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Public Speaking:

Juxtaposition is the placing, side by side, of two ideas or items usually for the purpose of comparison or contrast. 

I staged an event at Washington National Airport where I had a huge 450-pound man and a very small man (three feet eleven inches) dressed as chauffeurs. They were waiting at the gate for a man from Japan arriving for his first visit to the United States. 

To take the comical juxtaposition one step further, the small man was holding a gigantic sign with the Japanese man's name on it and the extra large man was holding a similar sign, except it was about the size of a business card. Believe me, we had the attention of everyone in the gate area. What a visual! 

Now let's look at two specialized types of juxtaposition: 

1) Oxymoron and 2) Pleonasm.

Warren S. Blumenfeld, Ph.D., in his book Pretty Ugly states, "I {passively tried} to warn you oxymorons had {almost absolutely} no socially redeeming quality except that they make people {smile out loud} and are addictive." His first book on the subject was called Jumbo Shrimp.

According to Dr. Blumenfeld, "An oxymoron is two concepts {usually two words} that do not go together, but are used together. It is a bringing together of contradictory expressions." Terms like "old news," "extensive briefing," "direct circumvention" and "random order" are oxymorons. Also concepts like "an advanced state of decline" and "expecting a surprise" are oxymorons. 

A pleonasm is the bringing together of two concepts or words that are redundant. A pleonasm is the bringing together of two concepts or words that are redundant. How many times do I have to tell you? 

Combinations like "direct intervention" "frozen ice," "sharp point," "killed dead," "sandy beach," "young child," "positive praise," and "angry rage" are pleonasms. 

Here are some ways you can use comical juxtaposition in a business world public speaking engagement: 

Ultimate Guide to Pro

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