High Impact Humor -- Speech Writing

Example:  Introduction of Featured Speaker
    Your introduction of the featured speaker is a major responsibility.  Your mission is not to
    throw out a few facts about the speaker and then escape; your goal is to lay the foundation
    for a successful presentation.  

    In fact, don't even think in terms of presenting the speaker to your audience.  Instead, think in
    the reverse;  think of presenting the audience to your speaker--an audience that is in a great
    mood, well prepared and anxious to hear his/her remarks.

    As in other public speaking situations, humor can elevate the general attitude of the audience
    as well as drive home specific points that you want to make.  HIGH IMPACT HUMOR can
    generate the words that will help you accomplish that.  If you tell us a little bit about the guest
    and the subject of the talk, we will write an effective, warm introduction that will be greatly
    appreciated by the audience and the speaker--and you!

    Remember, the audience (and the speaker, too, for that matter) will consider the quality of
    your introduction as an indication of how much esteem you have for the speaker.

    The example below, the introduction of an Indy 500 driver, provides a transition from the
    factual biography to the guest speaker.  The goal was to generate a few chuckles and then
    have the audience smiling and applauding as the speaker came to the podium. (Some details
    have been changed to protect the privacy of the participants)
    (Begin with bio of speaker, then….)

    Before John begins speaking, I’d just like to share a little story with you.

    When I was doing some research about John and race car driving, I was amazed at what I
    learned.  

    I said to my husband, “Adam, this is unbelievable.  Do you know that in the Indy 500 he drove
    flat-out, pedal-to-the-metal all the time, and he had to maneuver all around the race track
    jockeying for position, and he was sometimes just inches away from the other cars while
    going at maximum speed?  That’s incredible!”

    And Adam said, “But Louise, that’s exactly how YOU drive.”

    So I though about it, and I realized that he was right.  So I thought, gee, maybe I could drive
    in the Indy 500, and maybe I’d be pretty good at it.

    So I called John to ask him for advice.  Unfortunately, based on what he told me, I lost some
    of my enthusiasm:

    First of all, I would have to wear a helmet, which would really do terrible things to my hair.

    Also, I’d have to drive the whole 500 miles without a bathroom break.

    And finally, if I did win, they would make me drink a bottle of milk instead of a nice glass of
    chardonnay.

    So I decided it just wasn’t worth it.  I decided I’ll leave the race driving to John and all the
    other professional race drivers who are here tonight.

    Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to introduce…John Smith.
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