Punching up your Story with Humor
Many people enjoy telling stories in their speeches. Using stories in a speech is a great tool to connect with your audience. Sharing something personal with a group of strangers can help break down that wall between you and the crowd. And if you are giving a retirement speech or a best man speech, a story is almost required.
Your story may not be inherently funny, but you can “punch-up” most stories pretty easily. Let’s take a look at a sample story by a guy we are going to call “Steve” about the first time he met his friend “John”:
“I met John on the first day of college. We were sitting next to each other in the back of a lecture hall for Economics 101. As the class started, I looked at John, we were the only two students who weren’t able to follow what was going on. It was at that moment I realized the class we were sitting in was Advanced Chinese 395, we were in the wrong class! I told John this and we hurried to the exit. We found the right room and made it in just in time for roll call… John and I have been best friends ever since.”
This is a good story, especially if Steve was giving a best man speech, or retirement speech about John. It’s relatable and it mentions their connection, while also having some entertainment value. But it could be a lot more. There are plenty of ways to turn a good story into a great story for your speech.
We are going to do three things and turn this into a hilarious and engaging speech:
Add Emotions This is a personal story, Steve and John probably shared some of the same emotions, the audiences can connect with this.
Make the Story Colorful When giving a speech where you are telling a story, you are painting a picture with words. It doesn’t have to be black and white, turn your pencil sketch, into a vibrant water color.
Add Suspense Every good movie or book has an element of suspense. Making something suspenseful doesn’t mean it has to be a life or death situation. It simply gives shape to your story and lets the audience know something is going to happen. Three words: Beginning. Middle. End.
“I met John on the first day of college. We were sitting next to each other in the back of a lecture hall for Economics 101. We were both nervous, but excited to be starting a new chapter in our lives. As the class started, I immediately felt over-whelmed; I couldn’t follow anything the teacher was saying it was as if the class was in a different language. Every other student appeared to be fully engaged, taking notes, asking questions and following along. I turned to John, and he also looked horrified we were the only two students who weren’t able to follow what was going on. He whispered to me “I don’t think I’m going to make it through four years of this.” It was at that moment I looked up at the chalk board and in the corner in small letters it read, “Advanced Chinese 395”, we were in the wrong class! I tapped John on the shoulder and pointed panicked at the board. Like ninjas moving in unison we grabbed our books and bolted for the exits. Fortunately, we found the right room and slipped in just in time for roll call… Even though neither one of us ever scored better then a C+ on an economics test that semester, from that point on, John and I became best friends.”
Steve’s story was a lot more exciting the second time around. There weren’t any jokes specifically added, but there was emotion, colorful storytelling, and suspense. Not only was the story more entertaining, but the humorous moments were amplified. It’s amazing how little tweaks can turn a mundane story into something that will have everyone focused and having a great time. We did this without exaggerating, lying, or changing the premise of the story. We simply took the story and found ways to accentuate the plot.
Next time you have a story in your speech give it a try. If you would like us to help you punch-up your next speech story, order any joke package, and instead of standard one line jokes, you will receive punch ups.