Sri Lankan Wins Toastmasters’ 2014 World Championship of Public Speaking

Dananjaya Hettiarachchi
Congratulations to Dananjaya Hettiarachchi!  He is the 2014 Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking.

Congratulations to Dananjaya Hettiarachchi, the 2014 Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking!  On August 23rd, Hettiarachchi, a human resource development (HRD) specialist from Colombo, Sri Lanka, won the world’s largest speech contest, the Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking, with a humorous speech titled, “I See Something.” Below is a clip from his speech. Along with eight other final contestants, he reached the championship level after several eliminating rounds, which began six months ago with 30,000 participants from 126 countries; Toastmasters International is truly international! Past World Champion winners of this prestigious contest include my co presenters at Lady and the Champs events: Ed Tate, Craig Valentine, and Darren LaCroix. I share this from Toastmasters’ International:

“You always think this moment will never come,” said the happy winner, who had entered the contest every year for 10 years, reaching the semifinals four times until finally bringing home the World Championship trophy. His speech was an immediate favorite with the capacity crowd of nearly 3,000 people from around the world who attended the contest in the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. His winning speech was a personal tale about being a rebellious teenager whose life was changed because mentors took an interest in him, saying “I see something in you… but I don’t know what it is.”

“Sometimes you have to be lost to be found,” said Hettiarachchi, who now is a successful trainer, speech coach and HR consultant for organizations throughout South East Asia.

KwongYue Yang from Guangzhou, China, with his speech titled “Four Words”
Congratulations to KwongYue Yang from Guangzhou, China, who took second place with his speech titled “Four Words.”

Hettiarachchi joined Toastmasters 10 years ago and competed in hundreds of speech contests before reaching his goal of earning the title of World Champion of Public Speaking. In his acceptance speech, he said, “Toastmasters saved my life 10 years ago. When I failed my first speech, someone in the back said, ‘I see something in you.’ Now it’s my turn to give back and be a role model for youth in South East Asia.”

Contestants delivered five-to seven-minute speeches on wide-ranging topics and were judged on content, organization and delivery.

Kelly Sargeant
Congratulations to Kelly Sargeant who took third-place with her speech, “Good-Bye Wifi.”

Hettiarachchi claimed the title of Toastmasters’ 2014 World Champion of Public Speaking during the organization’s annual convention held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Aug. 20-23.

Second- and third-place winners were KwongYue Yang from Guangzhou, China, with his speech titled “Four Words” and Kelly Sargeant from Missouri City, Texas, with her speech, “Good-Bye Wifi.”

About Toastmasters International
Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations. Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, the organization’s membership exceeds 313,000 in more than 14,650 clubs in 126 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people of all backgrounds become more confident in front of an audience. For information about local Toastmasters clubs, please visit Follow @Toastmasters on Twitter.

Craig Valentine, Ed Tate, and Darren LaCroix are all past Toastmasters World Champions, who now have successful careers as professional speakers and public speaking experts. 
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