Swimming in an ocean of thoughts.....

Ask me no questions and i shall tell you no lies :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tips for elocution & speech making for students~ Public speaking tips

When God made us, he put talents in everyone alike. But then why is that only some people excel in sports, some in music, some in dance, and some in academics, some in art and some in oratory? Well, something to ponder about, isn’t it? I guess, the way of unearthing talents is different for each. And to some extent, destiny too plays a critical role on how each personality shapes into. But then public speaking is one of the many talents which is hidden in each but surfaces only in few. So coming to the crux of this post, I have a few tips on improvising oratory skills. Most of my tips are from my own experience and also from a good deal of observation around. But before, I share with my readers about the magic tips, I would first like to share, how the idea of writing about this topic got into my mind…..

Somewhere back in ’95, when I was in 6th grade, I was given my first chance in oratory. It was an elocution competition where young students had to speak on road safety, considering the fact that it was 31st August, Road Safety day. And my father had put my name for the competition. And he also prepared me well with the speech. All I had to do back then was to go and speak out what I had memorized by heart. And so, when we reached the venue, I looked around only to find many other contestants and surprisingly all of them elder to me. Some were fumbling through their notes and some were murmuring with their eyes closed. I could see a girl mouthing short prayers softly after revising each Para of her speech and there was this spectacled boy who was bubbling with so much of enthusiasm that his body language spoke louder than his tongue. A half an hour later, the competition commenced with the introduction of the jury and boy, I was surprised to hear my name being called out as the very first contestant! Later, I realized that the contestants had been queued according to their age and I happened to be the youngest and the first one too. The time limit was 3 minutes. I looked at my father and he gave a slight nod that meant 'all the best'. And then I started. At 2 and a half minutes there was a warning bell that there were 30 more seconds to go. And then the next one came 15 seconds before the time limit got over. Somehow, I managed to start well and end well, not knowing what the elocution thing was all about. To be frank, it appeared all mechanical to me. Whatever I did that day was mug up the speech, go on the stage and blurt it out! But then the only good thing of all I did was, that I was not scared of stage unlike the many I met that day. But at the same time, my speech had not kindled the slightest interest in any of the audience. If there were one thing, anything to be appreciated about what I spoke then it was the flow and the content of the speech (and for that, I owed those credits to my father). There was no hitch and there was no fumbling. My father told me frankly that I resembled more of a news reader. But I knew what he meant. And I myself knew, I was not up to the mark and that the audience had somewhere failed to understand what I said. Something was missing. And I realized more about the missing ingredients in my speech when I sat down to watch the other contestants in action. Yes, that experience was not only my first experience in public speaking but also my first lesson on how to speak. It was not just about the speech, but it was everything that came along with it, the content of the speech, the tone of the voice, the body language, the facial expressions, the eye movements and most important, the knack of making the audience understand what the speech is all about. Although, I got a consolation price for my speech, I figured out, that there was a lot, a real lot to be improved at my end. With years, such participations helped me get better and better with speaking on stage and that potential also helped me host events and give speeches in functions and events in school and college days. I may not be the best when it comes to public speaking, but I definitely have the experience to share some ready tips with my readers.

Here let me share a few tips for students who might be interested in public speaking/elocution/debate/extempore etc…..And yes, these tips I have gathered from my own experience and also a great deal of observation.

Choose the topic. 
When a list of topics is given, do not select it or reject it on impulse. Take your time. Scour through the list and I would suggest, go through the topics as many times as possible. After this exercise, you may feel comfortable with one or two. The reason, why you must go through the topics carefully is, some topics may appear drab but when prepared may become very interesting and similarly, some may appeal to you at the first sight, but may not give that effect after speech preparation. And in case, you are participating in a debate, analyze the pros and cons of your topic thoroughly. Make sure which side you want to advocate for, before making your pick final. However, in a extempore, where topics are given on the spot, you need additional preparation before hand. As you will be given your topic a few minutes before the competition, you better be well versed with topics involving current affairs and general knowledge. If an abstract topic is given, you should rather feel lucky as it puts your creativity in action and is a check on how well you can speak on a random subject. For that, you must make language your friend, by striking a good relationship with the vocab part.

Fetch the right content for your topic.
For debates and elocution, once you have selected the topic, the next stage is preparing the content. For that, first you need to search and gather the relevant content and assimilate it. During my school days, there was no Internet and even if it were there, I did not have access to it. So, I relied more on books, magazines, Manorama editions and viewpoints of elders. But the current generation is lucky enough to have an ever helping companion – Google which gives you loads and tonnes of information. So now that you have the content in a raw form, all you have to do is prepare the content as per your choice. Keep in mind, when there is too much of information, you might lose your focus and end up putting too much of information (some of which might turn out to be irrelevant) in your speech. So make sure to understand your pick well when gathering the content.

