In hindsight, this Christmas was chuckle worthy. The DVD’s of the Humorist Contest had arrived in the mail (many thanks to those who put it together). Every single time we had friends and family over to celebrate the holidays, I knew it was only a matter of time before I heard this line.
“You know she won the Humorist Contest right? We have the DVD! Shall we go and watch her winning speech?”
I have to admit it was something to see my parents so proud. It was another thing to watch oneself on video. I think the last time I saw myself was when I was watching my own graduation on DVD. The only time I could ever conceivably watch myself again would only be when (I quote from another club member), “I lock myself in a darkened room with a bottle of hard liquor.”
The first time I watched the DVD with family and friends, I really wished there was a bottle of hard liquor in the house. I am my own worst critic (who isn’t?) and the excruciating pain was ten-fold when we found out our DVD player was dying a slow painful death and would cut off my speech at random intervals, leaving us to restart the DVD player, cut to the beginning of my speech, and then fast forward to our last known point.
The audience that night still laughed their butts off. I was thankful for that.
Many veterans out there will gladly tell you one of the best ways of improvement is to video tape yourself giving a speech and watching yourself afterwards. You will notice all the little things you never noticed before (i.e. oh my goodness I did that?) Most of all, you will have a much better understanding of what you may need to change, in order to achieve the effect you want to give across in your speech.
Though I always was on the bandwagon about videotaping yourself, this is often easier said than done. I made it through the entire journey and recorded my speech only once. (Something I would not recommend). However, I did rehearse my speech a number of times, recorded my voice onto my phone, and listened to the playback. Going into the contest, I knew voice modulation, pitch, tone, etc would be some of my biggest challenges and this was the one way I knew how to tackle that.
I am really glad the whole contest was recorded and put on DVD. To date, that version is still my favourite version of the speech, hands down. However, that does absolutely nothing to keep me from seeing all those little critical things. On the plus side, I feel I have a much better idea of what and how I need to change to take my speeches to the next level. I feel I do anyhow.
Maybe I should be bringing my camera to record my speeches a little more often.