International Experience and now Competent Leader

I was travelling abroad to New Delhi, India, to take care of some family business and attend my cousins wedding. Coming to the close of 2016 for me has been about personal development and a culmination of projects.

Prior to my trip, I reached out to several Toastmaster clubs in the Noida district and two clubs were happy to accommodate me.

First arrived at the offices of Tata Consultancy Services, one of India’s largest multinationals, worth over $80bn and recognised by Brand Finance as one of the Big 4 Global IT services Brands.

Abi Goyal was my contact who welcomed me warmly and took me through security to enter the meeting. This club’s meeting theme was “Carpe Diem” usually translated to ‘Seize the Day’.

Fellow toastmasters were excited a foreigner (or NRI) had come to join in their meeting and I was asked to speak impromptu about my experiences. In true table topic fashion, I was able to speak on opportunities and how they can manifest in new and unknown ways. I referred back to my project of bringing 2014 Word Champ, friend and now mentor Dananjaya Hettiarachchi to Rackspace UK for a one-day masterclass in speech success.4I9A1276If you have not seen his award-winning speech, stop and watch it now:


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I believe in efficiency and after lunch with my new friends at TCS, where we discussed politics of India, the recent demonitisation issues and newly elected Trump of America, I caught an uber over to the offices of Adobe for the second Toastmaster meeting of my day. Those that know of my love for the superb working culture at Rackspace will be interested to know that these offices were a spitting image, breakout spaces, wacky colours, open office, all you can eat food courts and a relaxed environment. This was most refreshing to see, that too in what’s known as a ‘developing‘ country.

This club is split over two physical locations and had their meeting over video conferencing software, with shared roles at each venue. What a fantastic way to utilise modern technology and keep their club running over logistical changes. Karan Bajaj, President of the Adobe Noida club was most humble and accommodating. I engaged in a dual table topics speech and actually won the mini contest with my cousin Amit, I had a great challenge trying to convince him to hire me in this impromptu talk, his business acumen may have outweighed mine!

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The experience for me was that of ecstasy, being able to hone in on skills, travel across continents and speak in front of strangers, now friends. I have great aspirations to work with these 2 clubs in the future and extend a warm welcome to any Toastmaster travelling across seas. The Toast Rack hosts workshops regularly and often attracts excellent speakers.

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Arriving back in the UK, I was able to apply for my Competent Leadership Award, something I have been working towards during my presidency at The Toast Rack.

The international leadership programme has been sculpting me for skills in critical thinking, time management, planning and implementing events, organising and delegating, facilitation, people motivation and team building.

I’ve also been commended by my CEO and MD for efforts in creating a positive constructive club, empowering the workplace for those seeking to improve on their speaking and
leadership skills.

Area Director Russell Searle has said “The Toast Rack is a great model of how a corporate Toastmaster club should run” and is glad to be associated with us so heavily

Division Director Florian Bay awarded me with my certificate and ribbon at our first meeting of 2017.
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Many thank for reading, do share and let me know if you have any constructive feedback!

Sumit Sharma

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