Speech Critique: Carma’s Humorous Speech

A few weeks ago, I gave my first speech for my current Toastmaster’s club, Speak Out! It was probably the most challenging presentation I’d ever given. The goals of the speech were:

  • Entertain the audience through the use of humor drawn from personal experience and from other material that I had personalized.
  • Deliver the speech in a way that makes the humor effective.
  • Establish personal rapport with my audience for maximum impact.

And I had to do all this in 15 to 20 minutes.

Of course, not to do things the easy way, I added on the additional challenge of making it an “Icebreaker” or introductory speech that helps the club get to know me.

To be honest, I was so nervous that I was seeing blue and purple in the edge of my vision. I was almost afraid that I might faint during my speech.

Thankfully, my public speaking experience took over and I did fairly well. I asked several people if they could tell I was nervous … not a one had noticed. But now that I’ve seen this video, I can pick out my tells. The video is just under 20 minutes … can you find my tells?

What Worked

Watching this, you’ll get a very good feeling for my personality. I was authentically me and it shows. The power of authenticity is important in gaining audience rapport and confidence.

Vocal Variety
My voice ranged high and low, fast and slow … in all the appropriate places. This helps keep the audience awake and paying attention.

If you just read this speech, it would not be as funny as watching it. Much of the humor is in the delivery and I believe I did that well … especially since people did laugh at the right places.

Where I Could Improve

The Nervous Tell
So, did you figure out my nervous tell? Nope … it wasn’t stuttering or a shaking hand. My nervous tell is the almost complete lack of eye contact with my audience. I looked at the ceiling. I looked at the table. I looked at my slides. I did my best to avoid meeting anyone’s eye contact. And that is not a good thing. It is definitely something I’ll have to work on.

O.K. Yes, I am of Mediterranean descent and probably would have difficult time communicating if my hands were tied behind my back, but some of my arm gyrations were a bit distracting. I will need to work on getting as comfortable with being still as I am with being silent.

Overall, I’m quite happy with how the presentation went. I did forget a few of my choice punch lines, but you really can’t tell. And I did meet the criteria of the speech.

About Carma

Carma Spence, author of Public Speaking Super Powers, is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years experience in marketing, public relations and science communication. She is a multi-dimensional entrepreneur, a certified life coach, science fiction writer and poet. She is able to see people's brilliance and help them bring their genius to light. The wind beneath her clients’ wings, Carma provides creative entrepreneurs with expert advice on branding and online presence, as well as the emotional support necessary to carve out their niche for success online. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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