Why to take so many Stand Up Commedy classes?

Sometime, I asked myself what got into me to go into Stand UP and take in 2011 not one but three Workshops!

This morning; I did what Judy Carter suggested in The Book: I begin to write as I woke up.

I wrote a whole gag, two pages about my Cataract Intervention, and being old. I can now see things that happen to me with a new eye... haha. That I just found! All events that seem sad or frustrating can be transformed if seen differently, with another "attitude".

And when I finished this morning, I realized that I made laugh 9 other who waited to have their  left eye cataract operated twice! So yes, now I am no more asking myself why I did it!


Judy Carter; The BOOK

Books about Humour and Stand Up Comedy 03 The Stand Up Comedy classic by Judy Carter is still very active after so many years!

Oh yes; a classic is a classic and lives long long long!

I begun to read it again and arrived to chapter two at middle, what I learned; again so far?

Be authentic, open yourself, speak in present, not too long stories but tell your frustrations and worries and angers; those you feel most about. We all have stage fright but for most it goes away as we arrive on scene. Prepare a lot but appear to speak in the moment.

What else?

Study other good comedians and their messages and attitudes and persona, but then find your own without imitating them. Get used to ups and downs and tell the material important to You. Tell seriously to make others laugh without trying to become a clown; tell your own material.

It is your uniqueness that interest; your frustrations and worries that make laugh. And it all depends also on their mood and the place; do not get upset the day when all bombs and no one laughs - other good day will come! Persist.

And that is only the begining!

Olivia's speech

Olivia with her teddy
Her speech at the International contents was the most wonderful one but went over the time: and she was disqualified: you know why?

Her heartbreaking story I felt it in me; as something similar happened to me too; and so many of us!

At the same time; as she did want it too; made people laugh... to long! to often.

The story itself lasted only seven minutes and fifteen seconds; 15 seconds under the maximum time allowed at that Toastmasters International competition of seven and thirty; and that with all the long and important pauses! But with the people laughing; and one can not speak until the laughter dies down almost; it went over.

If your speech contains humor, and every should, allow one minute for people reactions! For a seven minutes speech finish at home at six minutes maximum for example.

What I also learned, listening to it many times today; that self revelation works! Of course with the right attitude; I loved also her speech morale: do not let a defect you have - and we all have some - have a too big impact on you and dominate the rest of your life!

Sorry: the soundtrack is no more here, at her request I took it out. And it is true that I have also her movements in my head that contributed to the greatness of the speech and its powerful effect on me - and so many others. And I had only the voice...


From Australia to China

Winner of second price on the Toastmasters International Contest in Las Vegas, there is a lot to learn from him and the reaction to his speech, too. It is also a very humourous one.


Congratulations to the International Speech Contest Winners!

The title of 2011 World Champion of Public Speaking for Toastmasters in Las Vegas, was awarded to Jock Elliott from Bongaree, Queensland, Australia, in the middle here. Second Kwong Yue Yang of Guangzhou, Guangdong, China and third was Scott Pritchard of Henderson, Nevada, United States.

In fact, Kwonng Yue Yang was also born in Australia, and he told us the story in a funny way of how he went to China in his speech, and how he asked all around 'what to do' until finaly he realised he has to ask himself.

Scott Pritchard, native of Vegas, told us about a box, her mom gave him. "There is nothing in it!" he finally told her. "It is full of memories" - build your memories and pass it farther, was his message.

Workshop on Leadership Assasination

Be prepared, he told us in his hour workshop, to those who are against leaders, and each time one is rising up, try to 'assassinate' him or her, by false accusations.

“Speak Outside of Toastmasters for Fun, Profit and Club Building!” (C)

Darren LaCroix

  • Learn how to build your club – and your confidence – by giving paid speeches
  • Realize your Toastmasters experience shouldn’t be undervalued
  • Learn what to speak about
  • Learn where you can start speaking next week!
  • Get an exact outline of what to say in your presentation 
Darren encouraged us, in his Vegas workshop, to go out, and speak outside our Toastmasters clubs. Then, encourage others to go out to the community too and speak... about speaking and our clubs too.

