Tips from the World Championship of Public Speaking

professional skills
Tips from the World Championship of Public Speaking
This six-minute speech is not only entertaining and motivating, it illustrates all the major points you need to know as a consultant on how to capture your audience. Notice there are no slides. This presentation style may not fit every situation, but it illustrates many fine points of great public speaking.

Ramona Smith, a 31-year old teacher from Houston, won the Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking with this presentation. She won over 30,000 other speakers and it’s easy to see why. As she speaks she is a perfect example of how to organize a speech, connect with the audience, and keep the focus on one topic.

Take Aways

  • We connect with and believe Ramona because she is speaking about how she fought through her own struggles and succeeded. 
  • She uses moving transitions to queue the audience to a new topic. When she talks about fighting back or struggle she makes us believe it with her boxing stance and punches.
  • Base your communication around a dynamic metaphor the audience can relate to.
  • Don’t be afraid to be dynamic and animated. It’s the dynamic person that is remembered.

Action Items

  • Practice moving transitions. When the topic or concept changes, move on stage. Lean forward and use your hands when you give the “message.”
  • Practice using facial expressions and emphasizing with hand gestures. Practice in front of a mirror. It is Ok to exaggerate (in the right settings). 
  • Ask the audience questions and let them form an answer in their mind. Ramona asks, “Can you think of a time that life tried to knock you down?”
  • It is difficult to remain dynamic through a long speech or workshop. Instead of giving a long monologue break your presentation into segments. 
  • Start each segment with a dynamic speech to explain or motivate, then involve the audience with a workshop or interaction, then recap or whiteboard conclusions. Then go to the next segment. I’ve found three 20-minute segments work well in an hour.
  • Go to Toastmasters International on your lunch hour and use their proven system to learn to speak and lead. That’s where I started, and it works. There’s a Toastmaster’s International club in almost every city around the world. 

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