District 41 Toastmasters

My Humorous Speech Contest Journey

Back in March 2019, the Toastmasters community was getting ready for a humorous speech contest. At that time, I wasn’t good at cracking jokes or handling sarcasm, and any criticism in a joking manner would bother me.

Then, an experienced Toastmaster came to our club and delivered a speech that was easy, interesting, and funny. He encouraged me to give it a shot, highlighting one of the best things about Toastmasters – the constant support and motivation from others.

Excited and influenced by his speech, I decided to participate just a week before the contest. I thought about my own life and found humor in my struggles with acne and hair loss. Even though I didn’t win, I made people laugh.

The tricky part came when my name was called first on contest day. I was super nervous since it was my first shot at an international speech contest, competing against ten expert speakers. Despite the nerves, I took the stage and stumbled through my speech, feeling like a Ping-Pong ball bouncing around. Surprisingly, it turned out to be my best experience, something I still cherish.

That was my first attempt at ISC, but it was the best experience, which I keep cherishing even now.
Participating in that contest and making people laugh at my own vulnerabilities gave me courage and confidence. I started taking criticism more positively. While I’m still working on changing my tone of voice, I’ve made some progress in expressing things more humorously. The most important lesson I learned was how to laugh at myself and let go of my worries.

Monica Banik
Gurgaon Orator Toastmasters Club