Sometimes opportunity taps you on the shoulder, and makes you an offer you cannot refuse. It happened to me in Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre on Saturday 23rd August 2014. That was the day I joined with more than 2000 of my Toastmaster colleagues from around the world, to listen to the nine finalists in the World Championship of Public Speaking. The speeches were the best of the best as judged by contemporaries over a series of Club, Area, Division, District and Region Finals, held annually. 30,000 hopefuls from over 120 countries start the journey, and one of these is crowned World Champion.
In 2014-15, that honour was bestowed on Dananjaya Hettiarachchi, from Sri Lanka, Dananjaya is a remarkable speaker and his “I See Something…” speech, engaged and touched the audience so much, that their applause and standing ovation, almost lifted the roof off the Convention Centre. It was a magical moment, and I was lucky enough to be in the audience. Lucky I was too, later when walking through the lobby, to meet and have a picture taken with Dan. In a brief conversation Dan mentioned that he’d never been to Australia, and would someday like to visit for a holiday.
That brief conversation, lead to me chatting with a mutual friend from Sri Lanka -Ruwan- who passed on a message to Dananjaya that I would try to find a way to bring him Down-under to speak at an event here. Well, as they say “the rest is history”, for on the evening of 2nd June 2015, Dananjaya will touch down at Tullamarine Airport, and start a nine day trip which will fulfill his wish to come to Australia, and fulfill our desire to meet, see and hear again the World Champion.
As I mentioned when opening this blog, sometimes opportunity taps us on the shoulder and makes an offer we cannot refuse. Well, opportunity knocked on 23rd August and I found the offer irresistible. If you are at the International arrivals gate at the airport on 2nd June 2015, look for a man wearing the biggest smile of all, as he welcomes a Toastmaster, a friend and the World Champion of Public Speaking to Australia.