I slept much better last night, even though I had to give a speech before 8am at the Silver Tongued Cats and I hadn’t written it yet. But that was OK, because the project was “The Power of Humor in an Impromptu Speech”, and I took the “impromptu” part seriously.
The project includes 12 speech prompts; the Toastmaster of the Day chooses two, then prompts the speaker to give two 2-3 minute speeches, each including a story, with one on based on each prompt. I didn’t even read the prompts – I just sent the list to the Toastmaster.
The first prompt was: “The worst news possible has just been given to a gathering of friends and family. You are asked to speak to the group to give words of hope and support.” I started talking about “Joe”, who had just died, and how we’d all miss him – after about 15 seconds, I figured out that “Joe” was a dog, but I didn’t mention that until the end, when I ended the story by telling how I’d held his paws as the vet gave him the final shot.
The second prompt was: “There is sudden thunder storm at a picnic for a large family reunion. Everyone is stuck in a gazebo. You decide to speak for a few minutes to entertain the group while the rain passes.” This time, I had a true-life story that fit the prompt – many years ago, we were visiting my family in Richmond and were at an outdoor shopping center when the heavens opened. We got my Mom to a dry place and then my brother found a garbage bag, put it on, and ran to get his car to bring it close enough for the rest of us to get in without getting soaked. As he ran, he shouted “I look like a goddamn condom!” – it was a memorable moment and fit the prompt perfectly.
I didn’t win “Best Speaker” today – the person who won gave a serious speech about using body language on an interview – but I had a lot of fun with the project.
As for the rest of the day…I’ve been glued to screens watching the numbers change in Georgia, Arizona, and Pennsylvania. I have great hopes of not having to do that tomorrow.