Top 10 Canadian Writing Awards - No. 3

The Toastmasters Only-Lightly-Related-to-Writing
Humorous Speech Contest Prize

Also see Bilingualism and Award for Bravery)

Last fall (2011), I entered the local Toastmasters International speech competition here in Ottawa and surprised myself and many others by winning at the Club, Area, and Division levels.   At the final  event, the District Conference, I was still sitting in the audience applauding when the winners were called up to the stage at the end of the contest.
I was suprised to win anything labelled humorous given my dismal theme. To the extent I was successful, I may have been benefiting from a context susceptible to gallows humor, cynicism, and irony - the theme was layoffs in the public service.   This spring with thousands of people losing their jobs, it seems even less like the feedstock for something branded “funny.”

But I feel comfortable rereading the speech because the intent was to support those affected – it counseled people laid off through a strategic government review to regard it as anything but a comment on their self worth.   The speech underlined the point by showing what it would be like to apply the same government review process to one’s own personal life.
The experience of practicing and competing in front of a bunch of people was good for me.
But even though speech writing is an honourable craft, it is hard to see humorous speech-giving  as a major writing achievement – it is more the mouth and the ear –  less the mind and the eye.   
In fact, the Toastmasters’ criteria for evaluating a Humorous Speech hardly mentions the humour element. 

More irony, and again, a worthy candidate for the Top 10 Canadian Writing Awards.

Check out Satire of Machivelli's The Prince
by Piccolò Mochiavelli
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