Guest Contributions · TMOD

A relatable TMOD theme titled “Tough Lessons, Tougher Experiences”

Here is a TMOD theme submission by TM Neha from Kolkata. Neha has compiled a series of experiences from her life to draft an engaging script. Have a look.

RELATED: How to do the role of TMOD?


It was one of the best books I had read in a long time. It was riveting, inspiring and at the same time humorous. The title of the book was “Born Standing up”. The book told the real life story of acclaimed comedian Steve Martin and was a New York Time Bestseller.

As with any good experiences you have in life, I couldn’t keep it to myself and shared it with my friends and colleagues. What happened next was predictable. One of my friends asked for the book. Naturally I couldn’t refuse but was assured I would have it back in a week or so. Well I don’t have it yet and it’s been about three years.

I am the sort of person who is very possessive about my books and not having one I really liked feels bad. While we are at it, it’s not just books but jackets and chargers as well that magically disappear once lent.

Ever since, I have reframed the way I share about a good book I read. It’s always a book that I borrowed from a colleague or from the library and hence do not “possess” myself to be available for lending.

It’s said life is too short to learn from your own mistakes. So I will share some of the mistakes from my life today and lessons I learnt so that you leave today’s meeting a tad wiser. For the benefit of our guests, let me tell you how the meeting will unfold.

Every Toastmasters meeting is divided into three parts. The first part is the Prepared Speech section where our members prepare a 5 to 7 minute speech in advance, get it mentored and deliver the same. The second part is the fun and exciting Table Topic Session where anyone can speak for 1 to 2 minutes on a topic given by our Table Topic Master. And the last part is the evaluation session where our General Evaluator will give a comprehensive report on the entire meeting. Let me invite our General Evaluator for the day TM Name.

Once the GE is done explaining his role, invite the Prepared Speakers. After this session, continue with the theme as under.

There is a time in everyone’s life when playing a Guitar seems like the ultimate must have talent. When I was 22, I wanted it badly too. So I enrolled myself in Guitar classes. Over the next few months, the instructor taught me the strings to some popular numbers and my confidence sky rocketed. Mind you I could only play select few songs. And there are only so many times you can play the same song. Eventually my friends or family would ask me to play a different song and I would look for an escape. I realized that all skills take time to learn and there are no shortcuts. If we really want to learn them well, we have to devote the time and energy. Fast foods are quick but we know what people call them – junk food. So either devote the time and energy or don’t do it. Halfhearted attempts don’t yield half results, they yield wasted efforts.

And that’s the key to success in our next session as well – the Table Topic Session. If you want to get good at impromptu speaking, the only way is to practice it. And here at Toastmasters, you will get plenty of opportunity to practice. So let’s welcome out Table Topic Master for the day for another round of practice TM Name.

Once the Table Topic Session is over, continue with the theme as under.

There is a popular English proverb “You can’t have your cake and eat it.” This proverb holds altogether another meaning to me. I never had any cake because I ate all of it. And not just cake, burgers pizza and every other item in the menu of Junk Factory. This was when I entered college and turned a little rebellious and a lot thoughtless. No amount of counseling from my parents worked. By the way my friends never counseled me because like me they never had any cake too. Pretty soon, the after effects started showing up and I continue to live with them as is evident by my physique. I eat a lot healthier now and the contents of my fridge are a testimony to this. But there is another message in this – take care of your health early in life otherwise not having a cake is not going to be the reason that you don’t eat it later in life.

Let’s now invite the General Evaluator to learn a few more things about today’s meeting. Please help me welcome TM Name.

Once the evaluation session is over, conclude the theme as under.

Life is abound with lessons in every corner and Toastmasters is no exception. When I joined Toastmaster, all I cared about was delivering Prepared Speeches. I would email my mentor a speech every second week. To be fair, my mentor did encourage me to take up roles but I managed to avoid them. There was an important presentation in my office on which I was assigned the tasked of hosting it like an anchor. The role was similar to TMOD in Toastmasters. I was confident that it would be a piece of cake. As you can expect, my performance was punctuated with gaffes. Ever since, I have made it a point to take up roles from time to time to make my skill more versatile

Like I limited myself to speeches, may be you limit yourself to TAG roles, fearful of the bigger roles, or maybe you only take up evaluations so that you can do it on the spot. Learn from my mistake – missing out on any one aspect of Toastmasters may leave you not fully prepared for all aspects of public speaking. So diversify.

While the votes are being tallied, would any one like to share any life lesson you learnt and the story behind it. (Audience engagement)

RELATED: How to appreciate Prepared Speakers?

Thank you so much TM Neha for this wonderful submission. If you have a script or idea for any role in Toastmasters, do let us know here.

To check more theme ideas for your role as the TMOD, click here.


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