Preparing the content for your topic.
The next item in to-do list is to group and prepare the content. Google offers you a lot of information. So do the books. But then, you need to prepare your speech according to the audience. For instance, if you are a student, your audience will like the content more simple and lucid. And when we talk about content, it must be informative, emphasizing, convincing and yet simple. If your content is highly informative from the statistical perspective and is delivered in a high vocab language, you sure will disappoint your audience. After all, what you speak has to be understood too. Isn’t it?  So keep the content as simple and lucid as possible.  For every speech you make, there will be three parts:
  • Introduction: This is where you introduce your audience to the topic. And mind well, the welcoming part should be flawless. Introduction defines the way your speech will end as. So it is important that the beginning is always the best. One can include relevant quotes, a short story or a candid description of some events (relevant to the topic) to rouse the interest in the audience in order to keep them hooked to your speech.
  • Core content: Coming to the middle part, core content forms the most crucial part of your speech. Rather it is the heart of your speech which will make your audience understand what exactly your speech is all about. The numbers, stats, facts, figures, pros/cons are always included in this core content.
  • Conclusion: When the beginning is destined to be flawless, and your core content is all perfect, all will end well only when your conclusion takes the cake away. Now, when you conclude your speech, it should always spin the audience gaping for an answer. Make sure you do not make any heated/irrational/biased/unsolicited statements. Conclusion is what you are merely suggesting to your audience. Nothing more, Nothing less. Even if it is a debate, do not let your personal opinions/emotions conflict with the motive of your speech. As in debates, you are supposed to take sides, just do it in a way, that the verdict is left to the audience/jury. You may also like to add some punch lines/quotes and funny sayings as you end your speech.
Please remember: Elocution, debates and any speech to be delivered in public always has a time limit. So it is important to filter your content and deliver more information in the given duration of time in the right language.

Edit and Proof read your speech.
Now, before any exam we all revise our lessons Don’t we? Why? So that if there are any mistakes, any flaws in our preparation, we utilize the revision time window to rectify them. Right? Similarly, when you prepare your speech, go through your content again and again at least 10 times before you make it final. Your speech must be devoid of grammatical and contextual errors. Take care of the commas, semicolon, full stops and double quotes. Punctuations are crucial and a wrong usage can damage your speech. Hence, before moving on to the presentation part, make sure your speech is flawless content wise and context wise. So, after a complete and a final proof read, the next step is, how it must be delivered.

Practice to Perfection.
Practice makes a man perfect. And it holds true for everything, including public speaking. So, before delivering a public speech, it is important that you practice your speech. And let me point out why. When you take over a stage, not only does the stage belong to you for that particular time limit, but so does the jury and the audience. Each act of yours: your expressions, your body language, your tone, your eyeball movements and your gait, everything will add up to your speech and to deliver perfect, you need to practice, practice hard. And I shall tell you why. Even if your content is impeccable but your presentation skills are poor, the end result will be a total washout. After all, the way you deliver the speech decides how the audience will react. For elocution and debates, understand your content, the motive of your speech and the way you want the audience to interpret your speech. Take an hour from your day’s schedule and stand in front of a mirror. Try out all the styles you know and there definitely will be one which makes you feel not only comfortable but also makes you feel yourself real, sans pretense. And one more thing, you must know your speech by heart, by which I don’t exactly mean, ‘you must cram!’. If you understand the context of your speech, you already have it imprinted in your mind!

Remember before your final deliverance.
Now that your speech is ready to be delivered, remember one important tip: Don’t ever over express. Over doing anything in a presentation can kill the charm. Be yourself. Be natural and you will see the results for yourself. Keep your voice normal. Emphasize only where the punch is needed. High decibel levels in debates and public speaking can be annoying, considering the fact that you will be given a mic. So keep in mind that your speech must not only be heard but also comprehended. And, that is the purpose, right? And the most important thing to do before speech, take out 15 minutes for yourself and only for yourself. Stop practicing. Only take deep breaths. Breathe slowly. It is a mild exercise that will help in calming down your mind and soothing your nerves. Drink a glass of water and make a small prayer (if you are a believer). And then, you are sure to reap the benefits of your hard work.

