Getting Technical

xammi thought
courtesy internet

I have been requested by a group of young doctors, who are into public health to help them communicate better in the health education sector,

Both my areas of work that is dentistry and theatre fortunately are hands on subjects. So there is no dictate the notes happening.

What I realized is that people tend to get intimidated by the boogie of technical talk. And most of us who technically trained are also insecure about coming out of that space. The way I tackled it was I treat the audience as one single patient, in my clinic space where I am in control and I make my presentation. This automatically simplifies the language and makes it less intimidating.

Hypnotheray as a Therapeutic Model  at the Aarogya conference organized by Ayush

Sharing technical input with an audience that is not exposed to that technology or is partially exposed is quite a challenge. This audience would include students, inter-disciplinary practioners, migrants to the area, and some of course natives. When I say migrants I am talking about maybe someone from speech and hearing taking attending a session on theatre arts to learn the pedagogy of speech and voice. Or someone from theatre arts attending a session on vocal hygiene.

What’s most important is to find the connect, everyone is usually there for a purpose, so we define the purpose. What works for me is, I announce the topic of the day, and give my audience 2 minutes to pull together and share what they know of the topic. This breaks ice and also gives me a hands on assessment of my audience.

Working on building a communication bridge between the audience and the facilitator brings about great learning, that would mean allowing for question and answers during the session, I can entertain the question depending on time available and relevance of the question.

Presenting science in stories at the BarCamp

Then would come to structuring my session. This is very very important, again given my thinking pattern which is cross wired I realized I go haywire so I tend to use visual aids to keep me stream lined.  Visual aids are double edged swords they can take the attention off the speaker.

What came as breakthrough for me, was the realization that as a student  I would use the class transcripts and relate it to the visual then the subject did not scare me, I decided to use the same transition here. The structure of the session would then be,

  • Grab the attention, by getting them to assess their own level and understanding of the topic.
  • Jargons had to avoided, yet jargons brought a certain amount of bonding. So what I did do was I would introduce the jargon through the session, so somewhere the immigrants would settle into the technical space.

    At Flame Institute, translating RasaBrahma for therapeutic use
  • An understanding can be built by probably using words that the audience are familiar with, but this is a space I do not go into simply because it can boomrang. What I do is probably ask for inputs in between from the audience volunteers or give them a Hobson’s choice. Of course allowing for questions as the session is on is another great way to keep the connect.
  • The acceptance of the audience comes with them accepting your credibility, and that has to be a third person presentation, so I have learnt over the years to give an honest crisp about me to the person who introduces me, if that is not possible then I share experiences that connect to the topic.

    yourstory (1)
    SHeroes- recovering from trauma sharing my story
  • Good illustrations and graphics go a long way in people remembering your presentation.
  • Simulating action is another very important thing to do. Depending on the topic that I am sharing I create a worksheet, and have just a minute and half to two minute activity.

Teaching, or sharing technical knowledge is a challenge. Visual aids go a great way to facilitate this. over years I have figured that certain things ensure a good presentation.

  • Use of precise and apt visuals.
  • The visual has to be prominent and visual to the last person in the hall with clarity so pixeled images don’t work.
  • The images have to be simple and well labelled. The ideal format is the same the one used for scientific drawing.
  • The illustration should be colourful, but not overwhelming with colours.
  • Each visual should be allowed adequate visual time, it should be long enough to register but short enough so that it is not boring.
  • The visuals should transit smoothly along with the narration.
  • The visual should not compete with narration.

Ideally one should check the functionality of the PowerPoint, pen drive etc. but I also make it a habit to take a back up flipchart. Actually if the audience is very small and around the study table then flipchart is more effective. It can be large enough to mount on a easel.

It is a great idea to get illustrations done professionally ( is a good source) and use animation along with narration.

I have to thank Toastmasters International as it helped me structure myself.

