In 2012 when Murtuza Rampurawala, Technical Customer Support Analyst for Changepoint, was talking to his manager Doug Colter, a long time Toastmaster, Murtuza’s interest in Toastmasters was peaked. After a little research and a visit to the Markham, Ontario Chapter – Murtuza’s journey as a Toastmaster began.
“My first impression of Toastmasters was that it seemed like a very creative way to overcome some of the communication and leadership fears I was having, the atmosphere was encouraging and inclusive.” Said Murtuza. “I enrolled in the Toastmasters International Communication Program.”
The communication program helps participants improve their public speaking and leadership skills in a club environment. To finish the program, participants must complete a series of rigorous assignments which provide instruction and practice in the basic techniques of public speaking.
“I put time aside, a minimum of 2 hours a week to go to the library and read some of the recommended books: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, The Alchemist, Think and Grow Rich, to name a few.” Murtuza said. The books, as well as online research, provided Murtuza with a solid foundation for building the 10 presentations that were required as part of the communications program.
Murtuza’s 10 Speech Topics:
- My Journey In Life
- Do The Things You Fear
- The Power of Goals
- East Coast of Canada – Road Trip
- My First Skiing Experience
- Introduction to Vocal Variety
- Loneliness – The Most Terrible Poverty
- Six Basic Fears
- Habits Come in Series
- The Push
“One of the most powerful of my speeches, was perhaps the most difficult subject matter to work with, Loneliness – The Most Terrible Poverty. One of the surprising discoveries I made was – according to the World Health Organization ‘Loneliness’ is rated a higher risk than smoking and as great a risk as obesity.” Says Murtuza.
Some of the ways to overcome loneliness are:
- Go for daily morning walks
- Talk to elders and play with children around
- Try to open up with your close friends and family members
- Get involved in some community projects /activities
- Join a ‘Toastmaster’s Club’
Following on the Loneliness speech, was his speech; Six Basic Fears, as referred to in Napoleon Hill’s book, “Think and Grow Rich.” The fears are:
- Death: We all have our own interpretation of what that means to us that has not been eradicated.
- Old Age: We still get old and live longer than ever.
- Loss of Love: This is the only fear that scientist have actually cured. The treatment is “Valentine’s Day” Isn’t it!
- Loss of Health: We still get sick.
- Criticism: May be from your family, teacher or boss, they are still around.
- Poverty: We still have poor people and could we become one of them.
For his outstanding efforts in the first few months, Murtuza received the award for ‘The Best New Toastmaster of 2012/2013, Markham Chapter of Toastmasters.’
Murtuza’s enthusiasm didn’t stop there, when the opportunity to participate in a leadership capacity at the club came up Murtuza rose to the challenge. He accepted the position of – VP of Public Relations, for the Markham Chapter. In this role he is responsible for the monthly member newsletter, updating the website, mentorship and assisting with recruiting new members.
With the 10 speeches under his belt and the completion of a series of rigorous assignments, Murtuza successfully completed the first section of the Toastmasters International Communication program Competent Communicator.
Murtuza’s manager, Doug Colter remarked on this achievement, “Having been a long time Toastmasters member myself, I understand the benefits of improved communication and leadership skills. The skills Murtuza has gained are clearly evident in the way he has been managing our customer’s challenges. Well done!”
While much of the effort comes from within, there is no shortage of support from other members of the club. Murtuza received a lot of support from long term members, Mike Walker and Garry Pennington. “They were always willing to share their experience and to provide guidance when needed. Working with these men helped me to overcome my fears and inspired me to reach for the top.” Says Murtuza.
I asked Murtuza if he had any advice for someone wanting to join Toastmasters and he said, “Commitment is the key to being successful. Balancing my work, my family (a new baby at home), with my time at Toastmasters requires me to be self-disciplined. The work is hard, but the rewards are great, participating in the club is a lot of fun and filled with laughter. It brings out the best in people.”
If you are interested in joining Toastmasters, please visit their website to find a chapter near you.
This is a series of stories about the people we work with and the people we are.
We have all worked with technology for long enough to understand that it takes more than a great product to make a company successful. It’s about a community of people working towards making our customers successful. That same drive/passion isn’t isolated to the office but is reflected in the activities/actions of the Changepoint team in their personal lives.
In our Employee Spotlight Series, we will introduce you to members of the Changepoint team. Since we are a global organization, we will share stories from employees and the interesting ways in which they are applying their talents around the world. We hope that you’ll enjoy these stories and that they give you some insight into the people behind the product.