How To Add More Humor To Your Next Speech

Two strategies that can help you connect with your audience and make them laugh
Two strategies that can help you connect with your audience and make them laugh
Image Credit: Devon D’Ewart

The goal of any speech that we give is for us to find a way to connect with our audience. There are a number of different ways that we can go about doing this; however, one of the most powerful is to include humor in our speech. Humor is a tricky thing for us to deal with – what is funny to us may or may not be funny to our audience. We are always looking for new ways that we can add more humor to our next speech. What we need are ways that we can increase the humor content of our speech so that we’ll have a better chance of connecting with our audience.

It’s All About Punching Your Speech Up

So when we try to make our audience laugh, how do we go about doing it? One of the classic methods is to go after a target. When we do this we are “making fun” of a group of people. No matter how large of a topic you are talking about, at its root are always a collection of people that you as a speaker can poke fun at. You have the ability to take this kind of humor one step further. When you do that you can connect with your audience even better. What you have to do is to “punch it up”.

When we punch a speech up what we are doing is shifting the target of our humor. We are now going after somebody who is at a higher level of power than either you or your audience is at. This is something that you need to do very carefully. You should not go after one person in particular, but it is acceptable to go after a collection of people with the same characteristics. One powerful tool that you have available to you when you are doing this is the hyperbole. When you use this tool, you take what you are talking about to an impossible level. As an example, if you were talking about the rich, you could say that they “use gold plated Kleenex to blow their noses”.

Look For Hidden Connections

As speakers, we need to understand what the most powerful way to engage our audience is. It turns out that if we can find a way to get them to relate to each other, then they’ll relate to us. When we are speaking about difficult topics such as politics, sex, or social issues it can seem as though there is no way to get our audience to relate to each other. However, it turns out that the best way to get an audience to relate to each other is by using humor that can resonate with them.

Creating humor like this can be a challenge. It sure seems as though these days there is always somebody who is looking to be offended. As speakers we can run in to troubles when we attempt to take our humor to different cultures and if we try to use any gender based humor we are almost certainly asking for trouble. In order to avoid offending your audience, take the time before you give your speech and find friends that will allow you to try our material out on them. If at all possible, make sure that the friends that you share your material with are as diverse as you can make them. This is the best way to determine if you’ll end up offending a wide audience.

What All Of This Means For You

The goal of any speech that we give is to provide us with a way to connect with our audience. One of the powerful tools that we have at our disposal is the use of humor. However, it’s never easy to add humor to a speech and we need to take the time to find out how we can go about accomplishing this.

One way that we can add more humor to our next speech is by taking the time to “punch up” our humor. When we do this, we make fun of people or groups who have more power than us and our audience. We need to be careful to not make fun of one person, but rather make fun of a group of people. If we can get our audience to relate to each other, then we will have been able to engage them. If our humor resonates with them, then they will be able to relate to us. This can be difficult to do and so we need to try our material out on friends before we use it in a speech.

Adding humor to a speech is always a good idea. This is not something that is ever easy to do. We need to take the time to understand that if we can punch our speech up and if we can get our audience to relate to each other then we will be able to get them to relate to us. The next time that you create a speech, use these techniques in order to allow yourself to connect with your audience.

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

Question For You: Is there any type of humor that you think that a speaker should stay away from?

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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

Let’s face it – fear is real. Most of us can easily experience fear just by thinking about getting up in front of a group of people and trying to give a speech. Our blood turns cold, we start to sweat, and our knees may even start to knock. This is not something that we enjoy doing. However, there is good news for us. There are things that you can do that will allow you to face your fears. We can learn to overcome what holds us back. We just need to understand what we need to do and when we need to do it in order to be able to give successful speeches.