We’re often asked by delegates whether they should tell jokes or not. We always say: “If it’s funny AND relevant, tell it!”
Audiences love a speaker who can entertain them and shows a sense of humour.
A friend, Brian Jenner, who is founder of the UK Speechwriters Guild, told us how well a speech went in Dublin when he included a couple of funnies.
The audience was a mixed business group including a number of Americans, so he told these two:
“The difference between America and England is that Americans think 100 years is a long time, while the English think 100 miles is a long way.”
And…“The Victorian, George Jessel, had some excellent advice on how to become a good speaker: practise all the time. One of the best ways is to put a bunch of marbles in your mouth while you talk. Slowly but surely you take away a marble. And then, when you’ve lost all your marbles, you’re a public speaker.”
Brian has published a handbook of similar lines and stories called Trade Secrets. It’s available at lulu.com for £4.99 +VAT. http://goo.gl/nYZffS. You can also download our book of stories Free at http://goo.gl/zLj1N2
Both will help you find a lighter touch.