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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Chp 122. Speech in Mizoram

One of my closest friends Isaac (Online nick: Jupiter) called me up the other day:

"Bastard, don't tell me you're the same Kima who gave a motivational speech on career guidance at Dawrpui School recently?"

"Uhhhh... yeah. How in the World did you find out about thattt???"

"My girl-friend is studying in that same school and she told me about it. I knew there won't be that many Kimas in Mizoram who can pull off something like that while making it interesting at the same time. Plus she mentioned about IIM-Bangalore..."

"Your girl-friend is in 12th standard? Oh my God!!! Catching them young huh? Is she into M&B novels or she's still at the barbie doll phase? Ever heard of statutory rape? You're one step away from pedophilia..." And the tables turned and I ended up taking his trip even before he could continue with his plan to take my trip. Wrong day to pick on me Isaac :)

So that's what I did, on the last day of my stay in Mizoram a month ago before flying down here to Delhi: Gave a speech infront of a large School audience on the topics: Career, Enginerring, MBA, UPSC and "studying outside Mizoram". Yeah if my friends Amol, Tommy, Monu, Amra, Ankita, Shubha etc ever knew about this, they would all die laughing.

Two of my UPSC tutors at MU (Mizoram University) - Dorothy (English) and Pratab (GS), invited me to give a small pep talk at Dawrpui School of Science and Technology, Aizawl. At first I was a bit reluctant of course, but then, never underestimate the persistence of an English teacher: Dorothy’s continuous bombardments of complex English vocabulary finally annihilated the very last bit of resistance within me: I gave the speech just before leaving Mizoram.

Speaking in front of an audience is a cakewalk for me now, thanks to my short stint at IIMB, where our speeches were not only monitored and judged on the spot, but also videotaped for further analysis. Stage fear was not a problem; neither was coming up with an impromptu speech. The only problem was, I’ve never studied in Mizoram since class 2, hence I had no idea what level should my speech be tuned to for my target audience.

On D-Day, I walked into the class. The students of both sections were packed into the auditorium, with the teachers hovering by the sides. I stood on the podium, took a deep breath and looked around. Girls clearly outnumbered the boys. I also felt that the girls had too much make-up on them for merely class 12 students, but then, maybe that’s the practice in Mizoram.

Prof. Bringi Dev, my beloved Managerial Communications Prof always used to say, "The key to making a great speech lies entirely in the opening line; Make it interesting and you have the audience’s unmitigated attention throughout the speech; Screw that up and expect tomatoes to be thrown at you". My opening line was, “Ah. 12th standard. I’ll do anything to relive those days again. To be young, carefree and wild once again. To fall madly in love with a person sitting in your class thinking he or she is the one you’re going to end up with for the rest of your life. Well, let me assure you that that will not happen. Similarly, you will most definitely not end up doing what you dream about the most. And that is what I am here to talk about.” Hook, line and sinker.

Trick no.2: Body languages, eye contacts, dramatic pauses, spontaneity, confidence, enthusiasm etc to increase the audience’s attention, a fact that need not be mentioned here.

Trick no.3: Making them comfortable. The more comfortable they are, the more they open up. During the Q&A round, the first student to ask me a doubt stood up and addressed me as "Sir". My immediate reaction was quick smirk followed by an immediate gesture to make him sit down. I told them not to call me "sir" or stand up, and that everything should be casual and informal. I sincerely believed more students ended up asking more questions because of that.

I talked about Engineering and MBBS. I cleared one of the biggest misconceptions about computer engineers in Mizoram, where most people think a Comp Engg is just someone who can fix your computer that won't boot, or install Windows and Anti-virus, repair system registry and configs, recover corrupted/lost files, download codecs for movie files etc etc. I told them the real meaning of a software engineer, and explained about programming using different languages, and also the importance of Maths in any engineering field.

Trick no.4: A brief joke here and there, especially if directed against one of their teachers, makes everything seem more interesting *naughty grin*. I took Pratab's trip on a couple of occasions: The entire class laughed, and when I returned to my topic, the response from the students was much fresher. And then of course I couldn't help cracking a sexist Engineering joke. Like, when I explained about the trend in which more males go into engineering than their female counterparts, I slip by a brief jest: Suppose there is an engineering crisis, say an electrical fuse. A man will look at the fusebox and try to analyse what is wrong. Is the transistor malfunctioning? Is there a loose connection somewhere? Is the input power voltage too low? A woman on the other hand, will first think, ok if I’m going to fix that, what dress should I wear? Will the color of the fusebox go with my nail-polish? Will the spark reveal the foundation on my cheek?

I can wholeheartedly say I captured the student's undivided attention especially when I was talking about MBA, explaining what marketting, HR, finance, consultancy etc were all about, although I confess I did get a little bit carried away with some of my examples, judging from some of the blank expressions on the students' faces. Hehehe. Anyway, I sure am glad I was able to clear a lot of the students' doubts. The entire speech including the Q&A round was estimated to go on for around 30mins to an hour; Instead we easily crossed 2 hours of amazing class participation.

Another topic I really enjoyed talking about was on "the life of a Mizo studying outside Mizoram", where I warned them about the dangers of "parental detachments", that they should all be extremely careful about not attending classes and about the "night life" of the metros that could devour them into pieces if they did not have any self-control. The girls should especially be aware of the fact that they would no longer be under the protective eyes of their parents and the Mizo society, hence there would always be guys around at every nook and corner ready to "do something to them that they will regret later". I warned them about the liberalness of the places outside Mizoram where one could acquire not just alcohol but street drugs freely unlike in Mizoram.

