Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Public Speaking: Bombproofing

Are you afraid of bombing when you get up in front of a group? You don't have
to be. With proper material selection, a few prepared comments in case of
unexpected problems, and attention to time, worries about bombing can be
virtually eliminated. Also remember one key point that Mike McKinley, past
president of the National Speakers Association, told me: "The audience doesn't
know your script. If you make a minor mistake, so what. Just keep on talking."

When you want to get a message across using humor, there is one overriding
principle that will give you the greatest chance of success along with the least
chance of failure. If you make all your attempts at humor relevant to your
presentation, you get an automatic excuse from your mother if your humor is not
all that funny. If your humor is received as funny, so much the better; but if it
isn't, at least you made your point. Audiences will be much more tolerant if the
humor ties into the subject at hand.

At social functions, relevance is not as critical as it is in serious business
settings. If you stray off the main topic just for fun, it's no big deal. However,
if you are still a little apprehensive about your humor skills in a presentation, the
theory of relevance will always keep you safe.

Even if your delivery is not great at this point, the proper selection of
material will carry you a long way. You must consider the nature of the
audience, your personality and style, and the nature of the subject.

If you keep the above principle of relevance in mind, you should never have
to suffer the embarrassment of your humor bombing out.

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