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[Speaking-Out-Loud August 2014] Funny business: giggle, chortle and smile
August 26, 2014

Welcome to the August Issue of Speaking-Out-Loud's newsletter to help you effectively 'talk your walk'.

In this Issue

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'Tis the season to be funny - Giggle, chortle and smile

'Funny Side Up' graphic of a boy laughing

As regular readers know, I am a member of Toastmasters International and it's "funny season" in the Toastmaster calendar: the time we come together to practice and celebrate humorous speaking.

We get to hear and watch the good, not-quite-so-good, and sometimes, to put it bluntly, the downright oh-my-goodness, what-were-you-thinking, awful. Having been there done that, particularly in the latter category, I know what it feels like when something fails to generate the anticipated laughter. I also have experienced the delight of getting it right.

Despite the danger of tipping headlong into humiliation when humor fails to fly there are compelling reasons to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.

Laughter really is the shortest distance between people.

Here's 6 benefits you'll experience when you've learned to use humor effectively.

  1. Humor breaks through barriers- laughter can transcend age, race, gender, belief or class barriers
  2. Humor relaxes your audience and puts them in a receptive mood. After you have made them laugh they are more likely to want to listen to you!
  3. Humor alerts your audience to listen. They become more interested in what you're saying than what happened prior to them listening to you or what is going to happen afterward. It brings your audience into the now!
  4. Laughter adds 'juice' to a presentation. It can enliven potentially dry or dull material.
  5. Humor releases tension
  6. Humor binds people together: that is humor based on common or shared experience. For example: work-place humor. Almost every profession has its own humor. For instance, there are lawyer, teacher, doctor, and computer jokes.

Humor pages

To help steer you through the potential pitfalls of good humor gone bad, and introduce you to its joys executed well - here's a collection of pages to step you through the basics. You'll find exercises, guidelines, examples and ongoing links for more.

- How to use humor effectively
This covers knowing your audience, using safe humor, integrating humor into your speech, and rehearsing - plus some.

- Verbal humor
Find out about the differing types of verbal humor - word plays and more to add variety to your laughter menu.

- Physical humor basics
The joys of body language - mime, slapstick - exercises for beginners

There's even my own account of a humorous speech that didn't go quite to plan. Funny was not enough to save me! Back to the rehearsal room for me.

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What's new

A round up of pages, either revamped with added information or new on the site

  • Bridesmaid speeches. Tips on how to write a bridesmaid speech without reaching for traditionally cloying platitudes.
  • How to write a speech for kids. Tips for adults on preparing a speech for children - covers some of the things I learned the hard way!
  • Personal grooming . Checklists for presentations - because sometimes it's the most obvious that's overlooked.

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And now some complete nonsense ...

While reorganizing the humor pages on my site I was sorely tempted by, and then succumbed to revisiting, the source of gales of snorting, belly aching, laughter in my youth. Were those shows still funny?

Mostly they were British. And the one my entire student flat sat down to watch religiously was Monty Python's Flying Circus. It was anarchical, surreal, and yes, very silly humor. I loved it. Many years later, I'm glad to say, I still do.

Here's the full sketch of the Ministry of Silly Walks - a master piece of physical humor from John Cleese.

The walk has just been released as an app! It endures.

Now how to work a silly walk without dislocating a hip into a speech?

If you've got comments, feedback or questions you're most welcome to contact me through my About Me page.

If you liked this issue of Speaking-Out-Loud, please feel free to send it on to any friends or family. The site url to forward so they can subscribe is Speaking-Out-Loud.

Until next time,
Happy speaking,


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