Life is incredibly full of surprises, more often through unexpected phenomena. Registering my name to participate in ‘Humorous Speech Contest’ itself was not less than a big joke since I had never seen such a contest, except on YouTube, and further, I had to perform a hilarious speech in English. Moreover, I was going to compete with three magnificent speakers who had already won piles of awards. Nevertheless, I dared to participate because it was just an intra-club competition. It was really difficult to collect funny moments, yet I could compile four real events and one relevant joke for a 5-7 minute speech and that too just a day earlier.

On Saturday, 26th October 2019, I captured the text of my speech on the mobile and reached Club Bagmati, Bhaktapur. We were assigned to submit the form where the title of the speech was supposed to be written. I instantly wrote ‘Awkward Phenomenon.’ Thank god! 

‘Evaluation Speech’ was conducted first and then only ‘Humorous Speech Contest.’ My turn came on third in the row. I felt immense pressure from both the contestants, especially TM Chandni Kayastha, in addition to the presence of a larger audience of fellow Toastmasters from other clubs as well as two foreigners. As she usually did with her previous speeches, TM Chandni delivered a fantastic speech with her flawless fluency. She continuously kept on spreading laughter among the audience. I was fully engulfed in one of the scenes where she stood up on a chair and cracked a satirical joke on assignment over suicide. That moment, I felt as though I had forgotten my speech and got anxious about whether I could entertain the audience or not. I felt so pressurized that I started comparing my situation to the player shooting a penalty kick in the world cup football. Then I convinced myself that I would just try to deliver a better speech than my previous speeches. 

What a surprise! I could not believe my ears that people started laughing from my opening remarks. That gave me a pleasant reinforcement. Then I tried elevating my speech through vocal variety and acting. The finest feeling throughout my entire speech was that I was making everyone laugh continuously and that too in English. I could not believe my eyes and ears. During most of the speech, I was in a dilemma whether I should let others laugh for a long time or should I continue speaking as it would be difficult to finish the speech on time. Finally, I could finish all my content with a very loud laugh and clap on time.

It was a great achievement to be able to entertain everyone and not let down Bhaktapur Toastmasters Club. The first runner up award was a feather on my hat. As I self-reflected, I realized I could deliver the humorous speech ten times better than I had thought. Since then, I have stopped underestimating myself and have decided to take up more challenges in the future. 

Bikash Ghaju, Bhaktapur Toastmasters Club 

Published in Inkspire Issue 2. Click here for the full newsletter.

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