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Types of Speeches: The Roast

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If you decide to become a professional speaker or use speaking as an integral part of your marketing strategy, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the various types of speeches you might be asked to give. In this series of posts, I’ll give you the basics on a variety of types of presentations you can prepare. At the end of this post, I’ve listed previous articles in this series.

What is a roast?
A roast is a lot like a toast, except it pokes fun at the honoree. Roasts are often performed at birthday parties, retirement parties and other occasions where someone with a sense of humor is being honored.

Although the roast got its name from the verbal skewering the honoree gets, not all jokes need be negative. Yes, insults are common … but they shouldn’t be hurtful. They should be said in loving good fun.

Basically, a roast teases the honoree while still showing respect.

Tips for effective roasting

  • Be respectful – avoid jokes that bring up painful memories or mention past loves if the honoree is there with someone new. This is supposed to be fun … if your roast causes people to run out crying, you’ve failed.
  • Avoid inside jokes – if you and the honoree are the only people who will get it, don’t use it. You are still giving this presentation to an audience … you don’t want to leave them out.
  • Be organized – make sure your presentation has beginning, middle and an end. In fact, if your final joke hearkens back to your first, you might get an even bigger laugh!
  • Clear your comments in advance – if you are roasting someone for an organization, be sure to clear comments in advance so you don’t inadvertently step into political muck.
  • Learn from the prosDean Martin and Don Rickles are pros at roasting folks. Go on YouTube and watch some of their roasts from the 1970s to get ideas and inspiration.

Resources for creating roasts

Did you miss these?
Here are the previous posts in this “Type of Speeches” series:

The next post in this series is The Interpretive Reading

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About the author

Carma Spence, The Own Your Awesome Mentor, is author of Public Speaking Super Powers. She is fiercely committed to guiding women to Owning their Awesome and turning it into a profitable business. She is masterful at helping her clients see what is possible for them and supporting them on the journey from where they are to where they want to be, releasing the Mind Goblins of self-doubt, self-sabotage and second-guessing that keep them stuck.

With 20+ years experience in marketing communications and public relations, natural intuitive skills and certification in using some of the most effective transformational coaching tools available, Carma’s mission and commitment is to unleash the inner power every woman entrepreneur possesses so they can boldly go out into the world, transforming the fabric of people’s lives in meaningful and positive ways.

You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Her website is

2 comments on “Types of Speeches: The Roast”

  1. Public Speaking

    I love watching a good roast, but they are notoriously hard to do well. I’ve seen more painfully bad roasts than hilariously positive ones.

    • Carma

      One of the members of the Toastmaster group, Speak Out!, regularly does roasts when someone has a significant birthday. He’s so deadpan … it really works!

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