Public Speakers Want To Know How To Be Funny

If you can make your audience laugh with you, then you'll be remembered
If you can make your audience laugh with you, then you’ll be remembered
Image Credit: Neil Moralee

If there is anything that we would like to happen during our next speech then it is to be remembered. How to go about making that happen is something that we spend a great deal of time trying to figure out. We know about the importance of public speaking and so we use fancy words, we bring interesting props, we do all sorts of things that we think will help both us and our message to stick in our audience’s mind after we are done speaking. However, it turns out that there is one thing that if we were to do it correctly would get us what we are looking for: make our audience laugh.

It’s All About How You Start

When you audience sat down to hear you speak, they did not know what they were in for. If you want them to laugh during your speech you are going to have to take charge and make sure that they know that they are permitted to laugh during your speech. What this is going to mean is that you are going to have to very clearly state that your audience has permission to laugh during your next speech.

You will need to design your speech so that there is humor in it at the beginning. Note that we are not talking about starting your speech with some sort of canned joke that you found on the Internet. Rather, take a look at what you will be talking about and then find something that is unexpected and humorous to share with your audience. If what you say relates to your speech topic, then you’ll still be “on topic” after your audience laughs.

Make It Better By Exaggerating

Let’s face it, our lives are boring. We pretty much know what is going to happen today and we have a fairly good idea about what will happen tomorrow. What most of us are looking for is some variety in our lives – something to break up the routine. What this means for you as a speaker is that you can work some exaggeration into your speech and this will end up delighting your audience.

Yes, you can probably come up with some funny things to tell your audience about the real world. However, if you go the extra mile and you exaggerate what you are telling them, then the amount of humor that is in your speech will go up through the roof. What you have to make sure that you don’t do is to change the core message of your speech. Do this right and then you have a license to make things better than they are in order to get bigger laughs.

Add Some Character To Your Speech

If there is one thing that will make your audience laugh, then it’s a story. If you can tell a story in such a way that your audience can picture themselves as being a part of it, then you will have set them up to laugh when something unexpected happens. However, before you can make that happen you are going to need some help: characters.

If you can fill your story with characters that your audience can relate to, then you’ll be able to get your audience to laugh not just because of your story, but rather because of who is in your story. You’ll probably want to be the person that your audience can identify with in your story, let your characters swirl around you and let what they say and their actions create the laughs for your audience.

What All Of This Means For You

Every speaker wants to capture a part of his or her audience’s memory – that’s one of the benefits of public speaking. We’d like to remain in their thoughts long after the speech that we give is over. We are always searching for ways to make this happen. It turns out that there is a simple and easy technique that we can use: make our audience laugh.

In order to make our next audience laugh, we need to be sure to start our speech by letting them know that they have our permission to laugh. Work some humor into the beginning of your speech and they’ll know that you’ve given them permission to laugh. In order to boost both the size of the laughs that you get and the quantity, you need to make sure that you work exaggeration into your next speech. By making things bigger and more dramatic, you’ll get a stronger reaction out of your audience. Finally, you can’t do it all by yourself. Instead, you need to bring characters into the stories that you tell. By introducing your characters to your audience, you’ll allow the audience to laugh when things happen to your characters.

Humor is one the most powerful communication tools that we have available to us. When you are creating your next speech, you need to take the time to work as much humor into it as you can so that you’ll be remembered long after the speech is over and done with. Use these three suggestions to boost the humor content of your speech and then sit back and watch just how powerful your speech has become.

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

Question For You: Do you think that it would ever be possible to work too much humor into your 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 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 public speakers who have been doing this for awhile, it can be easy to get lost in the details. We spend our time trying to work more humor into our speeches as we create them, we carefully study our body language in order to determine what we’ll telling our audience, and we practice making eye contact with our audience all because we understand the importance of public speaking. However, could it be that one of the best ways to become better would be to watch a speaker who is just starting out…?

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