On August 21, 2023, Jocelyn Tyson, a 42-year-old pharmacist from Mount Laurel, New Jersey, emerged as the champion in the largest speech contest globally, clinching the Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking®. Her victory was announced at the prestigious event held at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar Resort and Convention Center, Nassau, Bahamas. Her journey to the top spot, encapsulated in her motivational speech titled “Have You Been There?” was an inspiring tale of perseverance and skill.
This coveted title came as the culmination of a challenging contest that started over six months prior, drawing 30,000 participants from 148 countries. Tyson’s journey through the competition was marked by several elimination rounds, leading up to her final victory among the top eight contestants.
Tyson’s speech, a narrative of her personal journey overcoming obstacles to complete a triathlon in 2021, resonated deeply with the audience. Her compelling storytelling and engaging delivery captured the challenges she faced and the inner strength she harnessed to achieve her goals. Her message to the audience was a powerful call to introspection and determination: “I implore you — no, I beg you to look deep within on that next challenge. Find that inner go-getter and see how far it can push you. I’ve been there, have you?”
In her acceptance speech, Tyson expressed her heartfelt gratitude to Toastmasters, her family, and all who supported her journey. She credited the collaborative effort of the clubs she practiced with for helping her hone her speech to perfection.
Tyson’s affiliation with Toastmasters began two years ago, aiming to enhance her communication skills and build a network. As the new World Champion of Public Speaking, she aspires to continue engaging with her community through speaking opportunities and encourages others to explore the world of Toastmasters, including participating in speech contests.
The 2023 Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking was a highlight of the organization’s annual convention, conducted as a hybrid event from August 16-19. The competition saw contestants delivering speeches ranging from five to seven minutes, evaluated on content, structure, and delivery.
A Triumphant Event
Runners-up in the contest were Nisha Shivram from Doha, Qatar, and Maryam Ganni from Laval, Quebec, with their respective speeches titled “Swipe” and “You Have No Idea.”
Toastmasters International, the organizer of this prestigious event, is a global nonprofit committed to fostering public speaking and leadership skills. With its roots dating back to 1924, the organization now boasts a membership of approximately 270,000 across over 14,200 clubs in 148 countries. Through its expansive network, Toastmasters continues to empower individuals from varied backgrounds to grow as speakers and leaders.