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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 speaking course.

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. It would 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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