Ramona Smith can walk the walk, and definitely talk the talk!
The first-year family consumer science teacher at MacArthur High School proved her prowess as a public speaker when she was named the 2018 Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking on Aug. 25 in Chicago.
Smith competed against more than 30,000 other public speakers from around the world over the six-month World Championship of Public Speaking competition. She was one of nine finalists who delivered their speeches in front of 2,000 spectators during the Toastmasters International Convention held in the Windy City.
Smith’s winning speech was titled, “Still Standing.” She focused on overcoming adversity in her life and how she found the strength to move on when she faced adversity in her life.
Smith said she joined Toastmasters in 2014.
“I wanted to continue to grow my communication skills,” she said.
While many fear speaking in public, Smith embraces it.
“I enjoy the idea of people having their eyes on me,” she said, during an interview with Channel 39 at MacArthur High on Aug. 28. “They want to hear what I have to say.”
After her big win, she was interviewed by Business Insider Magazine.
She told the magazine the first thing she does to connect with her audience is to find a way to impart information to her audience.
Her winning speech used the example of a boxing match as she described the many times she has been knocked down in life, but refused to give up.
“Pain and difficulty and adversity, those are things that everybody everywhere can deal with, whether you’re in America or Australia or Africa,” she told Business Insider. “We all experience times when we feel like life has knocked us down.”
Smith became the second African-American woman and fifth woman to win the vaunted honor of being the best public speaker in the world. The Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking competition began in 1938.
She uses her public speaking skills in the classroom to better communicate with her students.
“Public speaking is still most people’s No. 1 fear,” she said. “I want to open things up for my students and I hope they will take advantage of what I am teaching them.”
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