Public Speaking Training:
How to Make a Point with Humor
I once heard an old public speaker say that you should 'Tell em what you're
gonna tell 'em. Tell 'em. Then tell 'em what you told 'em.' You can use this
formula during your presentation when you want to make an important point. You
tell 'em the point, illustrate the point, then tell 'em the point again. Let me
just warn you though that giving your information this way can oftentimes be
boring and redundant if you don't spice it up a little. One way to do that is to
add humor to what you are saying. Here's what I teach in my public speaking
- Make your point.
- Illustrate your point (in our example below we're using a funny
two-liner, but you could use visuals, poetry, funny props, funny stories,
serious stories, case studies, etc.)
- Restate your point.
For example, here is the point being made: 'The Importance of
- First make your point.
You could say, "Accuracy and clear communication is
an important aspect of our everyday lives."
- Then illustrate this point.
You could then say,
"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
- Then restate your point.
Say in a slightly different manner, "You can see how what we would
consider clear communication could actually be interpreted the wrong way,
especially when people are under pressure."
When you use humor in a professional public setting . . . especially when you
are speaking to a business audience, or any audience who is not specifically
there for humor, make the humor reinforce your point and you will get a much
better response. Knowing what to say and when to say it is a crucial tool when
learning your skills in a public speaking training.