The Shyness Project

Brittany the Jokemaster

7-6-11

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.

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18 thoughts on “Brittany the Jokemaster

  1. Wow those are great jokes! and you did them well. Thank you
    Your meeting sounds awesome and I do know that feeling of awesome high when something goes well or unexpectedly sensational. I am sure you were the best in the group and who better to get the prize then the bestest!

    Just enjoy your success and remember it on the days that are just so-so.
    Thank you for sharing

    • Thanks, it was surprisingly hard to find good, clean funny jokes on the internet! I went through tons of lame ones before I finally found these.

      It did go very well and I think that was the most exciting meeting for me so far. I guess I just got really hyped up when I realized how far I’ve come already and it’s kind of thrilling doing things that you didn’t think you could do or that you’re afraid of. I’m glad you have experienced this feeling too, it is a great one! Haha and I don’t know about that, I think they might have just been really kind and maybe were impressed that I was able to make up a speech on such a strange topic.

      Thanks, this is a good one to remember in times that things don’t go as well. Thank you for writing Patricia! 🙂

  2. Congrats on the good job! As someone with dead pan humor I’ve been able to avoid the expression aspect of telling jokes haha. From your video it looks like you’re getting expressions down pretty well. Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks Tyler! 🙂 Haha yeah I wasn’t doing as many expressions and gestures the first few times I practiced, but the videos helped me realize where I could add stuff. Thanks!

  3. HAHA! That second joke was hilarious, great job! 🙂
    Nice to see you’re able to now help out others who are afraid of giving speeches.

    • Hehe thanks! 🙂 I may have to repeat that joke in times where people ask for jokes, especially now that I have it down pretty good!
      Yeah it’s funny how quickly I’ve already become more comfortable with this, and have even been able to honestly encourage others to join! I think if I had left after the first meeting or two when I was a guest, I would have said this was something I couldn’t do and wouldn’t want to do it. But I committed myself to join, and now that I’ve made that decision and have been participating a lot in the club, I don’t regret it! The trick is just to stay in the scary situation long enough before allowing yourself to flee from it, and I think by then you’ll realize it’s not as bad as you originally thought.

  4. Next stop, the Tonight Show!
    Well done.

  5. “It’s a puppy!” 🙂 just watched your practice video. Now that is the first time I’ve watched a fellow blogger on utube. Great idea. Your video makes me want to tape myself when I do the “writing your own bucket list” presentation. You looked relaxed. DM

    • Haha thanks! I don’t usually like seeing myself on video but I figured I might as well put it up so you guys can hear the joke and see me more than just by a picture. You should tape yourself! I think taping has helped me see where I can improve. 🙂

  6. Patti on said:

    Great job! Wonderful idea to record yourself and look at it beforehand – I’m so glad it went well. Doing that, you took on a task that so many people will never even try.

    • Thanks Patti! Recording myself has definitely been helpful, and I’m glad it went well too! I’ve never really told a joke before like that except maybe a one-liner in elementary school when we had to I think. It wasn’t as bad as I thought!

  7. Hello Brittany! Good morning. I really loved the second joke. It made me swallow hard and brush my teeth again. Looking forward to more.

    Perhaps your voice sounded different because you were lying down on your stomach.

    • Hey Tom! I’m glad you loved it, I went through tons of jokes before I could find it. It’s really hard to find good jokes. 🙂

      That could have been part of the reason! I do have a new camera now so we’ll see if my voice sounds any different on there. Thanks for writing!

  8. Barbara Markway on said:

    Hi Brittany. Love the image of you singing your heart out on the way home, basking in your accomplishment!

    You are motivating me to want to find a Toastmaster’s group. I would have to drive about 45 minutes, and that is a big stumbling block for me right now in terms of time… but I may look into it.

    I have actually done a fair amount of public speaking, but it is always so spead out in terms of time—a talk one month, then nothing for six months or a year… I never get enough momentum to get over the anticipatory anxiety. I actually perform fine, but I hate the anxiety and dread that comes before. I also seem to “space out” during my actual talks and have no idea how I did. It’s almost like I’m in a trance. I like the idea of taping some presentations. The last presentation I gave my husband came. He said I was funny, engaging and didn’t look at all nervous. I would have had no clue and I’m sure I would’ve judged my performance harshly.

    I’ve always wanted to be able to tell jokes. Not one of my natural abilities 🙂

    • Hey Barbara! Haha thanks! For some reason I was feeling really euphoric after that night of Toastmasters. It was a great feeling! 🙂

      I’m honored that my experiences with Toastmasters have motivated you to want to look into Toastmasters! That is tough though that the nearest one to you is so far away. I was surprised that there was one right in my town only 10 or 15 minutes away, especially since my town is relatively small. Maybe you can go every other week or find other people to carpool with who might be interested to make it easier.

      Yeah I imagine that since you’re an author and have several shyness books out that you have to give several talks from time to time. The nice thing about Toastmasters is that it’s every week so you don’t have that spacing problem. It makes it easier to keep up the momentum that way. I am the same way though with presentations. The worst part is the anticipation. The actual presentation, when I’m finally up there, usually turns out fine and I relax. I get used to having all the eyes on me and just start talking like I would to a person I was just meeting. It’s funny. I think I space out a little too because I’m not sure of how I did, and afterward sometimes I judge myself too harshly. Thankfully I videotaped my icebreaker speech so I would feel less bad about it when I watched it back. I was actually pretty upset with myself afterward and was embarrassed that I might have blown my speech. It was probably similar to having your husband come watch your presentation and let you know that you were funny, engaging, and didn’t look at all nervous.

      Haha yes, that’s the first joke I’ve ever told like that. I’ve always wanted to be able to tell jokes too but I never really knew any, or I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to tell it well enough to make anyone laugh. It went really well though! 🙂 I know you could do it too! Thanks for writing Barbara!

  9. Awwwww is it really a puppy..
    cute one 😀 U’r brave girl by d way 🙂
    Came across ur blog n cant stop myself from appreciating u 🙂
    Still Long way to go.. All the very best 🙂

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