As speakers we all know that the more humor that we can work into our next speech, the better chance we have of connecting with our audience. Everyone likes to laugh and if we can make our audience laugh, they’ll remember what we had to say and we just might be able to make an impact in their lives using the importance of public speaking. The challenge that we face as speakers is that getting an audience to laugh is never easy. One of the best ways to go about doing this is to add jokes to our speech. However, we are then faced with the challenge of just exactly how should a speaker go about writing a joke?
Starting The Joke Writing Process
When we sit down to write a speech and we decide that we want to include a joke in our speech, we have to start the joke writing process in the right way. The first step in creating a joke that will work with our audience is to understand that a joke is all about comedic surprise. A comedic surprise is a twist that does not have serious repercussions. This means that when we are creating a joke we are going to want to start things off by sharing a factual, truthful piece of information with our audience. An example of this would be “I had steak for dinner last night.”
Your next step is going to be to come up with a list of assumptions about the factual statement that you have made. You’ll want to create a list of assumptions, I generally try to make up to ten of them. By making this list you will be able to make more interesting choices. Your goal here is going to be to take the time to investigate each of the assumptions that you’ve listed. You’ll want to question it until you’ve been able to identify a useful alternative meaning. This is what you’ll then form into a joke.
Ending The Joke Writing Process
Your next step is going to be to investigate each of the assumptions that you’ve made about your factual statement. Your goal here is going to be to try to find a funny twist. You’ll do that by taking a look at each assumption and asking yourself questions about it. This is where your real creativity is going to have to come into play. You may also want to play the role of someone who will be sitting in your audience and see if you can determine what they might find funny.
The final step in this process is going to be to make the joke that you are creating concise. You will also want to work some misdirection into what you will be saying and then put your punch word or punch phrase as close to the end of your joke as is possible. A great way to go about doing this is to ask your audience a question that misdirects their thinking. This entire process may take some time. Be sure to budget at least thirty minutes from start to finish.
What All Of This Means For You
We want every speech that we give to use the benefits of public speaking in order to be a great speech. In order to do that we need to make sure that the content of our speech is something that our audience is going to want to hear. One great way to go about doing this is to find a way to work jokes into our speech so that our audience will laugh. The challenge that we face when we decide to do this is understanding how to create the jokes that we can use.
In order to successfully create a joke, we need to start out by sharing a factual statement with our audience. This allows us to use the power of comedic surprise to present them with a twist. Our next step is to come up with a list of assumptions about our factual statement. Once we have that list, we’ll want to investigate each of our assumptions looking for a funny twist that it might present. Finally, we’ll want to make our joke concise, work some misdirection into it, and push the punch word or phrase to the end of the joke.
The good news about adding jokes to our speeches is that it can be done. We just need to understand that there is a process for doing this. Once we understand the process and how to make use of it, we can use it when we want to create jokes to add to our speech. When we can give a speech that contains jokes that work with our audience, we’ll then have found a way to truly connect with our audience.
Question For You: How many jokes do you think that you should put into a single 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!