Wednesday, April 24, 2019

MY EXPERIENCE @ TOASTMASTERS CLUB MEETING




                My Experience @ Toastmasters

Yesterday I had visited a Toastmasters club meeting (Business Excellence Toastmasters Club Meeting in Dubai).  To be honest, I really thought it was going to be boring, I was reluctant to even go to the meeting, but to my surprise it was actually very interesting.  The people there were not like other elders (no offence) they were super humorous and cool.

The meeting started when the club president Mr. Ali formally declared the meeting open, then the president introduced the TMOD (Toast Master of The Day) who anchors the meeting, the TMOD was Mrs. Fozia who gave the welcoming address . The ‘word master’ was TM Ankita who introduced a new word “fillip” and she asked the crowd to use the word in sentences. then the TMOD introduced the roles players , there was a timer, a general evaluator , a Trivia master. Then the TMOD introduced the speaker and their evaluators. The TMOD spoke about the speakers and about their favorite  quote and their role model. The speeches were amazing - the language , the fluency and the boldness, I was not able to see any stage fear in their eyes.

The first speaker was Mr.Chirag who spoke about blockchain technology. Basically, blockchain technology is about how we can transfer money in a safe and reliable way (through encrypted technology) I actually did not know about this until that time , he was given a time of 5-7 minutes . The next speaker was Mr.Sauud his topic was “the ideal mentor” he spoke about how he has many mentors in many aspects of life , he also informed that there are 2 types of mentors i) forced mentor , ii) chosen mentor.  His speech was very humorous and very interactive with the crowd the words of choice was excellent, he was given a time of 5-7 minutes to complete his speech.  The last speaker was Mr.TP anand (my uncle) his topic was about how he honored his boss in a social speech.  His speech was also very humorous I liked his speech the most, he was given a time of 3-4 minutes. 

Then came the coffee break, then the TMOD introduced everyone to “table topics” where a person was given a topic on the spot and a speaker was to speak with no preparation. All the speeches were evaluated by the evaluators. Everyone was also given time to write about the pros and cons of the speech that was delivered. Then came the trivia master’s session where she asks questions from the day’s session and those who gave the right answer were rewarded with a chocolate.  

After that it was the time where general evaluators were given a chance to speak about how the day’s session was.  Then came the awards session where awards were given to the best speaker who was Mr.Sauud, the best evaluator who was Mr.Sandeep and the best table topic speaker Ms.Sara.

The TMOD gave the closing address and handed the control back to the president and the president gives his remarks and formally closes the meeting then a group picture was taken.

I was actually happy that I got a chance to attend the meeting and I would actually like to join a Toastmasters club in Chennai I am again looking forward to have a chance to go to another toastmasters meeting.          

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND EVERYONE TO JOIN TOASTMASTERS CLUB.  It would help to improve the communication skills and leadership qualities.

Akhil Krishnan 
23rd April 2019
Dubai, U.A.E.

Monday, February 4, 2019

GOOD IMPRESSION



The first impression we make is always the best impression.  

We create a good or a bad impression through our communication.  Communication need not always be oral or written it can also be through gestures, body language and above all through your silence.

There are several styles of communication.  Some of the popular styles are passive, aggressive and assertive.

Do you know your communication style?  Are you following the same style in all places and in all situations?  Is your communication style creating the right impression in the minds of the people about you and is that what you aspire for or desire?

I am an assertive communicator.  I actively listen to others and make my point very clear and loud in an assertive manner.  If there is a situation where the other person is not seeing my point of view, I will not push too hard and agree to disagree by appreciating the other view point.  I have seen that this helps in not building unnecessary arguments and personal conflicts.  This assertive communication style has exhibited my real intentions which is to have a win-win situation all the time.

Communication builds relationship and the focal point of every relationship is that neither of them will Lose at any given situation.  It is always Win-Win and hence the relationship continues for several years.  In order to have the win-win situation it is important not to adopt the passive or aggressive style of communication.