Public speaking aint everyone’s cup of tea. Agreed! But it does play a big role in everyone’s life at some time or the other, right from school days, then during college days and then even in work life. After all, what is public speaking. Facing a crowd you do not know much and trying to place a point, a view, an opinion. And for people who are so fearful of stage, I only got to say, ‘People! You must belong to the bravest of the brave to walk on a stage and face a crowd that is not entirely within your control and there, make a point’. And if at all, by any chance you seem to forget in the middle of your speech, no worries! Complete it! It is not the end of the world yet. After all, it is not about winning or losing. It is about the satisfaction one gets at the end of the day, after making the speech. A contentment that the audience has understood, which sure is acknowledged by a round of applause. Try these tips out and am sure, you will taste success. And that.....is a scout’s honor!


What to do before you confront someone ~ Anger Management

Anger is a very powerful emotion. And a strange one too. It can either make a situation or break it. It can either do a good to a society or can turn out to be very evil. But all depends on how this energy is channeled. And, there is not a soul on earth who is spared of this emotion. Yes, it is a necessary evil. As I said, it can do good or bad, the choice lies with us how we want to use it. Gulp it down and prove the world wrong or gag it up to prove the world otherwise? The take is difficult as much depends on the time and circumstance. Also what follows anger is confrontation. But then when someone said, 'Look before you leap', it for sure was not without a reason. And let me assure you, there is a good reason to think before you confront someone. Long back, I had written about the five things to do before confronting someone on Buzzle.com. Just thought you might like to read it.

 So click HERE to read my article. Hope my article helps you in your anger management. After all, no crying helps over spilt milk as words once out cannot be taken back.

You may also copy paste the below link to your browser to read my article.



Monday, November 14, 2011


Have you ever taken some time out for self and spent it on trying to know the real you? Guess what, I just felt like doing it today. Precisely, I was wondering what it would feel like to write about myself.....

