One of my most popular talks is on how to use humour effectively when you are speaking in public.
As a professional speaker I use humour a lot. It helps keep the audience engaged. If they are being entertained, they are less likely to switch off and stop listening. It’s so much easier to put your message across if your audience are still listening!
I’m rarely the slickest speaker at an event, but I’m often the one who gets rebooked. I put a lot of that down to humour. People remember the message if they enjoyed the journey.
If you’ve seen this talk, you’ll find the accompanying notes I promised below. If you haven’t seen the talk, read the notes anyway. They will certainly help you if you want to put some humour in your speeches. The twenty points work just as well for toastmasters, best men, teachers, team leaders, comperes or even priests who want to make their sermons more entertaining.
If you read the twenty points and are intrigued as to why the Welshman isn’t needed at the pub (point 15) then you better book me to speak at your event. Details are at the bottom.
(Jeremy Nicholas- London, Nov 1st 2009)
PUTTING THE ‘U’ IN HUMOUR
How being funny can enhance your public speaking
By Jeremy Nicholas, Professional Speakers Association
1. Why be funny? – People will remember your message.
2. Never tell jokes! It puts pressure on the audience to laugh.
3. Use funny lines and observations from real life.
4. Never steal material, but it’s OK for inspiration.
5. Always carry a notebook. Write down things that make you laugh.
6. If you don’t believe in a line, don’t use it. People will notice.
7. If a line doesn’t work dump it. You must kill your babies.
8. It’s better to be an amusing speaker than a comic.
9. Avoid anything racist, sexist or homophobic. It’s not acceptable.
10. Check anything that is likely to offend in a local culture.
11. Find your own style.
12. Keep a high status on stage. Don’t become a clown.
13. Comedy is truth and pain.
14. If a line is cruel, make yourself the butt of the joke.
15. The Rule of Three means there’s no need for a Welshman in the pub.
16. Get it right. A nearly accurate punch line won’t work.
17. Use your best material in your opening minute.
18. And your next best material to close with.
19. Be topical.
20. Lastly mix humour with information. If they don’t laugh, you’re still speaking!
This is a handout from a talk called Putting the ‘U’ in Humour by Jeremy Nicholas.