‘Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few’ – Great speeches – Winston Churchill
Judging a humorous speech
By the time you read this I should be led on a sunny beach in the South of France. If all goes to plan, I should also be thinking about and writing a humorous speech for the Toastmaster’s UK humorous speech contest which begins in September.
Apparently I have a natural humour with my public speaking but this doesn’t seem to make the speech writing process any easier. Humour is after all extremely subjective and the nature of humour has been written about extensively by much greater, more informed writers than myself.
So, for my own piece of mind and hopefully for the information of others, I am going to document my experiences in preparing for and delivering my humorous speech. This will most likely be over a series of posts, so watch this space for updates!
Where to start with writing a humorous speech?
Well I began thinking about this when the competition date was announced several months ago. At this point I began researching past humorous speeches on Google and YouTube and found some great speeches and some truly awful ones too.
A lot of the humorous speech examples you will find on YouTube are from American clubs and there is no real indicator other than one’s own judgement as to the quality of these speeches. Watching them was an interesting experience none the less.
I also did some research into the winning humorous speeches from past years. What made these speeches great, what made them stand out and most importantly, what made them funny?
All of this and my past experience (I took part in the competition last year and was soundly beaten) combined to bring me to the following conclusions:
- Humour and what is funny is essentially the choice of your audience
- This has to be a speech with a story, not just random stand-up comedy
- Rocky-style training and practice will be required to perfect delivery, timing and ‘the funny’
- This ain’t gonna be easy…