by Scott Friedman
Law No. 1
You Do Not Have To Use Humor, Unless You Want To Get Paid People will pay
more to be entertained than to be educated.
Two Trends in Public Speaking:
- Immediate application
- More entertainment
Incorporate the 3 Es:
Law No. 2
Know Thy Audience
The more you know about the audience, the more opportunities you will have to
play with them.
Ways to Learn About Your Audience:
- Pre-program questionnaire:
- The fastest way to know the inside humor of an organization is to ask. Ask
about the characters in the group.
- Read their annual report, past newsletters, copy of the program, web site
- Attend meetings and field trips before you speak. Find humor hot
Law No. 3
The Shortest Distance Between You And The Audience Is A Good Laugh
Eliminate all barriers between you and your audience. Create the illusion of
control. Approach the audience as though everyone came to have a good time. The
purpose is not to control them, but to ask, "What is it we have in
Four Effective Humorous Openings Public Speaking:
- Self-effacing Humor Creates a bond with the audience.
- Physical surroundings If it is on the mind of the audience, you must
- Tap into "Inside Humor." Comment on what everyone is chuckling
about. All of a sudden you are one of them. You immediately gain respect
because you did your homework. Always check with person you are going to
poke fun at.
- Current events: What is happening in that particular city, around the
nation, or worldwide? **The purpose of your opening is to loosen up the
audience and invite them to listen.
Law No. 4
Your Success As A Speaker Will Be In Direct Proportion To The Amount Of
Original Material You Use
The harder you are to duplicate, the more in demand you will be. Personal
stories are always best, because they give the audience a chance to get to know
you. Vulnerability is your greatest strength.
Law No. 5
If You Can't Find Funny Material, Change Your Glasses
Where to find humor:
- Observe life. Life is filled with funny examples if you look through the
eyes of humor. Life is just one long anecdote waiting to be told.
- Go to the library
- Humor cassettes
- Comedy clubs
- Become an avid reader of magazines and periodicals
- Radio and television
- Hear as many speakers as you possibly can
- Surround yourself with funny people and those capable of making others
laugh and feel good about themselves
- Subscribe to speaker's services
- Humor writers
- Software: Idea Fisher
- Internet resources (web
and UseNet Newsgroups)
- Make up your own Start a humor diary.
Law No. 6
Great Humor Is Not Written; It Is Rewritten
"The most common mistake in using humor is people give up too
soon." Gene Peret
5 steps to writing original material:
- Recall experiences from your past that are embarrassing, unusual, or
- Tell the story to friends. Make a note where they laugh.
- Re-write. Eliminate unnecessary words and shorten. Put the biggest laugh
at the end. A really good story explodes into the punchline, which is
nothing more than the unexpected truth that twists reality slightly. In
humor, less is more.
- When you're comfortable, start telling it from the platform. The pause
will dramatically improve your timing and rhythm.
- Add laugh lines. Keep editing. Tape every speech, then go through it. Try
to find and increase the laugh lines. Get a Humor Buddy to brainstorm with.
Law No. 7
Spontaneity Is Always Better The Second Time Around
Accidents do happen. When accidents take place, the audience becomes
ill-at-ease. Any comment will break the tension. Being prepared is the key to
rehearsed spontaneity. Before making a remark, pause and look up like you are
searching for something to say. The audience will think you are creating the
humor on the spot.
- Beeper goes off: Time to take my pill!
- Ambulance or any siren: Gotta go, my ride is here!
Law No. 8
If They Dont Laugh, It Was not Meant To Be Funny
All humor must apply to your speech. Relevance reduces resistance. When taking
advantage of humor of the moment, be ready with a comeback line.
- Some jokes I do just for me.
- I would now like you to bow your heads and join with me in silent prayer
for that last joke that just died.
- That is the last time I buy a joke from (key member of the
Law No. 9
The Richest Laugh Is At No One's Expense
You lose respect and credibility when you offend someone in your audience.
Listen through the ears of the audience. When in doubt, leave it out. The reason
you use humor is to enhance your message. If your humor offends, then it
interferes with what you have to say.
Law No. 10
You Are Your Own Best Style
You need to uncover the style you already have and use it, rather than use
someone else's style. Select material carefully so that it compliments your
style. If your humor is too much different from your own personality, it appears
awkward and incongruent. Be yourself!
Scott Friedman,CSP, Motivational Humorist Author of Using Humor For A Change http://www.FunnyScott.com