Speech design: Humour made to fit

Speech design: When speaking and presenting make sure the humour is made to fit

If you’ve ever heard a speaker try a joke at the beginning of a speech to “break the ice”, you know it isn’t always a great idea. A “canned” joke, often told poorly, tends to dilute the message, and irritate the audience. Your humour has to fit your message. If it doesn’t fit, don’t use it.  Telling random jokes leaves the audience confused or irritated, especially when your speech is on an important topic.

You don’t need to be a comedian to use humour effectively. The best humour comes from your delivery, style, anecdotes, observations, and from your personal experiences. Personal stories and observations are easier to tell, they are your words, and real-life experiences that the audience can easily relate to. Use your humour to make a point, one that reinforces your message, what you want people to remember.  Then even if they don’t find your humour funny, they’ll get the point you are trying to make, with less frustration.

Speech design: To reinforce your point:

Begin by stating your point (e.g. how we feel changes the way we experience the world)

Illustrate your point using a humorous story, case studies humorously told, etc. Remember: the humour is in the delivery (e.g. tell the story of how being dumped made you miss a new opportunity or experience)

Restate your point in a slightly different manner (e.g. feeling miserable, as in when you were dumped, can influence what you see and expect)

Speech design humour most significant part of brainThe best humour often comes from personal experiences. Talk about a funny thing that happened to you, and what you learned from it. Your audience will be more engaged by your story because it is personal, relatable and real.

The problem with stock jokes is some members of the audience may have heard them before, and they’ll know that you’re just telling jokes. Using your own humorous experiences keeps your speech fresh and original, especially if the story helps make your point.

Humour can be very effective in illustrating your ideas, and is far more memorable than cold hard facts and figures. Dull facts can bore your audience, and lose even the most sympathetic listener.

In Speech design using humour to reinforce your point will get a much better response, especially when in a public setting, speaking to a business audience who is not specifically there for humour.

If you want to learn how to create One Clear Message and Speech design when speaking then contact us today! 


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Richard Riche

Change Communication and Employee Engagement specialist at One Clear Message Consulting
Richard specialises in helping you build real human communication skills. Employee Engagement / Experience, Emotional Intelligence skills, building high performance teams and a great place you want to work. TED style speaking and presentation skills. Training, consulting and coaching.
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