Sep 25

Humorous Speech & Table Topics Contests

We had a really successful night at Grosvenor Square Speakers at the beginning of this week. We decided to experiment with the way the club chairs the contests and we divided duties successfully between myself as VPE and Debbie Mahs. Even though the club doesn’t usually run its contests this way, it made a refreshing change and also reflects how the contest is run in later rounds.

Both contests were won by two of our Advanced Members who have been with the club for a number of years. Alan Thomas, nailed the humorous speech contest with a story recounting his exploits as a public speaker. Very, very funny.

Debbie felt as though she could’ve done a better job as contest chair because she made a bit of a gaffe describing the contest as international when both the Humorous Speech and the Table Topics are only national. The point is she addressed her error, got a huge laugh and moved on with the meeting.

Afterwards she ended up focusing too much on her mistake rather than on her ability to address it get a laugh and move on. After all, it was a humorous speech contest. So well done to Debbie.

Fast Tip:
an audience can be quite forgiving if you make an error especially if you point out the error to them because they woud’ve noticed it and will be wondering if you’re going to address it. By addressing it can release the tension that error created and often get a laugh.

In the second half of the meeting, Philip Smee “brought home the bacon” with his entertaining and insightful table topic speech answering the question that I,  as Table Topics Contest Chair had asked.

There were some who did not like the question because they felt that it was too hard. They are used to regular table topics such as “where did you go on holiday?”, etc.

But this is a contest and you’ve got to be able to step up to the plate and meet the challenge head on.

My question was: It’s the Stock Market crash of 1929. You have to sell your possessions from a little red wagon. What’s the one thing you couldn’t bear to be without?”

The question itself, although seeming difficult, actually provides a time period and a prop as well as a situation for the speaker to think about. I didn’t want to ask a question about the “credit crunch” that the U.K. is currently experiencing, because it’s too close to home and I didn’t want to run the risk of people thinking about their real life possessions.

So for that reason I set it in the past with a hint of the financial crisis that the country is currently going through.

So congratulations again to both Alan and Philip!!