Humor is a tool to that can be used to create interest and connection with your audience when giving a presentation. There are various ways that you can introduce humor into a speech. You may be able to successfully include a funny story or some humorous public speaking quotes in your talk to make your audience laugh and warm to you. But before you decide on this approach, make sure that it relates to what you are going to talk about, and that it really is funny. Test the idea on other people ahead of time and see if they laugh.
Humor is often a great way to break the ice when you introduce your talk. It could be a personal anecdote, or a simple (tasteful) joke. Otherwise you might find a humorous quote that you can use at the end of your speech that will leave the audience with smiles on their faces, feeling warm and fuzzy, and positive about you.
Both the introduction and conclusion of any speech is important, so either way you will need to be sure that what you say is appropriate to the occasion. And if you use humor elsewhere, do so to help make a point, not just to make people laugh.
Sense of humor is a very personal thing; not everybody will necessarily laugh at every joke or funny line. But if what you have said has some meaning, it doesn’t really matter. For this very reason, it is also not a good idea to try and prompt your audience into laughter by stating that you are about to tell a funny story or a joke. Pause before the punch line and then pause (and smile) to give them a chance to laugh. But if they don’t, move on to the rest of your speech without dwelling on the fact that they didn’t respond.
Before you decide to try using humorous quotes or funny stories, you need to find something that is relevant. Well chosen, short quotes are usually effective, but very short stories or quick anecdotes can always work quite well. If you are using a visual screen, cartoons and drawings can also be effective. Long, drawn-out stories, however funny, should generally be resisted. Likewise, stay away from “blue” humor — keep it clean.
If you do, or plan to do, quite a lot of public speaking, keep a constant lookout for humorous quotes and stories that you may be able to use at a later date. You will find them in books, magazines, on the Internet and in everyday life. Remember that speeches are always easier to make if they are relevant to you — the speaker. It is no different when it comes to humor. If you can use a story about something funny that happened to you, or quote something funny that you have said or have heard, then do so. You may find you’ll remember it better than something you merely read somewhere, and it will resonate more personally when you deliver it.
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Tim Ackerman is an author and public speaking enthusiast whose mission is to help people enrich their lives through more skillful communication. Check out his website at http://www.publicspeakinginsider.com for more info on using public speaking quotes, and a FREE email mini-course on effective public speaking.
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