The Crotchet’s Corner

My perspective about all things inconsequential

Enjoying a “Roast”

At a Toastmasters meeting recently, I did a project speech that involved “Roasting” someone. Roasting is a good natured, humorous, description of a person, and is done in jest.

On the face of it, it appeared simple enough. Till I sat down to write the Roast, that is.

It was then that I realized how hard it is to describe a person’s characteristics, traits, habits, interests, peculiarities, etc., without causing offence or hurt.

It dawned on me that we are too judgmental of others, and often describe them in terms that aren’t always gracious. And, what’s worse, we tend to be critical behind their backs. It is, perhaps, inherent in human nature to adopt a posture, and rigidly stick with it, without consideration of a different side of the other person that one is either unaware of, or one that we choose to ignore for whatever reason.

Once that position is taken, it is hard to alter one’s view or perception.

It also occurred to me that it is possible, if one chooses to make an effort, to look closer at a person, and discover many other interesting facets. It helps to reflect on why a person behaves or reacts in a particular way, and also understand why that person reacts to us in the way he/she does. For, it quite possible that the reaction/response one sees is nothing more than a mirror image of how we ourselves behave and react.

It was a sobering thought.

The person I chose is a very good human being, friendly, warm, cheerful, and helpful. How does one, therefore, roast him in a pleasant and kind manner without causing offence? It was one of the most challenging projects I have ever done as a Toastmaster.

I did manage to do the roast. Towards the end, I also asked the audience, with a smile on my face, if my words reflected their own feelings about the “Roastee”. Many faces around the room broke out into smiles, several hands went up enthusiastically, and I knew that my objective had been achieved.

A senior Toastmaster commented that I had actually honored the Roastee with my words, having chosen him as the subject, and having taken the effort to think and speak with care about the man.

The Roastee was pleased and enjoyed being at the receiving end.

I gained a friend … and a new insight into human behavior and responses.


February 23, 2010 - Posted by | About this and that | , , , ,

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