Toastmasters UK North & Ireland

9 Top Tips for Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests

Toastmasters is a great platform for improving your public speaking skills, including humorous speeches and impromptu speaking (Table Topics). Here are nine tips to help you succeed in both areas:

  1. Understand Your Audience: Tailor your humour and topics to your audience. Know their interests, background, and expectations. What’s funny to one group may not be to another.
  2. Start with a Strong Opening: Begin with a humorous or attention-grabbing anecdote or one-liner. Your opening sets the tone for your speech or Table Topic response.
  3. Use Relatable Humor: Incorporate humor that your audience can relate to. Everyday situations, cultural references, or common experiences often work well.
  4. Timing is Key: Practice your comedic timing. Well-placed pauses and delivery can make a good joke great. Avoid rushing through your material.
  5. Analyze and Refine Your Humor: Study comedians or humorous speakers you admire. Understand what makes their jokes work, and adapt those principles to your own style.
  6. Use Self-Deprecating Humor: Lightly poke fun at yourself, your quirks, or your experiences. Audiences tend to respond positively to self-deprecating humor.
  7. Tell Engaging Stories: Weave humor into your storytelling. Use vivid imagery, suspense, and relatable characters to keep your audience engaged.
  8. Rehearse and Get Feedback: Practice your humorous speeches and Table Topics responses in front of a mirror, friends, or fellow Toastmasters. Constructive feedback is invaluable.
  9. Stay Positive and Respectful: Keep your humor positive and respectful. Avoid offensive or sensitive topics, as Toastmasters is all about creating a supportive and encouraging environment.


Remember that humor is subjective, so what works for one audience may not work for another. Practice, adapt, and refine your skills to become a more successful Toastmaster in both humorous speeches and impromptu speaking.

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