June ’91 Member Spotlight: Sudha Mani

Member Spotlight: Sudha Mani DTM

1. Why did you join Toastmasters?

In the year 2014-15, I was regularly going down south to practise my speech and had a speaker coach paying a few thousand. I wanted to improve my speech delivery for engagement and impact as I have been getting a few paid speaking gigs. Until this point, I didn’t know about Toastmasters International. One day a colleague of mine suggested why not find speaking clubs nearer home to practise my speeches instead of going down south.

Before this, another incident happened. I took part in a mobile app challenge to get investment in my app idea. On the day of presentation, technology failed me. Everyone’s presentations worked smoothly as a hot knife on butter. Mine would not work. We did everything we could. I did have some hand-outs, but it was not as effective as the presentation would have been. I was terrified, upset and lost without the presentation. I did complete my talk but lost my investment. That is when I realised that, I need to do something about speaking without notes or presentation if there arises a situation like this. So, I started working with a speaker coach to work on speech structure, delivery and storytelling. As many would agree with me, just learning something is useless unless you practise. That is why I joined Toastmasters as I wanted to practise my speeches in front of non-judging and helpful audience.

2. How has Toastmasters helped you?

However, after joining Toastmasters, I realised that I was a murderer as well. Because I was killing many with my presentation. I was killing my audience with terrible storytelling. I was robotic in my delivery.

So, I started joining a few other clubs to learn and practise the tools which I can use in my presentation and speeches. Today, I can speak to any kind of audience and make them understand what I am speaking about as I am a Technology Speaker.

  • Toastmasters have helped me deliver my speech with an impact.
  • Toastmasters have helped me in speaking with notes even if it is a 90-mins keynote. Toastmasters have enabled me to tell stories to get my message across effectively.
  • and many more…

3. What are you most proud of about your Toastmaster Club?

I have been a member of a few clubs during the year of 2017-18, I was a member of 9 brick & motor clubs and 3 online clubs. Now, I am a member of the Dunfermline Toastmasters Club. This club is not the closest to home, it is about 40 -50 mins drive. However, I love and am proud of this club because members are very active and every meeting, we have at least an average of 20 people in the meeting. You may think, “My club is the same”. Let me tell you a little bit about this club. This club chartered in 2018, they were President Distinguished in their first year. They don’t have dual members, 80% of the members are millennials, club officers have 95% attendance, they have a very active WhatsApp presence and many things which this club does is right. Above all, this club is not a CITY club to attract more walk-in visitors. This club is an urban club where VPPR must do some work to attract visitors. When you visit this club, you experience more laughter. You are invited.

Been pleasantly surprised by anything lately?

I was pleasantly surprised when I won, Area Director of the Year (2017-18) at the Norwich Conference. I was not that expecting at all. Thanks to all who made this possible. I am grateful and would like to mention following individuals who helped me in the process and in my opinion true embodiment of Toastmasters principles; Red Skelton, Daniel Sandars, Karen O’Donnell, Kevin Lee, Elizabeth Jordon, Julie Kertesz, Zaldy Co, Sam Forsberg, Lesley-Ann Hunter, Patricia Gray and many more.

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