Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tom Antion: Using Humor To Make A Point

One of the old saws 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:

1. Make your point.
2. Illustrate your point (in our case with 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 seat."
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 underpressure.

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