One of the most difficult things that a speaker can make happen is to get his or her next audience to laugh during the speech that they are giving. No, I’m not talking about having your audience laugh AT you, instead I’m talking about trying to get them to laugh WITH you. Some of us are naturally funny people; however, all of us struggle when we’re on a stage and we’re trying to make a room of strangers laugh even though we understand the importance of public speaking. What we need are three tips on how to make this easier to do.
Where’s The Surprise?
As speakers, when we think about adding humor to our speeches, what we tend to focus on is our audience laughing. However, what is all too easy to overlook is just exactly what it took to get them to that point where they started to laugh. The way that you make this happen is to end the humorous part of your speech with a surprise.
What this means is that when you get to the part of your speech where you want your audience to laugh, you need to provide them with an unexpected ending. We need to realize that surprise is a critical part of comedy in a speech. The ending part of your speech where you want your audience to laugh needs to be unexpected, or a twist, or a surprise.
What’s going to make your audience laugh is that jolt of surprise that they encounter when you share something with them that they didn’t see coming. This means that you need to make sure that your audience does not see your speech’s punch line coming: misdirect them and then suddenly deliver the punch line.
Are You Keeping It Real?
When we are trying to come up with content that we can add to our speech in order to get our audience to laugh, sometimes our minds can really start to wander. We can start to imagine outlandish things and events. We need to be careful to stay away from such things when we are adding humor to our speech.
What we are going to want to is to make sure that the humor that we add to our speech is based on recognizable reality. What you are going want your audience to do is to respond to the reality that they recognize in your speech. Feel free to stretch the truth and make exaggerations, be whimsical and hypothetical. However, at all times your audience needs to be able to relate to it and picture themselves in that situation.
Can They Hear You?
This might seem rather silly, but something that all of us have to remember is that your audience is not going to laugh at what you are saying if they can’t hear you. This may not be your issue, it may be the responsibility of the sound system that you are using for this speech. Every single person in your audience is going to have to be able to hear you – you are going to have to speak loudly.
In order to get your audience to laugh at your humor, you are going to have pick your words very carefully. You’ll need to speak both clearly and distinctly so that your audience will be able to understand you as you build up to your punch line. Hopefully it goes without saying that you are going to have to match your vocabulary to your audience’s vocabulary or else they’ll not be able to understand your build up or your punch line.
What All Of This Means For You
Every time that we give a speech, we would like what we say to be memorable to our audience – this is one of the benefits of public speaking. We are always looking for better ways to make this happen. One of our most powerful options is to find a way to add humor to our next speech. No, this is not something that is easy to do, but if we can find a way then we have a much better chance of making our speech be memorable.
In order to get our audience to laugh, we have to surprise them. It is the jolt of the unknown that will get your audience to laugh. When you are working to get your audience to laugh, you need to be honest with them. They have to be able to picture the event that you are talking about. In order to get your audience to laugh at what you are saying, they are going to have to be able to hear you. Each word out of your mouth has to be understood so that your audience will get your joke.
This may all seem like a great deal of work to you. However, trust me on this – it’s all worth it. If you can work humor into your next speech at exactly the right spots, then you’ll have your audience eating out of your hands. When they laugh, they remember and isn’t that what you want them to do?
Question For You: If you are giving a 30 minute speech, how many times do you think that you should try to make your audience laugh?
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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
In a speaker’s bag of tricks, humor is one of the most powerful tools that any of us have to maximize the importance of public speaking. However, despite being powerful to use, humor is notoriously difficult to use correctly. It can be all too easy to come up with something that we think is outrageously funny only to be met with blank expressions when we try to use it on an audience. Or we can end up saying the wrong thing to the wrong audience and then nobody will be laughing. What we need here is some suggestions on how to make our next speech funnier.