Monday, January 26, 2015

In the prison

This is a continuation of the post: Do the right thing

After this speech, I was taken to the prison.

Couple of my toastmasters friends offered me to visit the club that they were running in a MD prison for 9 years and deliver this speech. Very noble people - since last 500+ weekends they are serving this club. The prisoners were calling them :King: and :Queen:

I would not lie, I was afraid to step into a prison, we walked through 7 locked doors. They patiently listened to me and were kind with their words.

The words from the prisoners after this speech had made me feel the power of a simple speech. I couldn't win the contest but I was over the top of the world when I heard from one of the folks "I wished I had heard you speaking before I came to the prison ..................... I might never have come here." 

The prisoners asked me to come again and share more. I promised that I would visit them soon and I did, for the second time. This time I gave them an hour long session - 30 minutes on Story telling Process and 30 minutes session on How to craft your speech. Very well received.

After a month, I got call from my friend, who invited me to the jail, he said - "One of the prisoners has passed on his thanks to you. He used the techniques you explained to write a song and had presented that song to their club."

Toastmasters is all about, sharing your knowledge and thoughts, and the organization must be proud that it is able to mark its presence even in prisons and their goals and motives are perishing and improving lives of those who need it the most!

Finding a Speech Topic - the funniest speech by far

Finding a Speech Topic - Haha haa .. Humorous Speech Contest of 2013 - runner up.

The speech had 25+ laughter in less than 7 minutes. This was the speech where I had most fun while delivering it !

Do the Right Thing - District 18 Toastmasters International Speech Contest -2014

What an experience this was to share the stage with world-class speakers on the Toastmasters District 18's stage. Couldn't won the contest, but learned a lot during the contest. I was a second runner-up in the contest and here is the video of that speech. I plan to continue competing and producing my best speeches.

With this speech I validated that the runner-up at Humorous Speech Contest was not a fluke!

Feel free to critique and highlight what you liked.

After this speech, I was taken to the prison

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Facing the Facebook Division contest

So, this was my third attempt in the speech contest, went to the same level, and got the same result and with every attempt, I am enjoying public speaking even more. Below is the video of my latest venture, feel free to comment and provide feedback.

Spread Smiles :)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Settling the rivalry

Speech delivered in Maryland Advanced Toastmasters Club - The Entertaining Speaker Manual - Speech #1

So far my the speech I enjoyed most --- Never felt this relaxed on stage ...

Dedicated to my best friend -- Lallu/Lalla/Lovee/Lui/Lalwani -- all five of them !!      :)

Kind of messed up the last dialog  -- "All that remained were siblings !!"

Saturday, March 17, 2012

International Speech Contest -- Round 3 Speech take-away

This is for polishing the story/speech for Round 3. I and my coach/mentors met for few hours and we decided one of my experiences we want to use for next round of International Speech Contest Round 3. We have the script, but it needs to be polished. What I request from you is:
  1.     What is your take-away message after reading this story?
  2.     What, if any, questions is unanswered or any question you have and is not covered in the story?
  3.     What are your suggestions to improve the script

      Please overlook grammatical errors as of now, just concentrate on the message strength and quality. 
      Thanks for your comments, 

The Transition

Life is a journey, you travel from place to place, in this journey you sometimes meet people whom you just can’t forget. Among these unforgettable ones, there is always that one person who takes away your hopes and spirits, who always sees a glass as half empty but never fill that glass. And when you try to fill that glass, they drink water from that glass to make it half empty again?
                On my way to 21 years of age, I was the most pampered child of my family, well most because I am the oldest one, oh wait, the youngest one, no wait ….. I am the only one child of my parents, youngest in my generation and slimmest of them all. I was all set to begin my next journey; I was so excited when I got my ticket for LAX Airport for 6th of August, 2007. All my excitement turned into a big question mark when this 5 feet, 2 inch tall, fat lady said to me – “All life-long you lived like a prince at home, in US you will just become a guttery boy. Get ready to do work like cooking, laundry, cleaning restroom, driving, and studying – umhmm, you are the only child of your parents, you have never left home, don’t you have enough to eat and earn here? Why do you want to go? You won’t find Indians there. You won’t be able to make it. Don’t go or you will regret forever.” I thought – “I have no answer for you now lady but hey Indians and potatoes are everywhere."
                August 6, 2007, when I reached at the airport, I realized there was no one to carry my bag outside the airport, I was further upset, how will I go on? I reached home, next day when I cooked – O My God, I made Indian food which tasted like Australian - tasteless and yucky. She was so right, I never cooked even once in India- my Mom used to feed me. Next week, I cleaned my clothes and ironed them – back in India, I had servants and cleaners – back at home, I never had washed a cloth, not even folded them, no cooking, no cleaning dishes, not even driving – I had driver for our family. She was so damn right – I was such a failure at everything. This journey of my life changed my life entirely ! I continued to live like this, ended up getting a good job, position and independence. 
                January 24, 2012 – I got chance to meet her again, in India. She said with a pride– “So, You are still your own servant – you still cook, clean, iron, drive, earn, do the dishes for yourself – its so funny, I told you these things 5 years back, you never listened and still doing these menial jobs.” How could I have replied to her, she was damn right that I was cooking, cleaning, ironing, driving, earning, doing the dishes and all other jobs which she called menial. Even though, I completed my Masters, I earned my own job and getting independent, I could not answer her. Because the answer there was not for her, the answer was for myself <Long Pause> This was the time when I had realized the value of hard-earned money my Dad used to earn, the value of food which my Mom cooked for me. But more than that, I realized the value of efforts of my maid made in cleaning and keeping my home shining, the value of sweat my cleaner shed for washing and ironing my clothes, the value of labor my driver put-in to drop me in any and every condition on time and safely. No work is menial but importantly, no individual is "menial." If I would not have wear their shoes, I would not have felt their pains, if I would not have done the same tasks which they all were doing for me years after years, my connection with them would have been - me and a maid, as me and cook and as me and a driver. I realized that I no longer see them as maid, servant, cleaner, cook or driver – but I now see these people as PEOPLE. This was my transition from I and You to "WE".
                More often than not, we distinguish a person based on their work, as a person of other color, as a person of other country, as a person of "OTHER CATEGORY". But there is just one CATEGORY- People, rest all are just the borders between our hearts. We are people first, and then we belong to a workgroup, race, religion or country. The world can survive with the borders among the nations but this border between our hearts needs to be erased. I have erased mine - you are my people, Am I Yours ? 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Too2 Yesterday to Too2 today - International Speech Contest Round 2

