One-liner is a general term for very short pieces of humor. Using one-liners is probably the best and easiest way to begin adding humor to your
public speaking engagements. These brief bits of humor are quick and easy to deliver and they don't have to be all that funny to be effective. If you are a little apprehensive about using humor, this is the place to start.
The audience likes one-liners, because they can get a quick mental break from content heavy material. Also, if the audience is there to get high levels of content, they don't feel you wasted their time with long stories and jokes. One of the handiest sources for one-liners is a small and inexpensive paperback called
Today's Chuckle: 2500 Great One-Liners for Every Occasion by Paul Harlan Collins.
Most public speaking resource books are broken down into categories. This book has categories such as,
Affairs of State and Other Political Indiscretions where you might find the one-liner: "Politicians are like polkas. They have different names, but they all sound alike," or
Money and the Meaning of Life where you would see truisms like: "Prosperity is that period between the last installment and the next purchase."
There are 25 categories in all and I can't imagine a talk that wouldn't benefit from one of these selections.
You'll run across one-liners everywhere once you start looking. Some will even have two lines. Don't worry. Write them down too, and start adding them to your
public speaking engagements. Just for fun, I'm including some of my favorites:
- Thanks to automatic teller machines you are always conveniently close to being broke.
- Life can be an unfair teacher.
Sometimes she gives the test before she gives the lesson.
- Behind every successful person stands a bunch of amazed co-workers.
- Computers can do complicated mathematical calculations in 1/100,000 second, but the invoices still go out 10 days late.
- My accountant is shy and retiring. He's $250,000 shy. That's why he's retiring.
- How are you supposed to teach a kid what clockwise means when he's wearing a digital GI Joe watch?