I went with my family to a cloth store when my twin sons were about 12 years old.  I started selecting clothes for them one by one and each of my selection got rejected by them.  At some point I felt that I am adopting an aggressive style of communication by choosing clothes on their behalf.  I quickly realised my mistake and took a back step and told them please go ahead and select what you like.  Try it out and if it fits you we will buy.  I stayed with them in the shopping hall, waited for them to try the clothes and when asked for opinion gave my honest opinion and finally they ended up buying something of their choice.  Surprising they also bought fewer clothes that what I had selected.  At the end, it was a happy shopping experience for all.  They got what they wanted, they were happy that it was their choice, I ended up paying less for the shopping and in turn learnt a lesson that my colour choice was completely out of sync with their choice.

I went to a restaurant with few friends and was not in a great mood.  I told them anything they order is fine for me and I will also have a coffee at the end with “less sugar”.  They ordered food of their choice and it was certainly nowhere near my taste and liking.  After eating the horrible food I also ended up having coffee which had too much sugar in my opinion.  The rest of the folks in the table found the food to be delicious and the coffee was found to be good with right amount of sugar.  Right amount of sugar for them was too much sugar for me.  After that experience I decided that I will clearly tell the food of my choice and when I order coffee I always say “without sugar” but bring the sugar separately so that I can add.

When our communication is aggressive we create a bad impression in the minds of the other people.  We come across as an autocratic person with high-handed approach.  When our communication is passive we irritate others as being dis-interested in the conversation or relationship because we avoid eye contact.  We end up building anger or resentment in the minds of other persons and thus the impression created is not good.

When our communication is assertive our communication is clear, body language is positive, eye contact is maintained, clarity of thoughts is exhibited and finally we will create a good impression.
Leaving others with a good impression and carrying a good impression about the others is actually a key to having healthy relationship.  Our life is all about relationships and how we maintain and nurture them.

Be assertive in your communication, maintain a healthy relationship with everyone and leave a good impression about yourself at all times.

T.P.Anand
Dubai, U.A.E
4th February 2019

Thursday, December 20, 2018

LEAD OR DEAL

Leaders are not born but they are made!  Are you a Leader!  Are you a good Leader!  Good Evening!

I do not simply lead but I deal with people in a manner in which I make them feel empowered and gain the confidence to become good leaders.  I create leaders and in that sense I lead as I am MAD.  MAD is not a word that you associate with someone who is mentally disturbed or insane or extremely angry.  MAD is an acronym for Making a Difference.

There are different types of leaders and they have different leadership styles.  Some leaders follow the autocratic style or the Hitler style and some leaders follow the democratic style.  There are some who follow strategic leadership style.

At the beginning of my career nearly 40 years ago I was exposed to Autocratic Style of leadership where everything worked as per the leader’s wish.  The people who did the work for the leader did it out of fear of losing their job or losing their position.  When the cat is away the mice are at play and so does the employees.  We used to have lot of fun when the Boss is not in the office and the moment we hear the noise of his car we used to take positions become extremely quiet.  We used to pretend as if we were working though we will be watching his steps – all eyes and ears on the BOSS.

When I came to Dubai I met a Leader, Mr.S.S.Rajkumar,  He had a style which is a combination of a Strategic Leadership combined with Transformational Leadership.  He had a long term vision and clear objectives for himself.  At the same time he set long term vision and clear objectives for everyone around him starting with the General Managers and right down until the Office Boy.  He is one of the best Leaders that I have met so far in my life and I keep talking about him on a daily basis.
who was neither Autocratic nor Democratic.

My Leadership Style when I became a Manager was Autocratic as that was the style to which I got exposed for the first 20 years of my career.  However, my style changed to Transformational Leadership in the last 12 years.  The transformation happened when I had a long chat with my BOSS here in Dubai which was my performance appraisal.  He highlighted how good I was in so many areas and then pointed out how bad I was when it came to dealing with people.  He asked me to decide whether I want to Lead and feel that I am leading or Deal with people nicely so that they are led my way eventually.


The Transformational Leadership has enabled me to play a catalyst role with so many youngsters over the last 12 years and I have created more than 100 leaders in this journey.  It is a wonderful feeling when people are empowered and encouraged to take decisions and become leaders.  It is also a very satisfying feeling when the very same people come back to you and say “Thank You – You inspired me and helped me to reach this level”. 

