Antigua Woman Semifinalist in World’s Largest Speech Competition
ST JOHNS, Antigua — Pearl Quinn Williams of Antigua outshone more than 13 regional participants to win the district-level competition of the Toastmasters International Speech Contest, representing 20 territories from Haiti in the north to Guyana in the south, with representation from the French, Spanish, Dutch and English Caribbean.
Williams qualified to advance to the semifinal rounds of the contest. She is vying for one of nine spots in the World Championship of Public Speaking to be held at the Toastmasters International Convention on Aug. 23 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Williams, a member of The Antigua Toastmasters Club, in St John’s, overcame fierce competition to win the hearts of the audience and judges alike with her speech, “Would You Kiss Me?” The speech decried stigma and discrimination of HIV positive persons, and had several members of the audience in tears.
When it comes to connecting with an audience, she said, “The key is to have a storyline that impacts the emotions of persons, and to which the majority can relate.”
Ninety-one winners from districts around the world advanced to the semifinal round after a six-month process of elimination through club, area and district speech competitions. Their five- to seven-minute speeches were judged on content, organization, gestures and style.
“Toastmasters speech contests are another way to build your confidence, because your speaking and writing skills are sharpened, and you speak to many diverse audiences,” said Williams. “I am looking forward to competing on the much larger international stage in Kuala Lumpur.”
Williams is a business banking officer for CIBC First Caribbean International Bank in St John’s, Antigua. She joined Toastmasters to become a better speaker and leader, at work and in the community.
The Toastmasters International Speech Contest is the world’s largest speech contest, involving 30,000 participants from 122 countries. It culminates with the popular World Championship of Public Speaking held annually at the organization’s 2014 International Convention.