Feeling Our Words


Feeling our words,
ಆಚಾರವಿಲ್ಲದ ನಾಲಿಗೆ ನಿನ್ನ ನೀಚ ಬುದ್ದಿಯ ಬಿಡು ನಾಲಿಗೆ
ವಿಚಾರವಿಲ್ಲದ ಪರರನಿ ನಿಂದಿಸಲು ಚಾಚಿಕೊಂಡಿರುವ ನಾಲಿಗೆ.
The opening lines of Puranadara daasa a kannada poet, that roughly translates, to characterless tongue, mind yourself, don’t move function to mindlessly hurt others.
At the toastmasters one exercise that we have is the way we use the words, and that would be the word proper, the pace at which we deliver it, the emphasis we use on various phonetics and the pitch we use to deliver the word.
I was born in manipal… the emphasis here is I and the unheard word is not you.
I was born in Manipal… the emphasis here is on born whether I grew up there or not is another story.
I was born in Manipal… is essentially saying I was born in Manipal and timbuctoo.
This emphasis delivers the energy of a language, and gives it the power and potential to heal or hurt. Probably we all have a time when someone sent a word our way and it stuck with us, it could be a compliment or a label that just stuck with us. despite of being in receiving end and realizing that the words hurt we tend to wield the same missile.
But through the training in Landmark Forum and Toastmasters I realized the deeper our relationship to the words we use, the more it allows us to speak from a place of actually feeling what we are saying. We begin to recognize that words are not abstract, disconnected entities used only to convey meaning but they are powerful transmitters of feeling.
For a few days I did practise noticing how the words I said and hear affected my body state my emotional state. Observing people with different communication styles one amazing fact that revealed to me was I was responding to quite a bit of non-verbal communication and when you really ponder over it non-verbal communication is subjective!!
Another thing I did notice that when we speak quickly, without thinking, or rush to get our ideas across, our words don’t carry the same power as when we speak slowly and confidently, allowing those receiving our words time and space to take them in. when we carefully listen to others before we speak, our words have more integrity, and when we take time to centre ourselves before speaking we truly begin to harness the power of speech. Then our words can be intelligent messengers or healing and light, transmitting deep and positive feeling to those who receive them.
While my straight on table talk improved relationship in many quarters it also did create friction in others, the next step with my relationship with words was learn to speak with integrity, that meant re-organizing my pace and pitch. To achieve that I had to learn to detach myself from intense reaction to the other persons words, that in turn meant I listen to them and not hear to reply. The discovery about myself was not really pleasant but as I master the skill I realize that I am less burdened with negativity.
The great ephiphany was words not only have imagery (somehow the word image does not give a body) but also carry weight. And the more conscious we become, the deeper our relationship to the words we choose and how we deliver the more effective our communication becomes.

Seven steps ay speech craftin’.

speakerHow does  speech writing work. I guess each one of us has our own technique for this. For me speech is simply sharing something with a group of people.  I would use the information I have to create a focus. For example my base information is what I collected in my career as a dentist.

If I had to give a speech to entertain, I would probably use the goof ups that occur, the crazy patients, and even crazier faculty their quirks and things like that with a lot of caricaturing imitation thrown in.

If my purpose was to inform or educate then I would go into the scientific information and support it with peer research information. Social causes and life style inputs would also help.

Preventive aspects would call for action thus becoming a speech to persuade.

The courage and fortitude that the patients display on the face of adversity can create an inspiring speech.

Once I know what I want to achieve with the speech, what is it that I want to share the next step would be writing the speech proper. There are times I use paradoxes, sometime quotes but mostly poetry. I give a bland statement I want to share this with you, go through the body, and as a conclusion I would remind them ”hey presto, this is what I shared.”

Somewhere I realized I lost my train of thought and time in establishing a background. So these days, I give my introducer a small write-up on how am I qualified to speak what I do, and what is the background from which my sharing emerges, like if I am talking about Winston Churchill then I would put a little about world war 2 for my introducer.

Just to sum up:

  1. Think of an idea for you want to share
  2. Decide the purpose—what will you achieve through this speech
  3. Create the focus ie maybe my knowledge, my experience, whatever
  4. Bring my message to a single sentence.
  5. Draft an outline with an opening-body-conclusion.
  6. Do the single sentence test
  7. Write something for the person who introduces you.

You will do just great.

over communicate.

Stay in communicationconversations

. You are not in communication….

Keep people in the loop ….

