5 Ways To Make Speech Humor Work

by drjim on June 18, 2013

Laughter is what will make you next speech memorable…

Laughter is what will make you next speech memorable…
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Humor is hard. Humor in speeches is extra hard. However, humor is also a key part of getting your audience to realize the importance of public speaking. Your chances of connecting with your audience and getting your point across increases dramatically if you can work humor into your next speech. What’s a speaker to do?

5 Tips For Creating Goof-Proof Humor

Although creating speeches that contain humor can be difficult, there is some good news in this for all of us speakers. We are not comedians. What this means is that unlike a professional comedian, we don’t have to be constantly telling jokes that get laughs from the audience. Instead, our task is much simpler – all we have to do is to insert an occasional joke into our next speech that will get our audience to smile and will keep them paying attention to what we are saying. Here are 5 tips for how to make that happen…

  • Sneak Up On Your Audience: The last thing that you want to do when you’ve worked humor into your speech is to announce to your audience that you are going to be telling them something that will be funny. It turns out that one of the most powerful factors of humor is the element of surprise. When your audience doesn’t see it coming, they’ll find what you are saying that much more funny.
  • Make It Relevant: One of the biggest dangers of working humor into a speech comes when we create humorous stories or sayings that have nothing to do with the main point of our speech. When you do this you run the risk of distracting from your main message and if the joke does not work, it will be very evident. Instead, make your humor relate to what you are talking about and that way even if it doesn’t work, it will just be seen as a part of your speech.
  • Don’t Lie: Humor that your audience believes to be true is the best kind of humor. If it seems to be made up or just too far out to ever have really happened, then your audience will struggle to believe you and once again, if the joke does not go over well, then you’ll have clearly dropped the humor ball.
  • Only Use Good Humor: There are all types of different humor. Much of what may seem humorous during the speech writing phase will turn out to be not so funny when we are standing up in front of an audience. Things that can make your humor not-so-funny include telling jokes that are too long, off-color stories, any political humor, inside jokes, etc.
  • Make Sure You Practice: Did I mention that humor is hard? One of the most important parts of adding humor to any speech is making sure that you deliver it correctly. Things like timing and using pauses are very important. The only way that you’re going to get this correct is by taking the time to practice, practice, practice.

What All Of This Means For You

In order to make your next speech connect with your audience and to get your point across, you should use humor. Keep in mind that humor can be hard to use correctly. That’s why I have 5 tips for how you can successfully add humor to your next speech.

Here are my suggestions for making humor work for you. A key component to any humor is the sense of surprise. Make sure that your humor relates to what you are talking about and that it is believable. Take the time to avoid using jokes that don’t work and make sure that you practice enough to get your timing right.

Once again, humor is hard to do correctly. However, the payoff in terms getting your audience to pay attention to what you are saying and making your message that much more memorable is well worth the effort. To get the benefits of public speaking, work more humor into your speeches!

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

Question For You: How much humor would be too much humor for a 30-munite speech?

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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

The great thing about public speaking is that just about everything that we are trying to do has been done before. When you get ready to give your next speech, listen to the voice of experience from other more accomplished speakers and use their guidance to transform your speech into a true experience for your audience.

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