Humorously Speaking #1 - Warm Up Your Audience

(See sample speech here)


Remember the speeches you presented while completing the basic manual? One of the lessons you learned was that the opening of your speech must immediately catch your audience attention. It must arouse the audience's interest in you and your topic and lead into the speech subject.

Executive Summary

A humorous story at the beginning of your presentation will attract listener's attention and relax them, gently leading them into your speech. An opening humorous story should be relevant to your speech topic, simple, readily identifiable as humor, and appropriate for your audience. Most stories are composed of five parts: the set-up, the pause, the punch line, the punch word, and another pause. Deliver the story confidently and make sure your body language doesn't give away the story.


  • Prepare a speech that opens with a humorous story.

  • Personalize the story.

  • Deliver the story smoothly and effectively.

TIME: Five to seven minutes

Note to the Evaluator

The purpose of this project is for the speaker to present a five- to seven- minute speech that begins with a humorous story. The story must be related to the speech topic and appropriate for the audience. The story may be based on an actual personal experience the speaker has had or on a story from another source. The speaker is to personalize the story.

This information is provided as a service to members. For full details on this speech project, refer to the Humorously Speaking manual. All materials in the Toastmasters Educational Program are copyright Toastmasters International. All rights reserved.

The Humorously Speaking Manual

Every speaker benefits from using humor. Learn how to begin a speech with a humorous story to get listeners' attention, end a speech with a humorous story, use humorous stories and anecdotes throughout the body of your speech to emphasize points, incorporate jokes into presentations and prepare and present an entirely humorous speech.

(See sample speech here)