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Public Speaking Course:  

Get 'em in Fun

Sigmund Freud offered some great advice that you will learn about in my public speaking course.

He wrote:

"The most favorable condition for comic pleasure is a generally happy disposition in which one is in the mood for laughter. In these happy states almost everything seems humorous. We laugh at the expectation of laughing, at the appearance of one who is presenting the comic material (sometimes even before he [she] attempts to make us laugh), and finally, we laugh at the recollection of having laughed."

This concept has been termed '"In fun" by people that study the effects of humorous behavior. If you want your audience to laugh, they must be in fun. You, the speaker, must be in fun. The emcee or program coordinator must be in fun. The whole program should be designed in fun.

Don't do anything to take your audience out of  "in fun". Don't speak about controversial subjects like religion or politics and don't make unfriendly comments to audience members. If a problem occurs which must be dealt with, find an in fun way of doing so. For instance, if I'm at
a presentation and someone asks me who I voted for I say, "I
voted for the USA." That's a cute way to say that I really prefer not
to talk about it. Keeping in tune with your audience is part of using your skills you learned in your public speaking course.

Retired National Speakers Association member and one of the greatest
humorists of all time Dr. Charles Jarvis, told me about a friend of his
who was excellent at speaking, but lost his audience when he forced someone to turn off a tape recorder. He was so nasty about the way he treated that person that the "in fun" audience totally turned against him.

An "in fun" audience is more critical for the presenter who is
there to entertain, but the concept should be in the back of every
speakers mind who seeks to practice what they learned in my public speaking course. Your
material may be controversial by nature, but that doesn't mean that you
should go out of your way to do or say things that will take the
audience further out of in fun.

Also, pay close attention to the total program. One friend of mine had
to present comical material just after a passionate plea went out to
the audience to collect funds for starving babies. He came on stage
just after the teary-eyed audience had seen slides of emaciated
children. 

DON'T start right in with your humorous
material. Start out gently with a sincere reference to what the
audience has just experienced. Cut most of your early speaking humor and get
to your subject to ease the audience's transition to your more
lighthearted topic.

How do you put in fun into practice? One time I had a ventriloquist
introduce me at an early morning meeting to wake up everyone and get
them in fun. You could pass out fun snacks to the audience or put
balloons on their chairs. Public announcements and agendas can be
decorated with cartoon characters.  using what you learned in your public speaking course may
involve using funny props as a great for putting people in fun. Do
anything you can to be sure your audience knows that it's OK to laugh.

 

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