I think that we all know that if there is some way for us to work some humor into our next speech, then we stand a better chance of having our message remembered by our audience. However, that’s where the tricky part comes: just exactly how do you add humor to a speech? I’m not that funny of a person and so coming up with funny things to add to one of my speeches is not something that is easy for me to do. If only there were a set of steps that I could follow that would show me how to create a speech that would make my next audience laugh.
Always Find A Way To Start Funny
Ok, so this is actually pretty simple. If you want your audience to laugh, then you need to give them permission by being humorous as early as possible in your speech, unless you plan for a huge payoff at the end. Speakers need to understand that getting to the humor quickly doesn’t mean starting your speech with a joke. Instead, it means delivering unexpected and humorous content within the parameters of your message. Most importantly if you don’t get the laugh you hoped for, at least you didn’t stray off topic.
Feel Free To Exaggerate
Let’s face it, most of our lives are actually fairly boring most of the time. Speakers need to understand that reality may offer humorous moments; however, exaggerated reality will always up the ante. No matter what the scenario is, during your speech you need to tell your audience that you were going faster, that the weather was worse or the colors were even more gaudy. As long as it doesn’t change the spirit of your message, exaggeration will make your speech more memorable for your audience.
Find Ways To Include Characters
If we tell a speech that is all about us, then it’s going to be fairly dry for our audience. What we need to do is to find a way to invite more people to join us on stage as we are telling our speech. Understand that the funniest situations often involve your interaction with others. During your speech you are going to want to paint a clear picture of your characters, and look for humor in who they are – perhaps even embellishing a characteristic where you think that it is appropriate. What speakers need to understand is that if they can draw on other characters when they deliver humor – while remaining the “straight man” – then this makes them more likable to their audience, as they instead of others become the object of punch lines.
Consider Wearing A Costume
I must confess that this is something that I am not all that comfortable doing. However, I do realize that in the right situation and with the right audience, it can be a big crowd pleaser. Wearing a costume as your give a speech is a risky move, but it can pay off in a big way if handled correctly. There really is no limit to what you can do with a costume: surprise outfits underneath dress clothes, hospital gowns, Harley-Davidson gear, and, of course, crossdressing. Before you choose to take this route you need to take the time to ask yourself the most important question before dressing up: will this add to your speech or just be a sideshow?
Always Close With A Laugh
What we need to realize as a speaker is that how we leave our audience will have a big impact on how they view our speech. If your audience is laughing at your closing line, your chances of winning them over to your way of thinking just skyrocketed. If you can end with a crescendo, taking the audience somewhere they never expected to go, or employ a call-back strategy, or refer to a funny aspect of your speech to emphasize your overall message then you will have won the hearts of your audience. Either way, you are going to want to stay on topic.
What All Of This Means For You
Every speaker knows that that the more that they can get their audience to laugh during their speech, the better the chances of the audience remembering what they have told them are. The challenge that we all face is that getting an audience to laugh can be a very difficult thing to do. We need to take the time to make sure that we understand our speech as well as our audience. We are going to need to take steps with our speech that we believe will cause our audience to laugh at what we are telling them.
If you want your audience to laugh during your speech, then you are going to want to take steps to get them laughing from the beginning of your speech. Our lives may not be filled with things that are all that funny, but if we make an effort to exaggerate what we have experienced, it can make our audience laugh. Our speeches can become funnier if we can find ways to include characters in our speeches. Just to add some humor to your next speech, you might consider showing up wearing a costume. How your leave your audience can have an impact on them and so you always want to leave them laughing.
Humor can be an important part of any speech that you give. Keep in mind that humor is subjective. The more familiar your topic, the greater the opportunity for universal laughter. Avoid divisive humor and controversial topics—particularly those involving religion and politics. Win or lose, if you get them laughing, you’ve won their hearts and they will remember both you and your speech.
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™
Question For You: Do you think that you can ever add too much humor to a speech?
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
When we give a speech, we want to find ways to hold on to our audience’s attention. Sure, the words that we are saying will be interesting to them, or so we hope. However, it turns out that there are other things that we can do that will allow us use the importance of public speaking to get our audience to listen to what we are saying. One of these is to take control of the stage. No matter how much or how little space you have to move around while you are giving your speech, you can use what space you have to add another layer to your speech. Doing so can turn your speech into a speech that your audience will remember.