As speakers, because we understand the importance of public speaking we all want what we tell to our next audience to be remembered. One of the best ways to make this happen is to get our audience to laugh at what we’ve told them. If they laugh and have a good time, then they are much more likely to remember what we said than if they just sat through our speech stone faced. Humor is a tricky thing – what might be funny to us might not be funny to our audience. Our challenge here is to find a way to recreate our real-life humor in the form of stories that we can tell to our next audience.
Setting Your Audience Up To Laugh
One of our biggest problems is that we have to somehow find a way to relate something that has happened to us in our lives to our audience in a way that will cause them to laugh. It can be all too easy for something to seem funny to us at the moment that it happens, but then when we try to work it into a speech it ends just falling flat. What we need to do is to find out how to bridge these two worlds.
The trick to being able to take something that happens to you that is funny and being able to work it into a speech is for you to make the effort to capture the event as it happens. You’ve got to write it down. By doing this you will be able to recreate the event in a way that captures what really happened and you’ll be able to bring your audience into the moment. These days you can write things down on a piece of paper or you can whip out your fancy smartphone and record it there. Later on when you make it home, you can take the time to transcribe your notes and work them into a speech.
The last thing in the world that you want to do is to try out your funny story on an audience for the first time. If you’ve guessed wrong and your story is not all that funny, then you are going to die on stage. Instead, what you are going to need is a friend to help you out. Let’s call them a “comedy friend”. This comedy friend is the person that you can call up and run your funny story by. They may laugh or they may not – based on their reaction you’ll know how your audience will probably react. You comedy friend needs to be willing to give you constructive feedback on your humor so that you can make it better.
How To Make Laughs Happen
When we are telling a story as a part of a speech that is designed to get our audience to laugh, we need to find a way to give it some “punch”. One way to go about doing this is to act out what you are saying. As speakers, we are already familiar with the use of body gestures and acting out a story just takes this to the next level. By becoming a person who is in the story that we are telling we can make the story become more real for our audience and in the end it will also become funnier to them.
Speakers who are just starting out can doubt their ability to get an audience to laugh. What this means is that when they are putting together a story that they want to use to get their audience to laugh they might be tempted to use clichéd material. This can include such well-worn items as bathroom humor, ethnic stereotypes, sexual topics, etc. If you work this kind of material into your story, your audience will be left with the impression that you are trying too hard to get them to laugh and they simply won’t laugh at all.
You will also want to keep any story that you tell for laughs fresh. In order to connect with your audience, the story that you are telling them has to mean something to you. It has to relevant to you now, not just in the past. We all grow and change and something that was funny to us a long time ago when we were a different person may no longer resonate with us today. If this has happened to you, then drop that story and replace it with another that does mean something to you.
What All Of This Means For You
We want every speech that we give to be memorable to our audience so that we can share the benefits of public speaking. One way to make this happen is to find ways to make our audience laugh. There are often things that happen to us in our lives that make us laugh; however, finding a way to capture this event and then work it into a speech can be a challenging thing to accomplish.
If we want to create a story that we can work into our next speech that will cause our audience to laugh, then we need to make the effort to capture the story when it happens. We need to write it down on paper or on our phones so that we can transcribe it later. In order to make sure that our story is really funny, we need a comedy friend that we can bounce our stories off of and see what kind of reaction they create. To make our story have more impact, we can act out one or more of the characters in the story. This will draw our audience into the story and make it even funnier. We need to stay away from using clichéd material because it will come across as we are trying too hard to get laughs. Times change and so do we, if a story no longer resonates with us no matter how funny it is, then we need to drop it and replace it with something else.
Humor is a very powerful part of any speech we give. The more that we can make an audience laugh, the better our chances of being remembered are. If we understand how to capture and incorporate the funny things that happen to us into our next speech, then we will have come up with a way to boost the chances that what we tell our audience will be remembered long after we are done speaking.
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™
Question For You: How many funny stories do you think that can be fit into a 30 minute 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
What’s the best way to judge if a speech that you’ve given was a success? I think that we could all agree that you’d have to talk to your audience. What you are going to want to find out from them is how they feel about you after your speech is over. Were you able to connect with them? Did you communicate the importance of public speaking? Do they like you? In order for your message to be both heard and accepted, this liking thing is going to be very important.