Public speaking made easy

Motivating Factor

skilled Sumitra Manamohan

This was the exact reason that motivated Sumitra Manamohan to join the Bangalore Toastmasters Club in 2000. Since then there has been no looking back and she is Bangalore’s first woman ‘Distinguished Toastmaster’ and the country’s seventh woman to gain the title.

She spoke to Metrolife about public speaking and the programmes she
spearheaded. Says Sumitra, “There arose an occasion when I was asked to speak in front of an audience and I was unable to effectively communicate. That’s when I decided I had to do something about it and joined the Toastmasters Club. It has been a great learning experience and I was also the president of this club in 2004. We organised many programmes including one on road safety during my tenure. The road safety programme was the first time when the club was used for a social cause.”

About how the experiences have changed her, she says, “I have evolved a great deal through the programme. I have developed creativity and humour through it. It is all about changing the world by changing your life through change in yourself.”
When asked the simplest way of getting over early jitters while delivering a speech, she says, “Just think that the audience are from your own family, that helps bring down the nervousness. However, as is the case with anything, preparation and practice are the key to getting good at public speaking. Preparation makes one more confident.”

Sumitra, as part  of the High Performance Leadership Programme, conducted a free speech craft exclusively for dyslexic kids.

About that experience, she says, “It was wonderful. Nine kids between the age group of six and sixteen enrolled for the programme. They all had varied learning difficulties. Some of them had problems reading, some with mathematics. I remember this one child, who was severly dyslexic and would always have his head down and not interact with anyone.”

She adds, “At the end of the programme, he read out a letter, which he got his brother to write, in front of the whole class. It  was amazing to see that it had helped their self-confidence and self-esteem. They were all very enthusiastic to come and speak.” When asked about her next goal, she says, “It is a life-long passion and it is an engaging pursuit, which I intend to continue doing for as long as I can.”

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