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Analysis of tactical speech (1) — 2014 1st in Toastmasters

Toastmasters international 2014 world champion speech analysis

As a senior Toastmasters, I want to share my observation for all these world-class speeches, about how I benefit from these excellent speakers, not only to sharpen my public speaking skills but also for general learning life experience.

In 2014 Toastmasters International world champion Dananjaya’s world-class speech, it combines with tremendous techniques and tons of practices, and he also ingeniously sprinkle different elements into the speech, let’s see what’s the magic inside!

First of all! Of course please watch the masterpiece video!

After appreciating the speech, what do you remember?
  • If conclude in one sentence of the core message, what is it?
  • What do you like about this speech?
  • What is the speech about?

Speech stats

Word count : 878 words

Speech length: 7:17

Title: I see something

Each speech will have a main message, how we judge a great speech is the methods and art to bring out the core message. From Dananjaya’s speech, probably the special tone with “I see something in you, but I don’t know what it is!” with special eye contact, tone, and specific gesture is all that you remember.

Speech development

In this speech, there was a single journey related to self-exploration, but also broken into smaller parts.

There are 5 stories combine all together. It starts with the first time he broke, he got arrested (1st), and then her mom’s tears of shame wake him up(2nd).

He uses a humorous way to narrate his dad and his dad navigate him through the journey. He found an accountant that he could dream so he went back to school(3rd). After graduation, he felt mixed up in life, and again his dad direct him to Toastmasters that he found he could speak (4th). His wife believes in him and piece him back together which makes the story complete.

Here share 3 tips that make his speech such powerful!

1. Use diverse way to show “I see something”

Danan has mentioned the foundational sentences 4 times but by elaborating the story and bring the character alive, each time you feel even more attractive, see the script how he set up the background of Sam(generous, like a teddy bear), the guy he met in Toastmasters(humble, simple, unfairly quality of kindness), his wife(the time in the midnight), the 4 time comes to himself, call upon to the audience as a connection.

2. Skilled delivery

Well design stage usage

  • In the role play
  • When Danan is acting his mom or dad, he will stop at the specific point and do the role-play, only by changing his bodyside (switch to the left or switch to the right) to the audience to let you know he is acting different character
  • Dialogue move
  • When describing and act to a certain character, he will stop at a certain point of the stage, stand still and speak
  • Narrating change the position of the stage
  • Here is truly the time he does his stage usage by changing from corner to left, left to the corner, corner to right, right to left.


  • Rule of three
  • 3 will make people remember easily, ex: But mother cry 3 types of tears. Tears of joy, tears of sorrow, tears of shame. Also with his hand gesture together, left, right, and put in the heart.
  • Palm to audience
  • Using palm to the audience show your confidence and welcoming.

3. Callback and echoing (*9 times)


  • Foundational sentence
  • Use diverse way bring out 4 times, the one I mentioned before. (*4 times)
  • Describing characteristic
  • “Raise your hand if you have an emotional mother, put them all together you get my mom.” “Raise your hand if you have a cool dad, put them all together you get my dad.” (*2 times)

Visual aid

  • Visual aid, using rose as a metaphor to convey (*3)

a) 1st mention rose
This is the advanced skill of using visual aid, you can see that the trashcan is in the center back of the stage. The first time he showed his rose as unique like every single one, then ripped the rose. It was broken such as peoples’ heart and threw into the trashcan

b) 2nd time mention
“Now, when you’re broken, it’s very difficult to feel special.” He used the hand gesture direct audiences’s attention to trash can. (2nd time mention)

c) 3rd time callback to opening
After delivering his wife funny story part, Danan start walking to the corner of the stage, means he’s going to start his conclusion. He stand near the trashcan and start “Ladies and gentlemen today I’m a dreamer, I’m a speaker, and I learned the unfailing quality of unconditional love from my wife.” While he said “I was broken,” he again point to the trashcan, he grab the beautiful whole rose out the trashcan, now which also means heart can become whole again.

This speech winning part is about speech development and such well designed humorous point, Dananjaya himself has shared that he prepared nearly 10 years to come out this speech!

If you watch enough time with an analytical eyes, you can always find some “wow, that’s incredible!” moment in the world champion speeches. This is one of the greatest masterpiece, I appreciated. Hope you all enjoy!

If there is any insight you want to share, please don’t hesitate to give me a comment! If you find it helpful, please give me some applause so that I can do more research and share the immense field of effective speaking with you!

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Reference: Tacktical talks


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