“Ha Ha Ha”
What made me laugh?
The VPE of our Toastmasters Club, who was asking for the Club Mock Contest member registrations, asked me to join the ‘Humorous Speech Contest’. Well, when I say he was ‘asking’, Our VPE, being the motivating, self-assured, macho man he is, was declaring us contestants and jotting down our names.
HUMOROUS SPEECH CONTEST!
“Ha Ha Ha. No, please, NO.”
‘I do not want to make a fool of myself on the stage. I’m as funny as a hand!’
‘I do not have amusing, self-deprecating tales to tell. I am too poised to criticize myself, even in humour.’
‘I cannot be comical and make funny faces. Did I just mention ‘Too Poised’?’
‘And of course! Not a single soul would laugh! Maybe a few facial muscles would twitch, but that would be it.’
But I pondered further on the topic. There are many types of speeches in Toastmasters and there is no denying that a tinge of humour would take any of these speeches a notch above its normal form. Humour is the most powerful tool in a speaker’s arsenal, but to craft a whole speech with the said tool; that’s a challenge! Why not take the challenge?
I always assumed people are either funny or not. But maybe I am wrong. Maybe I can teach myself to be funny.
The process would include a lot of learning, but I’d have to start from unlearning.
You do not have to be intrinsically funny to give a humorous speech. Like any other speech, it needs to be well crafted, well-rehearsed and well-practiced. Understand the anatomy of a joke, build a setup, deliver the punch lines, but to do all this effectively, we have to inform ourselves as to how it’s done. Learn! And then craft the speech.
You have no amusing tales to tell? Are you sure? We are the hero of our own story, we all have tales. The art is in crafting the speech around it, highlighting the humour. The art is in knowing what to share and what not to. And how do we master this art? We only need to get started. We are smarter than we think we are, We’ll get a hold of it.
Too poised to be comical? You don’t have to be comical. Agreed, delivery is very important in any form of speech and that it is critical in Humorous speeches. It could make or break your speech. But we need to find the fine line that lies in between you being comical and you being effectively funny in your gestures. And how do we find the fine line? Continuous rehearsals. Make your mean cousin your audience. Practice! Personally, jokes that are delivered bluntly, with the least effort, are my favorite.
Not a single soul would laugh? Yes, I agree, There is no more painful place to be in, than a stage after a bad joke. But let us remind ourselves;
We have learnt a lot on the journey.
Our tales of failure have been our friends in the journey.
Our mean cousin has been our critic.
We do not have to discard our true self, put on a persona.
We will make the best use of the tool in our public speaking arsenal.
We go for it!
Still, no laughs from the audience? Well, We can always laugh at ourselves. It is the true sign of maturity.
Also to note, Our first audience would be our Club members. Chances are we are already a joke to them!