High Impact Humor -- Speech Writing

Example:  Introduction of Award Program
    An important step in presenting an effective program is to first set the tone.  Rather than plunging
    into the topic as soon as the dessert dishes have been cleared, your initial comments need to
    provide a transition for the audience.  Humor in your speech can put the audience in a positive mood
    (even if the dinner was cold!), and interspersing references to the topic of the program can help
    prepare them for the "main event."  

    In the example below, the speech makes the audience feel that the speaker understands and
    appreciates the challenges that each of them faces in their industry, while at the same time
    highlighting the prestige of the award.  (Some details have been changed to protect the privacy of
    the participants.)

    How many of you have watched these reality shows on television, especially the ones that have all those
    challenges, like “Survivor” and “Fear Factor”?  Have you seen those shows?

    Well, I’ve watched those programs, and I’ve got to tell you, I’m not impressed.  

    Because, I think the ultimate reality show is: (pause) The Automotive Industry.  How many of you agree
    with me?  I mean, this industry has challenges that are far beyond anything that Hollywood can come up
    with.  And the people who survive and thrive in this business are true winners.

    I can tell you from my own experiences, anyone who is impressed by “Survivor” hasn’t worked in Detroit.  

    For example, anyone who is impressed by someone eating bugs to survive hasn’t tasted the appetizers
    at some of the professional events I’ve gone to.

    Anyone who is impressed by someone sitting in a pit full of snakes hasn’t had meetings with some of the
    people I’ve had to work with.

    And anyone who is impressed by someone scaling the face of a huge mountain hasn’t had the
    experience of working their way up a corporate ladder in Detroit.

    I truly believe that people who succeed in the automotive business have met the toughest challenges
    that can be thrown at them.  And it’s those people who are the candidates for a very special
    recognition, the Professional Recognition Award.

    Every year we have selected one person to receive the Professional Recognition Award. But this year
    some of the members of the executive board thought perhaps we should honor more than one person.  
    They thought maybe we should select as many as five. So we compromised.  This year we still selected
    just one person but the person we chose has had as many accomplishments as five people put together.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, the recipient of the 2004 Professional Recognition Award is ________________.
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