I first sat up and took notice of Toastmasters International when I ran into the world champion of public speaking, 2015. And I was hooked! I was surprised and thrilled at the same time to see speaking being given so much importance at the international level. And this speech by Dananjaya Hettiarachchi is just so perfect! I can’t count the number of times I have watched it – it’s like a piece of art in speaking. Although, on reading further about him, I learnt that that it took him a decade to get to where he did. So, it’s true! While we see the accolades of successful people, they’ve given their lives to make it the top!
Twitter is a great place to learn new things and connect with anyone you like. Apart from the usual outrage, there are enough sane voices during chats and discussions around all kinds of topics. And I was thrilled when I got an invite to be the guest at Bass Ek Raah, a consultancy involved in the field of education and career, among other services. We decided to discuss upskilling, since this is relevant to what they do and something I am passionate about too. Having been a soft skills trainer for about 15 years now, I know that developing and adding to one’s skills is important at any point in our lives. And there is no concept more pertinent to a young country like India. I thought it’ll be great to share snippets from the chat here for everyone to benefit from it.
Imagine someone used to typing on a typewriter switching over to a computer. How long would it take to soften the blow on the keys? I remember when I reluctantly moved from a Blackberry to a touch phone. We put in a lot of effort in learning skills and getting comfortable with them over a period of time. It is natural to resist unlearning to learn something new and go through the process of finding new comfort. While I did a post on continued learning as a skill during this very challenge, unlearning is equally a skill in today’s times.
It’s dark. Only a camp fire is burning in the center. The faces of people are lit up by it. Any form of technology is unknown. Every one goes around sharing their experiences of the day. Each one becomes a story in itself. It not just serves to entertain after dark but also becomes a repository of knowledge on how to fight for survival in the forest.
Stories have been a part of human life since times immemorial. There were stories before we even developed language. Ancient caves are full of hieroglyphs depicting the life and times of people who lived there. And then we moved on to oral story telling as a way to remember our ancient history and war stories. Literature, movies, corporate communication, branding – even Instagram and even Facebook have stories now.
The ability to speak well can become the power to inspire, inform, motivate, persuade, teach, make an impact, transform a career, start a revolution, change the course of a start up, enlighten others about your ideas, get a promotion..and the list is endless! The most memorable and inspiring events in history can be traced back to the compelling words of a great leader. Because such is the power of words – it galvanises entire nations into action. And world leaders like Jawahar Lal Nehru and Martin Luther King are quoted even today for the wisdom packed in their speeches.
Even in the corporate world, the ability to speak well can play a decisive role in the managerial journey you traverse and how quickly. But we all know that speaking in public is one of the biggest fear we face. The good news is that given the right kind of training and exposure, anyone can be a confident speaker in any situation, in front of any audience. Here are a few things that can help you:
When I came across the reading challenge, #100BooksPact on Twitter, I was astounded! 100 books in 365 days is quite a feat and needs some consistent effort. Although I’ve never taken that challenge, I know people who taken it and completed it. And I take heart in the fact that reading isn’t dead yet and books are still very much in style – real ones or ebooks!