I'm a Social Media Entrepreneur, Professor of Digital Marketing, Author of 5 books, Podcaster and an Organic Farmer.


Kiruba Shankar

Heading Back to Malaysia to Speak at The Pangkor Dialogue

Very excited and proud to be invited back to speak at The Pangkor Dialogue Conference for the second year in a row.

The Pangkor Dialogue is an international knowledge exchange that takes place in the city of Ipoh in Malaysia. The event aims to inspire sustainable economic growth in the region in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The theme for this year’s Pangkor Dialogue is ‘Making the Future’. The goal is to explore possible innovations and solutions to achieve the sustainable development goals in Agenda 2030.

Proud to join fellow speakers, Dr.Amartya Sen, Pepsico CEO Indra Nooyi and best-selling author, Simon Sinek. My goal is to get all three on my leadership podcast.

Last year’s event is special for me because I got to meet Fredrik Haren who laid the foundation for the creation of Professional Speakers Association of India.

Why Should one Join The Professional Speakers Association of India?

I’ve joined hands with other to help set up the Professional Speakers Association of India (PSAI). If you are a speaker and want to get paid to speak globally, this is a good place to be. I’ve listed down the benefits of becoming a member of PSAI. Membership to the association will start next week.

GROW YOUR SPEAKING BUSINESS: When you join PSAI, you become part of a global community of peers who help each other become better as professional speakers. The goal is to learn the tricks of the trade to get higher speaking gigs around the World and make speaking as a well-paying business.

LISTING AT E-SPEAKERS DIRECTORY: This is the World’s largest and most authoritative compilation of all professional speakers in the World. This is the list that all conference organizers and corporates refer when they seek to find professional speakers for their events. As a member of PSAI, you qualify to be listed in the Global eSpeakers Directory.

AFFILIATED TO GLOBAL SPEAKERS FEDERATION (GSF): PSAI will become part of the prestigious GSF. This means that India will join 14 other Country Associations. This includes USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Sweden, South Africa, Namibia, Germany, Holland and Belgium. India will be the 15th Country to join GSF.

ACCESS TO SPEAKERS CONFERENCES AT DISCOUNTED RATES: By being a member of PSAI, you will be treated on par with being a member of other country associations and hence will be eligible for discounted member rates.

ACCESS TO MEMBERS ONLY RESOURCES: There will be valuable content like research reports, podcasts, conference videos and tools that will only be available for members.

ELIGIBLE TO HOLD LEADERSHIP POSITIONS: Only members will have the right to vote and stand for elections in both PSAI as well as GSF.

MENTORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES BY GLOBAL SPEAKERS: This is a valuable benefit. We will constantly have successful global speakers help guide us to become better at the speaking business.

ACCESS TO MEETUPS AND WEBINARS: We will have regular meetups and webinars addressed by global speakers and this is limited only to members of PSAI. We will also have an annual offsite retreat for members and this offers great bonding and networking opportunities.

CSP & CSP FELLOW CERTIFICATION: These are prestigious certifications offered to the most successful professional speakers. Membership to PSAI is a must to even qualify to apply for these certifications.

The Debate at Social Media Week Mumbai

Here are the photos from the high decibel debate organized by IAA. The debate had (from left to right), Jawahar Sircar (CEO of Prasar Bharthi), Suhel Seth (CEO, Counselage), Gul Panag (actress, model) as the moderator, Subramania Swamy (parlimentarian) and yours truly. The topic was ‘Social Media does not help the socio-economic of a country’. At the end of the debate, there was show of hands as to who supported whom and it was no surprise that we won. Afterall, what do you expect from a predominantly social media savvy audience.

How Speaking Opportunities have given my Reading Habit a Boost.

(Photo credit Peggy Art)

I don’t recall ever reading a book about Swami Vivekananda. Nor have I learned any of his teachings. The closest I have been to ‘him’ is to visit the Ramakrishna Math in Calcutta but that was as a tourist. So, its a bit of surprise that I now spend considerable time on YouTube listening to his talks and reading about his teachings.

So, why this transformation?

On March 27th, I’ve been invited by MGR University to give a keynote speech at a literary fest to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. The Principal had such high opinion about me. She wanted me to give a motivational talk to the students. I had two choices when I received the call. To turn down the invitation citing my lack of knowledge on Swami’s teachings. Or take it up as a challenge, go beyond my comfort zone, and learn about the subject. I loved the idea of the challenge and said ‘YES’. I’m glad I did.

The scene now shifts to the airport.

The last two months has been heavy on speaking engagements. I’ve been traveling around the country speaking at corporates and conferences. I have been wanting to improve my repertoire and learn engaging stories to illustrate my points.

I decided to marry travel with reading. Here’s what I did.

Whenever I’m at an Airport, I pick up a book from the bookstore. The criteria for my book selection is that it has to be small and thin. Max around 100 pages. My goal is to finish the book before the plane lands at the destination. This habit has done wonders to my book reading habit…and my speaking skills! I always aim to include what I learned from the book into my next speech. Its worked out wonderfully. Now I look forward to more speaking opportunities for I know it also pulls up my reading.

What tips did you follow to improve your reading and speaking? Would love to hear.

Why I Love Teaching at Great Lakes Institute of Management

I teach a 20 hours credit program on ‘Social Media Marketing’ for the MBA students at Great Lakes. Its one of the best MBA institutes in the country and rightly so.

As I began teaching, I found visible difference in the 65 students at my class at Great Lakes as compared to the other institutions I’ve taught at.

First, the students are lot more interactive and the number of people opening up to answer or ask questions is way higher than I had seen. I loved it for they perfectly fit into my collaborative and discussion based teaching method.

Second, they are not afraid to speak their mind. If they don’t like certain sections of the subject or if they find the case studies not up to the mark, they don’t hesitate letting me know during the class or walk up to me to let me know in private. That level of feedback greatly helps a teacher in tailor making the lessons to better suit the students’ needs.

Third, the percentage of attendance is astounding. I’ve had most of the students attend my classes. That may not sound like a big deal until you take into consideration that the students are nearing the end of their gruelingly packed one year course. The fatigue factor is usually high towards the end.

Over 90% of the students have got their job placements done. So, they got what they came to the campus for. Mission accomplished. Its time to “chillax”. The motivation to attend classes wanes. In other colleges, I have seen attendance drop abysmally but not here. Even on the day of Holi, with all the frenetic celebrations in the morning, most of the students landed up for my class. I was genuinely impressed.

I wondered why? Is it the compulsion of attendance? Partially true but its not like the students really care for it much. Is it that the management is very strict with the students? Nope. No sign of that.

I found out the real reason. The students came because they were interested in the subject. They opted for my course inspite of having the choice of over 50 plus elective courses available for them to pick. They weighed in on all the choices, listened to their heart and picked the electives that matched their passion and their career goals. This, in my opinion, makes the fundamental difference. That explains the high levels of engagement and their interest in learning. Infact, over half a dozen students who had chosen other subjects voluntarily sat through the sessions.

I hope our education system in schools and colleges takes a lesson out of this.

As for me, I look forward to heading back to the campus next week to take the remaining classes. Their enthusiasm is infectious.