About a week ago, I gave a speech at another club outside of the comforts of my home club. Their President was in the process of forming a Gavel club and asked if I would like to do a speech to inspire the members and Gaveliers alike. I don’t always feel like I am particularly adept at inspiring teenagers, but I grew excited at the challenge. I wrote a speech I thought would be inspiring (my possible contender for the International). Several days before the day, I had a thought. I emailed the President and asked him what kind of speech he wanted me to do, a serious (hopefully) inspiring speech, or a humorous speech?
His response: it was up to me, but he would prefer a humorous speech.
Doh. I knew the choice was up to me, but in the end I went back and dusted off a humorous speech I had done once before. It wasn’t my best work, but I figured it was good enough to get some laughs. It was the usual tough small crowd, but I got a couple of chuckles and smiles; I’ll take it. Afterwards, a few people came up and asked me if this was the speech that had won the contest.
I feel I have an inkling at how some actors/actresses must feel at the prospect of typecasting. I’ve tried and succeeded at the Humorist aspect; now I want to stretch myself again and go for the inspirational, which usually means my speech ends up trying to sound philosophical and serious. With the District Contest only months past, there is still plenty of excitement to hear the humorous speech again and again.
I wish you could see how carefully I am tip-toeing around these words. I want to avoid any and all potential backlash and fury over my words above. I fully understand without THAT speech, I would be nowhere. As little as four months ago, I was “no-one.” I was a young Toastmaster that knew only a few individuals in outside clubs, most of whom I had met through Officer Training. I had this idea to enter into the speech contest and I “exploded” onto the scene for lack of a better term. I have experienced tremendous personal speaking growth just by participating in the contest. Now I’ve found myself on this whirlwind ride I would not trade for anything.
I am sure of one thing: I will never end up hating this speech. At the end of the day, I still love delivering clever humour. Furthermore, this is the best speech I have written so far; I have never poured so much energy into a speech before, never poured so much of my heart into the words, and never felt so much support from all those that helped me along the way. Without them too, I would be nowhere.