3Ps to unleash the champion in you – DTM Saro Velrajan

Saro3Ps – that’s all are required to become a fantastic public speaker. This was the key message of DTM Saro Velrajan’s education session “Unleash the Champion in You” at the Coromandel Toastmasters Club on 13 July 2013. The speech was filled with clever one-liners, inspirational anecdotes and great quotes like “Change small, change often” (by master of public speaking – Craig Valentine).

DTM Saro started his session by posing the most important question for any Toastmaster. “Why does one join a Toastmasters Club?” For Saro, the reason to join Toastmasters movement 7 years back was to train to speak like his CEO, who was a fabulous public speaker. He was working in the USA at that time, and his CEO in the company left a deep impression on him with his speeches. When he joined TM club for the first time, he was struggling to communicate effectively in English. But over the last 7 years that he has been part of TM movement, he has been on the stage at least once every week, and today, he is a DTM and he is invited to speak regularly. He had learned so many things during this time, but he said that success lies in religiously sticking to some basics, which can be framed as the 3Ps.

So what are the 3 Ps?

– Prepare
– Perform

How does one unleash the inner champion using these 3 Ps?

1. Plan

The first thing a TM has to do when she/he joins a club is to have a clear picture of where he wants to be after a certain period of time. Saro had a goal of speaking like his CEO after 5 years. Once the goal is set, one needs to make a plan to achieve that goal. For that, a TM has to identify 3 types of people who can help in achieving that goal. They are

a. Role Model, who in Saro’s case was his CEO
b. A mentor who can be looked upto. Saro’s first mentor was a 73 year old gentleman called Warren Railey, who had been a TM for 40 years. He had several mentees and he would have regular meetings every week with all his mentees and coach them. He would put his mentees in very uncomfortable positions by given them topics which are outside the comfort zones of the mentees and by making them speak on them. For Saro, this was the time of maximum learning.
c. A Toastmaster BuddyThis person is important because there are certain things you cannot freely discuss with your mentor and require someone who is similar to you, to bounce off your ideas.

Once there is a goal, a plan and a set of people who will help in achieving the goal, the next P comes into picture.

2. Prepare

While planning is important, preparation is equal or even more important. DTM Saro took lot of time to script his speeches and rehearsed his speech at least 15 times before delivering the speech. (All his speeches are available at http://toastmasters-saroscorner.blogspot.in/ ).  During his initial days at Toastmasters club, he would make his pregnant wife sit for hours together and practice in front of her. She would get absolutely exhausted after hearing Saro, but she played a very important role in the evolution of Saro, the speaker.

Since Saro used to think in Tamil and translate to English before speaking, he was having difficulty communicating effectively. That is when his mentor told him to sharpen in his eyes, ear and mouth to absorb English and internalise it. This is how he trained himself

a. Eyes – Saro started to read a lot. He made it a habit of reading at least one book every week by borrowing them from the local library. Before he made reading a habit, his mind was like an empty “grinder” which would make lot of noise. But his reading changed that and gave him lot of ideas that he could use not only in his speeches, but also in his day-to-day life.In addition to reading, Saro also started to write a lot by blogging (http://toastmasters.saroscorner.com/). Reading and then writing helped him improve his English language skills, in terms of structuring ideas and conveying his thoughts clearly.

b. Ears –Saro started to hear lot of audio books, which he downloaded from the internet. He used to hear them either when driving or whenever he could. He was especially influenced by the Motivation Guru, Zig Ziglar, who inspired millions of people across the globe.

c. Mouth – In order to get comfortable speaking to others in English, Saro chose to become the Sargent at Arms at his club for 3 consecutive terms. By the time he completed his third term, he was so much at ease with himself in small talk and social conversations.

Together his training for the eyes, ears and mouth instilled in him a set of great habits which enabled him to become a powerful speaker.

3. Perform

The 2001 World Champion of public speaking – Darren LaCroix – keeps saying “It is all about stage-time” and Saro explained how he has been practising it diligently. During the first 5 years of his TM journey, he never missed a single club meeting. He would take up at least one role in all the meetings so as to get some stage time. He would be the first guy to raise his hand when a Table Topic master invites a volunteer to speak during the Table Topic session. (It is another issue that initially he failed miserably during the initial days). He urged every TM not to waste a single opportunity to occupy the stage.

Saro concluded his session with one of his favourite Zig Ziglar quotes “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great“.

The speech by DTM Saro was another great moment for Coromandel Toastmasters Club(CTC), and it followed the remarkable speeches of DTM Jayan Narayanan(read more here) and TM Rajesh Natarajan(read here).

CTC thanks DTM Saro for his valuable guidance and support.


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  1. Saro Velrajan - July 15, 2013

    Wow ! You’ve covered every bit of my speech. Amazing job.

  2. Karthik - July 15, 2013

    Nicely prepared. Job well done Madhavan !!!

  3. R Mahalakshmi - July 15, 2013

    I missed the session… but, got the full essence by reading the above info….. thanks :-)

  4. Sandeep - July 15, 2013

    Thank you so much Saro for ensuring that whenever the petrol is over in our car[mind], your edu session refills it fully :-)

    Madhavan, my heart-felt thanks to you for compiling and putting it so beautifully.

  5. Anirudh - July 16, 2013

    Even though i witnessed the session..I can revisit this blog often to motivate myself

  6. Sudha - July 17, 2013

    Amazing summary. I felt as though I attended the session and saw Saro perform. CTC is going great guns.