What Happened at Resonance 2022?


f your entire life were condensed to just three days, what would you like those three days to look like?

For me, I’d like those days to look like the last three days at Resonance2022 organized by District41, Toastmasters International. And here’s why…

#We were all in the right room:

If you’re the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room. – Confucius

Anyone who attended the Resonance will agree that we were all in the right room. Well, the room happened to be the Viceroy Hall at WelcomHotel ITC Dwarka. It was here that we engaged with the emcees, interacted with Toastmasters top team and witnessed a superb lineup of keynote speakers! And then, there is much more learning that happened off-the-stage simply by observing the demeanor of leaders. #Learning

#We were building new bridges:
A survey of 200 random people was conducted where they were all invited to a hall. Research found that most sat next to someone who was like themselves – a white man sat next to a white man, a black next to a black and a fat man sat beside a fat man! Nothing, however, could be more debilitating to our growth. (Source – Professor Himanshu Rai, guest speaker at Resonance 2022).
Thankfully, that was not the case at all at the Viceroy Hall. It witnessed 200+ people from different parts of Bangladesh, India and Nepal bonding and mingling together, celebrating others achievements and creating new bridges. The atmosphere of Toastmasters and the well thought-out activities designed by the emcees automatically ensured everyone got busy opening new possibilities for themselves! #Networking

#We were fully present!

We learn best in moments of enjoyment – Dr. Ralph C Smedley.

And enjoyment is much more than laughing over a humorous act.  The physical activities, a sense of empathy for others, new perspectives along with the fun moments made the magic happen – It opened the participants minds fully and activated all senses which made them more receptive to new ideas and made even the complex learning easily palatable. #Enjoyment

All of that and more happened inside the Viceroy Hall. Things that made us all feel a little more humble,  a little more human. If you attended, please share what else you saw happening inside the Viceroy Hall at Resonance 2022 and if you missed, it better be because you had something more important or worthwhile to do at the time 🙂.

[5-Bullet Tuesday] Make Time For Your Mental Wellbeing!

Hi All,

Wish you all a very happy and healthy Mental Health Week. And here’s your weekly dose of “5-Bullet Tuesday”, list of things I’m enjoying or pondering.

Templates I loved using –

If you have to do something more than once, have a template for it.

Meetings, that’s something we all have to do every day. And yet, we usually don’t have a template for it. Most of us stress and struggle preparing for meetings and secretly hope godly interference to save us. Right? Well, if your situation is something similar, these two templates will surely come in handy to you.

These templates (courtesy: Michael Hyatt) are super effective in planning for meeting and getting the recommendation across to the manager for approval. Use these and see how much more in control you will feel.
Recommendation Briefing Form
Effective Meeting Blueprint

What am I excited about—

A few weeks back, I had mentioned a silver lining for everyone including myself who is delaying starting their Podcast (Podcrastination). Well, while I am still getting there, but my son, Tanav has taken the plunge already. Yes, he started his own Podcast! And it’s really nice (okay, I may be biased but check it out and find out for yourself) – It’s called Reality versus Expectations and he interviews people from varying job profiles and finds out if the general perception of a job meets the reality. Check it out: Reality versus Expectations.

What I learnt about Mental Health–
it was refreshing to attend the Jay Shetty talk organized by Macquarie office to mark the World Mental Health Day (10th October). Quite an insightful session and more than that, the way he speaks is magnetic. I heard his entire keynote of 30 minutes and another 30 minutes of the Q&A session that followed. He is on the top running On Purpose podcast

  • The growth equation: Pain + Reflection = Progress
  • Remember to make TIME for these things every single day (TIME is the acronym for : Thankfulness, Inspiration, Meditation, Exercise and a bonus S for timely and adequate Sleep.
  • Gratitude must be expressed, specific and personalized!
  • Be curious not creepy. 
  • In this time of pandemic and lockdown, make your own commute.

Questions I loved–
Jay Shetty also suggests building deep connections by asking good questions. Here are some of them which he says he often asks his guests in his On Purpose podcast:

  • What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
  • If you had to make a rule that everyone had to follow for 30 days, what would it be?
  • What’s something you used to value but don’t value any more?

These he says are far better than the usual, How was your weekend, or what are you plans for coming weekend, questions.

