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Public Speaking Course: 

Show 'em When You Cross Cultures

During your public speaking course you will find that cartoons and comic strips are the most widely accepted use of humorous material in your presentations.  It doesn't matter what culture or ethnicity the audience is either. Comics and cartoons if chosen carefully will cross any culture. These pieces of visual humor are seen in newspapers and magazines all over the world. You can probably find them in newsstands in large cities, or in large libraries.

It's a good idea to collect cartoons and comic strips when you travel around the world, so you have a good supply when you need one for an upcoming event. Make sure to avoid cartoons that have political overtones, because you might offend and alienate parts of your audience. If you are speaking to a smaller crowd, you can simply pass it around or hold it up to show everyone. If you want to use the cartoon or comic strip in a visual way other than holding it up, like in an overhead, you may need permission from the artist or copyright owner. Always read the caption for a foreign audience and give them time to mentally translate what you just said. It may feel like its taking forever (4-6 seconds) for the idea to sink in. 

A great resource for cartoons is 'Witty World International Cartoon Magazine' by Creators Syndicate. During your public speaking course I will show you the best way to compile a list of funny cartoons to use.

Two other great types of visual humor that crosses most cultural barriers are juggling and magic. You can find excellent resource materials for both topics. 'Speaking With Magic' is a book by Michael Jeffreys that not only teaches you simple magic tricks, but gives you the important points you can relate to the trick. Master magician Tom Ogden has two good magic videos which are 'Teaching and Training with Magic' and 'The Magic of Creativity.'

In Thailand, I used props as icebreakers. I used oversize money to pass out to the crowd because I knew they were interested in 'BIG MONEY.' I also used some softballs that looked like dollar bills so they would have money to 'THROW AROUND.' In my public speaking course I will show you how to be creative  to create a connection with your audience to better share your message.

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