Fall 2015 contest season is upon us, and with it comes our first two speech contests at Best of Dallas Toastmasters: Tall Tales and Humorous Speech. Both contests will be held beginning at 6:30 on Tuesday, August 25, at our usual location at the DoubleTree Hotel on N. Central Expressway in Dallas. Contestants should plan to arrive early for briefing.
If you’re a member of our club and still hedging about competing (or a member of another Toastmasters club feeling the same way about your own contests, here are some really great reasons to compete.
You should compete if …
- You’re funny. If you have a silly or humorous personality but don’t often get the chance to give it free reign in the world of status updates and pep talks, this is your time to let loose and shine.
- You’re NOT funny. This is the best time to give humor a try, even if (or especially if) it scares you. And since everybody else is also trying their best to be silly or snarky or punny, there’s no way you can overdo it.
- You struggle with English. Tall tales and humorous speeches aren’t about impeccable grammar and pronunciation, they’re about leading the audience to an emotional reaction. As long as you can communicate that effectively, you can quit worrying about the “rules” that might govern a more formal speech.
- You’re new. Sometimes giving your Icebreaker speech can feel like a lot of pressure. Why not bring out the humorous side of your history and do it during the contest? Since contests happen only twice a year, it’s a new experience for a lot of Toastmasters, which puts you on more even ground.
- You’re stuck in a rut. Yes, I’m looking at you, thrice-over DTMs. You can give a 5-7 minute persuasive speech with two minutes warning and still walk away with a Best Speaker ribbon at the end of the meeting, but can you tell an amazing tall tale that leaves everyone in stitches? There’s only one way to know for sure …
- You’re nervous about THAT project. You know which one it is for you. Vocal Variety, or Your Body Speaks, or Visual Aids. Whatever it is, you’ve been putting it off because it scares you and makes you uncomfortable. Why not try it out for the contest, when everybody comes across as a little ridiculous? Just make sure to arrange for a written and verbal evaluation from one of your fellow Toastmasters.
- You are THIS CLOSE to achieving an educational award. You want it SO BADLY. The neat thing about contests is that, instead of our usual three speeches in a night, we might have six or more! This has the potential to get a lot of people one step closer to their Competent Communicator award.
- You’re not satisfied with the quality of the speeches you’ve given. Whether it’s because you’re competitive and driven to win, or because you’re curious and really want to know what it’s like to compete at the next level, club contests drive us to do better than our best. And those who go on to compete at the Area, Division, and District levels also learn how to review, polish, and retry their speeches with a new and larger audience. It’s a very different challenge from speaking in front of 20 close friends.
- You’re determined to learn as much as possible. Toastmasters from all over the world will tell you the same thing: they learn more from a single contest season than they do in the rest of the year, whether it’s as a competitor, audience member, or judge. If you want to know how to adapt to an audience, to be funny without being insulting, to take a great idea and cut it down and down and down until it finally turns into a tight and coherent story, if you want to see how people from all different cultures and with all different speaking styles take a concept like humor or exaggeration and make it their own, then you’re in for a treat. Come on Tuesday, and let’s get this contest started!
Quick Contest FAQ:
- Am I eligible to compete? YES! If you are a member of Best of Dallas Toastmasters, you can compete in our contests.
- Do I have to choose one, or can I compete in both Tall Tales and Humorous Speech? You can compete in either or both if you like.
- What are the rules for the contests?
- Your speech must be something you made up, not a story from a book, movie, or the internet.
- You can use props, costumes, or visual aids, but they aren’t required.
- Humorous speeches are 5-7 minutes and should be a coherent story, not just a stand-up routine with jokes.
- Tall Tales should be 3-5 minutes, and should be exaggerated. Tall Tales are often funny, but don’t have to be.
- Can I invite my friends? Please do! In fact, don’t wait for contest season to invite them. Friends are always welcome at our meetings.
- Can my friend take a video of my speech? Only with your written permission. There will be a form for that during the briefing.
- I have another question about the contest. If you’re a member, you can call Jef or Bill, our contest co-chairs. Their contact info is on the roster on Google Docs. If you’re not a member, you can get in touch with the club here.