Poetry I loved –
Attending the 100th milestone meeting of Bright Beginning Toastmasters Club was a feast. They had invited professional Hindi poets. Well, I could gather only some part of it given it’s depth and my limited understanding of pure Hindi. But, what I understood has left a strong desire to know more (isn’t that what a masterpiece often does?). Particularly noted re-listening to Karvan Guzar Gaya – an inspiring poem by Gopaldas ‘Neeraj’ about missed opportunities.  

Coincidently, I also documented my own little Hindi homage poem this week, which was a tribute to Ashok Mamu, whom we lost in May amidst the second wave of the pandemic. It was his birthday this Friday and the family marked the occasion as Celebration of Life.

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[5-Bullet Tuesday] Have You Found Your Purpose?

Hi All,

Here’s your weekly dose of “5-Bullet Tuesday”, list of things I’m enjoying or pondering.

How I found my purpose–

While we’re all busy doing things – at work , in communities and in our personal lives, how often do we keep our purpose at the center of it all?

In fact, how often do we even know what our purpose in doing these things really is?

Thank you District 41 District Director, Ranjit Acharya, DTM for having a 20 minutes 1:1 ice breaker cum mentoring session with me.  This is where you shared  with me your own dream of helping other leaders identify their purpose and then support them in achieving it.

Here’s what we were able to frame as my purpose at least for this one year.

Have you framed your purpose yet?

If not, work with your mentor and do it now. Once it’s ready, place it strategically so that it serves as a reminder for you to do only those things that will take you closer to achieving it.

Training I loved:

District Officers Training Program (22-25th July 2021) organized by District 41, Toastmasters International. While there were loads of learning to share, here are some communication tips to share from session with Shivpriya Gauri, DTM:

  1. Respect the chair in all written communication- Hi Nimish Joseph, DTM, and not Hey Nimish 
  2. Remember the Organization Communication flow: For Toastmasters, it goes from club to Area Director to Division Director to District and the other way round.
  3. When calling upon someone, say Distinguished Toastmaster followed by the name such as Let me call upon the stage Distinguished Toastmaster Ankur Yadav. 
  4. If you’re inviting leaders from outside of District 41, make sure Area Director and Division Director are aware. This will allow the District leadership to make arrangements accordingly to uphold the name of District 41.

The daily yoga I’m loving–

Attending daily online Yoga for over 2 months now. I feel changed – no more aches, pains and complains. And not just me, my wife, children, in laws, nieces and many other relatives join these sessions. (Side benefit: It’s a good way to meet and greet each other without risking spreading any infections.)

Hats off to the dedication of the भारतीय योग संस्थान. These experts conduct three one hour sessions daily (5:45 AM, 7:15 AM and 5:00 PM IST) and provide personalized guidance. No strings attached.

Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect. Now, do yourself a favor and join (email or comment and I’ll be happy to share the latest virtual class link.)

What I figured—

Confused about when to use Email and when to drop a message on Social Media – Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram et al?

Here’s what Shivpriya Gauri, DTM had to say:

Email is the Primary Communication Mode while Social Media is  useful for a follow-up, to expedite or to reiterate the message.

What I learnt about decision making –

You have any upcoming school or college reunion. Will you attend or not?

Well, if there is no conflict it’s easy to decide. Of course you will attend. But what if you had already signed up to a 3 days training program that you’ll have to miss if you attended the reunion?

Ranjit Acharya, DTM, District 41 Director reminded the attendees that those are the times when the following quote from Mahabharata would come in useful to make decisions:

“अनुकूलस्य संकल्प: प्रतिकूलस्य वर्जनम् |

प्रभु की शरण प्राप्ति में जो बातें अनुकूल हों उसकी प्रतिज्ञा करना और प्रतिकूल का त्याग करना |

One must consider attainment of one’s purpose as attainment of God, and hence anything that takes you closer to achieving your purpose should be done, and anything that takes you away from it should be rejected.

Now I know that college reunion will have to be next time without any FOMO or guilt of not attending it.

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Secret Sauce To Success


Howdy, Friends.

A study was conducted in 2010 by Green Peak Partners and Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. 

