This week, at Toastmasters, I attempted to pull off my first ever roast. ‘A roast’ is a speech that relies on wit, humour and satire to ‘poke fun at a person in a good natured way.’ Can you imagine? I can’t think of too many speeches that would be harder to pull off. However, in the Toastmasters system, you choose your projects and most come in bundled sets, so when you take on a certain manual or a pathway you take on every challenge in that bundle. I chose Special Occasions Speeches (from the old paper manual system), not realizing that one of the projects therein was “The Roast.”

I have a terrible track record with humorous speeches, having bombed abominably once or twice.

In conversation, I can raise a laugh, but I still don’t know how to use humour in speeches. In my nervousness, I over do it. I’m just not that funny. So, I avoid the humorous speech contests each year like the plague, and I never attempt comedic speeches. I know my strengths and humour is definitely not one of them.

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When I discovered there was a roast among the projects in Special Occasions, I was quaking in my boots. I wanted to put the manual back, but it was too late, I was already three speeches in. So I’m going to tell you a little secret. I repeated project 2, five times over a period of five months. I couldn’t bear to do the roast. So I put it off by repeating the project I preferred, “Speaking in Praise.”  At first, I wondered if I could get away with it, because surely people would notice I was doing the same project.

Strangest thing. No one noticed.

I spoke in praise of Charlotte’s Stitches, I spoke in praise of my father, I spoke in praise of Korucare New Zealand, I spoke in praise of Sam (my son with Downs’ syndrome), and I spoke in praise of my grandmother. No one said a thing!

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I could have gotten away with it longer probably, but I made the mistake of mentioning to one of the other members, last week, that I was scared of doing the roast.

He said, “You can’t not do a project just because it’s hard. You’ve got to do it anyway!”

The gauntlet was down. I was determined I was going to write a funny speech. I would ‘do it anyway!’ I determined that this week, I would roast our most senior member and club treasurer, at our Toastmasters’ meeting.

Did I roast him? Yes. Was I successful? I don’t know. I can’t seem to do funny conversational. I go immediately to clown and cartoon, and it often falls flat. My first two jokes didn’t get much of a response and I already had that sinking feeling. Various audience members told me afterwards they enjoyed my roast. I did raise a few laughs, but not anywhere near what I’d expected. Now, I know for sure that I’m not that funny.

However, what I do know is that I am brave.

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I am so proud of myself for doing that roast.

That’s a good feeling to have about yourself.

I don’t like to stretch my neck out any more than the next person, but I notice that when I do take a risk sometimes it reaps dividends. So, accepting a challenge is worth the effort, once in a while.

I was petrified of trying to roast someone. I did not want to do it. I would have procrastinated forever, if I hadn’t been hustled out of my cave. Roasting someone was something so far out of my comfort zone it was a new frontier. Yet, I accepted the challenge and went and did it anyway. Sure it wasn’t perfect. Sure, I didn’t captivate everyone, one guy looked down the whole time I was speaking and didn’t look up till the end. Sure, I didn’t bring the house down. But I did go out on the “stage,” into the bright lights, and deliver a bloody roast.

I think that’s pretty cool.

What about you? Have you ever thought of joining Toastmasters, or some other club? Have you stepped outside of your comfort zones lately?

Yvette Carol 2

Talk to you later.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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Failures I consider valuable negative information – Dr. Goddard

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Comments
  1. I’m not a great public speaker. I get so nervous! Good for you for trying! A roast is a close to stand-up comedy as it gets!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very brave of you Yvette, so that wasn’t so bad was it ? You did it AND you wrote about it ! Mission accomplished in my book 📖 ! You can’t be excellent at everything ! That would be really tedious for you and everyone around you !

    After your numerous posts on the Toastmasters, I really started to feel intrigued, curious and then thought, ‘what the heck’ !
    So I jumped the gun and went to my first Toastmasters as a guest. Toulouse Speakers, the club is called. A jolly bunch from all over the world 🗺 and a few Toulousains…Anyway, in this group everything is done in English. So we have a Grammarian to help Speakers with the pitfalls of the English language and pronunciation.
    I was just there for the ride, Was I naïve ! I got saddled with the first Table Topic. Improvise 2 minutes on a random subject that you pick from a jar ! “What would your thoughts be if you were a tree by the roadside” I pulled it off with flying colors to everyone’s joy/or dismay ! I then admitted I had been in amateur theatrics for 15 years, so didn’t feel too daunted by improvising on a stage. But they still found things I could improve during the evaluation, so I guess I am conquered and will go back !

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Oh wow, Susan, good on you!
      I’m so proud of you for rocking up to your local Toastmasters club to see for yourself. This is the thing, so many people wonder what it’s all about but don’t take that step of walking inside to experience it for themselves.
      I’m particularly impressed you stood up and did Table Topics on your first visit! I could never have done that. I think I went about four times before I attempted that. Well done!
      Isn’t it fun 🙂
      I look forward to hearing about your further exploits.

      Liked by 1 person

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