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17 Speeches in 17 Days with 17 Photos!

By Adventure 15 Comments

I spent 17 days delivering 17 speeches in China and Hong Kong these past few weeks.

I want to say thank you to D85 and D89 for hosting us and making these events happen. You were so gracious and kind. You and your teams could not have been better to us! Thank you also to McGraw-Hill, SAP and the IFC for hosting corporate events and Speaker Leader Champion talks!

Below are 17 photos from our adventures speaking in China!

Great Wall

Our first stop was Beijing! We ventured to the Great Wall and found it to be a life changing experience. We also were pretty much the only white people and this caused everyone to look at us. So several times we got stopped by people and they asked if we could take photos with them. It was hilarious. It made me think of how that would work in the United States if we saw someone that looked different than us and we went up to take their photo! Do you think people would be flattered or offended? Thank you Felix for an awesome time!


This was one of my favorite meals while we were in China. However, here is a tip: You see that bowl of dumplings to the left? Well when you bite into them you need to be carful! Why? Oh well you know, because they are filled with juice and if you want to have juice fly all over the table and everyone gets soaked in it, then it is a good idea! Again, sorry to everyone at the table for making a mess! I now know how to eat dumplings! Thank you Susan and Beautiful (That is her name translated into english) for a wonderful day in Shanghai!


This was one of the coolest “21-Century” speaking opportunities I have had so far. I spoke on top of the 68 floor at the IFC in Hong Kong while my speech was being live-streamed at their offices in China, Singapore and Australia. We interacted, they asked questions and I taught a workshop about how to deliver a winning presentation. Does this mean I have spoken in these countries now?

Ryan Avery speaking in China

The room fit 110 people according to the fire ordinance! No worries though, we fit 200+ students in this room while I delivered my talk at the Beijing Foreign Affairs lecture hall. Speaker Leader Champion just got picked up in Mandarin and will be available in China staring May 2015!


After getting done with almost a two-hour training to corporate managers at SAP headquarters in China, what else should you do besides a thumbs up selfie? Thank you Flat for making this one happen!


This was one of the nicest hotels I have stayed in. It was located in Shanghai with a view of the skyline, a rooftop deck and glass pool on the 28th floor! I spent every morning and night here looking out at the city. China has shown me that we in the United States do not know what it means to have a “BIG” city!

Scuba Diving

I went scuba diving indoor with three whales while I was in Qingdoa. What scared me the most was the size of their teeth! I didn’t know whales had teeth. Did you? I also learned a valuable lesson about the importance of communication as the Mandarin-Speaking instructor reminded me before I got in the water that “we must pee in the pool!” We had a long conversation about me not wanting to pee in the pool and after a while I realized he was trying to saying “we mustn’t pee in the pool” It really is the little things that make a BIG difference in communication! Ryan (was his name also), I had a blast diving with you and thank you for taking me here!


The food. Again the food was spectacular! We tried some items that I would usually never try in the United States like jelly fish, pig intestines and I saw more chicken heads on a plate than I would have liked to but other than that the Chinese know how to cook and cook well!


Master Your Stage! The D89 Fall Conference was spectacular! So many new friends and their leadership team is fantastic! They had one of the best conferences I have ever been to. They showed us a great time and I hope we can visit D85 again in the future! D85 also inspired me to learn another language and I am now committed to being fluent in Spanish by the end of 2015!


Sail Your Dream – The D85 Fall Conference! I have to give major props to the leadership team in D85 as they really set the stage for what Conferences are like in China. Full of fun, entertainment, education and did I mention fun? I had such a blast spending time with members and leaders in D85 and can’t wait to be back!

Emperail City

I am not going to lie, we may or may not have watched Mulan before we went to China! When we got to the Forbidden City that is all I could think about and that it was no longer a cartoon but real life! This was probably one of the best monuments we went to while in China as it always seemed fake to me but now I was actually getting to walk in the same place that more than 30 emperors walked over a 400+ year time period! Amazing!


Chelsea and I celebrated on top of the 118th floor at the Ritz Carleton in Hong Kong for our last night there! It was a bit cloudy/foggy but the view was still breathtaking! Thank you Cecelia for an amazing evening and day around Hong Kong!

The gifts

We now have so many amazing memories to take back with us and also so many amazing gifts. After each speech they gave us a gift that was either edible, usable or artistic! We have already enjoyed the treats and hung up the art! A huge thank you to Derek for getting us a suitcase to bring back home and to Yang for the wifi hotspot that saved us so many times!

The shopping

Oh the shopping! We shopped probably too much while we were there. You can get suits perfectly tailored to your body for $250 USD. You can get iPhone cases, scarfs, hats, bowls, art and anything you want on the streets of Hong Kong!

The translation

We saw a lot of funny English translations while we were there but this one had to be the funniest! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

My name in Mandarin

I may or many not have freaked out when I saw my name in Mandarin on this sign and a lot of people looked at me like I was crazy. This photo made me so happy even though I had no idea what it said, I felt like I was a real international speaker!

The pizza

I know I said I liked Chinese food, and I really do! But this pizza literally made me salivate when I opened the box! Derek asked me what I wanted to eat before I taught one of my last workshops and jokingly I said pizza. Well, he knew just the right spot and got me the best pizza I have ever tasted! It was amazing!

China and Hong Kong were a blast! Thank you again D85 and D89 for an unforgettable experience. During our time there I hope we inspired hundreds of Toastmasters to continue their journey in our wonderful organization and your fantastics Districts. I hope we inspired many more to use their voice to make a difference in the world. I hope we get to come back in the future and please know that you and your teams gave Chelsea and me memories that will last a lifetime!

