Archive for the Category ◊ Toastmasters ◊

• Monday, November 26th, 2012

I been sharing my new found fame all over the web in all sorts of the ways from facebook to emails to blog posts. It is really an exciting moment in my life especially an unforgettable moment in my Toastmaster Journey which started 11 years ago.


Here is a short story written by my coach and fellow toastmaster about my journey to this victorious moment.

Last Saturday night a large crowd gathered to witness an extraordinary event. Seven of the very best would walk into this arena for an exceptional competition that began four months earlier, and this magnificent seven, whittled down from over 200 hopefuls, now lined up to vie for a single prize. I’m referring, of course, to the Toastmasters District 56 Humorous Speech Contest.

Spectators were entertained by every comic and rhetorical trick from A to Z: Acting – including real singing, Zany slapstick – a reenactment of a husband ruining real laundry – with REAL BLEACH! But the real coup de grace turned out simply to be the alphabet. Hess Houston Toastmasters’ entry, a walking alphabet himself, stole the show. Thirunageswaram Manoharan Vijaianand strode assuredly to center stage and began with a question, “TMV…What does it mean?”

Even having the best speech, even having the best material, even having the best performance, VJ knew, would not necessarily persuade fate to his favor. Using a power point to project the perils and pearls of his plus size name required the use of an often fickle laser clicker; using mnemonics, rhetorical schemes and simulated conversations jeopardized the audience’s tenuous attention span. Yet, the thing which was almost his undoing was the laughter generated by his humorous speech. Allowing the captive crowd to crow and laugh between punch lines, gags and skits cost this comedian precious seconds. With a strict time limit of 7 minutes 30 seconds and a speech that consistently timed at 7 minutes 15 seconds, time was of the essence. But the fates were smiling, too, and acceded to his race against the clock, winning the race the trophy and the title with just three seconds to spare.

If you see Vijaianand Thirnageswaram, congrats him and don’t forget to ask for his autograph. He is a champ!

Thanks Pat for this wonderful story. Today I was able to make this far all because of hard work and support from my wife and my coach Pat. I owe to them. Thank you also to all my friends who been encouraging me to do well and believed in me that I can do it. Thanks!

Below is the recording of the winning speech,

• Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Drum roll please….

The Winner of Division O Humorous Speech contest is Vijai Thirnageswaram.

I was so happy to hear that announcement yesterday during the Division O contest. I am still trying to get over the Jet lag from last week trip to India. I was worried whether I would be able to deliver properly after lots of preparation and I was able to pull it off. Thanks to my coworker and coach Pat who helped me along the way starting from tuning the speech to hearing me out and giving suggestions on pronunciation and every things else to win up to this level.

It is the first time ever I came up to this level in any Toastmaster contest in the past 11 years with Toastmasters. It is not easy and I know any challenge/contest is not an easy thing. It takes lot of time and practice. Practice is the key. So I took it bit serious after winning the club contest on Aug 23rd. I worked with Pat to change the speech to add more laugh lines and able to win the Area contest on Sept 18th. Immediately started working for the Division contest since I have to leave India for a week trip before the contest. With Pat’s help, we trimmed and tuned the speech again for better and practiced before leaving India. I got back on Monday Oct 15th and I was totally tired and sleepy due to Jet lag which made things worse. I kept telling myself, just one more day and try to get ready for it and it may be life time chance, never know right!

Started practicing with help Aruna(my wife) and Pat and got ready for yesterday speech. We thought we are all set and went to the contest with Projector and laptop to set it up. We found out that we are missing the clicker which I practiced with to move the slides. Bit upset and tensed, didn’t find it. So we have to jump to back up plan and asked Pat to move the slides as speech progresses. It did distract my speech flow but did work out well than I thought and got good laughs. I totally enjoyed giving the speech and actually forget few lines in the middle but able to caught back up and finished it. It was a great experience!!!

In the below picture, I am with District Dignitaries and other contestants from different Area. Pat Snyder is standing behind me. I owe it to him everything for all his help.

Now we need to start again to get ready for the District contest which will be held at District Conference on Nov 17th. I am really excited and hope to do my best and try to win it.

• Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Am I really humorous to win the first place in the Hess Houston Toastmasters 2012 Fall Club contest held on Aug 23, 2012 at Hess by beating 2 other contestants?


That’s a question which I asked myself after winning the contest. I would say, my speech seems to get some good laughs that day to grab audience and judges attention to win the contest. I am not say out of humility. I know how much I practiced to give that speech and deliver the way I wanted to bring laughs from people. What I am trying to say is, I don’t know that one speech fully determines my comedic ability and capability.

People who have watched me give speeches have told me that I am good talker who can deliver great speeches. Some have told me that I do have humorous touch in my speeches. I do agree, I can put together any speech of a topic of my interest in fraction of minutes without much preparation. I like to have stories and humor aspect in my speeches to make it last long in their mind but I certainly lag the skill of making the full speech humorous. To say, I am a humorous speaker is totally overqualified. But I been trying to get good at it and working on improving that skill so it can come easily.

By entering into this year’s Humorous speech contest, I took the challenge to myself being a long time(11 years) toastmasters to get good at preparing and delivering good Humorous speeches which will last long in people heart. I hope winning the club level contest is a big boost and surely increased my confidence level to work more and perform more in the Area level. I am going to try to do my best with all friends encouragement and wishes.

Thank you everyone for their support.