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How to Make a Point with Humor

One of the old saws in the art of public speaking says that you should
'Tell em what you're gonna tell 'em. Tell 'em. Then tell 'em what you
told 'em.' When you want to make a point during your presentation, you
can use a similar formula. You tell 'em the point, illustrate the
point, then tell 'em the point again. This formula, however, can seem
boring and redundant if you don't spice it up a little. One way to do
it is to use humor. Here's the formula used in the art of public

1. Make your point.

2. Illustrate your point (in our example below we're using a humorous
two-liner, but you could use props, humorous props, funny stories,
serious stories, case studies, etc.)

3. Restate your point.

Here's an example where your point is 'The Importance of Communication.'

1. First make your point by saying, Accurate and clear communication is
an important part of our everyday lives.

2. Then illustrate your point. In this case use a humorous two-liner.
It's like the student pilot who was asked over the radio to state his
altitude and location. He said, 'I'm five feet nine and I'm in the left

3. Then restate your point in a slightly different manner by saying,
You can see how what we may think is clear communication could be
interpreted incorrectly especially when people are under pressure.

When you use humor in a public setting . . . especially when you are
speaking to a business audience, or any audience who is not
specifically there for humor, make the humor reinforce your point and
you will get a much better response. Knowing what to say and when to
say it is part of the art of public speaking.

Antion & Associates Copyright 1998 - 2005

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