Humor in your next speech has to be customized for your audience

Humor in your next speech has to be customized for your audience
Image Credit:
steven seller

I don’t think that any of us would disagree with the statement that “humor lends power to any speech.” If we want to make an audience laugh, it’s going to take three different things all working together so that our audience can realize the importance of public speaking. The first is, of course, us – the speaker. The next is going to be the speech that we are going to be giving. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there is our audience. All too often in our rush to throw together our next speech we can end up forgetting about the importance of understanding the audience that we’ll be talking to. This is where customizing your comedy comes in to play.

Do Your Research

Every audience that you address will be different and there is a good chance that where you will be delivering your speech may be different also. These are key pieces of information that you are going to want to work into any comedy that you deliver. What this means for you is that you are going to have to do some research before the big day. Your goal has to be to find out as much as you possibly can about two things: the people that you will be speaking to and where you’ll be doing your speaking.

This means that you are going to have to collect information from the local news and information on the association that is hosting the event that you’ll be speaking at. Just for good measure, you may want to throw in information on local sports teams, who their biggest rivals are, and any companies or colleges that are in the area. Your goal here needs to be to get material that will allow you to refresh the generic material that is already in your speech.

Ask Some Questions

In order to customize the comedy that you’ll include in your next speech, you need to get very specific information. This is the kind of information that you can only get from the people who will be in your audience. As a speaker, this means that you are going to have to show up early and spend some time talking with the people who will be in your audience.

What you are going to want to do also will be to talk with the people who are organizing the event that you’ll be speaking at. You’ll want to ask them about the group and the people that you’ll be speaking to. Once you’ve been given information, you can then go back to your speech and work this information into the speech in the correct places.

Keep Your Eyes Open

One of the most challenging things about giving a really good speech is that it can be quite dynamic. What this means is that you need to keep your eyes open and watch what happens before you give your speech, while you are giving your speech, and then after you give your speech. What you are able to observe can often be useful information that can be worked into your speech.

You never know what may happen before you take the stage. By keeping your eyes open you can observe events as they unfold. These will be the events that will be in your audience’s mind as they start to listen to you. If you can reference events like this, then you will have tapped into something that your audience was already thinking about and you’ll get even more laughs.

What All Of This Means For You

One of the most powerful things that any speaker can do is to get their audience to laugh. In order to make this happen, three things all have to work together: the presenter, the material that they are using, and the audience. It’s that last part, getting the audience to laugh with you, which can be the trickiest to do in order to experience the benefits of public speaking.

When you want to get your next audience to laugh at what you have shared with them, you will need to do some research. You’ll need to research both your audience and where you’ll be giving your speech. There are many different sources for the information that you’ll need. Once you have it, you can add it to your speech to customize the comedy. A great way to collect the information that you’ll need is to ask people for it. Talk with the people organizing the event and find out about the organization and the people who will be in your audience. During a presentation, things can happen dynamically. You need to keep your eyes open and watch what happens both before and during your speech. This is material that if you move quickly can be added to your speech.

Comedy can make your next speech even more powerful. However, the best kind of comedy is the kind that directly appeals to your audience. In order to make this happen, you need to take the time to customize your comedy to fit the audience that you’ll be addressing. This can be done, it’s just going to require you to do some homework before you take the stage. Collect your information, update your speech, and then go out there and knock them dead!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that you should write your speech in a way that leaves “holes” for you to fill in with local bits of comedy?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Communicator Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Communicator Newsletter are now available. Subscribe now: Click Here!
 
Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

There are leaders, and then there are inspiring leaders. Leaders do an ok job of telling people to do what they need them to do, Inspiring leaders make people want to do what they tell them about. There is a very big difference. Inspiring leaders very clearly are completely passionate about what they are talking about. What this means for us as speakers is that we can’t hope to inspire our next audience by using the importance of public speaking if we are not inspired ourselves. So the big question for us is just exactly what does passion look like in a speaker?

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Add some mystery to your speech and watch your audience pay attention

Add some mystery to your speech and watch your audience pay attention
Image Credit: Kristie Tuthill

The one thing that every speaker wants is for their next audience to pay attention to their speech. I mean really pay attention. Pay attention so much so that even if their phone stated to ring or vibrate or do both things they wouldn’t even notice because you had so thoroughly captured their attention that they could not take their eyes off of you. This is a great concept, but just exactly what can we do that would make it happen?

