Public Speaking Training:
Acronyms and Abbreviations
The use of acronyms and abbrevations as part of your public speaking training
and can be a great way to add some mild humor in your presentation.
An acronym is an abbreviation of words to form a new word, for example HUD means
the Department of (H)ousing and (U)rban (D)evelopment. There are many acronyms
and abbreviations that are widely known such as the IRS and the CIA. You
can also research and find more acronyms that might be relevant to your
This technique works best in your presentations if you try to make it funny by
changing one or more of the words that go with your well-known abbreviation or
Here are some examples I have used when teaching a public speaking course.
IRA Individual Rest-in-Peace Account
TQM Totaled Quality Management
IQ Idiot Quotient
CPI Consumers Poorhouse Indicator
With a little thought of what you learned in your public speaking course,
it is pretty easy to customize acronyms to a particular audience. Here are some
funny examples of acronyms that I used once at a public speaking engagement for
a hotel franchise:
ADR to the hotel industry means Average Daily Rate. I changed that to All Dated
Rooms which is something nobody in the hotel business wants to hear. It would
mean a fortune would be spent on upgrading and modernizing the rooms.
OCC in the hotel business stands for Occupancy Rate. I changed it to Oh! C'mon
Clinton because at that time certain taxes were being proposed by President
Clinton that would affect their industry.
You must always try to connect with
the audience by mentioning the topics that are on their minds the most. This
gives you the greatest chance of succeeding with something funny, and success
with your audience is part of your public speaking training.
IOC was the name of the group I was addressing for a particular presentation
(International Operator's Council). I changed that to I'm Ordering Chinese and
I'm Out of Coffee. These phrases aren't particularly funny by themselves,
however, these people had just completed rigorous and exhausting inspections by
the Franchisor. That is what made it funny to them. Knowing when, where, and
what will be funny is a great skill learned from your public speaking training.
This is one of my all time favorites to use and always gets a good laugh. ANA
stands for Al Nippon Airlines. I tell the audience that it's a good thing this
company had an American advisor before they agreed on this acronym because the
original version was . . . ANAL (this is revealed on an overhead projector just
after a pause following the word "was"). This ANA versus ANAL story gets great laughter. I extend the humor with the
line, 'How would you like to see that on a 747 coming at you?' This question
gets even bigger laughs from the crowd. Your public speaking training will teach
you how to keep your audience laughing.
For the hotel presentation, the acronyms were on an overhead transparency and
were displayed using the "reveal technique" from your public
speaking training (where individual overhead lines stay covered until time to
reveal the funny version). You could also print them in your handouts, or just
tell them out loud, almost any method can be used when utilizing the tools from
your public speaking training.