The Most Challenging Toastmasters Speech of My Life

(and also the most successful)

by Rick Fornoff
Early in my Toastmasters career, in fact with my #3 speech in the manual, I was faced with the most difficult audience ever – my parents.  My speech was a humorous speech, a clever parody of a talk on time management.  While rehearsing I presented it to my parents in my living room the day before I was scheduled to give it at Toastmasters.

Now I love my parents, but they are not demonstrative people.  As I stood before them and gave my speech to them they sat in chairs, unsmiling and with arms folded across their chests.  The speech was obviously dying.  Despite their lack of overt enthusiasm I took my parents as guests the next day to our TM meeting to watch me give the speech, which drew much laughter and was very well received.  After the meeting my father commented that I seemed much less nervous than I had the day before.  I said, “Well, today you weren’t 50% of the audience.”

In fact, the speech was so popular that some suggested that I hone it a bit and enter it in the club Humorous Speech contest to be held a couple of months later.  I did that and to my surprise my presentation of that speech won the club, area, and district contests to land me in the district level (all of North Carolina) Humorous Speech contest.  My experience with that is a whole other story for some future newsletter, but needless to say that speech never faced as challenging an audience as it did that first time with my parents.