Humorous Speech Contest 2017—Coming Soon!

September is coming

September is fast approaching and that means our thoughts, twitching with excitement, wander back to the most important historical event ever associated with that auspicious month. But what could it be? Instantly springing to mind are:

  • 1 September 1159: The death of Adrian IV, the only English Pope.
  • 3 September 1848: chewing gum is produced commercially for the first time.
  • 13 September 1902: Harry Jackson becomes the first person in Britain to be convicted on fingerprint evidence.

All perfectly sensible guesses—which I’m sure occurred to you too—but wrong, I’m afraid. I refer to that stellar annual event (I am reliably informed) that has saved marriages, ended wars and filled hospital beds with victims suffering from cracked ribs. I refer, of course, to the first round of the Toastmasters Humorous Speech contest this September.

I am uniquely qualified

And, as your Vice President for Public Relations, I happen to be uniquely qualified to write this post. In fact the events upon a balmy 3rd September, 2015 evening will stay with me until I draw my last breath. Allow me to explain…

…But before I do, I’m here to encourage you to enter the Toastmasters Humorous Speech Contest. To take all you’ve learned from the Competent Communication manual, and put it to new and exciting uses. Be brave—step outside your comfort zone—ignore my clichés—and give it a try! Nothing compares with the thrill of having the room laugh at your carefully constructed joke; to risk deafness at the hands (literally) of a wildly clapping audience. 

Learn your craft - google your way to glory!

Some people are naturally amusing. The rest of us have to work at it. Remember that professional comics dedicate years to perfecting their craft. As a first step, I’d suggest you google “Secrets of delivering a humorous/funny speech” because lots of articles will come up. Here’s one I just read and I think is useful:

A google caveat

Please remember, however, that you are googling how to write a humorous speech, i.e. the structure of a humour speech or story. Toastmasters requires that the actual content be original. We’re looking forward to hearing your own original stories!

That balmy 3rd September, 2015

So, what makes me uniquely equipped to encourage you to enter? What life-changing events transpired on that balmy September evening two years ago? Not wishing to blow my own trumpet, it is with considerable shyness that I admit to holding a Toastmasters’ record. They are still designing the certificate.

I was the only speaker to enter a Humorous Speech contest at our club on September 3rd, 2015 and achieve no laughs. Not one. 

This coming September

You can only improve on my performance. Please don’t make the mistakes I made! Do your research, understand the mechanics of humour and then deliver. Be sure to enjoy the experience as you google your way to glory! I’m told that making people laugh is a great high. Don’t forget to tell me what it feels like because I’ll be your Contest Chair. 

By the way, Robert Pakter, interventional radiologist at Hopkins Medical confirms it is possible to crack a rib from laughing. 

St Mary’s Paddington will be on stand-by...


Ben Starling