Of course, our clubs are a warm environment we can experiement, but then, our main goal is go out!

“On Life’s Journey – Get Lost!” (L)

Mark Hunter, ATMS

become explorer, do not remain a tourist, he told us in his workshop
  • What it is to be a tourist and/or an explorer
  • The role of the mind when we manage our journeys
  • How a Toastmaster’s journey is affected by whether you are a club member or a leader
  • The importance of choosing when and how to be explorers
  • What we need to be explorers 
Mark Hunter gave a fantastic speech encouraging most of us to become Explorers, go on the path of discovery and not remain only on known roads. Also we do need at first to be tourists and guided by others, and it is best to go exploring a bit later on in our journey. 


How to be a Standup Comedian, by Dave

Some paragraphs from Dave's advices on Dress and on Freedom of Speach

Dress for who you are on stage.
If you’re upscale, dress the part. If you’re on the streets – look it. Don’t dress like a bank president if your material is about being broke. And if you’re not crazy – don’t dress like Phyllis Diller. But you need to give this some thought and make a personal decision about your image and how you want an audience to see and remember you.

 Another consideration is where you are performing. If the clothes fit the material and the performer – who they are on stage and where they are performing – then it works.

Freedom of speech is the center of the comedy universe.

From talking about your family, (Ray Romano), to taking on the government, (The Smothers Brothers). It’s about telling it as you see it and why comedians look up to legends such as Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor and George Carlin.

On the flip side of this universe is the comedy “business.” What you say can sometimes affect your career.

On stage in a comedy club, comedians can say F. or other things, that you can not on TV.
You can make fun of companies, religion or whatever you want as long as – and this is the business side talking – you bring in paying customers. Many club owners support the art and creativity of stand-up, but are still in it to make a living.

Practicing the art of free speech and made a choice about how far he would go. One has to live with the results. That’s a personal decision and you have a right to make it. But just make sure you have both your artistic and business thinking caps on when you make it.

Dave Schwensen is the author of How To Be A Working Comic and Comedy FAQs And Answers. http://thecomedybook.wordpress.com/2011/08/


Ralph C. Smedley

It is usual, for Presidents of Toastmasters Clubs, to begin the meeting, by telling, mostly for the guests because the club members heard it over and over again, that Toastmasters have been founded almost hundred year ago, by Ralph Smedley.

Sometimes, one adds to it, that he hold the first meeting in the basement of YMCA, for the young boys from the Christian Association, where he become Education Director after he finished college. But that happened more then 100 years ago, in 1905, also only later the first men's club was formed and even later Toastmasters, with some clubs also in Canada, incorported.

No mention is made of Smedley any more.

I am pHd even if not in Communication and i am curious, liking to go to the source, so I tried to buy a book written by him. The first one, a short collection of chapters shortened from a 400 pages book he in fact wrote, showed me a very interesting fellow.

A living, fighting, experimenting man I become fond of.

So I went to Amazon to find more books by him.

In England, where the firsts clubs where formed a lot later - first was in fact Glasgow, in Scottland - and then they stopped for a long time during the second world war, any book by Smedley is sold way to expensive. Then I did found from Amazon America some of his books, manuals, I could afford, publication dates from 1940 (I was 5 years old) to 1949.

The first, for me perhaps the most interesting, revealing his character and his intents, is called "Speech Evaluation: the art of constructive criticism" and published already by Toastmasters International Inc, Santa Ana, California. It is illustrated by funny cartoons by Edward Burns.

Smedley was told later that 'critic' and critisism, has negative connotations in many minds, and let the organisation name it 'evaluator' 'evaluating', but I liked his stubborn character: he sticks in his book to his own opinion, not being afraid to explain why and use whatever word he is believing in. The book explains very clearly how to give positive and helpful feedback, and many different ways it can be done in the club meetings.

Never the same!

Ralph Smedley suggest variation on the theme, so each time is different, each time something else can be learned from it, as well by the one who spoke, and also by the one or many who gives the feedback of the speech(es), and always also by all the members present.

