On the 22nd of June 2017 our club had a guest, an experienced toastmaster from Dubai, DTM Dharmajan Patteri. We had a quick conversation with him after the meeting
[Dilara]: Hello Dharmajan! First of all – we are very happy you’re here, how did you like the meeting?
[Dharmajan]: I saw a lot of creativity. For example, a small piece of paper from a cartoon on every desk to show the importance of the Word of The Day – it will remain in my mind for a long period of time! Even the Timer has presented her report very well with a graph!
So there is a lot of creativity in the club, and I’m seeing those kind of things for the first time in the last 9 years. I’m very impressed and happy to learn this.
[Dilara]: Please tell us about your experience in Toastmasters: what roles have you taken, and what are your responsibilities in Toastmasters now?
[Dharmajan]: I joined Toastmasters in 2009, and since then I have taken all roles in the club Executive Committee in multiple clubs. I was an Area Governor in District 20, which was the largest district in the world with 75 areas across 7 countries. During the year of 2014-2015, I was awarded the best Area Governor of the district.
[Dilara]: What was your motivation to join the club, and how did you hear about it?
[Dharmajan]: A college friend told me about it. After 2 years I’ve visited the club and found it very interesting. I saw the improved speaking skills of my friend, and I joined the club at the same meeting and since then I’ve never looked back.
[Dilara]: What are the brightest moments of your long journey with Toastmasters?
[Dharmajan]: For me there are many such moments. Even when your mentee comes and says “thank you”, you feel you can make a difference in someone’s life!
Last year, at the 2016 International Convention held in Washington DC, I was holding the UAE flag, standing among the toastmasters who were representing 100 plus countries! So it gave me a platform to be united with the world.
[Dilara]: What wouldn’t have happened in your life if you haven’t joined Toastmasters?
[Dharmajan]: Not meeting you!
Toastmasters has helped me to travel the world. I’ve attended the 3 last international conventions, in Kuala Lumpur, Las Vegas, and in Washington DC. It also has helped me to see the world in a bigger and a better picture. Today I speak in front of 1000+ audience without hesitation and have got friends around the globe which wouldn’t have happened if not for Toastmasters.
[Dilara]: What differences and similarities have you noticed among the people learning public speaking in different countries?
[Dharmajan]: Toastmasters clubs have the same learning program everywhere, however each club, even in the same country, has a different dynamics. The last meeting I’ve attended outside Dubai, was in my home town in India where a few of my college alumnus had started a new club. And I am also a member of an online Toastmasters Club, Firebirds Collective, which has more than 15 nationalities. So everyone comes up with different stories and different way of doing the things, and gives different learning experience.
[Dilara]: What are your other hobbies? Are they in any way similar or connected to Toastmasters?
[Dharmajan]: I’m an adventure sport enthusiast! That means doing something extra beyond normal. For example, scuba diving, or running a marathon, or skydiving – I need to go beyond my limits!
Basically one of the biggest fears people have is going to the stage and speaking. Unless you attempt to do it, it remains a fear. Toastmasters gives a platform to stretch your capabilities – going beyond the boundaries.
[Dilara]: Is it your first time in Russia/Moscow? What is your impression?
[Dharmajan]: Today is my first day in Russia, I’ve just landed at 1 o’clock in the afternoon, and I still have to see a lot. But even before landing, your passionate club-members – the Secretary and the VP PR have made good impression about it. You are the ambassadors of your club and your country, and at Toastmasters here I feel like home.
During my school days I used to read, “Misha” – a Russian publication for kids. I have a lot to see in this country, and I’m thoroughly impressed with lush green this country has, even in the city!
[Dilara]: What advice could you give to the fellow toastmasters?
[Dharmajan]: Toastmasters always gives an opportunity to RISE, rise to your core values. Toastmasters international’s core values are Respect, Integrity, Service and Excellence.
For a new Toastmaster – how much effort you put will decide how much you can get from this organization! Since it’s a self-paced learning experience, I will advise you to do your projects as quick as possible.
In my own story I was very systematic in the first 3 years: 1 project every year!
In 2012 my mentor told me: “This way you are not going to get anywhere!”. Then I have finished the next 7 projects within 12 months. That gave me momentum to take up new roles, so it’s important that you get all the benefits from Toastmasters as early as possible to be a better leader in your life.
Toastmasters always brings out successful stories of your club members, and their personal experience will inspire you! Be that inspiration to others!
[Dilara]: Thank you, Dharmajan!