On Saturday, Ramona Smith was named the 2018 Toastmasters world champion of public speaking.
Smith, a 31-year-old high-school teacher from Houston, outlasted more than 30,000 other speakers from around the world over the six-month World Championship of Public Speaking competition, the largest of its kind. She and nine other finalists delivered speeches to a crowd of 2,000 in Chicago over the weekend during the annual Toastmasters International Convention.
Smith is just the second African-American woman and the fifth woman overall to win the public-speaking championship since it began in 1938.
Smith’s winning speech, titled “Still Standing,” explored how she found strength in the face of adversity throughout her life. You can watch the seven-minute speech below.
n an interview with Business Insider, Smith broke down the techniques she used in her speech and how they pushed her over the edge.
She chose a creative way to get through to her audience
The first step toward a good speech is finding the right way to convey information to your audience.
Smith’s speech used a metaphor that many people are familiar with — a boxing match — to describe various points in her life when she was knocked down but refused to give up, included her dropping out of college, her divorce, and her early failures on the public-speaking circuit.
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