Speakers Who Want To Be Funny Need To Learn How To Twist Their Words

In order to be funny, speakers need to find a way to twist their words
In order to be funny, speakers need to find a way to twist their words
Image Credit: Thomas Hawk

So can we take just a moment and talk about being funny? It sure seems like some speakers have no problem getting their audience to laugh. They take the stage, they open their mouth, and almost instantly everyone is giggling and laughing. Then there are the rest of us. Clearly they understand the importance of public speaking. Look, I like to laugh just as much as the next person; however, getting other people to laugh has always been a bit of a challenge for me. What to say? When to say it? How to say it? Well, it turns out that there is a fairly simple way to get people to laugh – you just have to know how to twist your words.

The Art Of Twisting

So perhaps before we dive in here too far, we should first spend a bit of time thinking about what seems to make people laugh. People tend to laugh when they have been surprised. When the speaker has told them something that they were not expecting. The good speakers know how to bring their audiences along with them, allowing them to think that they know what the speaker will say next, and then surprising them. If we take the time to study how these speakers get their audience to laugh, then we can better understand how even those of us who are not all that funny can get our audiences to laugh with us.

At it’s very heart, humor is all about surprise. As a speaker we want to surprise our audience in a way that will cause them to laugh. As speakers what we want to do with the speech that we are giving is to bring our audience along with us. We want them to be comfortable with what we are telling them and we want them to believe that they know where we are preparing to take them next. This is exactly the moment in time that we as speakers want to take our audience in a brand new direction. One that they never saw coming. We want to redirect them and cause them to end up some place that they were not expecting to be. So what’s an example of this type of twist? How about “Gentlemen, you have no idea how much you are going to miss your girlfriend until the day that your wife meets her.”

The structure of using a twist in your next speech is actually quite simple: you start with a short statement, you then pause for just a moment, and finally you provide your audience with a surprise redirection. It’s this surprise that is going to provide you with the audience laughter that you have been looking for. Once you become aware of the power of using a twist in your speech in order to get your audience to laugh, you’ll start to discover that other speakers are already using this technique. This simple sentence with the embedded twisted ending is exactly what you have been looking for in order to consistently get your audience to laugh as a part of your speech.

How To Twist

When a speaker decides to add a twist to their next speech, it’s going to turn out to be easy and, this is the best part, it comes with very little risk to the speaker. Since a twist is made up of two parts, this means that a speaker who is looking to insert twists into a speech can take common expressions that their audience are used to and then change the second part. Twists are all around us. The next time that you find yourself listening to a speech, listen for the speaker to insert a twist of their own into their speech in order to cause their audience to laugh. The reason that using the twist in a speech is so valuable is because if your audience doesn’t get it, all you have to do is move on with no damage done. Additionally, inserting a twist into your speech can cause your audience to once again start to pay attention to what you are saying.

It turns out that there are a number of variations of the twist that speakers can use in order to get their audience to laugh. Your audience wants to be able to relate to you and that’s why they love it when during your speech you put yourself down. Self-deprecating humor opens you up to your audience. This all has to be done playfully. You can also work and aside into your speech if you want to have a short side comment with your audience. An aside is an insider’s remark to the audience talking about something that you have just told them. Your aside should make your audience laugh and should contain a twist as a surprise. Finally, you can work an exaggeration into your speech in order to surprise your audience and because it is so absurd it will make them laugh.

Adding a twist to your next speech is an easy thing to do. The reason that it is so easy is because each type of twist has the same basic structure. The structure of a twist will be easy for your audience to understand. This should make it easy for you to get them to laugh at the points in your speech that you want them to laugh. In order to get starting creating twists that can be added to your speech, you’ll need to create four lists: twists, asides, put-downs, and exaggerations. When you come across examples of each of these you can then add them to the appropriate list. Once you have started to create your lists, you can then start to incorporate them into your speeches. The end result of all of this effort will be audiences that will laugh during your speech and get a lot more out of what you share with them.

What All Of This Means For You

Every speaker would like to be able to make their audience laugh in order to share with them the benefits of public speaking. However, it turns out that this is actually fairly difficult to make happen. There are some speakers who are naturally able to amuse their audiences; however, for the rest of us it can be a real challenge. It turns out that there is a relatively simple way to get an audience to laugh: include a twist in your next speech.

So it turns out that people tend to laugh when they have been surprised. This means that as speakers we need to create ways to bring our audience along with us during our speech. They will think that they know where we are taking them. However, all of sudden we’ll make a sharp turn and we’ll end up taking them someplace that they were not expecting. Twists come in several different flavors: the put-down, the aside, and the exaggeration. Adding a twist to a speech is an easy thing to do and your audience will be able to follow what you’ve done. The next time that you give a speech, work one or more twists into it.

For those of us who struggle to find ways to get our audiences to laugh during our speeches, the discover of the twist tool is a big deal. All of a sudden we now have a simple and powerful way to make our audience smile and laugh when we want them to. Take the time to plan out the twists that you’d like to be able to add into your speeches and then incorporate them into the next speech that you give. You’ll be amazed at how much your audience laughs and how easy it is to do.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: How many twists do you think that a speaker should incorporate 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!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

As speakers, we really don’t have all that many tools that we can work with to show the importance of public speaking when we are delivering a speech to an audience. Sure we have our voice and some body language, but is there anything else that we can use to give some impact to our speech? It turns out that the answer is yes: the stage that we are standing on. All too often, speakers don’t fully understand how to make the best use of this wonderful tool. It’s there to help you to transform your speech into a spellbinding presentation.

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