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  Category: Articles » Writing & Speaking » Public Speaking » Article

How To Effectively Use Humor To Start Off Any Speech or Presentation

By Peter Fogel

Here is a sure-fire way to get the room in a good mood right off the bat and even get a laugh from your audience when first being introduced to them.

Don't forget: the trick to effectively using humor is to catch your audience off-guard.

I've used this technique for over three decades and it works like a charm. Use it when you know the emcee is not up to the task of bringing you on stage.

Don't worry, once you get your 'speaking legs' and get more stage time, you will learn to go with your gut and discover who really is not good at giving introductions. Typically, these folks fumble when reading your intro card next to you, and you can tell by their body language that they're very uncomfortable being in front of a room.

The Right Introduction At The Right Time!

Make no mistake: in the speaking and stand-up world your introduction is very important - it sets the precedent for YOUR performance, puts your audience at ease, and builds eager anticipation of you.

Know this: the person who will never let you down EVER and bring you up on stage exactly the way you want--is you.

'Huh', you think, 'bring myself up?' Yes! If you have the nerve to do it. This will only work if the audience has not seen a photo of you and doesn't recognize you as a featured speaker. Trust me NOT in a million years would anyone think that the person starting the program is actually the speaker himself.

Anyway, you go on stage, take the microphone, welcome everyone to today's presentation, and then say you'd now like to introduce today's wonderful speaker.

You Have To Commit To Tooting Your Own Horn

Now is your chance to 'toot your own horn,' as they say. Build yourself up as you read your own credits and get excited for the audience.

Right at the end of reading your own credits then say, 'Ladies and gentleman please give a warm welcome to a tremendous speaker and good friend of mine, (insert your name).

Put the microphone back into the stand and start applauding with the audience.

Now, look off to the side of the stage as you await your own arrival. Look at your watch as if time is going by and then after a few seconds grab the microphone again look out at the audience and say...'Thank you so much for that wonderful's a pleasure to be here.'

If executed correctly--you WILL get a huge laugh as the audience is let in on the joke. You've now put them at ease and created empathy with your listeners. Once the audience laughs have a tag line, 'What can I tell you (insert name of CEO or the person who hired you) says the company has budget cuts and couldn't get anyone to introduce me.'

I know it's not the usual introduction... but if your speech is on 'taking calculated risks in the market place', then it's a great way to start off a speech.

I've never experienced this technique NOT getting a positive response from an audience. Try it and tell me how it works for you.
About the Author
Peter Fogel is the creator of Peter "The Humorator" Fogel's Guide To Effective Public Speaking. For more information on it and to sign up for his FREE 7 Days To Effective Public Speaking E-course go to

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  Some other articles by Peter Fogel
How To Fit the Right Humor To The Right Audience
A joke has two parts: a set-up (premise) and a punch-line (pay-off). In comedy club humor you can push the envelope with subject material, your language, etc. ...

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