Archive for June 1, 2008

How To Roast Someone Without Being Eaten Alive?

June 1, 2008

If you think the contents of this writing contain cannibalistic tendencies, well… you’re right … and wrong! I don’t quite mean to roast someone or to eat someone in a literal way. Not in the actual sense. (Although if you don’t do it properly, other might just eat you alive for real out of anger.) I imply this in a metaphorical sense.

This was exactly the speech that I was evaluating during the recent Toastmasters Meeting. It’s always very interesting to listen and provide feedback to a talk of such nature. An intriguing and intricate piece of work from the speaker.

For your information, under the one of Advanced Project manuals “Special Occasions Speeches”, there is a speech project called, “The Roast”. It’s main objective is to poke fun at someone in a good natured manner without coming across as offensive. It must not leave a bitter aftertaste to the audience.

I must say to master the roasting of someone is quite a challenge for a speaker. The person performing this roast will always run the risk of sounding intruding, offensive or rude… intentionally or not.

Yet, in life, there are the on-off occasions where we are called upon to roast someone. Yes, it happens, sometimes at a birthday party, an award ceremony or even being “the best man” working his wicked tongue on the groom on his big day. It might just happen.

Hence, if you don’t want to risk the audience or the subject person having real cannibalistic desires on you, take heed to these tips whenever you have to roast that individual:

1. Always check beforehand with the person if he or she is receptive to being roasted and not get offended. If that person rejects to be the star of the session, find some other good natured fellow who is more gracious towards you.

2. Remember the ultimate intention is still to somewhat honor the person or pay tribute to him (or her). So it should still have a positive feel to the overall speech and an uplifting ending. Get that balance feel. If you need to rehearse intensively prior to it, so be it.

3. Highlight snippets of the person’s life or work that would be funny, interesting or revealing to the audience. Link it to some punch line or a surprise outcome. (Note: revealing does not mean deepest darkest secrets or scandals. If you are unsure, check, check, check with the person first.)

4. Let people know what positive changes or influence this person has on you. Hence it will let the audience form the connection of your tribute and purpose of this roast on the individual.

5. Make the person the central theme, the highlight or the star and make it FUN to be THE ONE. In short, the hero or heroine of your speech. Somewhat a bumbling one perhaps, but nonetheless, the hero still.

When you take on this challenge, you will emerge as a much more versatile charismatic speaker. Let the art of public speaking take you and you allowing yourself to Excel Beyond Excellence!

Have fun!