Brittany the Jokemaster
Tonight turned out to be a great night of Toastmasters! I was the jokemaster of the evening, and was to tell about two jokes.
I practiced my jokes several times a day until I knew them like the back of my hand and didn’t need any notes. I even video recorded myself so I could see how my vocal variety and expressions/gestures looked. If I saw things that I wanted to make better, I would work on them, like the way I used my hands and varied my voice. I didn’t think I’d be able to memorize both jokes, especially the longer one, but after I realized the rhythm of the jokes it made it much easier to keep them straight in my head.
I didn’t allow myself to get worried about what I was doing the week I was practicing thankfully enough. Anytime I felt a negative thought try to creep into my head, I immediately blocked it from entering my mind. It was amazing. I tried to imagine myself telling my jokes with confidence and a self-assured smile. I believed that the group would laugh at my jokes and genuinely enjoy them.
At the meeting I was called on to tell my jokes right away, sooner than I expected, and I nervously smiled and shook hands with the Sergeant at Arms. I hoped I would remember everything and not look at any notes.
It went well, and I didn’t look at my notes at all. I spoke a little fast at first probably, but I used my gestures and vocal variety that I practiced. I smiled and sustained eye contact with each separate person longer this time to make them feel like I was really talking to them.
Everyone laughed and clapped, and especially enjoyed the second joke. I felt flushed afterward and a little shaky once I was back in my seat, but it couldn’t have gone any better. I did it just like I practiced.
When it was time for the table topics, however, I had a much harder time. Each person read a line off a Snapple cap that they had to make a 1 – 2 minute speech about. And just my luck, when I was called up I got a really off the wall one. It read “Only male turkeys gobble.” I smiled up at the podium but I had no idea what I would say. I don’t really know much of anything about turkeys…
I started by repeating the fact, and said “Well what do the females do then? What noise do they make?” I had no idea what else to say and I think I said an um there, and then decided to talk about having a grandpa who owns a farm (made up) who has turkeys, pigs, and horses. I talked about how the first time I’d ridden a horse, I was really nervous. We were in the Mojave Desert and it was very hot, and I was afraid of getting thrown off or something but didn’t have any problems. (true) I said a few more ums and winged it until I saw the green light signaling I’d reached the required minute and that was good enough for me so I finished.
Everyone clapped, and I thought I did really bad, especially with all the ums, but hey, I did it. I got a little flushed, embarrassed by my poor performance.
Imagine my surprise when at the end of the meeting it was announced that I won the Best Table Topics Award! I thought I had no chance of even getting a single vote! I accepted my award with a look of shock and smiled, and admitted that I really didn’t expect that at all.
I talked to some people afterward about it, Marcy and then later one of the guests who said I did really good and they would have had no idea what to say on that. I couldn’t believe it, I told them I had no idea what I was saying and thought I did really bad. Maybe I’m just too hard on myself.
Everyone really liked my jokes, and one of the guests at the end commented that she’ll have to steal my jokes to tell other people and pretend they’re her own, which was a pretty high compliment to me. Houston made a comment that I was a great storyteller, which made me smile because those are words I’d never thought I’d hear. Chole told me privately that she was really impressed with me because she was terrified of being the jokemaster and hadn’t done it yet. She thinks no one will laugh at her jokes, which surprised me because she’s one of the best speakers of the club. The other guest said she was really impressed that all of us were such great speakers and said as she was watching Table Topics she thought she’d have no idea what to say and would make a big fool out of herself. She said public speaking terrifies her, but she has to make a presentation for work soon so that’s why she’s here.
After hearing that, I knew I had to talk to her and tell her how nervous and intimidated I was when I first came here. So I talked to her and told how intimidated I felt at first and how I wanted to get the heck out of here because I was so scared, but it’s gotten easier each time I’ve come and I feel more comfortable now. I told her that everyone’s always so supportive and friendly. This seemed to reassure her and she said she’d definitely be back then, and I was happy to hear that.
On the way home, I turned up the music and sang my heart out to the songs on the radio and felt a rush of euphoria with my accomplishments for the night! I never thought I’d say this, but speaking in Toastmasters gives me a rush and I’m excited for more! I can’t believe how far I’ve come already, this is insane! Absolutely insane I tell you!
*Here’s one of the practice videos, this one was before going to bed. This camera makes my voice sound funny and doesn’t sound like me according to my mom, but at least it has sound.