As speakers, we want to make our audiences laugh. The trick is to find ways to get them to use their listening skills and to make them really laugh – a wry smile just isn’t going to do it. In order to make this happen, we need to have the skills that it takes to really deliver a punch line that will generate some laughs. Let’s talk about how to make that happen.
Try To Sound It out
When we are giving a speech, so much of how we communicate rests on the words that we use not the presentation tips that we use. When we are trying to get our audience to laugh, the same is true What this means for you is that you need to take a careful look at the names and terms that mean something to the audience that you will be addressing.
What you need to be looking for are words that are unusual. More importantly, you want to try to capture your first impression of any words that may be difficult to say correctly. This is your source for humor that will connect with your audience. When I lived in Texas, there was a local hospital that was named after a local family whose name sounded like “dead man”. The humor here is obvious!
Share Your First Impressions
All too often the audience that you will be addressing has been to these types of events before. What this means is that to them, there is nothing new going on. However, from your viewpoint everything is new.
This puts you in the position to see things differently than your audience does. You have the ability to take a step back and realize that some of the things that your audience may be taking for granted are ridiculous and that’s where the humor comes from. If prior to entering the room where you’ll be speaking everyone has to pass through a metal detector, then this is something that you are almost obligated to comment on!
Use Obvious Humor
Hopefully we all know that using a classic joke in your next speech would be a big mistake – “A man walks into a bar…” However, sometimes we’ll come to realize that an audience is the perfect foil for a classic type of joke.
It could be a joke about doctors, lawyers, or even school teachers. You need to be cautious when you consider using this type of joke with your audience –I mean, haven’t they heard all of these jokes before? It turns out that the answer may be no. Pull aside a few audience members before your speech and run it past them. If it gets a genuine laugh, then include it in your speech.
What All Of This Means For You
Every speaker knows that if you can make your audience laugh with you during your next speech, then there is a much better chance that they’ll remember what you’ve told them. Just getting them to laugh a little bit isn’t enough, you want to be able to find ways to get them to really laugh. The importance of public speaking comes from really connecting with your audience, and laughter is a great way to make this happen.
One of the different ways that you can make this happen includes taking the time to sound out what you are talking about – and make it sound like something else! You can also share your first impressions of what you are talking about – the humor comes from the simple fact that you were probably completely wrong. Finally, some humor may seem so obvious to you; however, your audience may be too close to the subject to have ever seen the joke. Proceed carefully, but this may be a great way to get a laugh.
Laughter is truly the best medicine as the saying goes. If you can find ways to get your next audience to really laugh with you, then you will have found one of the benefits of public speaking – a way to truly connect with them and get your message across.
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™
Question For You: Do you think that there are some problems that an audience might be having that you shouldn’t try to joke about?
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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
How long did it take you to create the last speech that you gave? No, I’m not talking about the time that you spent rehearsing, just the time that you spent figuring out what you were going to say and how you were going to say it. Hmm, now I’ve got a question for you: how would you go about creating a speech if you had less time – like say if you only had 30 minutes?