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Reviewing the Speech of a World Champion

Three public speaking hacks ... 

(straight from a WORLD CHAMPION)

... that you can start using RIGHT NOW! 


This speech review is based on one of my all-time favorite speeches. It’s from an outstanding speaker by the name of Dananjaya Hettiarachchi. He is a trainer, he works in HR, and he’s a World Champion of Public Speaking. 

Dananjaya became the best speaker in the world in 2014 and his talk — entitled “I See Something” — was the winning talk, where he gave us a review of his life journey up to that point in time. Here are three things we can learn from his performance:


Dananjaya takes storytelling to a whole different level. The seven minutes of his talk fly by thanks to the heartfelt sharing of his journey, trying to become a better man; trying to figure out his path in life; trying to find out what makes him special.

His usage of humor was genuine and relatable, making you feel like he’s speaking to you — and only you. His jokes touched upon universal topics like parents; relationships; life aspirations. Things that we all have in common. The characters in his story are also very easy to picture and imagine.

Bottom line: Dananjaya is the living, breathing, walking embodiment of a deeply personal and memorable story. 


So many things were working in favor of the speaker in his performance: confident posture and on-point gestures — adding more impact to the words he’s saying; natural movements across the wide stage — reinforcing the fact that he was owning that stage; and most importantly, he didn’t project any kind of stress. Him feeling at ease put the listeners at ease.

So if you want to wow an audience and make them love your performance, being relaxed and comfortable in your own skin is one critical factor.


When you watch the talk, you’ll notice a phrase that the speaker says several times throughout the talk. It’s a great example of repetition, creating a positive pattern — one that the audience will mentally interact with and remember. So much so, that by the time Dananjaya says it for the third time, the audience has a collective outburst of genuine laughter. 

On another note, and speaking of repetition, Dananjaya did not become a World Champion of Public Speaking overnight. Before that, he was crowned district champion four years in a row. What I’m trying to tell you is this: public speaking excellence IS possible — as long as you put in the blood, sweat, and tears.

So, to recap — after reviewing Dananjaya Hettiarachchi’s talk “I See Something” we learned to: 

  1. Develop a genuine story that makes people connect with you 
  2. Deliver that story while being cool, calm, and collected 
  3. And use the power of repetition to your advantage

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And remember: anyone — and I mean ANYONE! — can become a great speaker.