Make us laugh!
Time: 1-2 minutes
Humor is a critical part of communication skills. How effective is constructive criticism without humor? Can you laugh at yourself?
Appropriate, well-timed humor adds greatly to the Toastmasters experience. As meetings are structured and should be “well-oiled,” it is often a challenge for members to know when to insert jokes and humor into the meeting. This is why we have a Joke Master each meeting.
A Toastmaster will call on you as the Joke Master to give a joke. The joke can be a one-liner, a “groaner”, or a pleasant short story that leaves the members feeling good. You do not need to find the funniest joke ever told, nor do you need to deliver a joke so perfectly that the members are literally rolling on the floor laughing.
It’s all about practice. Practice your delivery. Practice the timing. Smile. Plan a pause to accommodate for audience reaction or laughter.
Most importantly, have fun with this meeting role!
Prior to the meeting.
Prepare a brief but thorough summary of your role as Joke Master that explains your role in the program to visiting guests.
Prepare and practice a joke suitable for a Toastmasters meeting. It should take no more than 2 minutes to tell.
- The best joke is one that you have learned from personal experience.
- If you must find a joke from other sources, do not use the Internet. A joke published on the Internet has been read by thousands of people. Chances are that more than a few people in your audience have read or heard it more than once. Old books are a much better resource.
- Humor should be of good taste. Objectionable contents or language is unacceptable at Toastmasters meetings.
Jokes that may be suitable at a party might not necessarily be suitable for a Toastmasters meeting. Avoid racial, sexist or otherwise offensive jokes. Jokes on religion and politics should also be avoided. As Toastmasters, we need to be aware of the feelings of our fellow members and be sensitive to them. If you are in doubt, get another joke.
Practice so that you can present it without reading. Use all the skills in vocal variety and body language to enhance the story line and will lead effectively to your punch-line.
As you arrive at the meeting.
Check with the Toastmaster to see at what time during the meeting you will be presenting your joke
During the meeting.
Briefly state the purpose of this session. Serves as the appetizer to warm up the meeting with laughter.
You are telling a joke – do not read it. Deliver the joke as a mini-speech.
When called, stand at your seat and say some introductory warming up words like “Madam President, Mr. Toastmaster (or Madame Toastmaster), Fellow Toastmasters, and Guests, I have the following joke for your entertainment.”
Present the joke as you have practiced. Smile widely at your audience. Make it believable and make your audience believe that you are enjoying yourself.
After the meeting.