Meet my Mentor at and President of the Garden City Toastmasters International
Mr. Askander Mirza.
Corporate Trainer, NLP practitioner, Leadership coach, Distinguished Toastmaster, Public Speaker,
Mr. Mirza came to our Toast masters club to deliver an Educational Speech. Impressed, I went to meet him next
week He readily agreed to Mentor me as I explained that as a Speaker I wanted to learn and practice on Voice
and Body Language. Next week, he pushed me to give an ‘Ice Breaker’ speech impromptu! The week after, he
asked my speech write up and returned as it was not as per his guidelines. Again, I went to club – without
rehearsing and he pushed me to the Stage and gave a Thumbs up – Meaning – Rock the Stage! And, I did. He
gave few tips and then some more and sent a WhatsApp about my energy levels and Voice lowering as also Time
management in Speeches. He is humble, Hyper-Active – “Walk the Talk and Talk the Talk” and the Soul, Spirit,
Body, Mind of the Club. He is simple, humble and has a habit of Formal Attire, which he has inherited from his
beloved father – as he once told us, when the HyperCurios of the club asked him this question.
He has a Competitive spirit which I still at Peak. He participates in the Contests as also mentors, coaches new,
upcoming speakers including Aged speakers like me who are keen” Erudite” learners like him.
This is the First and the oldest Toastmasters club of Bangalore and he grapples with multiple issues without even
a frown on his smiling face and that is his speciality. As an Evaluator – he is inspiring yet Direct and clear in his
Feedback to speakers. He knows and shares that his club has highest number of Distinguished ‘toastmasters and
the Best in Class Speech Evaluators in the Bangalore town.
When I told him about my Blog and whether he would like to be interviewed – He readily agreed.
Here are some of the answers:
- What motivated you to become what you ARE today?
The Quest for knowledge. In my job and my business I’d rarely come across people of knowledge or Erudite . That left me ever thirsty to associate myself with knowledgeable people, to be in Company of educated people and the search ended when I found Toastmasters.
2. What is the greatest joy you get from what you do?
The Joy of sharing. When you share the knowledge you have, when you help
someone in whatever manner , when you impart knowledge to someone else, the
joy , the satisfaction you get is better experienced.
3. What do your fans mean to you?
They mean everything to me. I gives immense pleasure to know that there are
people out there who recognise you, who value you, who place you in high
esteem. In this materialistic world it is definitely appreciable that there are people
who really appreciate your knowledge and experience, who value you for your
asset of knowledge rather than the assets of real estate or money.
4. What are you working on next?
I am working on to write a book on how to tackle day to day problems, to prevent
tension from building up, how to stop bad experiences and failures play on your
mind, to live in present and to plan for future.
5. Who are your favourite authors?
Dale Carnegie, Charles Dickens, Leo Tolstoy, Agatha Christie, Jane Austin, Chetan
Bhagat, Gabriel Garcia, Jibran, Bernad Shaw, Vikram Seth, R K Narayan, Ruskin
Bond, Prem Chand, Shaikh Saadi, Razia Bhat, James Hadley Chase & many more.
6. What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The morning prayer and pre-morning prayers. I wake up at 4 am most of the days,
sometimes 5 am.
7. When you're not working, how do you spend your time?
Reading books. Watching TV and corresponding on email, face book etc.
8. Do you have some work and rest related non-negotiable rules?
When I am working I don’t like anyone or anything to disturb me. I am fully
dedicated and nothing can deviate me from my work.
I hit the bed before 10 pm and don’t pick up calls after that.
9. How do you discover the authors you read?
I opt for some popular authors. When it comes to new authors I prefer reading the
review of their books before reading the book itself. And sometimes by word of
10. Do you remember the first assignment you ever did?
I would like to tell about my first speech rather than my professional experience as
an Engineer. My First Speech called the “ Ice Breaker” in Toastmasters parlance
was delivered in mid 2007 for which I got the Best Speaker Award at my Club.
Before that my Mentor made me deliver the speech in front of him many times, and
after lot of trial and error , corrections and improvements he gave me the signal to
deliver my first speech. Post that there is no looking back.
11. What is your working process?
While working I am opposite of procrastination. I do today what I have to do
tomorrow. I always meet my targets before time. I realise my team finds it difficult
to keep pace with me. In such situations I try to be little flexible.
12. What is your unique Work Style?
No short cuts. I sincerely do what I have to do and hope for the best results.
13. Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Cannot be specific about the first. In our times the stories were heard from elders
rather than read. My father told a story about a scorpion and a tortoise whose
lesson was to not to trust again the person who has harmed you.
14. What is your approach and how do you Plan the Finishing touches to the work?
I divide my work in parts. Tackle one at a time. Integrate the work. Review. If
necessary reorganise it. The finishing touches are by using suitable words,
phrases and idioms wherever possible.
15. What are your five favourite books, and why?
How to win friends and Influence people, Sapiens, Three Thousand Stitches,
Yadoon ki Baraat, Nostradamus, Vulture is a patient bird, Discovery of India, My
Journey, Positive Attitude and many more.
16. What do you read for pleasure?
Short stories .
17. What is your e-reading device of choice?
18. Please describe your desk.
A ‘S’ type chair, a small table arranged in a way that the light falls on the book
from my back. A note pad, some pens.
19. Where did you grow up, and did this influence your business, If Yes – How?
I grew up in the city of Mysore. Most of the time my father would take me along. He
was an erudite. He would have long discussions with his friends on topics like
history, religion, literature , psychology etc. That way I had lot of knowledge at a
very young age. Heard names like Frued, Shakespeare, Milton, Chalukya, Jesus,
Ben Hur, Ashoka, Buddha , Bose, Churchill, Hitler, Bernard Shaw etc at an age
when children would hardly know the names of their teachers.
I started my business in Mysore but was not so successful as Mysore is not a
good place for business.
20. When did you first started what you do?
I started my business in Mysore. Was not so successful. Went to Middle East and
started my fabrication and machineries business there. Initially it was tough. Later
on I became highly successful thanks to my technical knowledge , completing
projects before time and giving high quality at the same time. My habit of doing
tomorrow’s work today really worked and also perfect planning.