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.
It was a privilege to be invited to Reed’s school to support another lovely evening of their sixth form Toastmasters club. The evening was well attended, with 40 students, four staff, the headmaster and his wife, plus me! It was a very festive evening with everyone wearing a wide variety of Christmas jumpers, and the room decorated in a Christmas theme.
After a delicious dinner, I was charged by the Toastmaster, Eleanor Graves to give an education slot. The topic was gestures. I gave a brief demonstration of how not to do it (hopefully intentionally!), Before drawing up some key features of what people do well with gesturing. I made sure that I mentioned my faux pas of the chicken wings that Patrick often gives me feedback about!
The room then split into two and I stayed to watch one of the groups. There were four speakers, four evaluators, and four topics Speakers. What they did well were high quality topics with interesting and stimulating material – about Christmas, mental health, whether to go to university. To work on is their engagement – bit less use of notes and be more eye contact. The evaluators were very good at their analysis, and need to work on brevity in the recommendations. The topics speakers were very good at engaging the audience and being amusing. Their area to work on is more courage to come out from behind the lectern
The evening was very well managed by Eleanor. She was organised, professional, and offered encouraging comments to speakers. Overall this was a very enjoyable evening. They are halfway through their Toastmaster calendar and are clearly developing their skills. It will be great to see how far they have gone by the end of the year.
Doris Sew Hoy and Costa Nicolaou spent an enjoyable evening at Reed’s School last Friday, dining with the 38 Upper Sixth form members of their Toastmasters Club. As guest speaker, Doris delivered a ten-minute talk about guidelines for evaluating speakers and speeches. Just like at our ESC meetings, she introduced the group to our Feedback Form, encouraging everyone to write at least one commendation and one recommendation for each speaker and evaluator, as a way of practising and improving their own evaluation skills.
After dinner, the group split into two. Costa joined one half in the Library, while Doris remained with the other half. They observed some very entertaining and thought provoking prepared speeches followed by evaluations and impromptu speaking. It was great to see how quickly some evaluators had picked up and applied some of the tips outlined in Doris’ talk in their evaluations – commenting on aspects of content, structure and delivery.
This was the School’s third meeting of the year, so there will be several more opportunities for other ESC members to take part in a Reed’s Toastmaster evening and witness the oratory development of these talented teenagers. Just speak to Patrick Ebbs, who is ESC’s Youth Leadership co-ordinator.