How's my Luck now?

Reflections, views and descriptions during my stay at IIM Lucknow from July 2004 to March 2006

Location: India

Friday, August 20, 2004

Extra-curricular evening - Part I

The evening today was filled with extra-curricular activity. At 6pm, I went to an extempore and elocution competition organized by the 'Abhivyakti' club. There were lots of participants and two professors as judges.

In the extempore, I was given the topic - 'Only success is not important - others must fail'. The thinking time given was 30 seconds. This wasn't a very difficult topic since we are ourselves in a position where the success of one contributes to the failure of another student (due to relative grading). So I spoke about resource-scarce environments where this would apply and the game theory concepts of zero-sum game vs. win/win games. Basically, my speech lacked structure and seemed wandering a bit. I didn't win any prizes, but it was a good experience.

In the elocution, we were supposed to select our own topics and come prepared. I didn't get any time for preparation, so I decided to speak on a book I am reading currently ('Toughing it out at Harvard: The making of a woman MBA' - more on this book later). Basically, I drew out the advantages and drawbacks of the case method of teaching in business schools, as noted in the book. Again, I didn't win anything.
However, there were quite a few people who had come prepared with a famous speech delivered by prominent people like Marcus Antonius, Malcolm X, etc. Which means that these people confused elocution for declamation. And yet, the prizes were given to these people. They did do well, but they (as well as the judges) had missed the point of the competition. Strange to see such a big misunderstanding here.

The above incident reminded me of the only declamation competition that I have seen, which was in primary school. I was asked to anchor the competition, introducing and calling on the speakers. That was a good memory.


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