The objective of this study was to determine the 1 top trait that made successful CEOs successful. This study examined 72 executives at public and private companies with revenues from $50 million to $5 billion.

The outcome of this study revealed that self-awareness was the most significant trait associated with leadership success. In fact, the higher level of self-awareness, the higher level of leadership success.

And why just CEOs, becoming self-aware could make every one of us successful.

Now the question is how can you become more self aware? You can do so by developing the habit of daily journaling and reflecting. 

It was like any other day on the 13th of March. I was sitting in front my laptop, when I suddenly heard a loud thud. What followed was the scream of my mother, and wife and me and my children running out to the door. Dad had had a fall, and to make it worse, he was just lying down there, looking disoriented, and speechless.

It seemed like time had come to a standstill. I felt ashamed of conveniently ignoring Dad’s complains since weeks about “feeling weak”.

I didn’t even have the time to think and we somehow managed to pick him up, rushed him to the hospital, and a long and difficult road to his diagnosis and treatment began.

One night, in the hospital as I was trying to get some rest, I recalled that my next Toastmasters project is “Focus on the Positive“. It was extremely ironical because by now I was full of negativity – What is going to happen next?, Is this it, Is he ever going to recover.

All the fears, anxieties and worries were bringing me down. But the project’s objectives were to write down my thoughts on a journal for at least two weeks – including me feelings, both positive and negative, record my successes and efforts and be grateful for three things every single day.

It is said that when the going gets tough the tough get going. I decided to take this Toastmasters’ project as a challenge.

The diagnostic tests were quite a pain moth mentally and physically, and what came out was what swept the ground from beneath our feet.

The doctors advised a therapy which is more famous for it’s horrendous side effects than it’s positive main effects.

I continued my journey of writing my journal – small wins, efforts, plans, gratitude and feelings.

One day I wrote down that although the therapy was tough, but the fact that three different doctors had given a consistent advice, was something to be grateful to God for.

This Wednesday was finally the day to get started with the first session of therapy for Dad. Despite staying positive till now, I did feel weak in my knees – were we doing the right thing? Is his body going to be able to take this therapy?

I looked at the pages of my journal that I had been writing for last 14 days and realized that most of those in the know – the doctors, and the ones who had gone through something similar, were giving us hope and confidence.

It dawned on me that we were following the right steps, and as someone has said, if you follow all the right steps, there is no way you will get a wrong result. My gratitude notes reminded me how blessed I was with so many people on our side genuinely helping us through this difficult time.

All that gave me courage to go ahead as we had planned. We went to the hospital, got him the treatment, and kept the focus right.

It’s been four days since Dad’s first therapy session. None of our worst fears have come true so far. Fingers crossed. We’re able to hang in there and look forward to better days ahead for him.

Negativity can come in anytime uninvited, but it is still important for us to focus on the positive. After all, what we focus on grows.

Tara Leigh Cobble has expressed that beautifully in this poem:

Two natures beat within my breast. The one is foul, the one is blessed. The one I love, the one I hate. The one I feed will dominate.” ― Tara Leigh Cobble

Friends, when life seems tough, when uncertainty looms large, when it looks like the end of the road, I urge you to use this secret sauce and write down your anxiety inducing thoughts and stay focused on the positive.

PS: This speech / script was used to deliver my Focus On The Positive Elective project from Toastmasters – Engaging Humor path.

My Biased Opinion of My Son’s First Ever Public Speech!

“The next speaker is Tanav Sawhney.“, said Shreya, the Gavelier of the Day.

Tanav, my 9 year old son, emerged from the chair, walked in a confident gait, wearing his hat, and took the place to start the show. 

He noticed that the Gavelier had not invited him on the stage with the formal title and speaker name format. It was supposed to go in this case like, “The King of Pop, Tanav Sawhney. Tanav Sawhney, The King of Pop

But that didn’t deter him. In fact, he said it himself and proceeded with his speech: “The King of Pop, Tanav Sawhney. Tanav Sawhney, The King of Pop”

He was loud and clear.

He started by asking the audience, “Do you know who is the King of Pop?

(Technique 1) Surprisingly not many people knew that, but isn’t that such a great technique to start the speech – by starting with a question to get the audience’s brain to start exercising. It brings such a great engagement from them.

