Befriend the Stage!! – TM Arna Chugani



50 Meetings!! Time flies fast. The youngest community Toastmasters club of Chennai celebrated its 50th Meeting on 12th April 2014, and it was a delightful moment for all the members of the club.

The meeting had several special programmes, but the most special of them all was the education session by one of the most accomplished young Toastmasters, Arna Chugani. She was one of the youngest club presidents in Chennai, and she is also a great speaker, having succeeded all the way to the district level international and Table Topics speech contests.

At CTC, Arna spoke on the topic” Befriend the Stage” .

TM Arna chugani began her session with a fundamental question:

Why does the speaker need to ‘Befriend the Stage’?

She explained the reason through behaviour of pets. Pets feel the mood of the person who approaches them. They react in appropriate to the situation. If you look scared, they are cautious; if you are friendly, they reciprocate the gesture. They mirror your emotions. On Stage behaviour, also mirrors the speaker’s emotions. If you are not comfortable with the stage, you are not going to become a successful speaker.

Now that you know why you need to ‘Be Friend the Stage’, how do you go about it?

Step 1: Break the ice with the stage

Everybody meets their best friend at one point in their life. How does the first meeting happen? They first get to know each other. The same is required with the stage. TM Arna always spends a few minutes with the stage before the meeting to get comfortable with the stage.

Step 2: Do not hesitate when you are on stage

Why do people hesitate on stage? It’s because they start judging themselves instead of evaluating themselves.

‘Am I going in the right direction with my speech?’ That’s evaluating

Evaluating helps you to work on your weak points. It helps in improving your future performance.

‘I don’t think I am connecting well with the audience.’ That’s judging

Stop judging yourself and you will not hesitate on the stage. If you miss a couple of points, you know it… The audience don’t.

Step 3: Know that it’s OK to be bad, to fail

Can anyone vouch that they have never fought with the person they love the most? There are times when one might go up on stage thinking everything is fine, but end up failing miserably.

TM Arna shared many anecdotes of her experiences, where she has failed on stage. It’s OK to fail.

What is the worst thing that can happen when you fail on stage?

The worst thing that can happen is, “You deciding not to go back on stage….ever.” That should be avoided.

Step 4: Bring your own self on to the stage. Discover your style.

It’s fine to admire a good speaker. But, do not imitate them. Whatever effort you may make, it’s not your own. Instead discover your own style. It might take time. But, it’s something natural to you.

Discover the Speaker in you!

(Written on behalf of the CTC editorial team by TM Bharath Raman)

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1 Comment

  1. Rajesh - April 19, 2014

    Thanks to CTC & Arna.. I have learnt from this article on why it is important to Befriend the Stage. :)