Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Public Speaking: Malaprops, Parody and Funny Words
Public speakers say many words over their careers. As you know, choosing just the right words for your presentation takes a lot of thought and often much research. Knowing a few unique ways to use words may ignite your creativity. You may even come up with your own distinctive words. One of my friend's child was almost grown when I heard her call a caterpillar a “caterpitter.” Her special word clearly brings to mind a vision of a fuzzy worm pitter-pattering about on tiny feet, which is exactly what caterpillars do.
Casey Stengel did it best when he said, “It’s déjà all over again.” Casey was a natural at using a malaprop, which is an absurd misuse of words. People who use malaprops often don’t realize they are accidentally misusing words. In the caterpillar story above, my friend's daughter had unknowingly used a malaprop.
In public speaking, adding malaprops to your presentation can make the members of your audience stop and question what they think you said and what you actually said. Plan to intentionally make a funny error in your presentation while making it appear to be an accident.
If you deliberately use malapropism, be sure you indicate to your audience that it was intentional. Other wise, they may doubt your level of intelligence. If you find that you have accidentally misused a phrase, you must admit that you made an error so you can retain your credibility and keep the lines of communication open. The way to acknowledge your mistake is to use an ad-lib or quotation to make fun of yourself.
Parody is a humorous imitation of a person, event, song or serious piece of writing. You can involve your public speaking audience in your presentation by using a parody in the form of a song. Select a well-known song and change the words to customize it to the audience. Invite the audience to sing along with you. They will enjoy your light-heartedness and laugh with you.
Professional comedy writers agree that funny words can almost guarantee that the audience members will laugh. When you need a funny-sounding word, it may help to know that they also agree that the “k” sound is a funny sound. Try using words with the “k” sound such as cookie, cucumber, chicken, cluck or kiwi to your speech.
Take a risk and try some of these techniques in your presentations. You may even start a trend with your original phrase or humorous word.
Make $5500 or more every time you speak!