Tanav remembered all the techniques I had told him at different points when he was preparing the speech.

(Technique 2) First ten seconds in the speech are the key – the audience will decide if they want to stay with you or leave you, in those ten seconds.

Tanav had been able to grab the attention in those ten seconds. There was so much he did in that time – seemed such a natural progression.

There was pin drop silence when he was speaking. The audience was all ears. They had decided to stay with him. His question was followed by him saying, “For the next 2 minutes, I am Michael Jackson!”

Bold statement. Requires a lot of confidence to say that you will step into the shoes of the King of Pop.

(Technique 3) Entertain the audience.

Right after that claim, Tanav did a spin around but acted like he fell. That might have disappointment the audience a bit because they had made up their minds to see something great.

But it was part of the plan to fall, only to get up. “Let me try again.“, he announced as he wore his hat.

This time around, he was able to spin around, jump up and land on his toes. He remained in that pose for a few seconds.

Audience was all cheers.

(Technique 4) Educate the audience

Information and value bombs dropped all through Tanav’s 3 minutes and 10 seconds speech.

Tanav continued with sharing more information about Michael, his full name, his love for pets and his rather unusual pets – a chimpanzee, and a python, him being the first black artist to come on MTV, the Queen of Pop, his love for humanity, his most selling albums and so on.

There was bags full of information for the audience to go back.

(Tehcnique 5) Tantalize the audience.

While there was so much shared in Tanav’s speech, there was so much more for audience to go back and research on their own. Tanav’s speech was like a trailer for the audience’s mind to be at work even after the session has ended.

I can say with certainly that a few will definitely look up on Youtube and Google and learn and enjoy Michael’s songs.

And Tanav did complete justice to the trailer – He sang as he had mentioned about the most selling albums and even danced, showing his own love for the greatness of Michael and inspiring the audience to find out more.

(Technique 6) Play the part with all you’ve got and enjoy.

You learn best in moments of enjoyment.

Tanav sprinkled humor in his speech throughout. Like when he asked, “Do you know what is MJ’s python’s name?”

Then added, “It’s Madonna, the Queen of Pop!”


The way to entertain the audience is to enjoy the speech yourself. Tanav was thoroughly enjoying the act such as when he acted like MJ’s chimpanzee and python, when he danced and on it goes.

His use of props – the MJ Hat, the black armband and even the choice of his dress showed that he is here to perform. Just like Him.

His moving from one place to the next when he shared MJ’s three most selling albums was very impressive – very experienced speakers forget that so often. He used the stage with such perfection when he pointed to three different places while mentioning, the people who are dying, the children in pain and people living in poverty.

Hat’s off!

(Technique 7) Give them something original. Something novel.

Tanav said, “His full name was Michael Joseph Jackson.” and then he added, “He is called MJ in short form, but I think he should be called MJJ..

The way Tanav emerged out of Michael’s body, and said, “I was trapped inside Michael for so long.”

With all the above going on in a ~3 minutes speech, it’s easy to forget the overall message the speaker wants to convey.

(Technique 8) There must be a single clear overall message for the audience.

As Tanav emerged out of Michael’s body, he said, “I am Tanav. I also want to help the people who are dying, the children in pain and the those living in poverty”

Then he urged the audience, “You also please help them, and be like Him and me.

I write Him in capitals because I feel the way Tanav said it, there was a double meaning in that, he meant not only Michael but also God Almighty himself. Tanav had pointed up above as he had said “Him”.

Something even he may not be able to understand himself also being a nine year old, but he will realize it as he grows.

(Technique 9) The last ten seconds are the final key

Tanav was at peace as he said “..be like Him and me.” His eyes slowly closing peacefully, and his arms and head stretching upwards and then back.

He remained in that pose for a few seconds before he said, “Thanks.

That made every soul in the audience believe in Tanav’s message.

He received the audience’s standing applause with such grace and then moved out of the stage with a moonwalk.

Video is attached. Please write your unbiased opinion in the comments below.

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If Toastmasters Was A Person..

On 13th June 2013, I took the first step.

Never could I imagine this step would end up being one of the best one of my life. After all, it wasn’t a big deal going to attend a Toastmasters club meeting as a guest.

Couple of meetings and something in it looked nice. I didn’t exactly know what it was but it was enough for me to decide that I would join as a member.

