Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Now there's a funny thing

There's an old story about an aspiring professional speaker who meets a speaker at the top of the profession.

* Young Speaker "Should I use humour in my speeches?"
* Top Speaker "Only if you want to get paid"

It's true. OK, there are a few occasions when humour is not appropriate, but even in a funeral oration a light touch and a smile does no harm. None of this means that you have to be a stand-up comedian, though learning a few comedy skills is very helpful. However, you do need to prepare, so here are a few tips

* Don't tell jokes you found online (or anywhere else)
* Use stories that happened to you - self-deprecation is good
* Keep it clean
* It's OK to be simply amusing, not trying for the big laugh
* Rehearse your lines and timing
* If no-one laughs, move on quickly

If you aren't naturally funny, get some help. There's a great comedy writer called Benjamin Marks who is based in Australia, but can spice up your material wherever you are. If you contact him, tell him I said Hi.

No comments: