Bus ride from hell earns humour nod

Two Oak Bay Toastmasters compete with four other Victoria-area clubs Friday, Oct. 7 at UVic

Caroline Mitic

In a span of five to seven minutes, Caroline Mitic wove the tale of a flat tire, bribery attempts and being surrounded by multiple cases of motion sickness into an award-winning humour speech. She earned the win at the Oak Bay Toastmasters club competition in only her third speech with the club.

“I’ve never spoken in the real world so it’s probably my third speech in life ever,” she said, admitting her last speech was likely Grade 6.

Mitic outlined a trip from her year living in Cambodia while doing graphic design for Friends International – a 13-hour bus ride form Cambodia to Thailand

“I could have taken an airplane and it would have taken less than an hour,” she said. “My speech was called the Bus Ride from Hell and it was.”

Mitic started Toastmasters in February after quitting a full-time, unionized, job as a graphic designer for the “completely unknown world of contract work.”

“I thought one of the things I’ll have to do is network,” she said, confessing it’s not a strong suit.

Seeking an older and more gentle crowd, in Oak Bay Toastmasters she found a kind group, and a mix of ages.

“The younger people are more like me, they’re not there to be super competitive. They’re there to have a great time and learn to speak and improve interpersonal skills,” Mitic said. “Speaking is one aspect of it but you learn to critique as well. That is equally as important … you learn how to communicate better.”

She’s met a guy from Guyana and other folks from all over the world. She learns from them each week in five-to-seven minute speeches. She even instigated a Penny Farthing nightcap.

“I get to go and hang out with a group of people that I would probably never meet in my day-to-day life – different from my family, different from my friends – and I get to interact with these people and learn things from them,” she said. “It’ll be interesting to go to the area competition and see what other clubs are like.”

Mitic won the club level competition for humorous speech, while Brad Buie took the honours in table topics. They’ll compete in the area-level competition with four other Victoria clubs on Friday, Oct. 7 at UVic’s David Strong building, Room C118.

“I’m excited about it. Having done the speech once already is huge because I feel so much better about it. I know where I make people laugh and know to pause longer,” she said. “I’ll probably do it again in front of my own club and then get everyone to critique me so I can go to the area competition more prepared.”

The final competition is scheduled for Nov. 12 and 13 at Tigh Na Mara resort in Parksville.

Visit oakbaytoastmasters.ca to learn more about the club.