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Jan 23

After Dinner Speaking, part 2

I spoke to the President and ex-President at my local Toastmasters club trying to find out how I can go about developing my After Dinner speech that I debuted at the Christmas Dinner at the end of last year. I was hoping that I might be able to use the method that winners of both the humorous speech contest and international speech contest do.

They go around different clubs and work on their speeches before the next round of the competition. But what was pointed out was the fact that the contest winners get special dispensation after winning a certain level. Seeing as I haven’t won the humorous speech contest (yet) then I probably won’t be able to go round to other clubs to develop it.

Then I had a brainwave and I can’t work out why I didn’t think of it before. The obvious solution for me is to work through the Humorous Speech manual which contains 5 speeches. I create a brand new speech each time, but keeping the same theme that I created for when I did the after dinner speech this past Christmas.

Each speech has to be between 5-7 minutes long, so if I edit them together then that’s a minimum of 25 minutes of material. Plus the 5 or so minutes from my previous after dinner speech totaling about 30 minutes or so. Thus becoming a salable product.

Update April 2010: Here’s what I ended up doing, I decided to keep working on the same material each time and hone it rather than create something that doesn’t get the laughter level that I wanted and then move on.

If you’re giving an after dinner speech it’s worth bearing in mind that the preparation should be the same as any other type of speech. Here’s an article I had published over at Ezine Articles that provides some useful tips: Public Speaking Fear

As I’ve said before on this blog you can add humorous lines, like jokes or quotes. You can also use personal stories and anecdotes and capture your own sense of humour.

Generally, when giving a speech there will be little interaction from the audience, no use of visual aids or props and they are normally to entertain or inspire. That said there could be a small amount of interaction from the audience as I was privy to when I spoke at my Toastmaster’s club. All I can say about that is that Alcohol is a wonderful drug…

After Dinner speaking has similarities to stand-up comedy because, you are required to be funny to entertain your audience and because speaking to an audience after dinner, inevitably involves alcohol. But this should not deter you because many times a heckle is not heard by the majority of the audience. Even if it is, there are ways and means for you to be able to deal with such an interuption.

One example, is to simply thank the person and move on. It makes no sense to engage in an all out with with a drunken individual because, if you’re not careful, you can turn an entire audience against you. I’ve done it in the past, and I’ve seen it happen to others. It’s not pretty…