, (nod head up and down) means YES

In India, (move head up and down and sideways) also means YES.

With Indians working in Germany you had to do cultural awareness sessions.

Our trainer Klaus told us something that has stayed with me ever since.

Eating is universal but cutlery is cultural.

Only if Klaus had told us when we were in college that eating with hands was cultural, I would have felt sophisticated.

He made me understand that we had no reason to be ashamed of what the people around us can do differently or better.

We don’t have to hide.

We can be true to ourselves.

A few years later, I was promoted and invited to a fancy dinner in a fine restaurant.

The place had wooden panels all around.

There were different wines arranged in fancy racks.

We were seated around a vast mahogany table with mahogany chairs.

This was an opportunity to impress the Senior management.

You would think I had learnt my lesson about being true to myself. Looking at the dining table –

There were TWO forks and TWO knives. And TWO spoons.

I broke into a cold sweat.

Will my college nightmare repeat itself?

Nobody was interested in my eating skills.

They were interested in the teamwork and the synergy we had by being different but better together.

I realised that the by being true to myself, I had been true to my colleagues, my company, and my clients.

Maybe this realization can help you too.

By being true to yourself you are being true to the people around you.

I live in Munich in Germany now.

At the beer garden, I put aside my spoon and fork and use my bare hands to dig in and eat.

How many of you have eaten with your hands?

Why don’t you give it a try today!

Donald Winnicott – the psychoanalyst says that

„It is a joy to be hidden, and disaster not to be found.”

Come out of your hiding place and

Be true to your self.

Categories
Speeches

One banana at a time

Ranjith Venkatesh | Speaker Shine
Ranjith Venkatesh | Speaker Shine
One banana at a time
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Categories
Speeches

My Grandpa and my hobbies

Ranjith Venkatesh | Speaker Shine
Ranjith Venkatesh | Speaker Shine
My Grandpa and my hobbies
/
Categories
Speeches

Meow

Ranjith Venkatesh | Speaker Shine
Ranjith Venkatesh | Speaker Shine
Meow
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Categories
Speeches

Be yourself

Ranjith Venkatesh | Speaker Shine
Ranjith Venkatesh | Speaker Shine
Be yourself
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