As speakers, we want to make our audiences laugh. The trick is to find ways to get them to use their listening skills and to make them really laugh – a wry smile just isn’t going to do it. In order to make this happen, we need to have the skills that it takes to really deliver a punch line that will generate some laughs. Let’s talk about how to make that happen.
It’s All About Problems
If you want to get big laughs out of your next audience, it’s not all about presentation tips. Instead, you’ve got to present them with some problems. A lot of where humor comes from is when we go over the top with something. In other words, the solution that you propose to the problem that you’ve presented your audience with has to be extreme. If you said that you weigh too much and wanted to lose some weight, then tell your audience that you want to lose 500 pounds – much funnier than if you told them that you wanted to lose 10 pounds.
Sometimes It Pays To Be Naïve
When you talk to your next audience, realize that there is something that they all share in common. They may all work for the same company or they may all belong to the same organization. What this means is that they have a shared vocabulary and a shared world view.
As an outsider, this opens up a number of doors for you. If you take the time to find out what terms or expressions they use as a part of the organization that they belong to, you can have some fun with it. There must be things that they assume that everyone already knows and understands – because they all do. If you use one of their phrases incorrectly, as an outsider might, they’ll all “get” the joke and laugh with you.
Can You Confuse It?
Building on the idea of being naïve about some of their industry insider information, you can extend this idea by being confused. When you act confused, you once again open a number of doors to even more humor possibilities.
One of the best ways to be confused is to misinterpret something that the audience is trying to do. An example of this would be if the organization that you are talking to is trying to find ways to stop employees from leaving, then if you make suggestions to them about how they can get more people to leave and to do so quicker, then your confusion will cause them to laugh.
What All Of This Means For You
Every speaker knows that if you can make your audience laugh with you during your next speech, then there is a much better chance that they’ll remember what you’ve told them. Just getting them to laugh a little bit isn’t enough, you want to be able to find ways to get them to really laugh. The importance of public speaking comes from really connecting with your audience, and laughter is a great way to make this happen.
One of the different ways that you can make this happen includes creating a problem. You can then use your humor to solve the problem in a way that will get laughs. Pretending to not have a good understanding of something that everyone in your audience knows well is another way to get laughs. Finally, mixing things up by confusing something with something that your audience knows well will get the laughs that you are looking for.
Laughter is truly the best medicine as the saying goes. If you can find ways to get your next audience to really laugh with you, then you will have found one of the benefits of public speaking – a way to truly connect with them and get your message across.
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™
Question For You: Do you think that there are some problems that an audience might be having that you shouldn’t try to joke about?
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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
In our quest to become better speakers, we are always looking for both feedback and mentors who can show us the way. I know that I’ve looked high and low for folks who have skills that are better than mine and who are willing to take the time to show me how I can be a better speaker. I believe that a good mentor is more valuable than an audience with good listening skills or a set of effective presentation tips. It turns out that one individual who was more than willing to provide me with the guidance that I needed to become better has been living in my house all along. He’s my dog.