Public Speaking Course:
Get 'em in Fun
Sigmund Freud offered some great insight that you will learn about in
my public speaking course.
This is what he wrote:
"The best condition for comic pleasure is a generally happy
disposition where one is in the mood for laughter. In these happy states
almost everything seems funny. We will laugh at the expectation of laughing,
at the appearance of who is giving the humorous material (sometimes
even before he [she] attempts to make us laugh), and finally, we laugh
at the recollection of having laughed."
This concept has been termed '"In fun" by scientists that study
the effect of humorous behavior. If you want your audience to laugh, they must
be "in fun". You, the presenter, must be "in fun". The emcee or program coordinator
needs to be "in fun". The whole program should be designed around the
audience being 'in fun'.
Try not to do anything to take your audience out of being "in
fun". Don't speak about controversial subjects like religion or politics and don't make
unfriendly comments to other audience members. If a situation occurs which must be dealt with, find
a funny way of taking care of it. For instance, if I'm
at a presentation and someone asks me who I voted for I just say, "I
voted for the USA." That's just a way to say that I really prefer
not to talk about it. Keeping in tune with your audience is part of using
your skills you learned in your public speaking course.
Dr. Charles Jarvis who is a retired National Speakers Association member and one of the greatest
humorists of all time, told me about a friend of
his who was an great speaker, but lost his audience when he told someone to turn off a tape
recorder. He was so mean about the way he treated that person that the
"in fun" audience
totally turned against him.
An "in fun" audience is more critical for the speaker who
there to entertain, but the concept should be in the back of every
presenter's mind who seeks to practice what they learned in my public
speaking course. Your
material may be controversial by nature, but that doesn't mean that
you should go out of your way to do or say things that will take the audience further out of in fun.
Also, pay close attention to the total program. One friend of mine
to present comical material just after a passionate plea went out to
the audience to collect funds for starving babies. He came on stage
just after the teary-eyed audience had seen slides of starving
DON'T start right in with your best funny material. Start out gently with a sincere reference to what the
audience has just experienced. Cut most of your early speaking humor and get
right to your subject to ease the audience's transition to your more lighthearted topic.
How do you put being "in fun" into practice during your
presentation? One time I had a ventriloquist
introduce me at an early morning meeting to wake up everyone and get them in fun. You could pass out
some snacks to the audience or put balloons on their chairs. Public announcements and agendas can be
decorated with funny cartoon characters. using what you learned in
your public speaking course may
involve using funny props as a great for putting people in fun. Do
anything you can to be sure your audience knows that it's OK to laugh.