Finding a humorous speech topic

Public speaking tips tick

Ok, so now I’m beginning to think about the topic I will speak on in the Toastmaster’s humorous speech contest and my thoughts are being led by the two points I made in my first post on the subject:

  • 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

All speeches should be for your audience, not for you.

When writing a speech that will have maximum impact, you have to understand what generates maximum impact with your audience. Who are they, what do they like, what do they feel and what do you want them to feel?

Who are the audience for my humorous speech?

My audience is primarily Toastmasters. These are people from across the UK (and some from beyond too!) that have an active interest in improving their public speaking skills.

Who is a Toastmaster? A Toastmaster can be of any age and sex, but I have found that at my club and district in particular, ages range from 18 to 80. Toastmaster members come from all walks of life. My humour and content is therefore going to have to be all-inclusive!

Ok, I know who I’m talking to, but how do I find a humorous speech topic?

I began by making a mind map (a sketched diagram on a piece of paper of related areas, topics and thoughts) about Toastmasters. I followed this with mind maps on public speaking in general as well as some key themes such as ‘voice’ ‘presence’ and ‘content’.

It quickly became apparent to me that the one thing that separated my audience of Toastmasters from any other audience was our shared experiences. Our shared experiences are of Toastmaster’s meetings and the format, techniques and dare I say ‘rituals’ a meeting entails.

This was my ‘AHA’ moment. This is where I would find my humour.

As such, I now have 3-5 ideas for topics of speeches and will be trying to fill these out into full 5 minute oratories over the next few days…

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Rich Watts is the UK Business Speaker of the Year and a past JCI National Public Speaking champion. He setup and now runs Rich Public Speaking providing presentation skills and public speaking training.

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