Add Some Mystery Your Next Speech

If we want to have any hope of using the importance of public speaking to capture and hold on to our audience’s attention in a deep and meaningful way, then we’re going to have to find out what they really care about. This can be a real trick – your audience is made up of a bunch of different types of people. The things that they share in common are probably few and far between. What this means for us as speakers is that we are going to be challenged to find something to add to our next speech that will appear to some universal nature that is present in everyone in our audience.

The good news is that we all already know what this magical addition to our next speech is: mystery. The dictionary defines mystery as being “anything that is kept secret or remains unexplained or unknown”. When you decide to use a mystery in your next speech, you are going to have to add the first part of it somewhere near the beginning of your speech. What you’ll do is to reveal to your audience some event or occurrence that happened that left everyone puzzled. It can be a murder, a disappearance, or a riddle that seemed to have no solution. Take the time to craft a good setup for your mystery. Explain to your audience when this event happened (in the past, today, or sometime in the future), where it happened, and who was involved.

As a speaker you realize that the mystery that you are adding to your speech is a tool that you are going to use to get your audience to pay attention to your speech. What this means is that once you’ve laid out the events that occurred that caused something puzzling to exist, you now have to walk away from it. Your audience is going to be processing what you’ve just told them and they are going to be desperately wanting to know how this story works out. However, you are not going to be telling them.

The Power Of Mystery

Let’s face it, everyone loves a good mystery. The most popular form of books are romance novels, but guess what, mysteries come in second. The reason that we like mystery stories is because they appeal to our sense of curiosity. We enjoy action. We love to analyze the psychological makeup and motivational drives of characters. We especially are as interested in how and why a crime is committed as we are in who committed it. What this means for us as a speaker is that once we share the opening of a mystery with our audience at the start of our speech, we’ve got them hooked.

It’s what you do next that is going to be the most important. I don’t care if you are giving a speech about how to save the spotted owl or the importance of maximizing your investment in the company’s 401k program, you’ve got a speech to give. You’re going to have to find a way to tie the mystery that you started your speech off with to the main content of your speech. As you dive into your speech content you are going to want to remain cognizant of the fact that you have started but not completed a mystery. If you can work additional information about the mystery into your speech as you give it, you’ll be able to keep bringing your audience along.

Once you’ve delivered the majority of your speech, you are going to want to swing back to the mystery that you started at the beginning of the speech. You are going to need to have a way to smoothly transition from your spotted owl / 401k material back to the components of the mystery. Once you’ve made this transition, you can share with your audience how the clues were put together, the riddle solved, the killers caught, and the mystery was solved. You’ll leave your audience feeling as though they got both a great speech and an engrossing mystery delivered to them.

What All Of This Means For You

In this modern world in which we live, we find ourselves giving speeches to audiences that now have more ways for their attention to wander from what we are saying than ever before. What all of us would like to have is a fool proof way to grab and hold our audience’s attention so that we can share with them the benefits of public speaking. It turns out that we have a tool that will allow us to do this very thing: mystery.

If at the start of our speech, we start to share a mystery with our audience, we’re going to grab their attention. The mystery will detail some event that occurs (a murder, a robbery, a disappearance, etc.). You’ll lay out what happened, but you won’t tell your audience how it happened. Once you’ve introduced them to the mystery, you’ll then launch into your main speech. You’ll need to blend the mystery into the opening of your speech so that there is a smooth transition. During your speech you can reference back to the mystery several times. After you’ve covered your main points, you can then revert to telling your audience about the mystery. This is when you wrap it up and share with them how it happened, and more importantly, who did it.

We all love a good mystery. A speaker who can wrap their next speech inside of a clever mystery will have found the way to grab onto their audience’s attention and get them to put their phones down. Tease them along during the speech and keep providing more details about the mystery without sharing enough to wrap it up. If you save the “big reveal” until the end of your speech, your audience will be hanging on your every word. Use a mystery in your next speech to solve the problem of an audience whose attention can wander.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that any mystery can be used or are some mystery topics off limits?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Communicator Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Communicator Newsletter are now available. Subscribe now: Click Here!
 
Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

I don’t think that any of us would disagree with the statement that “humor lends power to any speech.” If we want to make an audience laugh, it’s going to take three different things all working together so that our audience can realize the importance of public speaking. The first is, of course, us – the speaker. The next is going to be the speech that we are going to be giving. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there is our audience. All too often in our rush to throw together our next speech we can end up forgetting about the importance of understanding the audience that we’ll be talking to. This is where customizing your comedy comes in to play.

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