October is the month for the Humourist Speech competitions in Toastmasters.
Here is a link to a International contest speech I gave in the Spring. I placed second at the District level. I want to share it at this time as a way to demonstrate how using humour in a positive way will help make your speeches more memorable.
Here are five speaking tips I learned from giving this speech.
- Be okay with the unexpected. The personal mike that was attached to my ear fell off. Thankfully it lodged itself on my chest. The sound wasn’t perfect but was okay. I had to continue as though nothing happened.
- Immediately address any issues that might raise questions in the mind of your audience . I had a large splint on my finger due to surgery on my finger the week before the contest. I couldn’t hide it. I mentioned it immediately. Afterwards I had a few audience members tell me that they thought the splint was a good visual aid! Who Knew?!
- You need to edit your speech many times before giving it. Chances are that the speech you write initially will not be the one you end up giving. This speech was completely different than the one I wrote a few months earlier. That one made a few people squirm, including my husband Paul. My daughter Fera said, “Mom, you’re just venting about Paul”. She was right. I listened to her, took her advice and changed my speech. Feedback from family, friends and other Toastmasters can help you see your speech through new eyes.
- Pausing will make your speech more effective. I had been told many times that my speeches were too polished, too rehearsed, too theatrical. I learned that what I needed to do was pause more. My audience needed time to consider what I was saying. I needed to give them time to respond.
- Less is more. I learned that I had to remove a few of my favorite lines or my speech would be too long. My initial speech was 845 words. Slowly and reluctantly , I reduced it to 745 words. That was still too long. If people laughed at my humour, I would go over my allotted time of 7 minutes and 30 seconds. I finally dropped the word count to 645 words! What a huge difference it made to my presentation.