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Brian Jenner

I have always found that public speaking consultants who say this just don't have a sense of humour. They just have a joyless attitude to the world (and they are slightly envious and resentful of those who do show levity).

You have a point that what many people think is funny, isn't funny when they stand up and deliver it. And many people don't have the confidence and panache to carry off a joke.

However, to me the art of public speaking is the art of playful discourse. You have got to dramatise ideas, and to that you have to employ irony, paradox and unusual phrases.

Your definition of a joke in this artice is very crude.

A speechwriter requires that the joke or humorous line is appropriate to the subject matter. It can be a story or a quotation that lifts the speech out of the mundane and helps the speaker connect with the audience.

Stand-up comedy jokes are not suitable for speeches, but a speech that doesn't raise a laugh is unlikely to please the audience.


Isn't that why it is better to tell (funny) personal stories that illustrate your point?

Because they are personal, they are original, and are your own!

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