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Thursday, 18 August 2016 02:29

What are humorous topics to give a speech on?

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What are humorous topics to give a speech on, answered by Rae StonehouseI don’t believe that there is a master list of topics that would be considered humorous. The challenge is that humour is not universal. What is funny in one part of the world may be offensive in another. Even among people that know each other, one person may find something funny, while another may not.

I try to use humour whenever I can in my presentations. My humour tends to be spontaneous. I find something funny to share in situations as they occur. You might consider it to be situational humour. I find it very difficult to craft a humorous speech.

A formula that I learned long ago for creating humorous speeches is as follows: PMF+T=H. Personal Misfortune + Time =Humour. These are stories about disasters in our lives, situations that were out of our control and were likely quite stressful at the time. As time passes, our memories evolve and we tend to forget the pain and other emotions that we experienced at the time. These are the stories that we often tell when our families get together, or perhaps at work over coffee. Sometimes we even start to embellish our story so that in time they become quite humorous and may even contain a grain of truth.

Some advise that I learned from a fellow Toastmaster many years ago was “Never let the truth get in the way of telling a good story!”

Here is an example of PMF+T=H in a personal story that I often share. Way back in the late 1980s I met one of my long time goals and that was to own a motor boat i.e. a pleasure craft. I only owned it for two weeks before I got rid of it. It almost killed me several times in those few short days. On the first day of owning it I was having troubles starting the motor. I kept pulling on the pull cord and after numerous pulls the engine finally caught. The problem was that the engine was in forward gear and shot forward at high speed. I didn’t! I shot backwards, landing and sprawling on the outboard motor. My face was a mere few inches from a whirling propeller. It was like getting ready to kiss a food blender! When I quickly recovered myself off the engine I found that the boat was racing at high speed towards a rock wall. I threw myself over the seats and managed to steer the boat out into deeper water and away from the rocks. Once I got my heart rate back down to normal parameters, I went for a leisurely ride. I didn’t tell my wife about this near death experience for several years.

The next day there was a storm. The boat developed a hole in the keel and sunk to the bottom. I baled out over 200 buckets of water and left to go get my truck and trailer to pull the boat out of the water. When I returned, the boat had sunk again. I eventually repaired the hole in the boat, or so I thought! I took my wife out for her first official ride. The hole opened up again and we started sinking. I believed that if we took the plug out of the back of the boat, the water should drain out as we moved forward. It should have worked except the engine chose that time to die. We were definitely sinking! I managed to paddle the boat to shore as the water was getting up to our knees, in the boat. My wife was not impressed! Then I hitchhiked home to get the truck and trailer to haul the boat home.

Once again, another repair job. My wife gave me an ultimatum. She wasn’t ever going back in the boat and she wanted me to sell it. I had a potential buyer for it so I took them and my four year old son out for a spin. Once again, the boat started sinking. I still recall my young son’s words “So I guess they aren’t going to buy the boat, eh Dad!” And that is why my wife won’t let me buy a boat…

At the time it was extremely stressful. There were several potential death-causing situations. In time, with the addition of physical humour while delivering the speech, such as throwing myself across the engine when it took off and then throwing myself over the seats to crank on the steering wheel, it helped add to the humour.

We all have an abundance of memories that weren’t much fun at the time but could be extremely funny now that we aren’t attached to the original emotions. Stories like this can be used to illustrate a point in a longer speech. My example would have fit in well with a speech on boating safety.

Have fun being humorous!

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Rae Stonehouse

Author Bio:

Rae A. Stonehouse is a Canadian born author & speaker. His professional career as a Registered Nurse working predominantly in psychiatry/mental health, has spanned four decades.

Rae has embraced the principal of CANEI (Constant and Never-ending Improvement) as promoted by thought leaders such as Tony Robbins and brings that philosophy to each of his publications and presentations.

Rae has dedicated the latter segment of his journey through life to overcoming his personal inhibitions. As a 20+ year member of Toastmasters International he has systematically built his self-confidence and communicating ability. He is passionate about sharing his lessons with his readers and listeners. His publications thus far are of the self-help, self-improvement genre and systematically offer valuable sage advice on a specific topic. He is a long-time member of Kelowna Flying Solo Toastmasters and is the driving force behind its long-term success. 

His writing style can be described as being conversational. As an author Rae strives to have a one-to-one conversation with each of his readers, very much like having your own personal self-development coach. Rae is known for having a wry sense of humour that features in his publications.

Author of Self-Help Downloadable E-Books:

Power Networking for Shy PeoplePower Networking for Shy People: Tips & Techniques for Moving from Shy to Sly!

PROtect Yourself!PROtect Yourself! Empowering Tips & Techniques for Personal Safety: A Practical Violence Prevention Manual for Healthcare Workers.

E=Emcee SquaredE=Emcee SquaredTips & Techniques to Becoming a Dynamic Master of Ceremonies.

Power of PromotionPower of Promotion: On-line Marketing for Toastmasters Club Growth


Phone Rae 250-451-6564 or

Rae’s social … are you?


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Copyright 2015 & 2016 Rae Stonehouse. The above document may be freely copied and distributed as long as the author’s name and contact info remain attached.

To learn more about Rae A. Stonehouse, visit the Wonderful World of Rae Stonehouse at http://raestonehouse.com