As always…

Dream BIG,

Dananjaya Hettiarachchi

The 2014 World Champion of Public Speaking is…

By Motivation One Comment

We have a new World Champion of Public Speaking for Toastmasters International. They just crowned this year’s World Champion of Public Speaking in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and it was an amazing contest!

Every year thousands of people across the globe watch live to see who will be crowned the World Champion of Public Speaking. With a speech titled, I See Something, Dananjaya Hettiarachchi took the stage and came out victorious!

More than 30,000+ people from 126 countries compete each year for the World Championship of Public Speaking and now Toastmasters has a new reigning Champion.

Congratulations Dananjaya! Get ready for the ride of your life this next year and enjoy visiting Toastmasters 

From all of your Toastmasters peers and friends, we wish you the best of luck on your new journey as the 2014 World Champion of Public Speaking. We all see something in you so represent us well, help grow our organization and keep using your voice to make a difference! As always…

Dream BIG,

Let the world know about the new World Champion! Spread the news by click on a social media button below! Want to learn more about the new 2014 World Championship of Public Speaking? Sign up to receive blog articles at the right hand corner of this page and stay tuned for an in-depth and upcoming blog article about the reigning WCPS.

Ryan Avery Running

5 easy ways to live in the present moment everyday

By Motivation, Productivity One Comment

Today’s question comes from Kapil Patel from Ronkonkoma, NY when he asks How do you live in the present moment everyday?”

This can be difficult now that we are conditioned to be distracted with the temptation of multitasking and the various communication channels we use.  But is necessary if we want to taste what life has to offer!

They say, “Today is a gift, that’s why we call it the present.”  I know sometimes I will wake up and say, “Where did my weekend go?” or “How was that day was so quick?” It’s because I numbed out or while or was focused on something else. There are times when I am trying to complete a task and the whole time I will be thinking about the next thing I have to do. Rather than put my energy and focus in what I am doing I am out in la-la land and wake up feeling like I didn’t live that day.

We only get one life. Some of us get better lives than others. Some get more years. Very few find ways to be happy everyday but it is possible!

Here are five things to do to center yourself and be present everyday:

Remind yourself you will be gone one day: This can be hard to think about but if we can remind ourselves we are not immortal and one day their will be a last page to our autobiography it can help get us focused. I know when I think about this it brings me back to what is important in my life; family/friends, adding value to others and being adventurous.

Give thanks for all your senses at night: I used to do this for years. I would lay in bed and go through all of my senses one by one and think about what would I see that day? What did I feel ? Hear? Taste? Smell? Now I don’t wait till the end of the night. I do it when I experience it. This exercise has heightened my senses and makes me appreciate the small things.

Do something random: That photo you see above! I took a run the other day and all these kids were playing in that fountain so I decided to run through it. I have always wanted to do this and decided “What the heck, I am sweaty anyways, why not get wet!” I think some of the moms might have judged me, but who cares, I still want to feel like I am 12 sometimes and I smiled the entire way home. It’s like in the 

Set up reminders: Put a reminder every 3 hours in your phone during the times you are awake that says, “Are you being present right now?” Or put quotes up around your house, car, bathroom or office! Set up visual reminders and make sure you change them often so they don’t become things you look at and pass over.

Take 5 minutes of alone time: This has been one of the best things I have done in the past few years. Everyday I take five minutes of alone time. No phone. No computer. I don’t think about what I need to get done or what I did wrong or where my future will take me. I sit, walk or lay in an area that is calming and I won’t be distracted for at least five minutes. Sometimes this can be me locked in a laundry room or on a hotel balcony overlooking the ocean.

The Latin word for present is Ostendo, Ostendo is defined as: show, reveal, make plain or declare. So being present is more than a “feel-good” feeling. This can often be the time when you come up with the best ideas, when you reveal who you really want to be, when your inner self declares what you want to accomplish in life. It can also be a great way to feel alive and happy!

Take time to implement these five action items into your daily routine and start living in the present moment. Thanks for the question Kapil and as always…

Dream BIG,

P.s. What other ways can we be in the present moment? Remember to sing up for my blog in the top right hand corner if you want to receive posts similar to this every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9am PST!

Do You Want a Handwritten Letter?

By Communication No Comments

During the World Record attempt a couple months ago I asked to write you handwritten letters so I could train to sign 5,000 signatures in one sitting.

You came to my aid and sent in your addresses and messages to request a handwritten letter all over the world. I sent more letters in two weeks than I can count! Over the past several weeks since then, the letters have arrived and you have shared with me when you got them and how much they meant by posting on Facebook, emailing me photos of you at your mailbox and even showing them to me in person when I see you. That really means a lot to me and I thought of continuing to write them!

I really enjoy writing those letters so much and hearing from each of you I thought I would do a project where I write one handwritten letter everyday in 2014. I might get more request than one a day, or might not, but I will write at least one letter a day, starting today, in 2014 and am asking for your help.

Do you want a handwritten letter? All you have to do is email me your mailing address at with a subject that says “I want a letter.” The first 30 people to send me an email at will be guaranteed to get a letter!

I think there is something special about going to your mailbox and seeing an envelop that has your name printed on it in human handwriting! This will be fun for me and hopefully it is a way I can give back in another way to say thank you for all you do for me!

I hope you are enjoying the start to your week and I look forward to receiving your emails. Remember to sign up for my blog in the top right hand corner of this page via email and continue receiving content focused on leadership, speaking and productivity every Monday and Thursday! As always…

Dream BIG,

Question: Know someone who could use a letter? Share this article on your social media or via email and let the hand writing begin! 

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