A super way to surprise your audience is to “find the funny in the room” and use it to your advantage.

Years ago, I competed in a contest.

My talk was about “my speaking journey” and how a friend persuaded me to attend a so I could gain the I needed to make presentations at work.

A local grocery store had been to cater the lower-level contest, but theyd forgotten to fill the order. Panic ensued when the organizer went to pick up the food, and let's just say that the assortment of edibles on the food table ended up being a bit unusual.

In my speech, my friend recommends .


? Why would I go to Toastmasters?
—Well, for one thing, they have all the chicken parm you can eat!


That line inspired a lot of laughter. The audience knew I'd found the funny in the room and changed my script to appeal to them.

When I advanced to the next level, that contest was held in a local university lecture hall.

All attendees were required to sign in at the security desk and each was given an ID sticker that said “guest” on it.

—Have you thought about going to Toastmasters?
—Toastmasters? But I won't know anybody there. I'll be a stranger.
—Don't worry about it. They'resuper-friendly and they're all named Guest.

Another win brought me to the top-level contest where I lost to … bathroom !

Oh well!

But back to the point…

Find something—anything—unique, different, funny, or colorful about your audience or the venue you're performing in and integrate that into your speech.

Your audience will feel special because they'll be in on a joke that you have to have been there to appreciate.