Toastmasters International District 76

Toastmasters International District 76 Japan Communication and Leadership Program since 1924

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Tips from District 76 Speech Contest Champions

English Tall Tales Speech Contest Champion 2013

 Naoki Tamura
Sunrise Toastmastersclub

Humor is just the combination of what we already know


I always believe that a speech contest is not the contest for speaking; it's the contest for connecting with the audience.

The question that I posed to myself was, “how could you possibly connect with the audience members with a speech they knew you were going to lie to them?” That question got me thinking,I need to change my perspective to the contest speech.”

In a regular 5-7 minute speech, you have to make a point with a core message, however; in a Tall Tale speech, your primary goal is to entertain the audience members with something unbelievable. No core message is required. Entertainment is the name of the game. That's, at least in my interpretation, what Tall Tale is all about. 
One of the biggest challenges for me was to make my audience “TALL” only within five and a half minutes. “TALL” is the collection of the first words that are absolutely necessary for entertainment. It stands for Think, Act, Laugh and Learn. If you had 5-7 minute, you would have plenty of time to set up a scene, describe characters, develop a story, and give a core message. However, you don’t have that luxury of time in your 5-minute speech. What should you do to achieve the goal only within 5 minutes?

In the comedy world, comedians get a laugh by taking advantage of what audience already knows. People laugh when their knowledge is called back unexpectedly. People laugh when their knowledge is combined with what they have learned and their mind is pleasantly tricked. This is a golden rule for making people laugh without spending so much time setting up for a foundation. Much of what I did in my tall tale speech was using this concept; don’t try to create a foundation from scratch, use what’s already there. Some of the examples that I used were the contest catch phrase “take another step forward,” a proverb no pain no gain,” a Toastmasters timing rule “green signal at 5 minutes,” and McDonald’s famous jingle “I’m Lovin’ it.”

The next question you may want to ask can be, “how did you come up with those ideas?”

One of my favorite storytellers is Mr. Masashi Ueda, the comic strip writer of Kobo-chan. He is said to make more than 5000 four-panel strips in a year. You may be thinking, “Wow, how could he possibly come up with so many ideas for comic strips?” I thought exactly the same way. Would you like to know the secret?


Here it is.

He uses computer software that has thousands of pictures stored on a database. Pictures like, a space shuttle lifting off, a baby sitter taking care of a baby, a glass of orange juice and so on. At a push of a button, three images randomly appear on the computer screen. He can build a story based on any combination of them.

All innovation is the combination of that which already exists.

Humor comes from the combination of two-three ideas put together to form something good. I just applied this concept to my Tall Tale speech.

Bank robbery, school field trip, and workshop are three pictures that popped into my head. And I started working on it from there. Remembering that entertainment is the name of the game, I wanted to involve all of the audience members into the “staged” workshop so that they can actually feel trapped at the twist ending. I really appreciate the audience members getting engaged in my tall tale speech from the beginning to the end.

It was so much fun!


Thank you,

Japanese Tall Tales Speech Contest Champion 2013

 Takako Shibata
Momiji Toastmasters Club

 (Japanese Only)




わたしは広島のもみじトーストマスターズクラブの代表として出場しましたが、大阪の千里トーストマスターズクラブにも所属しています。どちらのクラブもFinal経験者、優勝者が複数いて、コンテスト出場者にはきっちりサポートするクラブです。ディストリクト役員を3年続けて拝命していたためルール上コンテスト出場資格がなかったことで、ずっとコンテスタントのサポートをしていました。その中でも一番思い出深いのは2012年の幕張で行われた春季大会日本語コンテストのDivision F代表の有本愛貴さんとのエピソードです。


















「コンテストは、個人競技ではなく 団体競技」







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