This third SMART guideline will help you bring life into your entertaining speeches! [Wednesdays: “Speak on the Shoulders of Giants”]
The SMART Speech Preparation Formula
A – Add Humor and Personality to Your Talk
We’re halfway through our series about the SMART Speech Preparation Formula discussed in Arina Nikitina’s book, “Successful Public Speaking.”
S – Select your material
M – Map an outline of your speech or presentation
A – Add humor and personality to your talk
R – Revise your script (if you’ve prepared one)
T – Tie the loose ends of your speech together
In the past two “Speak on the Shoulders of Giants” articles, we focused on the first two letters of the acronym, which stand for selecting your material and mapping an outline of your speech or presentation.
We hope you’re learning a lot so far!
Today, we’ll talk about the third letter in the acronym, which is about…
Adding humor or personality to your talk.
Let’s say you’re past the stages of gathering and selecting your materials and mapping an outline of your speech or presentation.
What should you do next?
Create a written draft of your speech following the outline you created. This is where you inject humor or personality into your script to make it more conversational and engaging for your audience.
However, you have to keep in mind that you should only add humor to your script where appropriate. If your presentation topic is a bit serious and formal, then stick to a professional tone. Reserve your jokes and punchlines for a more lighthearted speech.
Understanding Lighthearted Speeches
A lighthearted speech is designed to capture an audience’s attention and amuse them while you deliver your message.
Like in presenting informative and persuasive speeches, you should communicate a clear message in delivering a lighthearted speech. It’s just the manner and tone of speaking that’s different.
… and since one of the goals of this type of speech is to amuse or entertain your listeners, this is where you can incorporate humor into your message. Adding jokes or any other funny punch lines will help the audience connect with you as a speaker.
What can you do to deliver an effective lighthearted speech?
Take note of these 3 BEs!
- Be prepared.
One of the mistakes you can make when delivering a message in front of your audience is to arrive underprepared or not prepared at all. This leads to:
- Mental blocks during your actual speech or presentation
- Out-of-place jokes or sense of humor
- Awkward gestures
- Irrelevant narratives
… and other actions or statements that could make your listeners bored, confused, or uninterested.
On the other hand, when you plan and prepare for your talk, you give yourself ample time to make an effective speech or presentation. This will help you create a comprehensive message for your audience and assess whether or not humor and other stories are appropriate.
Planning and preparing for your public speaking engagement is important. So, make sure you dedicate enough time for this process to achieve your intended outcomes for your speech or presentation.
- Be aware of the occasion where you’ll be speaking.
As mentioned, humor is only applicable for certain types of public speaking engagements. That’s why you have to be aware of the context of the event where you’ll deliver a talk.
If you are asked to deliver a speech that commemorates the anniversary of a tragic incident, then telling jokes is definitely inappropriate.
On the contrary, humor is acceptable in occasions where you’re asked to speak about a lighthearted topic such as giving a toast at the wedding of a relative, receiving an award, delivering a welcoming speech at a school reunion, etc.
Different occasions call for different levels of social appropriateness. As a speaker, make sure you structure your message accordingly.
- Be adaptive to your audience.
Different audiences will respond differently to your material, so make sure you know your listeners well enough. The more you know about them, the more likely you’ll succeed in delivering your message.
Let’s take this example from Nikitina’s book…
One keynote speaker stood and delivered a speech about the importance of public speaking. Presentation-wise, the speaker was more than okay. He was fluent, his messages were clear, and his sense of humor was good.
Here’s the thing: Despite all that, his speech still fell flat. Why was that so?
He delivered a speech about the importance of public speaking to public speaking teachers and told them they should take public speaking courses! Some members of the audience felt insulted because they thought the speaker was underestimating their skills as public speaking teachers.
See? That was a case of a good message but wrong audience. To prevent this from happening to you, make sure you deliver the right message to the right audience.
We’ve been talking about adding humor where appropriate in your talk… but there’s one thing we haven’t mentioned yet:
According to Nikitina, while humor only caters to a few types of speeches, that shouldn’t be the case with your unique personality as a speaker.
“Whether you are explaining the confluence of multiple market dynamics on the company’s profits or sharing the latest strategic decisions with your team, let your personality and your opinions shine through your speech.”
Aside from Nikitina, Cameron Moll, the founder of jobs board company Authentic Jobs Inc., has something to say about providing “meaty” content to listeners and letting your personality shine through your talk:
“Entertaining a room full of people doesn’t necessarily equate to jokes and magic tricks, but it does mean that the content of your presentation and the delivery of that content should be compelling and engaging. Your personality has a lot to do with that. Keeping the audience’s eyes on you rather than their laptops benefits both you and the audience.”
Your personality as a speaker is important. It distinguishes you from other speakers and helps you connect with your listeners.
Give your audience a memorable experience through your presentation!
In speeches where humor is not appropriate, use your unique personality to leave a lasting, positive impression. This will help you capture your listeners’ attention and sustain their interest throughout your talk.
Apply the third SMART Speech Preparation Formula!
Let this guide you in properly incorporating humor and personality in your presentations, especially in entertaining speeches.
Keep tuning in because next week, we’ll tackle the fourth guideline in the SMART acronym!
About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Wednesdays: Speak on the Shoulders of Giants”
In a meeting with one person
…a boardroom with five people
…or a huge venue with hundreds of people
—whatever the situation or setting, it’s very important to learn and eventually master the art of public speaking.
No matter what, you always need to effectively get your message across.
What good is a presentation with awesome content if you don’t deliver it properly?
Every Wednesday, we publish different tips, insights, and secrets on how you can improve your presentation skills to captivate your audience and lead interesting discussions.
The need for great presentation skills applies EVERYWHERE.
(Small meetings with your team, big meetings with your boss, an important marketing pitch, speaking engagements for events with a big audience, etc.)
Learning these skills is not just for the corporate world. Being in other industries such as the Arts, Information Technology, Medicine, and Education while knowing how to present well will definitely give you an edge.
Have that advantage.
Hope you’ve found this week’s public speaking tip interesting and helpful.
Stay tuned for next Wednesday’s Speak on the Shoulders of Giants!
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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