lunes, 22 de noviembre de 2010

2010 District 59 Humorous Speeches

Every year after summer, when the fall's humorous speech contests start at the clubs, many of us ask ourselves "what could we possibly talk about, that will make the audience laugh?"

During the Barcelona district 59 conference 2010, there were 10 Division winners presenting their prepared humorous speeches. This write up is from the scribbles I took (between laughing, wiping tears from my eyes, and trying to not fall off my chair).

1. Karen (UNIL-EPFL, Div E) - "Pain". Karen's speech topic was being misunderstood. It started with language/pronounciation, and how her friend Frank is spelling his own name with a strong russian accent "You mean F like in Frank?". Karen then explained how she tries to buy bread in French, cycling through various pronounciations of "pain". Then the funniest part was during a date when she was stating that she likes "foreign movies" a little bit too quickly ("for'gn movies"), and the guy took it as a genre that starts with a "P" instead. Imagine the conversation - are you watch those movies often? "whenever I can." Do you watch them alone? "Sometimes alone, or sometimes with my girl friends." Karen than pointed out that when you are misunderstood, you're in good company, with Galileo for example. There was a pun or two on George W. Bush, being misunder-stood at times, and misunder-estimated at others. Towards the closure, Karen referred back to Pain, P0rn and Pa' (french bread). What a start!

2. Philippe (The Europeans, Div B) presented his advice on how to create a really bad speech on purpose, and demonstrated his tips in his own one. The possibilities include a strong accent, no preparation, no structure, a strong disconnect from the audience, being boring, and leaving a very bad last impression, etc. As part of his speech he almost left the room, came back on stage with a coffee in his hands, and also had great examples on how you can lose yourself in sub-stories and further disconnected anectodes, losing the red thread completely. Very unique.

3. Peter M (Prestigious Speakers Barcelona, Div H) - "Murphy's Queue", accompanied by cheers from the conference organizing team. Peter looked into queuing (standing & waiting in line), and how an average person spends 6 months of their life in queues - "a prison sentence". He explained from his experiement at the supermarket's check-out queues, and all the things that happened there. Barcodes that don't work, fruit that still needs to be weight, wifes who plant their husbands in the queue with just a few items in his basket, only to join him later with a huge trolley full of products. Oh, and those old ladies who pay coin by coin in slow motion up to the exact amount. For those of us who have seen this speech before in our clubs / area / division - the end was more compact, without the call to Peter's wife, and the flip chart was not used. "Smile, tomorrow will be worse."

4. Daniel (Brussels, also Div B?). Like Karen, Daniel's speech was also on misunderstandings and languages, and how even the experts / bilingual / etc. can get it wrong at times. I must have followed his speech very carefully, since my only scribbles say "german girl" and "meat taken by surprise".

5. Ryan (Leiden, Div J) explained us that Table Topics (TT) should stop being Terror Topics / Torture Time, and we Toastmasters should start selling it into the medical industry, for example for muscle relaxation (bended knees?). We'd all be rich and buy ourselves a Toastmasters island, and fly with Toastmaster Airlines.

6. Peter S is from Esprit De Corps, Div F. His speech was about IKEA, and his relationship with the Swedish furniture chain. Apparently he has moved flats just to live closer to one, and his trip to Barcelona included visiting both IKEAs here ;) I could totally identify myself in his speech, as he explained how you go to buy furniture, and end up bringing coloured napkins and candles home.

7. Vera (Prague, Div D) presented her speech around flying, and especially the airport security. She presented ideas on how full body scanners and pat downs should be turned into a service, the Airport Spa, including massages and a dentist (using the x-ray pictures). "The more you fly, the brighter your smile." Being a frequent flyer myself, I really would see those ideas being put into practice!

8. Representing Stockholm, Div G, Adam's winning speech was about forbidden topics in our talks. He started teasing us to the use of the F-word, only to pronounce fffffffffffffffffellow toastmasters. he went on to describe the speech projects that should be included in advanced manuals around politics, religion ("Start a cult") and sex ("how to take your evaluator home"). Among other things, there was also a pun on a "No-Question", such as "Do you really want to go out with the boys tonight?" when asked by your wife with a strong facial expression and while shaking her head. All content was related to being sensible, sensitive but not censored. I felt the audience reaction was very strong during this speech, and knew this would put Adam comfortably in front.

9. Olivia's speech was also on Flying, but instead of the security checks, she focused on the cabin luggage rules (Ryanair) and flying with 2 Kids. On her lucky days, she boards the plane and finds no combination of 3 free seats together. So she gets to have some time "off", while her kids can bombard some other passenger with their "why" questions ;) Hilarious!

10. Mel - "Evaluating Mel". The speech starts at a date, where Mel's Kissing skills have received a harsh evaluation. The second example is around Mel's salsa dancing. The overall topic is how we take evaluations when outside our clubs, and that sometimes we should just listen, even if the feedback is "a sandwidth technique without the bread." Kissing, dancing, speaking: you try, you get feedback, then you try again. There was a nice Winston Churchill quote: "There are two things that are more difficult than making an after-dinner speech: climbing a wall which is leaning toward you and kissing a girl who is leaning away from you."

I'd like to congratulate all contestants, and say THANK YOU for entertaining us so well.

Results were revealed after the deserts during the gala dinner. 1st Adam, 2nd Karen, 3rd Peter M.
There were 2 disqualifications for going more than 30 seconds over time.

Almost Distinguished

Congratulations to Cormac for completing his CL manual. With this already reported to HQ, our club looks quite good in the Distinguished Club Program (DCP), with 4 out of 10 goals already accomplished.

To date, there are 15 others clubs in our district (#59 Continental Europe) that also are at 4 goals, but not a single club has reached "Distinguished Status" (5 goals) yet.

Could we possibly be the first???
We'd need 1 more CC, or 1 more CL / AL, or 1 AC award.