A Funny Thing Was Me at Toastmasters Humorous Speech Contest

I'm not funny.  Not on purpose anyway and whenever I am the recipient of laughter it's usually by accident.  I'm the girl that tries too hard to be funny and fails.  I'm the speaker that when speaking, tries to include a joke and it sounds forced and unnatural.  I'm the Mom that says awkward things at awkward times prompting eye-rolling and "Ma-ahm!" groans from my pre-teens.

As a Mom and a woman, it's all good.  I don't have to be funny to be happy.  However, as a speaker and as someone who values communication and skill therein, it behooves me to learn to use humor, even fundamentally.   So a few years ago I joined an improvisational comedy performance troupe.   I was compelled because I sneakily watched them practice while my son was in rehearsal in the same building, and I finally accepted an invitation to come on in and watch... then participate... and I really enjoyed it.   The experience was fun AND I learned a great deal that I could apply to my work as well as my life in general.

And so sometime circa 2011 I appeared with the troupe in my first ever improv performance.  Was I funny?   Not really.  I was just good at reacting to what the more seasoned performers were offering.   I wasn't very good in situations where the comedic input relied on me; and I knew it, so I kept practicing and doing shows and I kept learning and growing and having a blast.  I did it for a few years, until my schedule simply didn't have room (although I'd love to give it a go again sometime).

Fast forward to now and I'm working pretty regularly as a speaker and communication consultant. Despite all that I learned in improvisation, I still struggle to insert comedy into my presentations.  I have nobody on stage offering the punchline so it's all on me, and that awkwardness gets me every time.  So I decided to challenge myself.

I joined Toastmasters a few months ago to keep my game sharp and practice regularly.  I learned that a humorous speech contest was coming up, and after thinking about it for fifteen seconds, I signed on to participate.  It took fifteen seconds for me to experience my initial reaction of 'NO WAY' and then consider that that is exactly why I should participate.  This was an opportunity for me to up my game and utilize what I'd learned in improv to weave humor into a structured speech and deliver it.  What could I really lose right?  It certainly wouldn't be the first time I'd embarrass myself if it got awkward.

I created a speech.  I delivered it, and qualified to participate in the area contest for Toastmasters.   Low and behold... I WON!  Yay!

Lesson here is this:  There is always room for improvement and whatever attribute we want to build in ourselves is absolutely possible with a little challenge. Challenge can be a good thing, I wrote about it once before, here.  

We all feel inadequate in some way.  My hope for you is that you are inspired by this and you do what needs to be done to alter that, improve and grow!  Sometimes it takes time... but be persistent and you'll get there!

Find me on Facebook to cheer me on I move forward in the competition!

Winner from another area, and I, will meet again soon :) 

Look kids!  Mom is funny! 

Runner up from another area, affectionately remembered as "Psycho" 
from her cracked-me-up speech.  

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