When you Lead it is self centered but when you deal with people it is with empathy.  Deal with people to help them realise their true potential.  They would automatically follow you and accept you as a leader.

I always feel a Good Teacher is one who is always willing to learn.  I am a permanent student though I teach regularly in various institutions a variety of subjects.  A good Leader is one who is willing to follow and let others take the lead.  I love to deal with people and enjoy seeing them take leadership positions.  I am a leader who likes to lead from behind.

Setting the Vision for others, enabling others to realise their dreams and helping others become good leaders is exactly what a transformational leader is supposed to do.  I have been doing that for 12 years and will continue to do it in the future as well.

Deal with people nicely and they will let you lead them.  Get ready to become MAD – Make A Difference.

T.P.Anand
Dubai, UAE
20th December 2018


Thursday, August 2, 2018

DESIRE TO DREAM




Desire is wishful thinking wanting to have something or for something to happen.  Dream is unconscious desire and wishes.  I am sure all you in this room have lot of desires and the list grows on a daily basis.  Good evening my dear TMOD, fellow toastmasters, visitors and guests.

You will also be nurturing some dreams in life and you would like to realise those dreams and make them a reality.  Should we have desires or dreams?  Should we nurture more desires or more dreams?  Is the desire leading into a dream?  Is the dream getting converted into a desire?  These are some of the questions that come up in our mind.

Sigmond Freud has said that “Dreams are not mere nonsense they are fulfillment of desires”.
I had a desire to become a Chartered Accountant and when I pursued that course I faced lot of challenges as it was extremely tough and demanding.  The stress level was very high as I had to work for a practicing Chartered Accountant firm as an apprentice to learn the ropes of auditing.  Simultaneously I had to also prepare for the exams.  The pass percentage was typically very low as it is a very tough exam.  The fear of failure was always looming large.  I used to dream of missing the train very often.  I will go near the train and will not be able to get in or I will reach the platform when the train has just left.  After all the struggle of preparing for exams and failing a couple of times eventually when I became a Chartered Accountant I did not feel happy but only felt relieved.  I stopped getting the dreams of missing trains.  Dreams are not mere nonsense they are fulfillment of desires.
I have a desire for engaging in different things at the same time.  I like to also start a new assignment with all the enthusiasm and freshness.  The attention that I used to give for the starting of new assignments was not there for completing the same.  It was a constant desire to get engaged into different activities.  I used to get a dream very often of being called back to the Audit Firm where I did my apprenticeship to complete an audit.  I will be in a fix on how to go about doing the audit as I am quite busy at work in the company where I was working as CFO.  When it dawned, I would realise that it was just a dream and feel relieved.  I changed my approach to work in 2006 and decided that I will focus on “start to finish” to ensure that my enthusiasm and interest remains the same from the beginning to the end of the assignment.  I also decided that I will think twice before embarking on any new assignment.  I stopped getting the dreams of being called back by the Audit Firm for completion of audits.

I remember the story of a Village Teacher who was always right and people always looked up to him for advise.  Two youngsters decided to trick the teacher into a wrong decision and expose him to the villagers.  They came up with a small butterfly in their hand and asked the teacher “Is the butterfly dead or alive”.  The trick was if the teacher says it is alive press the hand and show a dead butterfly.  If the teacher says the butterfly is dead then open the hand and let the butterfly fly.  When the teacher was asked this question in front of all villagers, he replied “the fate of the butterfly is in your hands”.

Having positive desires and turning those positive desires into dreams is in our hands.  Let us focus on positive desires and convert them into dreams.  When these positive dreams are pursued we will realise them one day and make them reality.  Happy living and helpful nature with empathy for others can be ensured with positive desires which are eventually converted into dreams.  Have positive desires, Dream Big and Achieve Success in life.

T.P.Anand
28th July 2018

Friday, July 20, 2018

INTELLIGENCE - NATURAL VS. ARTIFICIAL


The buzz word today in the whole world is Artificial Intelligence.  Artificial Intelligence is nothing but the intelligence that is induced into machines.  The capability that is infused into a machine to think and act rather than only follow given instructions.  If the machine is programmed and instructed to do exactly what is being told then it is Robotic.  However, if the machine is able to think on its own and do things beyond what has been told then it is Artificial Intelligence.


