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!”

Hilarious.

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!