So we all know that humor is one of a speaker’s most powerful tools. However, just exactly how best to use this tricky beast is something that we all continue to struggle with. What we’d like to be able to do is to present our audiences with fresh humor that everyone finds funny; however, not all speakers know how to go about doing this. It turns out that observational humor is your ticket to success…
Why Observational Humor Works
Nobody ever said that this speaking thing was going to be easy and the same can be said of trying to incorporate observational humor into your next speech. However, the results will make the effort well worth it.
Observational humor works for a number of different reasons. The first is that since you are referencing something that is part of the event that everyone is sharing together, it has the ability to bring everyone closer together. An audience that may have had very little in common now realizes that they’ve all shared the same experience that you just pointed out.
Tension is a part of every speech. Your audience is feeling their own brand of tension when you start your speech – is listening to you going to be a good investment of their valuable time? If you are able to make them laugh based on elements of the situation, this will serve to release the tension that they are feeling and will open them up to receiving your message.
Finally, nobody likes to sit through a speech that they think has been given a 100 times before. By incorporating observational humor into your speech, you have the ability to make your speech appear to be “fresh” to your audience. You may have in fact given the same speech many times in the past, but through this simple addition it will appear to be a “current” speech.
Types Of Observational Humor
Not all observational humor is created the same way. In fact, there are a lot of different ways that you can use this powerful tool.
One of the simplest types of observational humor is the use of words. Specifically using the double meaning of alternate use of words that your audience is sure to know. In one speaking session that I was involved in, one of the speaker’s names was “Moni” (pronounced “Money”) and when he was introduced, the MC stated that if anyone had any problems with his speech, he was offering a “Moni back guarantee”.
Everyone is always ready to laugh if you’ll only provide them with something to laugh at. Poking fun at yourself is one of the safest ways to go about doing this. There are countless ways to do this including pointing out challenges that you had getting to the speech, problems with the clothes that you are wearing, etc.
Finally, the one thing that you have in common with your audience is that you are all currently in the same room. Anything that you can do to reference your surroundings is a very easy way to get observational humor worked into your speech. This can include items such as the room temperature, outside sounds that are coming in, or every speaker’s favorite – problems with the sound system.
What All Of This Means For You
In order for your next speech to have its maximum impact, you need to find a way to incorporate some observational humor. This type of humor is born of the moment and captures an experience that you’ve shared with your audience that very day.
Observational humor is a powerful tool because it’s based on a common experience that you’ve shared with your audience. It was unexpected and you need think and move quickly in order to capture it and use it in your speech. Use the room that you are speaking in to generate ideas. Also feel free to be self-depreciating in your observational humor.
In the end, when observational humor is done correctly, it has the magical ability to draw an audience closer to a speaker. This type of humor is never easy to do simply because you can’t prepare it before the day of the event. However, by taking the time to keep your eyes open, you can use observational humor to make your next speech unforgettable.
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™
Question For You: Do you think that you can go too far in using observational humor as a part of your next 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
A little while back I went out to the movie theater and saw the movie “Transformers 3: Dark Of The Moon”. If you are hoping for a movie review, I’m afraid that I’m going to end up disappointing you. However, it turns out that this movie has a lot of lessons for speakers if you know where to look for them…