With each meeting, I sensed something was going right. Still not sure where it would take me but it was enough for me to keep going the path. I was enjoying each step and learning along the way. So, I kept going.

It kept getting better. Today, after being in a relationship with Toastmasters for 5 years, I sometimes think if Toastmasters was a person, she would be

  1. Kind – After all, Toastmasters is the only place where I learnt that there is a way to give feedback to transform lives without being rude or angry!
  2. Empowering – Toastmasters lets me try out my wings, with all sincerely, without mocking, or laughing or shaming!
  3. Open– Toastmasters is the epitome of openness – It welcomes people and ideas from diverse professions, ages, religions…!
  4. Curious– Toastmasters encourages me to have that childlike quality to know more, do more and be more, always!
  5. Running her own race– Toastmasters teaches me to compete with only one person – myself, and be the best version of ‘me’!
  6. Joyful– Toastmasters validates for me that we certainly learn best in moments of enjoyment!
  7. and let you Be – Toastmasters lets you be! It doesn’t force you to change, or to be someone else. There is something very special about letting one be!

Above qualities are also the qualities I look for in my friends. If Toastmasters were a person, it would certainly be my best friend!

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7 Reasons Why You Should Join “Toastmasters Club of West Delhi”!

In my case it was love at first sight!

I remember my first meeting as a guest. The next thing I know is falling head over heels in love. Here’s why:

  1. The Trust Factor: Each one of the role players was performing their role for the first time: Toastmaster or the Day, Timer, Ah Counter.. Unique and courageous idea. Is that even possible? And each one of them did so well that one couldn’t tell they were first timers until told! Putting that kind of trust in the members would have taken their confidence to another level!
  2. Makes You Feel at Home: Speakers were free of fear– felt at home, perhaps even more than that. As if they knew they’re in a place where everyone is there to bring out the best in them. 

    Evaluation should be like your best friend’s advice – Rajendra Popli

  3. Timings and Location: Excellent for me! Actually not just for me, working people and students will all prefer to attend the Sunday morning (1030 to 1230 hours) meeting. Besides the learning, it’s a great way to kick start and gain momentum on your otherwise lazy Sunday mornings.
  4. Guests are Guests:
    1. It was a pleasant surprise to win the Best Table Topics Speaker award. I didn’t even think I was eligible because usually clubs don’t consider guests for evaluations/ certificates / awards. But then these are the things that make this club unique. They made is so special for me (and for all guests!).
    2. The acting President asked me and other guests to come on the stage and present the most important award – The Best Speaker Award. I haven’t seen that in any other club. It’s totally like TMWD stole my heart in a subtle and yet very genuine way.
  5. The Little BIG Things:
    1. I loved the fact that they offered snacks and drinks during the break. (Well, I know some clubs who keep you hungry!). Especially liked the fact that they had kept bottled water also (easily forgettable) because I don’t take sodas at all.
    2. As I was stepping out after the meeting, I met the lady who played the Table Topics Master. I told her, “It was lovely to be here. You all were very welcoming.” She responded very matter of factly – – “That will be na. We’re family..” Then she added, ” I want to see you next time.” Her simple words have stayed with me.
    3. Guests are referred as “Potential Toastmasters” instead of “Guests.” Yet another subtle and yet very powerful way of making guests feel a part of the ‘TMWD family.’
  6. Lights are ON and Everyone’s Home
    1. The acting President indicated to me to enter the meeting only during applause. She was present. In fact everyone seemed to be so fully present.
    2.  I was encouraged to give a Table Topics speech. At the end of the meeting, guests were invited to say a few words. As I was thanking the club, the acting President said, “We’re honored to have you here!” I was floored!
  7. Genuineness!: Everyone at the club is following and encouraging others to follow their dreams and passions. They’re all from different walks and in different seasons of life and yet they all exuded a strange genuineness. All trying to make the world a little better in their own small little way. It shows. It attracts. 

I am blown with TMWD. Hats off!

In a Toastmasters world where clubs do many things to push you into joining them, here is a club that you will get naturally pulled towards. Attend a meeting as a guest and find out for yourself.

Meanwhile, TMWD folks, keep doing what you are doing. You are awesome!