  1. I am a true Sagittarian right down to the core. Freedom to express and my personal space are sacred to me.
  2. I have been a moderately above average student in school and college days and have great respect for people with high acumen and logic. Though I also believe at the same time, that the world does not run on logic and intelligence alone.
  3. I am fiercely protective of my family. My family is my world. For me, my son, my husband, my parents and my in-laws (my complete family) supersedes every other thing in the world, including friendships.
  4. I hate charade and can never pretend to be something I am not. And I can never be nice when I am not nice. My eyes always give it away. (but then, who is always good all the time?)
  5. It is easy to make me angry. Rather, I have zero tolerance to insensitivity and am highly allergic to bullshit. But then I cool down quickly once I have poured my heart out (pertaining to my Sagittarian traits). Therefore, I am predictable in my actions.
  6. I love animals but only from a distance. I am quite against taming them as pets and caging them in our homes just because a human wants it that way. I believe even animals have their privilege of enjoying the freedom the way we do. As per me, it is wrong to cage them and then show the world that we love them.
  7. I do not like to confront people much or get into arguments. I try my best to be as amicable as possible but when my tolerance is pushed to the wall, I can retort in the worst of possible ways. I hate to participate in arguments that seem more like a chakravyuh, with no end and no means of getting out. But I do like healthy arguments where an argument/discussion eventually makes its way to a conclusion.
  8. I love action, thriller, horror and epic movies. And movies with colossal violence (like 300, Gladiator, Clash of the Titans, Ben Hur, Troy and too many to list here) thrill me. Ask me my action idols! Milla Zovovich and Uma Thurman are my stars. Be it Project Alice slashing away zombies in Resident Evil series or Beatrix Kiddo aka The Bride wiping out the Deadly wiper gang with her hattori hanzo sword, I can watch these movies N number of times. I am also a big fan of manga based movies and can watch Kung fu loaded ones anytime.
  9. And that reminds me, I love comics. Spiderman and Batman remain my favorites until date. And I still love to read Jataka tales, Tin Tin and Tinkle Digest.
  10. I cannot stand public display of affection. And therefore, hate romance on screen and off screen. Yes, I am not that romantic at heart. For me, love goes beyond such mortal pleasures. For me, love is not what my hubby brings me home, a bouquet or a box of chocolates; but when he looks into my eyes and tells me that I still am his most beautiful woman , despite the fact that I am yet to shed off some extra pounds. For me, love is beautiful and sacrosanct only when concealed.
  11. I hate male chauvinists and misandrists alike. Both are disgusting knuckleheads!
  12. I neither forget nor forgive. Yet, I am not vengeful. So, I do not keep anything as a bad relation. For me, it is either a good relation or no relation with anybody. When I don’t like someone, I never talk to them thereafter. I don’t believe in mending broken friendships either.
  13. Back in school days, loved reading Agatha Christe, Perry Mason, Alistair Mclains, Robin Cook, Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series. And now love to read autobiographies, biographies and non fictions. Now, I am more attracted to books that are inspiring and contain a great writing style. I do not have much taste for love stories and fictions. But then if you ask me which one is the best literary work I have read until now, then I have two in mind for the moment. They are Ayn Rand’s Fountain head and Bram Stroker’s Dracula.
  14. I believe everyone is a hypocrite, or has been so at some point of time in life. Only the degree varies from person to person.
  15. I like bright colors. Red, blue and black are my favorites.
  16. I do not like aerated drinks. Detested them ever since childhood. However, I still have a liking towards Fruti, Maaza, Slice and Dukes.
  17. I do not like pushers and would never want to be a pusher. I believe, productivity in academic and work life breeds from a sense of free hand and open mind.
  18. However, I am not that open minded when it comes to relationships. I am a typical conventional Indian woman who believes in the concept of dahleez. I believe in the sanctity of marriage and further believe strongly that in a marriage, there is always a boundary that marks the circle of freedom and space for a couple, a frontier that neither must cross at any given time.
  19. I hate comparisons. I feel each one of us is unique and for no reason must be compared to another. And I believe, if there is someone to be compared with, it is self and self alone.
  20. My fun quotient is moderately good. Can afford to laugh at myself when I make the silliest of silly mistakes and can ingest criticism to some extent, as I believe criticism is as essential for a personality development as encouragement.
  21. I cannot trust people easily. I am a keen observer of people and never trust the first vibes I get from them in the first meet. Rather I take my own sweet time to make friends.
  22. I hate crowd. Any crowded street makes me feel claustrophobic.
  23. I love stage. And when it comes to public speaking, I kind of feel that the entire stage belongs to me. I can talk and talk for hours on any given topic at that moment.
  24. I do not have much inclination towards singing despite the fact, that my mother sings beautifully. However, I love instruments. Keyboard is my love in my world of music.
  25. I do not like overtly superstitious people. Neither do I like people who suffer from inferiority complex and try to camouflage it under a fake persona.
  26. I love to read a lot of blogs and love to blog too. It is my blog where I feel the real me, the real soul that speaks through my tongue.
  27. I love to take candid snaps of people and events (of course, caught unaware!), and manage to take decently good ones.
  28. I do not have much craze for cars and bikes. I avail public transport wherever I am and whenever I can. And I love to travel by public transport as I put on my ear phones and listen to old rock, at the same time relishing the view of anything and everything outside the window.
  29. I have little inclination towards cooking. However, I can cook moderately well for my family. I binge on tea, coffee and milk. Hate ice creams (especially mango and strawberry flavor) and chocolates. But then, I love home baked chocolate brownies!Coming to cuisines, Thai and Keralite ones top my list.
  30. I am a big time shopaholic. My all time favorites that top my shopping list are: Perfumes, wallets, handbags and sandals.
  31. And last but not the least. If you ask me, what is life, it is more like a lesson for me that contains indefinite syllabus and throws surprise tests at moments least expected. The lesson just has no end. It is like a Chinese box that keeps opening new chapters which always self invite with an air of suspense before unraveling themselves. And so, I find it exciting to study life that is more a roller coaster ride with its bumps, and yet so enjoyable and thrilling.
  32. Now none of the above stated might be of be any relevance to anyone. But then, for people who know me well, need not read this post. For people who think they know me well, must definitely read this post. And for people who do not know me and want to know me, I only got to say - 'Sorry people! This ain't the whole story!'


Sunday, November 13, 2011

When Martians and Venusians spoke..... ~ Playing advocate

Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus.....

Sure, none of the above species belong to Earth. They came from the neighboring planets and tried hard to adjust in a place called Earth, made a home here and then again strived harder to stay with/tolerate/coexist with each other as amicably as possible. And that is how peaceful coexistence came on Earth. But then, was that easy? Hell No! Coz, peaceful coexistence is not just about accepting the differences in each other, but also adapting to the changes in due course of time. However, in this peaceful coexistence there have been hitches as a result of the innate characteristics of the Martians and the Venusians. Oh yeah! When opposites attract with so much of force, there also comes a strong underlying current of tenacity in each, that surfaces from time to time only to threaten the peaceful coexistence. So what has got this Venusian writing about the bond between a Martian and a Venusian? A bit of experience and more of observation perhaps…..So before rediscovering this beautiful bond, here is something that has been on my mind for a while…..

10 things that a Venusian feels for her Martian and wants him to know…..