All in all, I felt a strange feeling of satisfaction and contribution to the welfare of our society after giving that speech. Even though I knew that these children would definitely be given such warnings by their parents or friends, I felt better knowing I personally played a small role in carving out the giants that they would be later on in life. God bless them all.


benjamin rualthanzauva said...

How would I start? I would begin "Why are we here today?"

Then after a short pause, "We are here because we need money to buy beer!"

I would go to how earning money helps one become a better spender. Earning helps one realize the value of money and also eventually learn to control alcohol consumption because he buys it from his own pocket!

And yes! Why in the world we study work! Because all of us want to build a family one day. How young couples with their kids and small cars coming to malls had motivated!

I will also advise them to eat lots fruits and vegetables. Keep away from fermented stuff.

How less oil helps women during menstruation!

The need to care woman as men! Never to hesitate to disapprove facts just because it's in the book and the teacher said it.

By now, I would walking down from the platform, pick a boy and giving a pat on the back.

Pick a pretty girl and ask her "What would she like her husband to be?" And Engineer, Doctor and be it anything as long as there is love.

If they have wondered why on Earth we were born in the first place?

I will also do the act I did at Providence School.

"I need two brave men and two brave woman out here"! Only to be rewarded with chocolates to those who dared to come out.HAHAHA

Damn! The show just got started and I was running wild with my speech. Damn 45 minutes gone. The show had to end.

* Carry some picture and ask them to identify it
* Ask if they have think of the hard work that their music and spors icon do on their journey stardom
* Did they ever steel?

Finally, they should also learn to cook and make good tea. Because it's fun!

Clio said...

Great job done dude.I really appreciate what you've done.....You've been very helpful to them by giving career guidance which they really need at this age and also by telling them about life
outside mizoram....May God bless you.keep up the gr8 job!!!!!!!!!

Mizohican said...

Please excuse all the typos!!! Just went through my post again just now and I came across so many of them. The thing is, my comp crashed recently and MS Word is not yet installed, hence I wrote this post on Notepad which does not have auto correction...

Mizohican said...

@ Ben: Thanx for your comment. Great insight. Although the menstruation part is not exactly related to my main topic of career guidance, I can see it is a good trick to capture the student's vivid interest. :-)

I did mention a lot about salaries, and how much an MBA student from the top B-School is paid even at middle management level. I also mentioned about the power a Civil service employee has, and I weighed the two line of professions, asking the students what they really want in life: Money or Power? If it's money, they should do an MBA and if it's power they should go for UPSC. But of course I also mentioned that they should think of these two professions only after completing their bachelor's degree, which is what they would be facing right now.

Mizohican said...

@ streetcred: I am honored to have done what I can for the future of Mizoram's children. One issue I've heard many times from many of my Mizo friends, is that the condition and quality of career guidance for a school student in Mizoram is pathetic. And it is almost a suicide mission when such a student fresh out of a School in Mizoram, leaves Mizoram for his/her higher studies with absolutely no clue as to what line of studies to pursue. Most of them just take any stream possible without even knowing what it really means! :-(

reverie said...


Good thing that you went and did what you were requested to do. I'm sure it would mean a lot to the young kids who would not have given any serious thoughts to their career. Pity though that I was not there to see you strut your stuff.


Pixie said...

WOW!!! You sure have done a really good thing. It's really satisfying to know that somehow you seem to have influenced the minds of 12th Std kids! :)
And your tips are GOOD... very apt for any kind of speech, presentation...

P.S: On an entirely diff note: I HATE WORD VERIFICATION!!!

benjamin rualthanzauva said...

I am going to re-write my comment a little bit and make new post.

I imagine the crowd to be students studying outside Mizoram.

- We are here because beer is not free. We need money to buy beer!

How long have we been buying beer (or a matter of fact, all other needs) with our parents' money?

Is there anyone who does not intend to get married? How do you plan to feed your wife and children!

The ladies, how do you plan to assist your husband? Even if you decide to be a house wife?

Jerusha said...

Ti thra thrin, next ah biakin lam a thu sawi dan rawn ti leh la...

Henry said...

hehe.....class kal regu tih lai vel kha ka chhiar peih lo !

Henry a.k.a Sylvman

P.S. Shit ! Word verification !

Anonymous said...

In the words of Lucky Singh (Lage Raho Munnabhai)..."beta dekh, ye zaroor politics me ghus jayega!" But the Freudian coup de etat must be how many fawning nubiles your "speech" (sounds awfully babu-esque)could register. hahah!

Joy Tonsing said...

Great job Kima career guidance is what we really need especially in Mizoram and Manipur.

Sekibuhchhuak said...

thu sawi lai chuan van awm ve chak e awww..ka lo Amen tuarh tuarh tur a..hehe

tak tak in,a sawi tur awm takin i sawi a nih chu,kan U-te entawn tlak tak mai te hnen atrang a fuih na thu dawn chu aman hla ngei ang.I ti tha hle mai..

Mizohican said...

Thanx for your comments Rema, Pixie, John, Sylvman, Ben, Joy, Sundancer and kima-the-other. I really appreciate it.

And yes, I hate word verification too! :) But you have no idea the number of BOT Spams I get when I don't turn that on. It spoils the entire comment page. I hope you guys can bear with me :)

Unknown said...

Thnx fr the speech. It was fun n really helpful.serious
-one girl from the audience.(i don't wear makeup)

Mizohican said...

hmmm... so ur that girl without the make-up huh? Yeah I did notice you :) So are you outside Mizoram now or in Mizoram? Were my advices any good?