I have heard a lot of this both in the Toastmasters and the Landmark forum. Call XYZ says the coach, if he does not call again keep doing so until he does well that sounds like a telemarketer and more important it is being a pest. What puts a person off, communication ?I understand– Clear the time for conversation, communicate and close is what I would look at but persistent SMS and emails, after a while the receiver would either block the ID or click a spam. Think of it, so where do we stand? Informing is good enough maybe we can request the confirmation of receipt RSVP if there is a call to action. Beyond that everyone is entitled to their privacy. Pushing prodding people to action is being a bully. Maybe we could look at the option and finally honour the persons decision. If I have to spend every few minutes in acknowledging SMS’S and emails I would for one turn asocial.

Think about it. If you have creative solutions please do share.


ImageJohnny T,Uy.DTM

Is a Toastmaster but before that he is the personal of the Philippine national police.

I came a cross an interview with him, and the police I realized was  more than Bobbie with funny hats and stick in their hands. They were the why me and you slept peacefully at night. The good cop, the bad cop, the glam-cop they are all hero’s and anti-hero’s but the real ones are the unsung heroes.

“the life of a police officer involves not only the ability t handle a firearm to suppress crime but also the skill to rally people behind you—police officers and civilians alike to fight criminality.”Johnny says. Day in and day out the police is the instrument who delivered good and bad news.  Unfortunately as Philippine National police chief Arturo Lomibao says “few high ranking policeman have the ability to express themselves well simply because they are not really trained for that.”

somehow we never think of police as communicators or people with whom we share our concerns, we only look at them as some kind of bullies who we pay to keep other bullies off the street maybe  giving them a little dignity , not glorifying or gorifying just acknowledging what they do and what they stand for might bring that transformation.


A great concept at toastmasters. I was all fired by it, until I thought let me see what actually is the onus of mentoring.

The dictionary calls Mentor (capitalized) as a friend of Odysseus, entrusted with the education of Odysseus son Telemachus, it has come to mean a trusted counsellor or guide, a tutor, coach whatever.

But did mentoring entail?

Somehow checking the grammar or seeing if the format is right somehow did not make much sense. When in doubt always, delegate/defer or in this case consult.

I actually enquired of Mr.ChendilKumar a senior toastmaster what would I need to do as a mentor. He said, get their goals first, and then help them discover their strengths.

Mentoring is not about getting that next wrung or out of obstacles, but helping you to navigate through the obstacles. That put my coach at the Landmark Forum in a new perspective.

There would be challenges too, sometimes of failure, sometimes of success, lack of confidence so many things. That I thought was pretty interesting.

Co-incidentally the growth of the mentee is also the growth of the mentor. So accountability is there on both sides.

When it comes to formal mentoring,Image

  • Clear delineation of goals and expectations for mentors and protegee.
  • Careful selection of pairing of mentors and protegee, (though the believer in believes that people appear in our space with a purpose. A random mentor is there for a specific purpose.)
  • Both mentors and protégée are held accountable for relationship success.
  • Recognition of mentors who make a difference.
  • A timeline with a beginning, middle and end so that the participants can end the relationship gracefully if it does not work.

Mentoring relationships.

  • Protegee driven protegee should define their development needs and make sure they are addressed.
  • Clear learning based goals
  • Realistic expectation for the protegee so that they understand that a mentor does not guarantee career advancement.
  • Confidentiality.
  • Dedicated time and an agenda. Recommended is one hour a week meet. The protegee should have a clear agenda. For the meet.


Sometimes I wonder if a little luxury could help us over come our artists block.

A little pampering what exactly it is would of course vary for each of us.  For me it was my toastmasters.

Lack of time, funds, other “more important” priorities tend to pop up. but these are never really authentic blocks. The actual block is our sense of contriction—a sense of feeling overpowered, that renders us powerless,  our art allows us self-care.

When i say luxury it is not about  cars or penthouses, it is about that little time to indulge and love life. It is not about having no pass time activity, it is about not having time for it.

We are so caught up with things,

As for me, I am at a spot where I am not even sure what my concept of luxury is. For most of luxury is a learned process, and when we don’t indulge in it we kind of become artist Cinderella.

Somewhere the artist is  youngster and requires “my space” so creating a my space in time becomes important, my space—my book—my pillow they all become relevant.

It is a bit silly, but the paradox is serious creativity emerges from silly play.