Our evolutionary path has been very interesting and the recent experiences of rapid growth in technology is quite amazing and at times a bit scary.  The early human beings were born with emotions and Zero Intelligence.  We had to struggle hard to get the intelligence.  The process of acquiring intelligence was long, strenuous and tedious.  It has taken several years and several decades for the human race to gather the intelligence.


When the human race developed the intelligence we started thinking that the intelligence should be used smartly so that we do less work and get the machines to do most of our work.  Instead of all work being done by human beings we felt the need for many of the efforts being transferred to machines.  The evolution of machines for every day life has been quite astounding over the last few decades.  Whether it is transportation or consumer goods or industrial applications, our ability to engineer and build capacity through machines has been incredible.


The machines and equipments have gone through a huge evolutionary process and with the advent of higher technology the machines, equipments and gadgets are becoming more and more capable.  With the increased capability and wide applications into which machinery has grown we started enabling them with little bit of intelligence.  The intelligence that is being infused into the machines have now reached a stage where the machines are capable of thinking on their own.


We have reached a stage where we are able to communicate with machines and the machines are using their own intelligence to respond to us and are communicating back to us.  We are going to see Customer Service Assistants; Self Driven Cars; Automated Delivery Drones; wearable gadgets; watches which can pre-warn about our medical condition and so on and so forth.

The integration of technology in the manufacturing process has been remarkable and it is now continuing its journey every where including medical field, hospitality and others.  See the remarkable changes that can be brought in a hotel room:


We are heading towards a very exciting and interesting phase of human life where the natural intelligence and talents gained by Human Beings are being transferred to machines and gadgets as they are acquiring the Artificial Intelligence. 


When the Artificial Intelligence spreads into different walks of life the Human Race will depend entirely on these gadgets and there will be a huge population of Human Race who would prefer to remain stupid and get the machines use its intelligence.

Step 1: Nature has always been beautiful and extremely intelligent
Step 2: Nature created Humans and Animals
Step 3: Humans evolved and gained sixth sense
Step 4: Human beings worked hard to gain intelligence - Natural Intelligence
Step 5: Intelligent Humans created Machines.
Step 6: Machines became part and parcel of Human Life
Step 7: Human beings transferred the intelligence to Machines
Step 8: Machines have become intelligent - Artificial Intelligence
Step 9: Human beings are placing more and more reliance on machines and its Artificial Intelligence
Step 10: We are in the process of creating a huge population of stupid humans who will entirely depend on Artificial Intelligence.

Nature is divine and has always been kind to the Human Race and let us hope that we will preserve Nature and Nature will protect us for a long time to come.  My personal formula is going to be "Use Artificial Intelligence combined with Natural Intelligence and stay healthy and happy by being always connected with Nature".

T.P.Anand
Dubai, U.A.E.
20th July 2018


Monday, June 4, 2018

GIFTS



Everyone of us is fond of receiving Gifts as it is always coming our way with a surprise and from either known or unknown source.  When it is really big gift then it is entirely due to the blessings of the God.  If the Gift is too small we tend to ignore it or palm it off to some one else.  If the Gift is not useful or interesting also it meets with the same fate of being palmed off to some one else as a Gift.

While receiving Gifts is a nice feeling and gives us the excitement and happiness, how about giving gifts.  Are we equally happy, excited and keen to give gifts which are surprising and useful to the recipient?

I am not a great fan of Gifts and do not even give importance to what people give as I am not keen to receive Gifts in the first place. 

I got a T Shirt from my friend K.Devanathan during our CA Final Coaching classes days in 1986 with the caption "When I knew the answers, they changed the questions".   I preserved it for almost 20 years and finally lost sight of it.  Hoping that it is in some corner in my house in Chennai.

The first expensive Gift I received was a tie in Singapore which was gifted to me on my birthday by my friend R.Aravind in 1993.  I have preserved this Tie for 25 years and it is one of my favorite tie that I wear for important occasions. 

