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Using Jokes in Public Speaking
Why Use Jokes?
One of the important skills in public speaking is to learn to set your audience at ease and form a rapport with them. A great way of doing this is through appropriate, funny jokes and anecdotes.
Public speaking is at the top of the list of thing that intimidate most people. Your hands sweat, your mouth feels like Death Valley, and your knees knock. Even though you knew the speech by heart a few moments ago, the words have been swept away in a torrent of adrenaline. Jokes? Who can think of jokes at a time like this?
You should. Having a good joke to interject into a moment of panic can ease you in to your speaking engagement and give the audience the feeling that you really do know what you are doing.
Using Appropriate Jokes and Humor
What is a good joke? How do you know that the joke you are using is going to go over the way you want it to? How can you choose good jokes for public speaking?
- Maintain eye contact with your audience.
- Change the tone of your voice
- Make your jokes appropriate to your audience.
- Practice telling them until you are good at it
- Use one liners
Look at the jokes you are planning on using. Make sure there are no racial, ethnic, or gender slurs in it anywhere. This would be crass and not funny.
Use one liners to break up tension, handle something unexpected like a technical problem, or even deal with a heckler. One liners are funny statements that have lot of punch. For example, I once heard a visiting pastor say to the congregation, "My Boss sends His love to you all." It was a great way to start!
There are a number of websites that have good, clean jokes that you can use in your public speaking. Aha! Jokes has jokes that are separated by category and type. Another site to check is Laughter.com.
Here are some career specific joke sites:
- Jokes for Pastors
- Jokes for Military Personnel
- Jokes for Accountants and Bankers
- Jokes for Teachers and Educators
Web searching will provide many more jokes and humorous quotes. By using humor you can add a new depth and professionalism to your public speaking engagements.
Using Jokes in Public Speaking
Use Humor to Get the Attention Off Yourself
Using humor to get the attention off yourself is one way to help put both yourself and your audience at ease. Tell a humorous story that relates to the subject, something that has happened in your family, for example. If you mess up just go on. You will think more about it than your audience will.
With the technology of laptops and power point programs you can also use humorous visuals in your presentation. Check out sites like Youtube for funny, and appropriate videos, to enhance your speech. You may want to consider letting power point run a series of funny pictures set to music as people enter the conference room. This can be a good icebreaker and set a relaxed mood.
As you use these techniques more in your public speaking you will become more relaxed with them, and ultimately find your own speaking style.