Humor in Public Speaking – Point – Humor – Point

People resist humor when it is imposed.When it is used to highlight or reinforce a point, it is more palatable and accepted.

Here is an example of Point-Humor-Point or P-H-P, which I use often in my speeches.

Being frank always is not the best policy.In business, you need to have tact and diplomacy. Otherwise, you will end up like the salesman in a garments store. A lady picks up a gown and after giving an admiring glance says ” I like the design and pattern but not the color”. The salesman assures, “don’t worry ma’am, after the first wash, the color will vanish”. Too frank, resulting in a loss of sale and perhaps his job !

We must learn to be like the Pediatrician who examines a three month old baby boy
and tells the parents “what a beautiful baby !”. The father says,”oh ! you must be telling this to every parent doc !”. “No, I say this only to the parents of cute babies” replies the doctor. “And what do you tell the others?”. The doc says with a smile ” he looks just like you !”

In both the cases, humor was weaved into the script to illustrate a point. Needless to add, your audience is likely to remember the point “being frank always is not the best policy” better because of these examples. That is the power of relevant, situational humor.

I heard the garment salesman joke from Mr U K Sharma, a senior Toastmaster and picked up the Pediatrician anecdote from an old issue of Reader’s Digest.

I seek your FRANK FEEDBACK !

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2 thoughts on “Humor in Public Speaking – Point – Humor – Point

  1. The garment store salesman reminds me of another salesman that I bumped into, a few years back in New York. This gentleman, also from India, was trying to sell Sprint phone subscriptions. He apparently had the (not too pleasant) job of standing in the street corner that I often walked by, and stopping strangers and make them listen to his sales presentations. Once, he stopped me to have a chat (and to sell me the phone subcription). Even if I was to buy the subscription from him, I would have changed my mind when he – perhaps not meaning to be rude – asked me the question “I often see you walk by this place, don't you have a job?” instead of the shorter and more polished “where do you work.” or “what do you do.” – Satish Shenoy

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