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Showing posts with the label toastmasters

Planning for 10 Months Ahead (CL Series)

The CL Series is a series of blog posts about my journey to attain the Competent Leader award in Toastmasters. Visit http://startupkenya.blogspot.com/2014/08/becoming-competent-leader.html to learn more about why I started this journey. Management consultants love using tools and techniques in undertaking assignments. A well outlined and well thought out "Approach and Methodology" section can give you the edge you need when your proposal is being compared to the next guy. I trained to become a management consultant, and I thought that while desire and commitment in achieving my Competent Leader (CL) goals were admirable; a good plan with milestones and resources needed were essential to ensure that I pulled it off. The Toastmaster year run from July 1 to June 30. If I was to get the CL award (and contribute towards my club's success plan), I wanted to do it before June 30, 2015. Luckily there were 10 projects in the CL manual, so I could easily plan for 1 pro

Becoming a Competent Leader

"If you want to know if you're a leader, look behind you and see if you have followers". I read that quote yesterday while browsing through articles on my LinkedIn home page. I can't remember who it was attributed to and don't remember much of the article but that quote stuck. It's a great quote: simple, catchy and easy to apply. But is it true? What makes someone a leader, and better yet how can you evaluate not just whether you're a leader but a good leader? Throughout history we've had all types of leaders - some who've led their countrymen to slaughter innocent thousands; others who got their followers to commit mass suicide; while still others milked their followers dry for personal financial gain. How do I ensure that I am a good and competent leader? Personally I have struggled with this question. As I get older, get assigned more responsibility, and have more people dependent on me to lead them - I need to ensure that I not only l

The Love Letter

After shocking the sensibilities of a conservative audience with my first time speech on cars ; I went back to the same audience with this mellower version: Boo Boom Boo Boom What was that sound? What was making that sound? It was the middle of July and unlike most days in that month; the sun was a blazing ball in the sky and the heat stifling. I had walked almost a mile to meet you. My shoes were dusty, my hands clammy with sweat and my legs ached . I was irritable and tired and then I saw you.  Boo Boom Boo Boom It was my heart, beating, audible, in love. Strong but curvy, your colour a deep flawwwwless mahogany and smooth, oh so smooth. My hand involuntary stretched to touch you, but I stopped myself before I made contact, fearing by putting my sweaty and dusty palm on you, I would mar your beauty. You were the vision from my dream, and I instantly knew I could not live without you. I finally got the courage to take you home that afternoon but it took me time to get used

My First Time

“I was very anxious, and glad it was over quickly”  “Felt shy at first but once I got the hang of it, I loved it” “A really painful experience!”  “Super, freaking awesome!” These statements came from a group of teenagers as they all described their first time…                  ...to drive a car A  life time lived to its full results in a painted mosaic of memorable moments,  and for me none are more memorable than my first times with a car. I'm Learning “Stop!”, “Slow down...” “Left, left …. No left” arms flailing around giving directions to unseen places; it’s distracting I want to do it my own way. This is different from how I imagined it. I had planned the whole thing out in my mind – practiced it with the meticulous precision in front of the mirror. I was supposed to be in control, guiding the pace. Shifting the gears higher or lower as my passions dictated. Instead here I am, befuddled , anxious, immature. She doesn’t respond smoothly to my touch but jerks around as i

Thinking in Black and White

I recently joined a group called toastmasters, whose objective is to help its members improve their speech-making abilities. Here is my first speech called the icebreaker, that is supposed to introduce me to the other members. Thinking in Black and White Madame toast master, fellow toastmasters and guests. My form two English teacher was Ms. Koch, an American with a Belgian ancestry. She asked us to call her Ms. K as her name did not lend itself easily to pronunciation by an African tongue. During one group session where we could move around the class interacting with other students and the teacher she asked me what kind of writing I liked most. Wanting to give an impressive answer I furrowed my brow a while and replied “creative writing”. Ms. K reflected on my response, and I smugly awaited praise for my clever answer. “But Harry” she replied “all writing is creative.” I stood there feeling dumb, my smugness worn down by her simple logic. I half-grunted, half-mumbled to acknowledg