Public Speaking Course:
To Laugh or Not to Laugh . . .That is the Question
Some 'experts' on public speaking say that you shouldn't laugh at your own jokes
or stories while your on stage.
This may work for other speakers, but it's definitely not my style.
When I'm on stage in front of an audience, I want to have some fun, because that
is part of being confident from all you learned in my
public speaking course. I'm there because
I love humor and laughter and I love sharing it with my audience to
help them have a good time.
I can't help but laugh sometimes. I laugh at what I say. I laugh at
what the audience may say. I laugh at unexpected happenings during the presentation.
That's just my style. I believe that to fully connect with an audience, you
must be accepted as one of them. If I expect them to laugh, then I should
Sometimes you can laugh to cue the audience it's okay to laugh.
Using what you learned from your public speaking course involves leading your
audience into laughter. Within a matter of minutes your public stage persona
will be evident to the audience. As soon as they catch onto your style
and rhythm, they will pick up on the cues you give them. When you laugh,
they know it is time for them to laugh. It's almost like holding up an applause sign. Some presenters use facial expressions
or gestures or a combination of many cues that tell the audience it's
OK to laugh.
The opposite of a laughter cue is a deadpan expression. This is a very
serious expression that is contrasted with humorous lines. The contrast
creates a bigger laugh than the line could get by itself. I use this
to set the audience up for some fun questions. I look completely
sincere when I say, "I'm the foremost expert in the world [pause] on dumb
questions." It always gets a good laugh from the crowd.
When your giving your speech don't be afraid to go ahead and laugh when you feel like it.
Both you and your audience will enjoy the speech more. And when both
the audience and the speaker are enjoying the speech, then you are
seeing the beauty of what you learned in your public speaking course.