3Be path to having a great day

Public speaking has been one of my interests right from high school through college to a few company events. So i jumped at the opportunity when i was recently invited to be the target speaker at our local Toastmasters club meeting. The topic had to be something motivational since that was the general theme of the day.

Here’s a short version of the 15 mins speech –

There are two kinds of people in the world – Those who are happy at the end of the day and those that are not. You probably want to be the former. At the end of the day everybody wants to feel good about themselves and the way their day went. One way to try and accomplish that is by what i call the 3Be Path.

1. Be confident – Know your strengths and limits. Accept challenges as they come and have confidence in your ability to meet and tackle them. I’m not saying blind faith. I’m saying be confident enough to accept a challenge because of the next step – the 2nd Be – in this path.

“Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong.”

Be also confident enough to be able to turn down challenges if they are outside your limits. If you spend each day looking forward to the next challenge because you are confident about yourself, its the first step to having a great day.

2. Be knowledgeable – So you have accepted a challenge. That’s only the first step. Now you have to find ways to meet them. Read. Learn. Ask for help. A truly confident person is one who does not shy away from asking for help. Accumulate as much knowledge as you can everyday and in your lifetime because that will be your greatest asset. Learn to apply what you have learned. Fail quickly and often so you can learn faster.

3. Be vocal – Now comes the crucial and most important next step and probably the more tougher thing to do. Share your knowledge and experience. Find ways to voice your opinion, voice your thoughts, share it with others. When you spend your day teaching others what you have just learned, you learn more yourself. Talk about it at staff meetings, seminars, conferences, perhaps Toastmaster meetings. It will not only make you the new ‘expert’ but funny enough, you will find yourself feeling more confident about yourself which brings us back to the first ‘Be’. Sharing knowledge and being vocal will make you more confident about yourself.

So the more confident you are, the more challenges you accept. The more you accept, the more knowledgeable you become. The more knowledge you accumulate, the more you will have to share with others and voice your expertise which brings you back again to step 1. It completes the feedback loop and you will find yourself more satisfied with the way your day went. In the end that’s all that matters.

The 3Be path is just plain common sense and you probably already know you should be doing this. Now go ahead and do it.

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Leaders and Speaking skills

I’ve been a member of Toastmaster International for a few years. I guess you could say public speaking is a hobby. I like to prepare speeches, deliver them and try to improve my presentation style.

I attend several town hall meetings, company wide meetings every year. These can be long and drawn out. Perhaps it is my Toastmaster training but i always find myself examining every speaker’s. Try to see what could be done differently to improve the effectiveness of their speech. I always believe that when you speak to an audience you are in a unique leadership position. You are in a position to influence people’s thought. A good speech should –

  1. Start off a clearly stated vision of where you are going and where you would like to take the audience.
  2. List out how you are going to do it.
  3. State your rationale behind it with facts and examples.
  4. Conclude with a call to action and give specifics on what people should do and where they can go to get more info.

Also, practice your delivery with sufficiently voice modulation and body movement.

If you do not put effort into preparing well, your speech will fall flat and you will fail in your attempt to influence people. The ability to speak professionally in a public forum is a powerful tool. The ability to sway a mob with your words is extremely powerful. I always wonder why more leaders don’t take the time to practice their speaking skills. It is one of the best ways to invest your time developing your leadership skills.

I was watching this video by Nandan Nilekhani. An icon in Indian corporate culture. Interesting speech.

My comments here are not necessarily about the content of that speech. Its more about presentation style.

What i like about Nandan’s speech is how it is organized. He starts off by stating, right off the bat; what he is going to talk about. By doing that he captures the audience’s attention instantly. He then gives it some historical perspective and proceeds to list what he going to talk about. He then restates those points with a little bit more explanation on what they mean. Then he proceeds to pick each point to delve into them in greater detail. He lists facts and examples.

In the end though he, rather abruptly, concludes his thoughts telling people to be concerned about some the things that he is concerned about. That took out some of the punch. I wish he could’ve spent some time on what individuals could do. I also felt his pitch at times, was at a constant high which could also reduce the effectiveness of the speech.

A wonderful example of a well prepared speech nevertheless. That’s my evaluation of his speech delivery style.