I find that brief, humorous one-liners tend to fit better into the flow of a speech than longer forms of humor and are much easier to use, especially for beginners. Here are a few examples of one line humor and how I connect them to various speech topics. The first thing I do is take a look at my preparation notes and see if I can insert a relevant one liner into the content and flow of the talk. To do this I use the following format.

* Speech Topic
List all your speech topics. You might have four or five specific topics upon which you build presentations.

* One liner:
Go to your files and select those one liners that could be used in each speech topic. Every speaker should be a collector of humor related to the subjects they speak about.

* context:
Write the context out in point form or in paragraph form to make sure you know how and when to use the one liner in the speech.

Here are a few examples of one liners I use in my talks and how I insert them following this format.

If speaking on the topic of diet and wellness this is an effective bit of humor,
“ If we are what we eat, many of us are in serious danger of becoming french fries.” I establish the context like this: “The dietary habits of North Americans leave so much to be desired that if we are what we eat many of us are in danger of becoming french-fries.
What you have to do is make sure that, in the flow of your speech, you include this context statement.

If your presentation is on parenting or communication this one liner is a gift. I use it frequently and it always gets a laugh, “ Getting into an argument with a teenager is like getting into a peeing contest with a skunk. You’ll never win.” Set up the one liner like this, “ We all know the importance and the frustration involved in communicating with teenagers and many of us have come to the conclusion that communicating with a teenager is like getting into a peeing contest with a skunk...” Used like this the humor becomes a natural part of your talk. It isn’t merely inserted as an after thought. After I use this quote I proceed to tell a story from my own experience as a father which illustrates the truth of the one liner. ( Again I draw from my story files)

Try to us e a one liner as if it just jumped out of your own humor bank. If you are talking about starting over with renewed courage after one of life’s setbacks you can easily use this one liner, “ I know many of you might say that it’s difficult to make a comeback when you’ve never been anywhere but comebacks are what we should commit ourselves to whenever life delivers a set back.

If you are delivering a speech on time management you can easily work this one liner into the flow of the talk, “ Punctuality is important but the problem with being punctual is that there’s never anyone around to appreciate it.”

I remember using this gem during a talk to members of the medical profession about doctor/nurse/patient relationships. Context: Language often creates a barrier to intimacy. When we try to hide behind unclear, confusing terms a barrier is created between us and those we serve. A good example of this was recorded on a medical record. “ The patient failed to achieve his wellness potential.” ( He died) Don’t forget that humor reflects reality back to us.

I was giving a talk to teachers about the increase in the number of difficult, and rude students in classrooms all over Canada and the U.S.A. During the talk I said, “ Never raise your hand to a child. If you do you leave your groin unprotected.” This evoked howls of laughter from the audience. In this speech it wasn’t difficult to fit this one liner in.

In all of the above I have followed the basic format of speech topic, one liner and context. In the beginning the most difficult part of this will be establishing the context. It becomes easier with practise.

If you know who said the one liner always give credit, but if you don’t, just use it and forget about authorship. Many one liners are credited to many sources, so many that no one really knows from whom it originated. The origin and authorship of most are lost. Just use them.

Remember that if the one liner evokes laughter pause and let the audience enjoy the moment. Don’t rush to continue the talk.

For a more comprehensive study of humor in public speaking see my Special Report, How to Use Humor in Public Speaking http://motivationalplus.com/cgi/a/t.cgi?selfghum

Author's Bio: 

Mike Moore is an international speaker on humor and human potential