Humorously Speaking: Make Them Laugh.

The third project  of the Humorously Speaking manual is: Make Them Laugh.

This is a five to seven-minute speech that begins and ends with a humorous story and is interspersed with jokes throughout.

My speech’s tile was: “Dare To Be Stupid“, after the Weird Al Yankovic song.

My opening story was about a presentation I had seen by Darren LaCriox at a recent District Conference.  I talked about his taking a pratfall during his World Champion of Public Speaking speech and the importance of not letting the fear of failure or looking stupid prevent you from reaching towards achievement.

I used that as a springboard to discuss how a Toastmasters meeting is a safe, encouraging place where we don’t need to be afraid of looking silly so we can build up our skills and confidence to speech outside of the club setting.

I then mentioned that my biggest fear in public speaking is drawing a blank.  This let into me closing story about my last speech, which was presented outside of the club.  I did, in fact, draw a blank during that speech but was able to draw upon my Toastmasters training to recover and continue with my speech.


Humorously Speaking: Leave Them With A Smile

The second project in the Humorously Speaking Advanced Communicator Manual is: Leave Them With A Smile.

The goal of this project is to present a speech on a serious topic that begins and ends with a humorous story.

For this project, I presented a speech at my company’s annual Technology Expo promoting the benefits of Toastmasters.

In order to show what Toastmasters had done for me, I told the story of giving my Ice Breaker speech and how nervous I was.  The punchline was the written feedback I had gotten that said: “For God’s sake man, breathe!”

From there, I showed what an improvement Toastmasters had helped me to achieve, by continuing to breathe throughout my presentation.

I discussed the many opportunities for advancement in Leadership and Public Speaking skills.

To close, I mentioned that there have been many famous Toastmasters.

Since my audience was all technology workers, I focused on Leonard Nimoy.

I said that there was no guarantee that being in Toastmasters would get you the job of Science Officer of a starship, but that you never could tell.



Humorously Speaking: Warm Up Your Audience

For the first project in the Humorously Speaking Advanced Communicator manual is Warn Up Your Audience.

The goal of this project is to present a speech that begins with a humorous story.

My speech for the project was entitled: I Could Be Wrong.

I began the speech with a story of the time I saw a spider in the shower and washed it down the drain.  As I was rinsing out my hair, I saw something out of the corner of my eye that I was sure was the spider come back for revenge.  I must have jumped fifty feet before I took a closer look and realized that it was just a razor.

I used the story to make the point that, however certain you are that you are right.   It never hurts to take a minute and make sure.

The speech was quite well-received and I feel the funny, self-deprecating story went a long way to making a speech which could easily have been taken as preachy much more effective.

Toastmasters Year in Review (2011-2012)

The 2011-2012 Toastmasters year has just come to a close and now is the time for a retrospective review of this past year events and accomplishments.

I started the year with the challenge of serving four separate clubs as Area Governor while still helping to guide my own club as Immediate Past President and keeping on track with my personal educational goals.

Serving as Area Governor was challenging and very rewarding.  I was able to get to know many fellow Toastmasters and help the clubs in my area to define and achieve their goals.  As an Area Governor, I also served as part of the District Executive Committee.  There was a lot of traveling involved (up and down the entire State), but I’m glad I stepped up.  My area ended the year as a Distinguished Area.

In my club, I helped to advise the current President to lead our club to achieve Select Distinguished Club status and formed the Nominating Committee to propose nominees for this coming year’s Club Officers.

For my personal educational goals, I completed my Advanced Communicator Bronze and lead several committees as part of my High Performance Leadership project to increase participation and attendance at our club meetings.

In all, I would call this a very successful year.

My plans for the coming year are:

  • Serve as my club’s Vice-President Education, with a goal of having four members complete their Competent Communicator.
  • Finish off my High-Performance Leadership project, which will achieve Advanced Leader Silver.
  • Complete my Advanced Communicator Silver.




Speech Contest Double Feature

We’re well into Speech Contest Season here in District 66 Toastmasters.

In the Fall, we hold Evaluation contests and Humorous Speech contests.

Since, as a District Officer, I can’t compete this year, I performed the test speech for the Evaluation Contestants in my home club to evaluate.

I took the opportunity to present my first project speech from the Humorously Speaking Advanced Communicator manual, Warm Up Your Audience.  The goal of this project is to present a serious speech that starts with a humorous story.

Additionally, the Area Contest are being held this month.  My contest will be held at the end of the month, the last contest in Division D.

In the meantime, I am helping my fellow Area Governors with their contests.

This past Saturday, two areas held their contests back-to-back.  I volunteered to be the test speaker for the first contest and stayed around to watch the second one.  As it turns out, the test speaker for the second contest couldn’t make it, so I gave an encore performance.

I’ll be giving the speech one more time this Wednesday as Test Speaker for an Area Contest for an Area in another Division and this coming Saturday, I’ll be volunteering at another Area Contest, back in my own Division this time.

My plan is to pick up as much as I can from the other Area Contests before I hold my own.

Continuing Education

I’ve updated my educational progress to reflect my next goals.  Please refer to the blurb in the sidebar and My Education Progress page.

Having completed my Competent Communicator (CC) and Advanced Leader Bronze (ALB), I am now working on my Advanced Communicator Bronze (ACB) and Advanced Leader Silver (ALS).

I am already halfway to ALS.  All I need is to complete the High Performance Leadership Program and serve a year as a District Officer.

To achieve ACB, I need to complete two manuals from the Advanced Communicator Series.

I’ve chosen Special Occasion Speeches and Humorously Speaking.

Special Occasion Speeches is a series of five projects to practice for those instances when you’re called on to speak at an event.  Examples include: giving a toast, delivering a eulogy and presenting or accepting an award.

Humorously Speaking contains five projects to help practice integrating humor into your speeches.  It progresses gradually from opening your speech with a joke or funny story to presenting a completely humorous speech, suitable for competition in a humorous speech contest.

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