5 Lessons From the World Champion of Public Speaking

This speech is by Dananjaya Hettiarachchi, a coach, public speaker, HR specialist and most importantly, the World Champion of Public Speaking in 2014 organized by Toastmasters International. Some one recently recommended this brilliant video to me and it blew my mind away! And I am excited to share this with all of you.

When you watch the video, you will realize that winning a world championship is no mean feat. The speech is well rehearsed, pauses at the right places, is timed to the T and achieves the desired impact. To me, it uses all the important elements that makes a speech engrossing. I have put them together here:

1. Confidence and body language: The first thing I noticed was the absolute ease and confidence with which he walks on to the stage. Also noteworthy is his body language, among other times, when he says “I wasn’t afraid of the cops” or “even the cops were afraid”

2. Gripping beginning: His little prop in the beginning definitely grabs our attention and sets the tone for the speech – we may get broken but will emerge gradually whole with the help of people we love.

3. Questions: He uses the technique of asking questions to draw the audience into his speech. “Do you know what makes you special?” And later, “Have you ever had that problem?” This ensures that the audience doesn’t mentally wander off. (Though I think that would be quite a challenge to do during such an interesting talk) Questions like “Raise your hand” cleverly ensure continued audience participation.

4. Story telling: He uses story telling, one of the most powerful elements of speaking that makes any talk interesting, to the best possible effect. He induces humour and seriousness in turns into his story to maintain momentum in his speech. And one unifying idea binds his story together – how people around him helped him re-discover himself every time he was lost and broken.

5. Memorable conclusion: He goes back to the prop he started with and ends with the message he wants to convey through his speech. The appearance of a whole flower instead of the broken one that he threw in sums up the idea of his speech.

I’d suggest that you listen to the speech at least twice. Once is not enough to admire the masterpiece that this is.

And don’t forget to share this post with others and leave your thoughts in comments below.

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