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Public Speaking Course: 

To Laugh or Not to Laugh . . .That is the Question

There are many professional public speaking  'experts'  that say you shouldn't laugh at your own jokes or stories when your presenting on stage. 

This may work for some presenters, but it's definitely not my style. When I'm in front of an audience, I want to have some fun, because that is part of being confident in your abilities from all you learned in my public speaking course. I'm there because I love humor and laughter and I love sharing it with my audience.

Sometimes I just can't help but to laugh. I laugh at what I say, what they say, and I laugh at unexpected occurrences during the presentation. I believe that to fully connect with an audience, you must be accepted as one of them. If I expect them to laugh, then why wouldn't I laugh too?

Sometimes you can laugh to cue the audience it's time to laugh. Using what you learned from your public speaking course involves leading your audience into laughter. Within a matter of minutes your public stage persona will be evident to the audience. As soon as they catch onto your style and rhythm, they will pick up on the cues you give them. When you laugh, they know it is time for them to laugh. It's almost like holding up an applause sign. Some presenters use facial expressions or gestures or a combination of many cues that tell the audience it's OK to laugh.

The opposite of a laughter cue is using a deadpan expression. This is a very serious expression that is contrasted with saying a funny line. The contrast creates a larger laugh than the line could get by itself. I use this to set the audience up for some fun questions. I look completely earnest when I say, "I'm the foremost expert in the world [pause] on dumb questions." It always gets a good laugh from the audience.

When presenting go ahead and laugh when you feel like it. Both you and your audience will enjoy the presentation more and have more fun. And when both the audience and the speaker are enjoying the speech, then you are seeing the beauty of what you learned in your public speaking course.

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