AnaTechINC - Public Speaking... does it send YOU into a panic?

Yes, public speaking... does it terrify you?

It had always been a huge problem for me.  The thought of standing in front of a room full of people made me quake in my shoes!

 Lorna ToastmasterWhen Jim first started to get sick and take more of a back seat in the company, I realized there would come a time when I would have step up to the front.  I would have to do something to confront this fear.  I googled local Toastmaster clubs and came across Deltones Toastmasters in Ladner - (I've had lots of fun this year as the Deltones VP PR making improvements on the site.)  I joined at their next meeting!   Of course, when the Ambassadors of Tsawwassen, where I actually live, found I'd not joined their club they were quite upset... so I joined them too!

Joining Toastmasters is quite possibly the best decision I have made for myself in the last decade.  It has opened up a world of possibilities and I've done things I never thought I would do. It was watching both my brothers give their eulogies at our mum's memorial service that first got me thinking.  I shook visibly, reading my story, but I thought to myself... "I want to be able to do that!"

So I jumped into the Toastmaster pool, and while a little scary at first, I can honestly say, I have never looked back and have certainly not regretted it once.

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It's been a while since I wrote something here; much too long! It has been a busy year though, with lots going on with the business and my life, so I do forgive myself!  But, after being inspired by a Toastmasters event, I felt compelled to take to my keyboard and write something for this blog.

I attended a Toastmaster Conference for BC District 21 this weekend. I usually go to these conferences twice a year, both in the spring and the fall.  It’s the Fall Conference that’s my favourite, because that’s when the Humorous Speech contest takes place...  they are so much fun!  This one was no exception.  The speeches were exceptional!  And laughing is such great exercise too! 

History was also made at the conference in the Table Topics contest.  That's when all contestants must answer the same question, without knowing the subject ahead on time, in a mini 2 minute speech.  The most entertaining answer wins the race; the creativity of my fellow Toastmasters never ceases to amaze me!  And this year, for the first time in the history of District 21, all three top places were taken by women!   It was fantastic!

It’s always fantastic seeing old Toastmaster friends as well as meeting new ones, and the educational workshops are always worthwhile.  But the main source of my inspiration this weekend was from listening to this man, Dananjaya Hettiarachchi.

Dananjaya is the 2014 World Champion of Public Speaking.  He was the keynote speaker at the conference and he was absolutely fabulous! dananjaya2

His journey to becoming World Champion was a long one... after ten years, giving sixty competitive speeches, he finally he stepped up on stage to compete in the finals with eight of the best speakers in the world.  It must have been the sweetest moment.

Dananjaya Hettiarachchi, who is from Sri Lanka, made history in the Toastmaster world by becoming not only the first Toastmaster from South Asia to take the trophy, but also the second person in history to win who has English as his second language. Presiyan Vasilev of Bulgaria won  the previous year in 2013.  Before that, every winner had been from an English speaking country – the majority from the US, with a smattering from Canada , Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland.

I have attended many conferences over the years, and have heard my fair share of speakers, but I honestly believe that Dananjaya is the very best I have witnessed.

The main premise of his keynote “Bring out the Champ in You” focuses on his journey to win the World Championship.  But the lessons he passes on are just as relevant for anyone wanting to acheive their goals in life.  I found I could completely relate to his story.  The endurance it took for him to reach his dream is the kind of stamina I've had to rely on to get through the ups and downs I've faced running my business.  What it took for him to turn his dream into a reality is truly inspirational.

There are many speakers who give their audience practical and actionable steps to achieve their goals and although it’s difficult to put a finger on what is so different about the way Dananjaya delivers his message, there is no denying one feels completely drawn in. It could be his presence, which is very commanding, as you can see by the photograph above that I took this weekend.  It's a classic Dananjay pose.   Perhaps it’s in his delivery; his passion for life. It was certainly no canned speech and the unique ability this man has to connect with his audience is something I will never forget.  I was completely captivated.

Dananjaya champ

If you ever get the chance to hear this man speak live you absolutely must DO IT!  Here's a link to his website for more information: I SEE SOMETHING IN YOU.  You don't have to take my word for how good this man is as there are some brilliant testimonials from others who have witnessed the magic.

And for now, check out his winning speech, "I See Somehing in You", it's pure delight!