  1. A Venusian always loves to get attention from her Martian, no matter how much she tries to camouflage it under a cloak of her unassuming nature.
  2. She has a caring heart that often uses the right body language and a wrong tongue to convey the message and hence, that is more often not interpreted by the Martian as it should be.
  3. A Venusian is very possessive of her Martian, though she may not always express it blatantly.
  4. Her eyes speak loud, those untold words which never find their way to her tongue. She is too headstrong to pour out all her feelings explicitly. However, a Venusian’s eyes will never lie, despite the fact that her tongue is a compulsive liar!
  5. When a Venusian cooks for her Martian, she does not just add the right spices and salt but she also adds all the love in her heart to the meal, only to see that content smile on her Martian’s face.
  6. A Venusian never likes to be compared to another of her kind, because she feels she is unique for her Martian. And the comparison if ever done is a blow to her esteem, which is unforgivable.
  7. She needs appreciation and encouragement from time to time even though her work may not be the best in the world.
  8. She likes to talk a lot and wants her Martian to listen to her, even though she knows that most of her conversation may not carry much relevance for him. Yet, an ear to hear is all she asks for.
  9. A Venusian has a stubborn streak hidden within her, which in some surfaces at the slightest provocation and in some does not rise until the situation demands it. In such circumstances, silence is her weapon of defiance. And mind well, it could kill!
  10. And last but not the least, she is a strong follower of her heart. Her heart dictates her mind. Her emotional quotient is high. For her, love for her Martian surpasses every rationality and logic in the world.
So, now that we know what a Venusian wants, let’s hear the Martians too.....

10 things that a Martian feels for his Venusian and wants her to know…..

  1. A true Martian loves his Venusian from the bottom of his heart but pretends to be a way too sardonic about it. The truth is, he does not like exhibition of any sort when it comes to relationships.
  2. His tongue and brain are so connected that whatever goes on in his mind comes out through the tongue without any editions and this happens specially in emotionally sensitive situations. Apparently, he does not know how to be diplomatically correct.
  3. A Martian too is possessive of his Venusian, though he does not care to show it explicitly as he does not like to admit things his ego would not let him to. Mind well, a Martian has tonnes of ego which is what marks him for what he is.
  4. A true Martian never lies to his Venusian, except when his Venusian is overbearing on him without a rhyme or reason.
  5. He loves gadgets and likes to explore them a lot. Machines, bikes and electronic items fascinate him to no bounds.
  6. He likes and respects his space a lot. For him, his space is as sacred as a deity in a temple.Anyone dare to curb it down is sure to bring out the blues in him.
  7. He respects intelligence and rationality. Hence, his emotional quotient is much lower than that of a Venusian.
  8. A Martian loves to spend time with his other Martian friends often, which must not be questioned by his Venusian. For him, a change like that is important and mind well, very important.
  9. For a Martian, his Venusian is his pillar of strength always, no matter how the circumstances turn out to be. He may not accept it but then that is his way of preserving sanctum of a relationship. As per a Martian, certain things need not be expressed or proved. Their silent existence is enough.
  10. And last but not the least, a true Martian loves his family and is fiercely compassionate about it. He can go to any extent to protect it and keep it secure. He possesses a strong shoulder to bear responsibilities, loves his job passionately and not forgetting to mention is always a better planner than a Venusian.
So what prompted me to write about this, I do not know. But it was kind of fun writing this post as it is not just about the fairer and the weaker sex but it is about two out of the world species who complement each other better with their drawbacks rather than with plus points. And that is what keeps this planet going. Isn’t it folks? So strange is the design of the Omnipresence that he made two aliens of opposite nature and somehow managed to help them coexist and then grow and evolve into earthlings. And talking about relationships, there is so much to give and take in it. Especially when considering this beautiful bond between a Martian and a Venusian, a relationship suddenly becomes so colorful and so exciting. It is more like a cabalistic package filled with fun, fights, love, anger, likes, dislikes, doubts, forced silence, fear, anxiety and fluctuating sense of security that surfaces every now and then. However what makes this package even more appealing is the magic of acceptance and adaptation that comes along. From the mythological perspective, when God made Adam and Eve, he sure must have spent years of grey hair contemplating on how to make them two striking individuals who would promulgate the thing called life. And mind well, it applies to other five sensed earthlings too.

And talking about the bond between a Martian and a Venusian, it is hell so complex that it will always remain a contentious topic to debate on who is right and who is otherwise. After all, no relationship for that matter remains perpetually evergreen without those intermittent phases of meaningful/meaningless arguments, mood swings/deviations and a lot of insecurities for unknown reasons. But then, these are the very tit bits in the Martian-Venusian bond that make that relationship adventurous, testing, mystifying and yet exciting. After all, what is a journey without a tinge of adventure? Isn’t it?

P.S: People, you may add/refute/agree/disagree all that you want. The above post is solely based on my perspective. Healthy discussions/arguments are welcome :)