Today at Christchurch Women’s Toastmasters’ online meeting, Laura Bruce DTM will present an educational speech to help you win the Humourous Speech Contest. The meeting will be an online meeting, and guests are very welcome.
Laura is the 2020 District 72 Humourous Speech champion, so she knows a bit about winning the contest. You may be surprised to learn, however, that most of what Laura knows came from many year’s experience losing the contest. Until 2019 when she won the Christchurch Women’s Club Humourous Speech Contest, Laura had never won the speech contest at club level.
Laura credits Toastmasters with giving her both the skills and the confidence to try stand-up comedy. She made her debut in Scotland but really got stuck into comedy once she relocated to New Zealand in 2019. In December 2020, she was voted “South Island Newcomer of the Year” by members of the New Zealand Comedy Guild.
Prepare to be motivated and inspired by her presentation today!
An invitation to be a guest speaker at another new club can be an exciting, albeit somewhat daunting prospect! Having triumphed at the 2020 District 72 Humourous Speech Contest, I was invited by Boaters Toastmasters in Christchurch, New Zealand to present my tips on humorous speaking and online competing.
Only problem is, they meet at 7am! Yes, Boaters Toastmasters is one of a handful of breakfast clubs in the Garden City.
“Never fear, Laura is here!” I got up early, found the venue in plenty of time, and had a wonderful time, meeting new people and going for coffee with a group from Boaters after the meeting. What fun! It was worth getting up very early after all!
If you’d like to watch the video of my presentation, “Tech and Technique”, here it is, courtesy of Louise Landess at Boaters Toastmasters.
Competing online is part of the brave new Toastmasters world post-March 2020. This presentation was in October, 2020. Toastmasters clubs in New Zealand resumed in-person meetings in July 2020 after we returned to normal life on the islands. Unfortunately, clubs all over the world have had to meet online to cope with various regulations around social distancing.
At the time of writing (July 2021) Toastmasters Clubs in New Zealand continue to meet in-person. At Christchurch Women’s Toastmasters, we relish the opportunity to visit with our friends, go for coffee afterwards, and enjoy all the ancillary benefits of being a Toastmaster — part of a worldwide community of people committed to becoming better speakers and leaders.
We were delighted to get media coverage of our club’s recent achievements in the Nor’West News this week in Christchurch.
At the District 72 conference, our club won an award for having a positive impact on our community. It’s the second year we’ve won the Jack Duffy Memorial Rose Bowl.
Thanks to the Nor’west News for their interest in our community and our club!
“If at first you don’t succeed, compete, compete, again.”
Also at the conference, Laura Bruce won the District 72 Humourous Speech Contest with a speech entitled, “Smart, Helpful, and a Great Communicator, She’s the Ultimate Assistant”. Prior to this win, the best Laura had ever placed in the Toastmasters Humourous Speech contest was second place in her club contest in Scotland, in 2018.
“My experience with the Humourous Speech Contest should be an inspiration to all Toastmasters,” said Laura. “My first year in the contest  I came second. The second year , I went over time. The third year , I came second. The fourth year, 2017, I was on the District Leadership Team and could not compete. In 2018, I placed again — but again, only second — and so could not progress to the Area contest.
“To finally make it to an Area contest in 2019 — now a member of Christchurch Women’s Club — was such a thrill! I was delighted to proceed to the Division Contest in April. But to win at District is the biggest thrill ever!”
“What I have learned from competing each year since I joined Toastmasters is that persistence pays off. I have also learned that it’s important that your speech be funny, and it’s good to get an early laugh to put your audience at ease.”
“It’s important to remember what you present in the Humourous Speech Contest still has to conform to the structure of a speech. It can’t be a series of one-liners, or a stand-up comedy routine,” she added.
“That being said, a funny story is an ideal starting point for the Humourous Speech Contest. I still remember the District 71 Contest at the Titanic Conference in Belfast in 2014. One of the contestants, a speaker from Ireland, talked about his trip to a water park in Italy. The imagery of his swimsuit making him stick to the water slide, together with the accompanying gestures, was hilarious. He had us in stitches — and he didn’t even win!”
It was a momentous day at the District 72 conference yesterday, as the Christchurch Women’s Club came away with two victories.
Representing her club as well as Division E, Laura Bruce triumphed in the District 72 Humourous Speech Contest, and the Christchurch Women’s Club won the Jack Duffy Memorial Rosebowl for Community Service. This marks the second consecutive year the club has won this accolade.
Congratulations to Laura and to all the members of the club for making their mark and being recognised by District 72 Toastmasters in New Zealand.
Best of luck to Laura Bruce ACG, ALB from Christchurch Women’s Toastmasters Club. Laura, who serves as the club’s Vice President of Public Relations, will be representing our Division at the New Zealand District 72 Humourous Speech Contest on Saturday 23 May, 2020.
Laura triumphed at club contest in September, then at the Area contest in December. She won again at the Division Contest in April, and now progresses to the ultimate arena, the District Contest, tomorrow.
Laura said, “Having never won the Humourous Speech contest at my club before, I am absolutely over the moon to be representing Christchurch Women’s Club at the District 72 Conference contest tomorrow!”
Three of the club’s members — Laura Bruce, Sheila Hailstone and Nicola Tiffin — were successful at Area level contests — a sweep by Christchurch Women’s Club at Area 4 — and all three went on to compete in the Division Contest in April.
“Our club’s motto is ‘supporting women to succeed’,” said Club founder President-Elect Sheila Hailstone DTM. “Laura embodies that drive for success, and we will all be there tomorrow to cheer her on!”