The Speaker’s Odyssey 2022

 IMG-20220502-WA0018 By Saritha Goonathilaka

Gavel Mora is all about aspiring ourselves and others to become better public speakers while providing opportunities for continuous development in oratory skill. The Speaker’s Odyssey 2022, held on the 28th of May this year, was a speech crafting workshop conducted by our very own experienced Gaveliers  to teach us the basics of making a speech as the first step in becoming an eloquent public speaker.

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The registrations opened on the 23rd of May. Registering to Speaker’s Odyssey meant the participants had homework to do. But it wasn’t the usual homework of vexing assignments or the drafting of boring reports, rather an A-list of speeches that people around the world enjoy listening to, that gave the participants context before joining the session.

The workshop began at 5:00 p.m. via Zoom. With a cheerful greeting, the moderator for the day, Gavelier Shenali Liyanage set things in motion for Speaker’s Odyssey 2022. She introduced the two amazing personalities who were ready to share their knowledge and experience; Past President Amaya Dharmasiri, who was also the 1st Runner-up and The Best Impromptu Speaker of Speech Olympiad XII, producer and host of a podcast, ‘Rummage’ and Past Vice President-Education Gavelier Chathumi Thumbovila, also a finalist at Speech Olympiad XII, Maestro 2020, and the Inter-University 3 Minute Challenge 2022. Gavelier Amaya Dharmasiri and Gavelier Chathumi Thumbovila soon embarked on the journey of mentoring the young gaveliers present at the session.

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After a brief but comprehensive introduction as to how a speech should be constructed, Gavelier Chathumi guided the session towards the art of storytelling using an eye-catching flowery presentation. She elaborated on the way to decide what to talk about, which story to choose, and finally, how to narrate the story. She took us 14 years back to her memory of a speech competition, describing how it became memorable because the speaker sang a few lines from a song.  As many gaveliers would have experienced, she told us about how our senior gaveliers would sit down with her at the university canteen to help come up with ideas for speeches. She compared the process of creating a speech to the journey of a chocolate fudge cake turning into a chocolate pudding and then into a speech. She emphasized on how very simple stories and  ordinary incidents, find their way into speeches. 

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After adding a few final tips, Gavelier Chathumi handed over the session to Gavelier Amaya.

Gavelier Amaya talked about informative speeches, in which providing information on a specific topic is the core objective. She clarified many doubts we had on informative speeches by referencing  TedTalks. She also touched on incorporating humor into speeches. She explained how to use jokes and self-deprecating humor in speeches. She pointed out that informative speeches need not be the boring outpour of information but an engaging and captive journey with a call for action or inspiration to the audience. She very passionately talked about Cryptocurrency in her explanations and emphasized the importance of understanding the audience we will be addressing before writing the speech. Gavelier Amaya’s session came to an end with an emphasis on how practice is important to deliver a speech smoothly and elegantly.

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Throughout the workshop, both the speakers, Gaveliers Amaya and Chathumi did a neat back and forth referencing the homework speeches that were given to us at registration. The speech of Aaron Beverly where he spoke about a personal experience at an Indian wedding was an all-time favorite for both of them.

Screenshot (105)Gavelier Shenali then took to the stage to express her gratitude to the Strategic Partner of the club, Unilever Sri Lanka, and the Gold Sponsor for the event, Hatton National Bank for their tremendous support to make this program a huge success.

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Then, the Champion of Speech Olympiad XIV, Gavelier Niruthikka Sritharan, was invited to share her inspiring journey at Gavel. She talked about how the club has  helped her transform through the mentoring and coaching she received and how Speech Olympiad was a platform for her to come out of her comfort zone. She happily shared that all her efforts paid off at Speech Olympiad XIV and that it turned out to be one of her greatest achievements in public speaking. It was indeed inspiring to listen to her narrate her journey.

Screenshot (129)Finally, the workshop moved on to the Q and A session. Every question directed at Gaveliers Amaya and Chathumi was met with informative and practical answers with more and more points to take home. It was altogether another mini-workshop.

image (2)The President of the Gavel Club, Suthira Wijayawardena, then delivered the vote of thanks, appreciating all the efforts behind the success of this program.

On a final note, Gavelier Shenali encouraged everyone to join Gavel and keep coming for educational meetings to learn more and excel in public speaking. The workshop came to a triumphant end capturing everyone in one happy group photograph.

This workshop  was a great accomplishment for the club. It would never have been so if not for the untiring efforts of the project co-chairs, Gaveliers Shenali and Kethmi, and the members of the organizing committee. Winding up, I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the success of this event and all the participants for making this event an unforgettable one.

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