Todd’s Public Speaking Tips – Entry 4

I am tired.  But I will finish this tonight!

Humour – As I wrote yesterday, I’ve given an entire talk on using humour in speeches.  So this will be fairly brief.  Using humour is an excellent idea.  Laughter is another form of the sort of two-way communication that I like to encourage.  A person laughing is actively participating.  Refer back to the discussion on the pause.  Timing is the key element in humour.  Generally you say something and give the audience enough time to make a false assumption and then you twist it in a different direction.  Then you pause again to allow the audience time to laugh.  Humourous elements can also include: exaggeration (of facts or mannerisms), understatement, physical humour, and parody.  Humour can be used for many different purposes in a speech.  An important concern is not over using humour.

Rule of triads – Another memory aid and a way of structuring a speech.  When a person hears a list they make an automatic assumption it will contain three items.  So you can use it for sentence construction talking about this, that and the other thing.  You can use it in providing supportive evidence – provide three pieces of evidence.  When organizing a speech organize around three main points.  It is also a warning.  If you provide a list of two things you are setting up the audience to expect a third and if you use four they might stop listening after the third.  If you are using a non-standard list be very clear how many items the audience should be expecting.

Avoid the known – You’ve probably heard cliches are bad.  Avoid them in your speeches.  The easiest way to do that is to base it on personal experience which is all unique.  Start there and build out.  Don’t start with a framework or a structure.  That is an easy way to find yourself in amongst cliche pretty quickly.  A example of cliched construction is the “We are all on a journey” speech.


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