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UAE Toastmasters community to host the world champion of public speaking

Wednesday, October 10, 2018/ Editor -  

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Ramona Smith, a 31-year-old high-school teacher from Houston, who outlasted more than 30,000 other speakers from around the globe in a six-month long ‘Olympics of Oratory’. 

Dubai, UAE, October 10, 2018:   Ramona Smith, a 31-year-old high-school teacher from Houston, who became the World Champion of Public Speaking (WCPS) 2018, will address the UAE Toastmasters community to inspire the members with her brilliant story of Toastmasters journey. 

Smith was named the 2018 Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking in August this year, from more than 30,000 other speakers from around the globe in a six-month long competition, which is also known as the ‘Olympics of Oratory’. Smith and nine other finalists delivered speeches to a crowd of 2,000 in Chicago during the world’s largest speaking competition. 

Hosted by Toastmasters International District 105, which represents the UAE, Oman, Jordan and Lebanon in the region, Smith will address the UAE Toastmasters community at a ceremony in Dubai. The interactive session will be held at Emirates headquarters auditorium on Friday, October 12 between 1 pm and 6 pm. 

Toastmasters International is a US based non-for-profit educational organization with over 370,000 members worldwide. Members enjoy the opportunity to improve their communication, public speaking and leadership skills by attending one of the 17,000 clubs in 141 countries that make up a global network of meeting locations. The community of Toastmasters in the UAE has more than 3,000 members across a network of more than 120 clubs. 

Distinguished Toastmaster Nagabhushan Balaji, Director of District 105 Toastmasters, said, “We are proud to welcome the World Champion Ms. Ramona Smith to the UAE.  We are all set with the arrangements made perfectly for Ramona’s interactive session. Nearly four hundred people, including Toastmasters and non-Toastmasters, from across the UAE have confirmed to join the event this weekend.”  

Commenting on her visit to the UAE, Ramona Smith, said, “I am glad to visit the UAE and interact with members of one of the largest and active Toastmasters communities in the world. I will be sharing with them my story of transformation being a Toastmaster and the journey towards winning the global championship of public speaking. I am also happy to be in Dubai, where the past international president of Toastmasters International Distinguished Toastmaster Mohammed Murad lives.”  

Smith went from a Toastmaster beginner to a global champion in a just four years of joining the community. At an earlier point in her career, Smith was afraid people would laugh at her or that she would look stupid if committed to the role of a speaker.

In her winning speech titled 'Still Standing,' Smith used the metaphor of a boxing match to explore how she overcame adversity at three points of her life — dropping out of college, divorcing her husband, and failing on the speaking circuit. Each moment was another 'round' in the boxing match and delivered a message of how each moment had impacted her life. 

Throughout her seven-minute speech, Smith assumed the role of a boxer -- she shimmied across the stage, threw jabs, hooks and crosses at her imaginary opponent, and even mimicked getting punched in the face to drive home the pain she felt throughout her life.

Smith is relatively a newcomer to the public speaking scene. She joined her local Toastmasters club in 2014, and never before reached the semi-finals of the yearly competition, when the top 100 speakers are invited to deliver speeches at the annual Toastmasters convention. 

But Smith refined her skills over the course of four short years, leading to her rapid ascent. She practiced various ways to improve her skills since she first began public speaking in 2014. Her biggest improvements were learning how to talk slower, ask the audience questions, and move fearlessly across the stage.


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