Public Speaking Training:
Public speaking training talks about using audience gags during your
presentation. Audience gags are fun offbeat jokes that occur during your
program. Dr. Joel Goodman, from the Humor Project, does an audience gag where a
telephone rings during his speech. When he answers the phone that was hidden
behind the podium, he pretends to talk to his mother. The same joke would be
considered a running gag if the phone rang again several other times during the
Some audience gags that I have used during my presentations are listed below.
In your public speaking training you will learn how to come up with ideas for
audience gags that will relate to your audience.
Stone the Speaker
When I really want to focus attention on an important point, I use this gag.
Either before the program or at a break, I recruit audience members who are
sitting near the front. I give each one a piece of crumpled paper and instruct
them to throw it at me when they hear a certain word. Unique ways of getting and
keeping the audiences attention is vital to having good speaking skills.
Ten Wanted Men
I staged a gag at a seminar one time that was loads of fun and took less than
one minute to complete. Concentrating on having a good effect and not on the
amount of time spent creating is what you will learn in your public speaking
course. Before the program, I picked out about 10 fun-loving audience members to
help me. I gave them secret instructions that were to be carried out on a
certain cue during the program. To start the gag, I had my assistant interrupt
the seminar to give me an important note. The note read (I used a serious
"It appears that someone is in attendance today with another man's wife.
There is a large and irate man on his way here right now. If you want out, there
is a backstage door you can use to escape quickly."
At this point, 10 men jumped up out of their seats and hauled themselves out the
door. Once they realized what was happening, several women jumped up and ran out
too. It was great fun and the gag sure woke up everyone who had a heavy lunch.
A lot of professional public speakers tell me that's the dumbest thing they ever
heard and they would never do it in their presentations. The reason they say
that is because they don't see the reason behind it. I use this gag when I want
to focus attention on an important point. All of the recruits will be riveted on
what I say until they hear the key word. Then, after they throw the paper and I
make a big reaction, the rest of the crowd is totally focused in their effort to
see what is going on. That is when I make my key point. I have virtually
guaranteed the attention of each audience member. And keeping the attention of
the audience is extremely important when using the skills learned in your public