And now for the ultimate audience gag. Drum roll, please. I do an old, old banquet gag that I recycled for new speaking gigs. I call it Cuss Your Lunch which stands for Cuss(tomer) Service Your Lunch.
Through my practical joke company, I have done literally hundreds of performances as the Clumsy Waiter at banquets, luncheons, and wedding receptions. These performances were done mainly for fun and they are not messy unless, of course, you want them to be. When I started speaking more and more to business audiences I wanted to find a way to incorporate this outrageous routine.
Now Cuss Your Lunch is a live training session on customer service, but the participants don't know it. I get the company to arrange an appreciation luncheon for the managers or employees of the customer service division. I am planted as the waiter at the function. The participants really feel what it is like to get rotten service. There are two ways this can end. One way is to prat fall to the floor and make a really big commotion. I claim that some innocent attendee tripped me. The banquet manager or head waiter then comes in and fires me.
Then I reveal the joke and immediately go into a customer service presentation based on what they have just experienced. The other way to end this presentation takes more time and effort, but is more fun. In this case, I storm out of the room after being fired. I immediately go somewhere and change into a spiffy suit. I change my hairstyle, take off my glasses and return to the meeting as the guest speaker whose plane was late. The looks on the participant's faces
are something you have to see to believe.
Don't be afraid to have fun with an audience. Gags are a good way to do it and they can really help you drive home your point too.