I was invited to attend the Reed’s School 6th Form Toastmasters club. The meeting was very well organised and the Chairperson, Matthew Moran ensured the evening went to plan. I was invited to talk about Humour and how to use it effectively in speeches. The key points, in the form of “DOs and DON’Ts” I shared were:


  • Only use humour when it fits your speech. Humour has to fit into the content, tone, and structure of the speech;
  • Use humour for a speech from your own personal experience;
  • Ensure that the humour is funny to you. If it does not make you laugh then do not expect your audience to laugh;
  • Ensure that the humour relates to the point you are making;
  • Do practise your humour as funny passages need to appear spontaneous;
  • Have fun and enjoy yourself!


  • Tack on jokes at the beginning of a speech to ‘break the ice’;
  • Launch into a long humorous story; audiences are quick to forgive a single line that may not be funny, but will not forgive a long anecdote that is not worth the time. So start out with brief bits of humour;
  • Start by saying, “Let me tell you a funny story.” Let the audience decide for themselves;
  • Use offensive material.

The prepared speeches, evaluations and impromptu speeches were of a high quality and Mr Ha and Mr Gibbins, the joint Presidents of the club are to be commended for the time and effort they put into developing the members.

Patrick Ebbs