Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Public Speaking: Using Audience Gags for Fun

There are many ways a public speaker can have fun with an audience. Don’t be afraid to incorporate some audience gags to help get your points across during your public speaking presentation. Here are some of my favorites.

The False Guest Speaker
Use this gag to reduce pressure in the public speaking audience or to just have some fun. Customize this stunt for the group and ask an insider to give you some buzzwords and current issues. The false speaker uses the buzzwords at the beginning of the fake speech to appear to be legitimate and believable. The imposter then rambles off on unrelated subjects woven through the real information so the audience becomes puzzled. The speaker has to be ready for the unexpected, including any questions that may arise.

Dr. Heckle and Mr. Sly
Use this stunt if you enjoy watching your audiences squirm. Place your own heckler in the audience. Get an overbearing actor or friend to pose as the heckler and give the person outrageous but believable things to say. Make sure you let the meeting planner and security know what you have planned. Don’t laugh or you will give it away.

Mother Calls
Hide a telephone under the lectern and have the sound of a loud telephone ringing interrupt you as you are delivering your presentation. Answer the phone and pretend your are talking to your mother.

Stone the Speaker
Recruit audience members either before your program or during a break. Give each one a crumpled piece of paper and tell them to throw the paper at you when they hear a certain word. The individuals are immersed in what you say as they wait to hear the trigger word. After they throw the paper, make a big deal of it. Now that you have everyone’s attention, discuss one of your key points.

Ten Wanted Men
Select ten fun-loving members of the audience before your presentation to help you pull this gag. Give them secret instructions to follow during the program, along with a certain cue. The gag begins when my assistant interrupts the seminar to give me an important note. I read the note in a very serious tone: “It appears that someone is in attendance today with another man’s wife. There is a large and irate man on his way here right now. If you want to escape, there is a backstage door you can use to leave quickly.” After I read the note, ten men jump out of their seats and run keystone cop style to the door.

Make $5500 or more every time you speak!

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