I once saw a silk tie in my wardrobe and thought it was gifted by one of my clients.  I called my son Akshay and told him "give this tie to somebody in your friends circle".  He asked me "why?".  I said "I think I got this as a gift from somebody, I have not used this tie so far.  It is better to give it away to someone who will use it".  My son looked at his wife and both of them had a sheepish smile at each other.  My son then told me "Appa I bought this hand woven silk tie for you in Vietnam and I presented this to you just a few months ago".  It was now my turn to look at them with a sheepish look and I said "I am so sorry" and took the tie back.

If the gift is not important or given its due importance it will not stay with you.  If the gift is not liked or is acceptable then it will be put in circulation and surely will be gifted away.

My daughter in law gifted a picture of me and my wife with the autograph of Maestro Ilayaraja on the picture.  This is being preserved and kept right at the bedside by me as this is a very important Gift that I would like to preserve for my life time.

I have just realised that I have more than three dozen pens on my desk which have all been gifted by someone or the other at different stages in life.  None of these pens are of any value to me and none of these pens have ever been used by me.  Some of them have my name inscribed on the surface.  So what?  It matters if the name is inscribed because this becomes non-transferable.  Probably one of the reasons why some of the Pens have remained at my desk.

More than the recipient I think it is the giver of the Gift who has to be choosy, selective and careful in giving the Gift so that it stays with the recipient.  If the Giver is giving some gift which is not relevant for the occasion or fitting the circumstances, then there is every likelihood that the Gift will be passed on to some one else and it could even reach the landfill ultimately.  Plan the Gift well in advance and allocate time for planning and procuring the right gift.  Unfortunately most people decide to buy the gift on the way to the occasion.  It is last minute rush and last minute decision hence the Gift invariably ends up in circulation and is not retained by the recipient.

I believe in "Givers Gain" philosophy and it is important to give without any expectation in return.  Gifts should be given in a responsible manner so that the recipient will use it, value it and cherish it.  It is not about value of the gift but all about the occasion, the use and the thought that goes into selection of the Gift. 

Life is a Gift of God; the body we carry is the Gift of our Parents; the knowledge that we have is the Gift of our Teachers, Mentors and Guides; the Experience that we have gained in our life is the Gift of our Decisions.  We have thus received enough gifts in life let us focus on giving Gifts.  Give Gifts in a responsible and sensible manner so that the recipient will value your Gift.

T.P.Anand
4th June 2018
Dubai, U.A.E.



Sunday, October 29, 2017

My Writing Journey




My writing journey started more than 30 years ago as I have always been fond of writing short articles on varied subjects.  The writing journey on blogs started in 2009 when I started writing in my friend Sathyamurthy's website.  Some of my early articles in that site were quite popular and to name a few Typewriter; Housewife the best Manager; Ocean Receding Day have each seen more than 5000 visits by readers of the blog.

In October 2010 I started my own blog TP Talks and it has been a wonderful journey of more than 7 years with lots of ups and downs.  There have been times when I have written frequently and there are also times like the last couple of years when I frequency has reduced drastically.  In 2012 I wrote 120 articles in the blog while I have written only 9 articles so far in this year.

My focus is now shifting into writing books and I am happy to see my first venture as a co-author get published.  The Background Material on UAE VAT has been published by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India on 25th September 2017.  I am one of the co-author of this publication and it was a real proud moment.
The First Book in which I am the author was published in October 2017 from Singapore by Partridge Publishing House.  This is called Thought Provoking and it is a collection of 54 articles written by me over the last seven years in my blog.  This is the idea of my younger son Akshay and his wife Aishwarya.  They released this book on my behalf with a collection of 54 articles as I was born in 1963 and since the book is being published in 2017 they thought of this idea.


This book is available in Partridge Publishing, Singapore and is also available in Amazon Online store.

The book is available as e-book as well as hard copy in the Publisher's site as well as through Amazon.

I am now working on the next book which will be published very soon on Indirect Tax Laws in UAE.

Your continued support and encouragement will help me make substantial progress in this journey as "writing is a life-long journey". 

T.P.Anand
Dubai, U.A.E.
29th October 2017