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Author malw  Date 23 Mar 06, 17:07  Views 1354
Description How to Have a Laugh
Category Newsletter Articles  Type Information

How to Have a Laugh

How to Have a Laugh

Some speakers say, "I could never use humour in my speech; I just don't feel comfortable with it." However, anyone can use humour, which is a valuable tool in speaking. Appropriate humour relaxes your audience and makes it feel more comfortable with you as the speaker; humour can bring attention to the point you are making; and humour will help your audience better remember your point. It can break down barriers so that your audience is more receptive to your ideas.

How can you easily use humour? The best and most comfortable place to find humour for a speech is from your own personal experience. Think back on an embarrassing moment that you might have thought not funny at the time. Now that you can laugh at the experience, you understand the old adage "Humour is simply tragedy separated by time and space." Or think of a conversation that was funny. Remember the punch line and use it in your speech. You're not trying to be a comedian; you just want to make it easy for people to pay attention and to help them remember your point.

Here are some suggestions on using humour to make your next speech have more impact.

1. Make sure the humour is funny to you. If you don't laugh or smile at the cartoon, joke, pun, one-liner, story, or other forms of humour, then you certainly cannot expect an audience to do so. A key to using humour is only using humour that makes you laugh or smile.

2. Make sure the humour relates to the point you are making. Do not use humour that is simply there to make the audience laugh. The humour should tie in with some aspect of your speech - if you don't, the audience may like the humour, but will wonder what point you are attempting to make.

3. Begin with something short. A starting point might be to summarize a cartoon and give the caption as your humour. A thought-provoking yet clever line about a point you are making is another way to get started. In your reading, look for lines that make you smile; consider how they might be used in your next speech. Be careful about launching into a long humorous story - audiences are quick to forgive a single line that may not be funny, but they do not have much patience with a long anecdote that isn't worth the time.

4. When possible, choose humour that comes from people you interact with. You do not have to worry about people having heard it before and you will feel more comfortable with what has happened to you. Find such experiences by looking for a humorous line or situation. If you have small children, listen for something they say that might be funny to an audience as well.

5. Don't preview by saying, "Let me tell you a funny story." Let the audience decide for themselves. Look pleasant and smile as you launch into your funny line, but if no one smiles or laughs then just move on as though you meant for it to be serious. This approach takes the pressure off as you relate the humour. Remember you are not a comedian entertaining the audience; you are a serious speaker seeking to help the audience remember and pay attention by using humour as a tool.

Humour is simply another way of making a point with your audience and it can help you be a more effective speaker. Look at humour as a tool in improving your speech in the manner of attention devices, smooth transitions, and solid structure. Remember, "A smile is a curve that straightens out a lot of things."

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