The goal of any speech that we give is to connect with our audience. That’s what the importance of public speaking is all about. In order to make this happen, we need to find a way to shake them out of their everyday life and cause them to wake up and listen to what we are saying. There are a lot of different ways to go about doing this, but one of the most effective is to make your audience laugh. Judy Carter has spent most of her life making this happen and teaching other people how to make it happen. She’s got some tips for us…
Four Rules That Will Make Your Next Speech Funnier
The first rule that we all have to agree on as speakers is to understand where we are going to get our humorous material from. Most of us probably believe that other people are funnier than we are. We may be correct in believing this; however, along with this thought comes a dangerous second thought – we need to borrow jokes from other people for our speech. This is a bad idea and you should not do it. Other people’s humor is not yours and it will show and you’ll just end up looking bad (read that as not funny!)
We often have thoughts pop into our heads that we believe are funny – they make us laugh. When this happens, we go hunting for a pen or pencil to write them down because we want to be able to remember them so that we can use them in our next speech. This is all well and good, but the problem with this is that all too often when we are creating a speech we’ll reference our list of funny things that we’d like to include in our speech and we’ll end up trying to shoehorn things that have nothing to do with what we are talking about into our speech. The end result is that we can get our audience to laugh, but this won’t help us to get our message across to our audience.
In order to get your audience to laugh, you are going to have to both give them a head’s up that you are going to expect them to laugh and that you don’t offend them. Your audience is there to listen to what you have to say, making them laugh is an added bonus. You need to let them know that it’s ok to laugh both with you and at you during your speech. Make sure that you pick your humor carefully and don’t break any social taboos for the audience that you are talking to.
Finally, humor is hard work. Creating things that will make your audience laugh can be quite hard to do. There is an easier path – use either sex or bad words to cause your audience to giggle. Don’t do this. The cheap laugh that you’ll get by doing this is not going to be worth it. You’ll just end up taking away from your speech and it will be that much harder for you to make your main point.
What All Of This Means For You
Every speech, no matter what topic you’ll be speaking on, can benefit from having some humor added to it. The idea is simple, but just exactly how to go about doing it is never so simple. The good news is that an expert at the art of humor, Judy Carter, is willing to share her secrets that will allow us to become funnier.
Judy suggests that we start by making a promise to not use jokes that we have not created ourselves. If we do this, generally they are not funny when we tell them and our audience may have already heard them. Make sure that any humor that you add to your speech has something to do with the speech itself. Prepare for your audience and make sure that your humor is not going to offend anyone. Finally, it can be too easy to use sex or bad words when you are trying to make an audience laugh. Don’t do this – it will just take away from your speech!
Humor is a powerful tool and if you can learn to use it correctly, then every speech that you give will use the benefits of public speaking to have that much more impact. Listen to what Judy is telling us – she’s been doing this humor thing for a lot longer than any of us have. Work more humor into your next speech and watch how easy it becomes to really connect with your audience.
Question For You: Do you think that it is possible to include too much humor in a 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
We don’t just give a speech for the fun of it – there is always a reason for it. Creating, practicing, and then delivering a speech is hard work and the reason that we’re willing to do all of this work is because we believe in the importance of public speaking and truly think that we’re going to end up changing the world. However, in order for that to happen, we’re going to need to make a connection with our audience. In order for that to happen, there are three things that we’re going to have to do during our next speech.