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Public Speaking Training: 

Get 'em in Fun

During your public speaking training I talk about how Sigmund Freud made an interesting discovery about how people act to having fun.

He wrote:

"The best condition for comic pleasure is a generally happy disposition in which a person is in the mood for laughter. In this happy state pf mind almost everything seems funny to us. People will laugh at the expectation of laughing, at the appearance of the person giving the comic material (sometimes even before he [she] even begins), and finally, we laugh at the recollection of having laughed."

This concept has been termed '"In fun" by scientists that study humorous behavior in people. If you want your audience to laugh, they must be "in fun". You, as the speaker, must be "in fun". The emcee or program coordinator must also be "in fun". The entire presentation should be designed to be "in fun".

Make sure you don't do anything to take your audience out of  being "in fun". Do not speak about any controversial subjects like religion and politics. Also don't make any unfriendly comments towards the audience members. If a problem occurs which must be dealt with, find an "in fun" way of doing so. Keeping in tune with your audience is a part what you will learn in your public speaking training.

Dr. Charles Jarvis is a member of the Retired National Speakers Association and one of the greatest humorists of all time. He recalled a story about a friend of his who was an great public speaker, but turned off his audience when he made someone turn off a tape recorder. He was so mean about the way he treated the person that the "in fun" audience completely turned against him.

An "in fun" audience is more important for the presenter who is there only to entertain. But the concept of being "in fun" should be in the back of every speakers mind who seeks to practice what they learned in my public speaking training. Your material may be controversial by nature, but that doesn't mean that you should go out of your way to do or say things that will take the audience further out of "in fun".

Also, pay close attention to the entire program. One friend of mine had to present funny material just after a passionate plea went out to the audience to collect funds for starving babies. He came on stage just after the teary-eyed audience had seen slides of emaciated children. 

In this type of situation, DO NOT begin with any funny material. Instead, start out gently with a sincere reference to what the audience has just experienced. Skip most of your early speaking humor and get right to your subject to ease the audience's transition to your more lighthearted topic.

How do you get the audience "in fun"? One time I had a ventriloquist introduce me at a morning meeting to wake up everyone and get them "in fun". You could pass out fun snacks to the audience or put balloons on their chairs. Public announcements and agendas can be decorated with cartoon characters.  In my public speaking training you will learn how to involve the audience and get them "in fun" by using funny props. Do anything you can to be sure your audience knows that it's OK to laugh.


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