Dream Big 2020 with Aaron W Beverly

Dream Big 2020 with Aaron W Beverly

By Shimzara Zakariya

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Dream Big 2020 was a session open to all the public speaking enthusiasts in Sri Lanka. The undergraduates of the University of Moratuwa as well as students from various other organizations – private and government, participated in the event. The event was organized and conducted by the Gavel Club of the University of Moratuwa on the 5th of July,2020 from 6.30 pm to 7.30 pm live via zoom with over 250 participants.

The World Champion of Public Speaking of 2019, Toastmaster Aaron Beverly was invited to conduct the public speaking workshop which was a first time in Sri Lanka.


session 1

Shahan Athma hosted the event and provided guidelines to direct the questions of the participants to the Toastmaster which will be directed to him at the end of the session. He, then handed over the controls to Amaya Dharmasiri, the President of the Gavel Club to welcome everyone.

The President emphasizing the power of words, introduced and welcomed Aaron Beverly, a storytelling guru, presentation coach and world traveller and also welcomed the audience at large.

On stage, Beverly talked about how people celebrate him and how it feels weird to him sometimes because he remembers who he used to be – An introvert. With that, the great champion began to narrate his journey in which he has always spoilt and hated the opportunities he had been given to deliver speeches since he was a child. He had been a person who always hated and feared public speaking.


He then revealed the secret of public speaking. A three-step cycle of reflection, growth and opportunity.

He was forced to take public speaking classes when he was in high school and in college. But still, he feared public speaking. He confesses that his worst mistake was not reflecting what element of public speaking he feared most.

Beverly then conducted an activity where the participants were asked to mention the element of public speaking they feared most, providing an opportunity to reflect on themselves. “To say that you fear public speaking is making your problem a huge mountain”, said Aaron, “What you need to do is specify what it is that is holding you back. When you specify you are able to turn that big mountain into a small hurdle and a hurdle can be jumped over or walked around. Specify your fear because if you don’t specify, you’ll intensify your fear”. Beverly later realized that his fear of being embarrassed was what held him back.



When the fear is specifically known, action has to be taken to kick start the next phase of growth which is a continuing process “If you stop growing, you stop living”- Aaron. He suggested two ways to grow as a public speaker; finding a quality mentor and building a process for consistency.

Aaron joined the Toastmasters International and participated in the 2012 Toastmasters International, confident that he would win the championship. But he found out that he needed guidance with his fundamentals of public speaking which meant he needed a qualified mentor. Dhilip Abayasekara, a Sri Lankan native who was placed second at the 1992 World Championship was Beverly’s mentor. He taught the participants some criteria that can be based when choosing a suitable mentor but what matters most is to find one’s own way of doing the speech.

Beverly’s core message to the participants of Dream Big 2020 was the ten golden steps used in tailoring a successful speech. The Toastmaster covered many aspects of preparing for a speech, providing useful insight to anyone who wants to make it big on the stage.

He said,” Opportunity comes all throughout the time you have grown”.

Then, Shahan Athma conducted the Q&A Session, obtaining questions through a link which was made open to the participants.

President Amaya presented the token of appreciation to Aaron W. Beverly – A virtual token indeed!


Vice President – Education of the Gavel Club, Chathumi Thumbovila delivered the vote of thanks. She appreciated the support and participation of the great Toastmaster, Unilever Sri Lanka, the strategic partner for the year 2020 of the Gavel Club of the University of Moratuwa and the Alumni of the club and the aspiring public speakers who participated and supported the event.

The event was thus concluded with an epic group picture of the virtual meeting room!