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From the desk of Steve Lowell, Master Speaker and Mentor to those who speak in public.

Public Speaking Myths to Clear Up Right Now

Myth #7 - I Have To Be Funny So That People Like Me

Have you ever seen someone speaking in public who tries hard to be funny, but just canít seem to make it work? Painful, isnít it?

Some people have the ability to use humor effectively in their speeches, and thatís just great, but most of us donít have that particular skill.

I know a lady whoís highly intelligent, very successful and widely respected in the business community. She has truckloads of wisdom and insights to share with the world, but, every time she takes the stage, she tries to lighten the mood by making little wisecracks and jokes. These are the result of nothing more than nervous energy finding its way out through bad attempts at jest.

Once she gets on a roll, she has magnificent things to say, but getting out of the gate is very difficult for her, because she needs time to ďramp up.Ē During that ramping up period, her attempts at humor are very uncomfortable for her and the audience, because theyíre perceived as awkward moments of tremendous nervousness, which is precisely what they are.

The problem with using humor as a warm-up to your presentation is that your audience dictates the result. If your humor is a hit and the audience laughs, youíre going to feel great about it and it will help you going forward, but if your humor doesnít hit the mark and the audience doesnít laugh, the effect on your confidence can be crippling and it can destroy your entire presentation.

Hereís a little secret for you: your audience doesnít care if youíre funny or not. A confident and emotionally sincere approach is always more effective than an awkward attempt at ineffective humor.

Humor can be a nice little bonus for your audience, but unless youíre branding yourself as a comedian, humor isnít expected and isnít required. Your audience wants to get to know the real you, and if humor isnít part of the real you, donít force it.

So, whatís the lesson? Humor is a tremendous tool when used effectively, but itís not a requirement and should be used only by those who can do so naturally. Weíll explore this further in chapter eleven.

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