Incorporate Humor into Highly Emotional Speech Content
Here’s a Quick Video Recap of the 3-Step Process To Incorporate Humor Into Serious or Tragic Stories:
RATIONALE FOR HUMOR IN SPEECHES THAT CONTAIN TRAGIC/EMOTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES
Many people feel it’s odd to incorporate humor into serious stories or content. To help you understand the importance of incorporating humor, imagine you’re at a funeral service for a lifelong friend.
This person “lived life” with you. You grew up together, shared fears, overcame challenges, and celebrated life’s nuances.
Picture yourself standing at the pulpit delivering the eulogy in an old church. The dimly lit building is packed to standing room only. Your friend lived a fun-loving life.
Which of the following eulogies would the congregation prefer? Which one is most likely to have his spouse come up to you and say, “thank you for celebrating his life.” Most importantly…which one would your best friend prefer?
- You struggle at the pulpit to maintain your composure. You weep uncontrollably as you describe how much you will miss him. The family of your friend and the congregation fight back tears and there are occasional bursts of wailing. You read through the written eulogy and feel exhausted by the time you get to the last word. You finish and there is silence apart from the sound of suppressed crying. You brought the congregation to an emotional low and they leave feeling heavy with sadness.
- You walk up to the pulpit and you start with, “Today we are going to celebrate a life well lived. I have so many stories about my best friend, and they show who he was as a person and how he impacted most of the people in this church. It would be a travesty if I did not share some insight into the fun-loving, quirky aspects of his life.” As you share some appropriate funny stories the smiles, laughter, and tears light up the church. The energy from the congregation helps you maintain your composure, you start speaking from you heart, and the notes on the pulpit remain unused. As the funeral procession leaves the church, family members gently pat you on the back and thank you. You feel proud that you gave your friend a personal “send-off.”
The second option is clearly a better choice. Ultimately, great speakers provide an experience for their audience, no matter what the situation. So how do you achieve that? To start off, let’s watch a brief video to help us understand the importance of this:
Finding humor helps you connect with the audience at the emotional level. Bringing them on the “emotional roller coaster” of drama, tragedy, misfortune, with snippets of lightheartedness can be extremely powerful.
Are you ready to try it out for yourself? Let’s start with brainstorming some Rule-of-Three items for a serious topic: Cancer.
The following is how I approached it:
- I filled in the left-hand column with “small” items relating to cancer
- I filled in the middle column with “big” items
- I filled in the right-hand column with “absurd or crazy” items
- I then looked for two items in the “small” or “big” columns that relate to each other and had a natural (logical) flow. (See the items highlighted in green.)
- I then looked in the other two columns to find something of non-equal weight, absurd, or crazy that will give me a punch line. (See the item highlighted in green.)
- I then connected the three and made the final wording concise.
This is a series of blog articles and brief videos on “Finding the Funny – Learn the Step-By-Step-Process to Develop and Deliver Humor & Funny Stories & Incorporate into Serious Content.” The blogs are excerpts from my e-learning course (see link on right) which includes:
- Over 16 lessons
- Over 8 hours of video instruction
- Activities and quizzes to complement each lesson
- Downloadable worksheets and templates
- 12 month access to course updates and additions
Please feel free to share with professional speakers, public speakers, trainers…anyone who stands in front of audiences who wants to make them laugh or bring some lightheartedness into serious content. Help me out by “liking,” “subscribing.” and “sharing” on the various social media platforms. To help me out, please make sure you “subscribe” (right-hand column) so you do not miss any of these weekly blog articles. Please feel free to comment on this blog-site and on social-media sites, and share with those who will benefit from them.
Copyright © MMXX by David R. Hill