Public Speaking Course:
Acronyms and Abbreviations
A great to add some humor in your presentation that is taught in my
public speaking course is
using acronyms and abbreviations.
An acronym is where the letters of the abbreviation
form a new word, for example HUD means the Department of (H)ousing and
(U)rban (D)evelopment. There are plenty of acronyms and abbreviations that
are widely known such as the IRS and the CIA. You can always research
more acronyms that might be relevant to your audience.
To make acronyms work the best for your presentation, try to make it
funny by changing one or
more of the words that go with your well-known abbreviation or acronym.
Here are some examples I have used when teaching a public speaking course.
IQ Idiot Quotient
CPI Consumers Poorhouse Indicator
IRA Individual Rest-in-Peace Account
TQM Totaled Quality Management
With a little thought and usage of what you learned in your
public speaking course, it is very easy to customize acronyms
to suit your audience. Here
are some examples of acronyms I used at a speaking engagement for a hotel franchise:
OCC in the hotel business stands for Occupancy Rate. I changed it to Oh!
C'mon Clinton because at that time certain taxes were being proposed by President
Clinton that would affect their industry. You must always try to connect with
the audience by mentioning the topics that are foremost on their minds.
This gives you the greatest chance of succeeding with something funny,
and success with your audience is what you will learn out of your public
ADR to the hotel industry means Average Daily Rate. I changed that to All
Dated Rooms which is something nobody in the hotel business wants to hear.
mean a fortune would be spent on upgrading and modernizing the rooms.
IOC was the name of the group I was addressing for a particular
presentation (International Operator's
Council). I changed that to I'm Ordering Chinese and I'm Out of Coffee.
These phrases aren't particularly funny by themselves,
however, these people had just completed rigorous
and exhausting inspections by the Franchisor. That is what made it
funny to them.
Knowing when, where, and what will be funny is a great skill you will
master during your public speaking course.
ANA This is one of my all time favorites. ANA stands for Al Nippon Airlines.
I tell the audience that it's a good thing this company had an American
advisor before they agreed on this acronym because the original version was
. . . ANAL (this is revealed on an overhead projector just after a pause
following the word "was").
This ANA versus ANAL story gets great laughter. I extend the humor with
the line, 'How would you like to see that on a 747 coming at you?' This
question gets even bigger laughs from the crowd, and "leave 'em laughing when you go"
is something I teach in my public speaking course.
For the hotel presentation, the acronyms were on an overhead transparency
and were displayed using the "reveal technique" learned in your public
speaking course (where individual overhead lines were covered until it
was time to reveal the funny version). You don't have to only project acronyms
to use them in your presentation. You could also print them in your handouts,
or just tell them out loud, almost any method can be used when utilizing the
tools learned during your public speaking course.
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