World Champion of Public Speaking 2014
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What better to improve your public speaking than by observing those who already excel in it? Our ‘Get Inspired’ series will look at different people who have delivered incredible speeches and see what made them engage with the audience.

In the first of this series is Dananjaya Hettiarachchi from Sri Lanka who won the 2014 Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking. His speech, entitled ‘I see something’ encompasses all the elements of an excellent speech with elements of surprise, inspiration and humour.

These are the two things I found exquisitely done in Dananjaya’s speech.

Vocal Variety

Dananjaya used the fool-proof technique of repetition very well and not only weaved it cleverly in his speech but he used his title to turn it into a catchphrase. Combined with carefully timed pauses, the impact of each time he said the catchphrase, created a real connection with his audience – the evidence is in their rapturous laughter. This is what I found made his speech so powerful and egaging.

Body language

We know body language is important to delivering a good speech (no surprise that it’s part of Toastmaster’s Competent Communicator program) and Dananjaya’s gestures and movements are done with deliberation to add drama and visual emphasis to his words. Watch how his actions when he talks about his mother crying and how the emotions you felt when he described this.

Watch the video yourself and see how many best practices you can learn from his storytelling techniques. What did you found inspiring in Dananjaya’s speech? Let me know in the comments below.

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La Defense Toastmasters Club sent three participants to the Area Contest on October 18 and we are immensely proud that one of our participants came in the top three for the Humour Speech! Kayee will go on to represent the club at the District Conference on 15th November.

We caught up with our winner Kayee after the contest.

Many congratulations on winning 2nd place! How does it feel to come in 2nd place?
Thank you! I couldn’t believe it because the level of other contestants was really high. When I first prepared my speech, I thought it contained more body movement than really speaking so wasn’t sure it could really count as a “speech.” However I really loved the topic and so decided to have great fun preparing and delivering it without thinking about getting any award. I simply enjoyed every millisecond of the speech! I am really happy and grateful for what La Défense Toastmaster Club has given me!

 

What was your speech about and what was its key messages?
It was about learning a weird finger movement that I saw on TV when I was about 8 years old and now mastering it. There is really no big philosophy behind the whole thing but if I had to find one, it would be, “Don’t underestimate doing silly little things in our lives. They can be tremendous fun and bring joy to ourselves and others!”

 

What inspired you to do this speech?
I wanted to entertain people and make them laugh!

 

When did you become a member of Toastmasters and what made you decide to join? 
I joined early 2014. I was working in La Défense and as I am a really active person who loves meeting people and doing fun things whilst improving myself. I saw the La Defense Toastmasters group on Meetup.com and went there as a guest. I had such an awesome evening that I decided to become a member!

 

How has coming to Toastmasters helped you?
It has helped me by giving me back my self-confidence. I used to be very active in theatre acting during my teenage years and up to about 5 years ago. I was not sure whether I would be able to have the same level of confidence again, but Toastmasters has proven that it is possible thanks to the support and feedback from our club members.

 

Would you recommend Toastmasters to others and why?
Certainly! For me, participating in the Humour Contest was simply this: right before that precise moment I told myself, “I don’t care how I will be judged. It’s not about winning but having fun, being myself and talking about what I value.” I am proud to be recognised for my speech. Everyone should give themselves the chance to find out what public speaking means for them because you never know just how far you can go!

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Club Contest La Defense Toastmasters
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We’re excited to run our very first club contest on October 16th and we’re looking for candidates! Whether you have a competitive spirit or you want to challenge yourself, you can’t afford to miss this fun opportunity to take your public speaking skills to the next level.

Humourous Speech Contest

Muscle up your funny bone! Everyone has their ultimate funny story and here’s your chance to perfect it.

Need ideas? Just look around: your job, the metro, your cleaner or coiffeur, grocery shopping, addiction to your phone, etc. Pick one subject and make fun of it or yourself. Be part of the humour!

Table Topics Contest

What better way to practice thinking on your feet and let your creativity run wild? Whether you have already won a number of times or you want to win more, start your journey in becoming the ultimate table topics champion today!

How it works

The contests are open to all paid members of the club and will take place on 16th October at our club, Naked Restaurant, La Defense. Winners will then represent the club in the area contest. Non-paying members can still participate as judges, timekeeper or counter. For every role, you will be guided.

Deadline to sign up will be Sept 30th so grab your place now!

 

For more information on how contests are run you can refer to the Toastmasters International Speech Contest Learning Module in three sessions.

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