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Toasting to the Future—Toastmasters International

Toastmasters International is a non-profit organisation that works worldwide with an aim to improve thinking, communicating, and leadership skills of its members. When the fourth meeting of MAHE’s Toastmasters took place at the KMC Interact Hall, this objective was met with ease.

The meeting hosted a lot of guest speakers and Toastmasters members and boasted of a successful turnout. It kick-started on time with an address given by the President of the MAHE division, Toastmaster (TM) Joshua Solomon, who gave an inspiring speech about courage. He mentioned the 1992 Olympics wherein Derrick Redmond finished the race with help from his father. He pulled a hamstring midway through the race, thus preventing him from winning an otherwise guaranteed win. The power of perseverance and courage against all odds was discussed at length, with this analogy kept in mind.

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The Director of Student Affairs, Dr Geetha Maiya then introduced the faculty advisors—Mrs Chetana Madodi, Dr Srikanth Prabhu, and Mrs Bhamini—to the attendees.

The Vice President of Membership, TM Yash Garodiya, served as the Toastmaster and announced the word and phrase of the day, which in turn were linked to the theme of the meeting. The theme was Bon Voyage while velleity was the word for the day. ‘Small steps, great distance‘ became the phrase for this particular session.

Mrs Sashi Prabha, a part of the Student Finance division of MAHE, assumed the role of the Timekeeper while TM Nandan took up the post of Grammarian. TM Amal Humayoon rounded up the leadership posts by being the AH Counter for this session. TM Yogendra Nayak had everybody laughing with the Joke of the Day and soon, the formal proceedings commenced with the Prepared Speeches section.

Dr Srikanth Prabhu, a faculty member of the Computer Science department, started things off with a stirring speech titled ‘XOR: Search Allowed’. Within his speech, he connected the stories of Krishna and Balarama to the start of the digital age and the mechanics of present-day search engines we all frequently use. This was followed up by TM Shrila’s icebreaker session that encompassed her journey and travels throughout India. This nostalgic speech was well received by the crowd, owing to its relatability factor. TM Tanuja Maben was the last speaker of the day—she read aloud a story from the Mahabaratha that followed Yudhishtira’s journey through the war. She also spoke about how he revived his brothers and saved them from death by answering the questions thrown at him by Yama, the God of death, satisfactorily.

Next came the Table Topics or Extempore session that required the speakers to think on their feet. They were given just 30 seconds to form a coherent two-minute speech in their mind and then consequently deliver it. This section was handled by TM Sambhavi who did an excellent job of motivating volunteers to come forward and try their hand at extempore. The topics were general and relatable, including rhetorical questions that kept the audience on their feet. All the speakers—guests and Toastmasters alike—delivered excellent speeches on their respective topics. They presented clear and concise ideas to the audience. Soon after, the audience was asked to vote for their favourite speakers for the day.

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Following this, the evaluation round was formally introduced and explained by TM Sridhar Kamath. TM Bhamini, TM Nirupa, and TM Elsa then went on to constructively critique the speeches made by the three prepared speakers. Body language, use of filler words, articulation, and fluidity in language were the few topics touched upon by the evaluators. The Grammarian then gave his account of the day’s session, letting the audience know what he found interesting and crisp. The AH Counter gave a total count of all the filler words each speaker had used. The evaluators were then judged by the audience.

The award distribution ceremony came next, wherein Ms Reshma won the Best Impromptu Speaker award for her talk about how food brings people together. TM Bhamini was adjudged the Best Evaluator for her crisp yet accurate judgement, and the Best Speaker award was shared between TM Srikanth Prabhu and TM Shrila.

The session was brought to a close by the President, who encouraged people to turn up for such events as they help in moulding responsible and creative leaders for tomorrow. It was clear to everybody present that the speakers had made a considerable impact on the audience. The points covered that day will resonate in the minds of the attendees. With the Toastmasters flying higher than ever before, the future does seem bright for MAHE.

Photo credits and Featured Image Credits: The Photography Club, Manipal.