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Guidance from the best: DTM Balraj Arunasalam speaks to the Gaveliers

By Rochelle Silva

As the year draws to a close, it’s time to prepare for the next.

Thus the Gaveliers gathered at the Royal College Skills Center on 31st December 2015 to prepare for the biggest Gavel event so far, Gavel Conference 2016. Since it is an event focused on uniting all the Gaveliers and non-Gaveliers of universities and private institutions across the island, we were privileged to have the presence of the following Gavel Clubs. They would be collaborating with the Gavel Club of University of Moratuwa in this massive venture.

  1. University of Sri Jayawardenapura
  2. University of Peradeniya
  3. University of Colombo
  4. University of Ruhuna
  5. Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT)
  6. College of Chemical Sciences, Institute of Chemistry Ceylon (IChem)
  7. Royal College, Colombo 07

Guidance from DTM Balraj Arunasalam, First Vice President of Toastmasters International

“The Toastmasters program is not only about public speaking. It is much more than that; it is a tool to improve the quality of your life” DTM Balraj Arunasalam spoke to us with experiences he has gleaned from over 26 years of being involved with the movement. He appreciated the initiative taken by Vibhanu Arachchige, the President of the Gavel Club of University of Moratuwa to organize a Gavel Conference. All the Gaveliers were heartily encouraged for being present at the initiation of an event for the common good.

Talking specifically on conferences, he stated that they are a great source of knowledge. “A one-hour session at a conference in Toronto changed my entire life”; he went on to explain how he read voraciously about the ideas he gained from that session and applied them to his business and his entire life. “Without that experience, I wouldn’t be here as the First Vice President of Toastmasters International” he agreed humbly.

Since many of us were not aware of the proceedings of a conference, he asked us the following questions to decide on the outcomes.

“What do you want the participants to have at the end of the day? Which skills would they need in the next five years to come? What would help them to face the industry with confidence?”

“What skills do you want to develop in the members of the organizing committee?”

As he elaborated, the conference will provide the organizers with the wealth of unmatched experiences. “It is a blessing to get involved in the process and you will definitely learn a lot if you commit and dedicate yourself to the effort”, he affirmed.

Along with suggestions to conduct sessions on negotiation skills, dining etiquette and PowerPoint presentations by eminent personalities such as Dananjaya Hettiarachchi and Niranjan de Silva, he concluded the session after a friendly Q &A session.

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Ideas galore!

A brainstorming session to power up the crew

Then the Gaveliers headed off to the Colombo Racecourse grounds to pool in their ideas for the big day. Vibhanu Arachchige, President of Gavel Mora and Sirimevan Jayasundera, Vice President-Education of Gavel Mora led the discussions. With suggestions coming from all the Gaveliers it was a lively and exciting place to be in.

Thus ended a joyous gathering that made us dream a new dream; to be shareholders of the best Gavel Conference in South Asia; to be part of a legacy…

This dream will only be possible when we come together as brothers and sisters…

As Umrah Musaffer from SLIIT said, “We may belong to different Universities, but together we are the Gavel Family”

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