One interesting example is, when the General Critic called also Master commentator, distributes to the others the speech: one will analyse all the beginnings, the second will analyse all the endings, or yet other one will give feedback on voice variety of all speeches, or will critic (evaluate) the body language or use the of words.

I will have to read again and again this small 36 page small book or manual, brown by age, so many ideas and suggestions, so much explications easy to understand are in it.

Even more, it shows so well the spirit of Ralph Smedley, of wich I become more and more fond.

When I will speak about him, it will be his living spirit not a dead founder of a club or corporation.

As also the millions of men, and later - a lot later- near the time, I first joined a Toastmasters club, also women passed by the clubs. They are not numbers to me but human beings that got for all the rest of their life more confidence in themselves and courage to stand up and speak their mind, knowledge to persuade, to make a speech in conversational style - not orathoric as was still usage in most places at the begining of the century.

The other books by Dr. Ralph Smedley I found are Basic Traning, 12 procects so well explained and so well written that even today what we use in not much different. The one I have was published in 1943. The basics of public speaking, today we call it Competent Communicator manual.

The amateur Chairman, one of his first books, explains how to chair a meeting, 'Toastmaster of the Evening" but also any other Committee meeing, in a more or less 'parlamentarian' way, this one was published in 1947.

Still another one, I found from 1947, is autographed by him, he sold it directly at the Toastmaster Convention : The Voice of the Speaker. "First of all, learn to speak in a friendly voice! He also put a lot of pratical exercises in it, how to improve on the voice one has got.

I have yet to find, that one directly from Toastmasters, the collection of his different articles. Someday, I will be able to give conferences, about his intentions, his spirit, his advices. If we really follow it, we will become better speakers, listeners, thinkers, and faster. And also his later book: Beyond the basic training.


An image can tell more, sometimes

Evoking an image in the listeners mind of eye, or showing on the screen, can tell a message, a story even.

Here, four images four seasons, but they tell more then just 'spring, summer, fall, winter', so can a story, facts to which we add emotion, feelings.

jardin l'hiver
What each of them, all from ny old pictures, evokes in you?


Use Storytelling to pitch better

The Elements of Persuasion, by Richard Maxwell and Robert Dickman, the last book I discoverd, almost by change.What a treat!

Its subtitle : Use STORYTELLING to Pitch better, sell faster & win more business.

I could hardly put it down, but it is a book to study, to experiment, to read again, and again.

I just finished to go through it the first time, and already learned a lot.

They define a Story by Facts wrapped in Emotion. The emotions that make your facts stick in mind, and make the story great and enduring.

The 5 elements of a story they discuss in detail and with many exemples are:
  1. The Passion with witch you tell it.
  2. The Hero, vulnerable yet courageous having a goal, giving the point the view for the listener to identify, the 'entry point' in the story.
  3. The Antagonist or Obstacle he faces and has to overcome, to fight through the conflict wich keeps the audience in the story. Locking it into the memory, the fight releasing emotions.
  4. The Awerness point, aha, turning point, that helps winning the fight. We all inspire a positive outcome.
  5. The Transformation, change of the hero, through the conflict and awereness.
Who end up being a leader they ask? And they answer: usually those who can effectively telling the right story.  In business, collectivity, or home even, we all have stories to tell!

And that are only from the first pages... then the book takes the five elements one by one and go in depth and explain, teach, suggest. It is a book worth having! And I found in it also many suggestions applicable to my Toastmasters International, speakers club and its members.


Different methods of answering

I have also looked at all the questioning, World Phone Hacking Enquiry in Parlement, and was impressed by how long pauses Ruppert Murdock made, often, without answering, and how much a Leader he come out of it. Yes, we felt, he knew what he was doing.

Of course, I was impressed also that he did not move even when an attempt was made against him, but how fast the young woman, bodygard (and wife?) did move the strike the man who went against him. After, as his coat was probably smeared, he just took it off, and quietly, with the same poise, continued to answer, with as much apparent quiet and thinking before answering, and looking straight and long in eyes.

Vour speaking voice