About 6 months ago, I completed my last project in the Humorously Speaking Manual. To be honest, I was really happy to get it out of the way. One of the objectives for each speech in this manual is “make people laugh”. And I found that stressful. I mean, I sometimes make people laugh spontaneously when I talk to them but having to make people laugh in purpose? Well, that’s another story.
I remember my 2nd speech from the Humorously Speaking manual was close to a disaster. I got a few awkward smiles at best and I thought “f*** why did I pick this manual?”
Then I reminded myself – it’s because I love to listen to funny speeches or speeches that have incorporated elements of humour. I want to do that.
So I learned how.
Here are some things I’ve learned from giving humorous speeches and other speeches that had elements of humour in them
It’s easy to laugh at or with (depending on your goal) someone who seems confident. So I just act more confident than I am when I give a humorous speech. If you make a joke, which doesn’t land just move on.
Looking back over my 5 speeches in this advanced manual, I was probably faking my confidence for the first 3, then only somewhat faking my confidence in the last 2.
Know your audience
Present jokes tailored to your audience. If I made 90s music references to a bunch of people who are 50 or 60 years old, then they might not fly. (This is working with the assumption that people are most familiar with/fond the music they grew up with).
In one of my last speeches for Humorously Speaking, I gave a speech on “My Road to Recovery” on Tinder. First that Toastmasters group were mostly in the 25-35 year old range, so most people would’ve either been using Tinder or had friends who use it.
I also made references to life in Sweden, here are some excerpts from the speech:
5min in, I realised I would rather give up meatballs and IKEA forever than keep talking to him.
The element of surprise
Do a throwback or reference to something earlier that evening
Here, you make a joke or reference to something earlier that evening – it could be a speech/talk by someone else, or it could be something said earlier in your speech/talk.