India has had a presence of Toastmasters International for more than two decades. However, the last five years have seen an unprecedented growth in terms of new members and number of new clubs. District 98 Director and Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) Ravi Teja Marrapu, Manager at ADP, says, “More and more corporates, colleges and communities are realising the need for developing effective communication skills. Being able to communicate well impacts an individual’s personal as well as professional life. Organisations like Toastmasters International help provide a safe platform to practice, fail, and learn from a supportive group of like-minded individuals.”
District 98 expands from west to east encompassing Telangana, AP, Gujarat, MP, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Goa. It has nearly 190 clubs across major corporates like Deloitte, TCS, Infosys, Wipro, Reliance, Capgemini, Microsoft, to major colleges like Symbiosis, IIT, IIM, IMT. There are also clubs for entrepreneurs, advanced-skill pursuers, Hindi-speakers and local communities within major cities. These clubs meet weekly/bi-weekly and follow a certain education programme “Pathways” to undertake skill-building.
Past District 98 Director DTM Chandrashekar DP, CEO of Jain Group of Institutions, says, “Toastmasters is the best kept secret. It is generating the right kind of awareness. We often wonder, had we come across this platform in our formative years while in college, it certainly would have boosted our confidence in every walk of life”.
Event Director for MOC DTM Venkata Ramana Dittakavi says: What sparked as an idea has flamed into a massive movement. The most rewarding experience for us has been witnessing the young students speak up on several issues – social, political, environmental – with a resounding conviction. They have so many ideas and they are really eager to be heard. In the process introvert students turn into fiery, outspoken leaders.