Rehearsed, Recorded, Re-wrote and Rehearsed again this speech more than 50 times and then I heard those magical words -- "Please welcome Pulkit Gangwal, who will compete in next round of International Speech Contest on April 29th, 2012." I am on my dream run !! :) 
Thanks for your support by far, my next speech should be ready by 31st March, please continue adding your valuable feedback and suggestions on this or on future projects. Following is the script of my story which I presented on March 10, 2012. :( I wish they would have recorded it because this was my best speech by far :) My comments/expressions are in red. 

August 1991, St. Paul School, <Jumped right into the story> an audition for Parents Day Function Speaker, among first graders is about to begin. In their classroom, Murga voice, Meow, Bow bow Gun - dhiskhiauu, Bomb-boom. <Voices of these !!! -- Got the audience attention> “Silence!” <Extremely Loud - to show anger> The 6-foot, bald Head-teacher enters the class. “You First graders <Pause> are behaving like first graders.<Superb laughter> You fat boy! <Pointed to a fat lady in the audience> Come over and start Audition. This boy nick-named as Too2 came forward for the audition. “Good Morning Teachers, Parents and all my dear friends -- ” <Shaking enormously to show discomfort>

Fellow Toastmasters, Madam Contest Master and most welcomed guests – this was not just a failed audition for Too2, who always wanted to become a good speaker. This was the beginning of his journey of leaving the speeches incomplete, the beginning of his journey of reading the speeches verbatim from the page, the beginning of his journey of participating in all speech contests that he could and never qualify. The journey which continued for 12 years and then he made a decision which all of us make at least once in our lives. He decided that <Pause> he is not going to face it anymore.

February of 2003, teenaged Too2 and his tall dark handsome father were having an after dinner-conversation, on a day before Too2s graduation and farewell from St. Pauls –

<Sat down on a chair> Too2 – “But Dad, we talked about 4 times and I told you that I am not going to give a farewell speech tomorrow. Do you want me to be the guy who started with an incomplete speech and ended with the same?

<Stood up and pushed my spect down such that I have to bend to see people -- Audience loved this body language> Dad - You know Too2, often times we don’t regret what we lost, but we regret when we realize why we lost it? We regret when we realize that we could have made it, only if we would have faced it. We regret when we realize that we could have won the game only if we would have played the game. <Long Pause> If you won’t speak tomorrow, it will not matter to you that you never completed a speech in your school, but then someday you will realize that you never stepped up to complete it, and you will regret it. Prepare the speech Too2. Don’t lose the game without playing. To win, playing is mandatory – so, Just Go and Play the game.” <Pause> Too2 was afraid but he still started writing and practicing for speech next day.

Next day when he reached school, he begged, pleaded and finally convinced the angry bald, head-teacher to give him a chance to deliver a farewell note. He was invited on the stage – <Walked towards the lectern and was shaking like hell> “Will I be able to complete my speech? What was my first line? Shall I read from the notes? No, what will I tell Dad then?” Nervous, but he started speaking, slowly and shaky, then he was calm and confident and finally he delivered the last line of his speech and completed his speech. He made the graduating batch stood up on their feet, applaud and make the same wacky noise which they all were making in the audition room in 1991. <Pause> That day Too2 realized that if you want to win the game, then you have to play the game.

March 10, 2012 - After that day Too2 continued to speak even till today. If he would not have spoken that day, he would not have had the courage to walk the stage and speak and I know this, I know this very clearly and clearer than anyone else because <Paused> because my nickname is <Paused -- many people in the audience said -- Too2 ... and that was the moment I knew that I have done a good job.> 2-2 <I didn't speak just pointed 2 fingers of right hand followed by left hand, the impact was powerful.> Often times we come to a stage in our lives, when we decide that we are not going to face it anymore. Often times we regret not what we have lost, but why we have lost. Often times we lose the game, not because we did not win, but because we have not played. If you don’t play the game, you cannot win. Play the game Fellow Toastmasters, just play the game.