Newsletter #04: 6 Lessons From The World Champion of Public Speaking 2023 Suman November 10, 2023

Newsletter #04: 6 Lessons From The World Champion of Public Speaking 2023

In this edition: Analysis of the World Championship Speech | How to handle impromptu topics | My favourite book on public speaking 

Hey Reader

Welcome to the 4th edition of Upskill With Suman!

The end of August is an exciting time because it’s time for the Toastmasters Convention and the World Championship of Public Speaking.

Each year, thousands of Toastmasters, representing over 100 countries, fight it out for the title of World Champion.

This year it was held in the beautiful island of Bahamas. And leaving behind 28 semi finalists, Jocelyn Tyson, a Pharma professional from Greater Philadelphia won the title! 


Jocelyn’s speech, titled “Have you been there?” is about the go-getter and inner critic that all of us battle between in our lives. It’s the human dilemma of who to listen to while making a choice. 

The theme is identifiable because we all have been at crossroads at some point with both – going ahead and giving up appearing as viable options! 

She talks her own experience of listening to the go-getter in her and participating in a triathlon despite her inner-critic dissuading her! 

You can watch the speech here before you dive in!

Here are some highlights of that we can learn from her content: 

1. Fascinating story telling: The speech dives straight into story – the coming up of a milestone birthday and her decision to try something unconventional. And we get sucked in right away through the riveting narration of her experience in the triathlon. 

The theatrical delivery keeps us engaged. 

2. Vivid imagery: You can clearly imagine the scene of the race the way she describes it! 

Getting cold feet at the edge of the lake, the back strokes, the grabbing of the canoes and her struggle through the race – the vibrant imagery paints a whole picture. 

You just want the story to go on wanting to know what’s next. 

3. Limited moralising: Another thing that I loved is the minimal moralising. A lot of speeches tell a story for half the time and moralise for the rest. 

Jocelyn tells the story for the most part and gets to her point towards the end. And it works since she keeps coming back to the refrain of her speech – facing dilemmas in life. 

In terms of her delivery, here are 3 things that we can learn from:

1. Power packed stage presence: She is a ball of energy right from the moment go! She gets into a power pose right at the start and uses her entire body to portray her emotions throughout the speech. 

The physicality of the delivery helps us imagine her journey through the race. 

2. Movement on stage: Her spirited performance covers the entire stage. She moves to a farther corner when she is off course in the race. She moves to the other side as she makes up for it. The movement makes it seem almost like a mono-act play – our eyes following her on the stage. 

3. Breathe control: This is the most fascinating for me – being in control of her breathe despite pretend-hyperventilating a few times to express her state of exhaustion and confusion. There is no way to master breathe control like this but to practice it over and over again! That’s the stuff that world champions are made of! 

This speech is a unique combination of comic and emotive delivery that makes it a winning blend. 

You must watch the speech here to know how all the things I have discussed here come together! 

This speech reminds me a lot of Ramona Smith, the World Champion in 2017. Her speech is worth watching again too! 

To sum up: 

1. Fascinating story telling

2. Vivid imagery

3. Limited moralising

4. Power packed stage presence

5. Movement on stage

6. Breathe control


How to ace impromptu speaking in 3 simple steps: 

1. Take a stand

2. Think of “why”

3. Deliver it using intro, middle, end

This video demonstrates this technique using an example.


Since this is the week of celebrating public speaking, let me share my favourite book on the topic – TED Talks by Chris Anderson! Anderson heads TED Talks and is the best person to share the process of great public speaking. Read one chapter at a time and apply as you learn. 


Next week, we will deal with the fear of public speaking and how to fight the monster! Spoiler alert: it’s okay to feel nervous! I will also be back with a brand new tip and weekly resource that’ll help you take your communication to the next level. 


Starting next week, I’ll be answering one specific question that comes from you about any communication challenge that you have. I’ll share tips and point you to the right resources that can help you learn more. So hit reply and ask away!


Also, What did you think about this newsletter? What did you like? What can I do better? Your suggestions and comments are welcome, always !




Whenever you are ready: 

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