Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Public Speaking - Selecting Humor Material

Selection of Material
I'm sure you take great care in selecting the educational material you present to your audience. The same care should be taken when selecting the humorous comments you plan on including. You must decide who and what to joke about while avoiding being offensive and/or inappropriate.

Appropriate Targets
You must constantly remember to base your humorous material on an important target shared with your intended audience. You get this information from your pre-program questionnaire and other pre-program research.

Use people they know in your jokes and stories. Talk about their CEO or supervisor (get permission from these people first). Joke about or insult the CEO of a major competitor, but be careful here. You may want to work for the competitor some day. Always pick BIG targets to
tease. Never pick secretaries, receptionists, or janitors as targets of humor.

Quip about the places they go. Their cafeteria, the bar across the street from their plant, or the crowded highway leading to where they work are all good targets for humor. In Washington, D.C., where I live, everyone jokes about troubles on the Beltway.

Joke about the things that mean something to them. Joke about their new marketing plan, company picnic, new voice-mail system, etc. Just be sure that they are joking about it themselves. The topic might be too hot to tease about. If you have a general audience and you cannot get specific information, use general humor. Most people are married and have children and experience family conflict. They go to the doctor and dentist. They stand in line at the motor vehicle administration. They deal with financial problems. Joke about any universal problem which your audience can relate to.

Remember, always pick BIG targets. Joke about celebrities, media stars, and athletes that everyone knows. Keep in mind that there is a genuine sports interest in virtually every audience.
The best and safest target to use is yourself. You can joke about your physical appearance, clothing, weight, etc., without much worry of offending someone else.

Get the latest training in public speaking humor!

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