Humorously Speaking #3 - Make Them Laugh

(See sample speech here)


Using humorous openings and closings are two ways to enliven your presentations and make them memorable. Another way is to include humor throughout the speech.

If your opening humorous story was successful, you had the audience's attention as you moved into your presentation. However, after a few minutes, listeners' attention begin to wane. You need to say something periodically that will quickly bring their attention back to you. Humor is the most effective way to do this.

Executive Summary

After your audience listens to your speech for a few minutes, their attention may begin to wane. Using humor throughout your presentation will bring their attention back to you. You can use humour to reinforce your point, provide comic relief, provide a break, and to refocus attention. Insert humor in your speech wherever the speech lends itself to it. After telling the story or joke, move smoothly back into your speech by changing the tone of your voice, delivery rate or facial expression to indicate a mood shift.


  • Prepare a speech that opens and closes with humorous stories.

  • Include jokes in the speech body to illustrate points or maintain audience interest.

  • Deliver the jokes and stories smoothly and effectively.

TIME: Five to seven minutes

Note to the Evaluator

The purpose of this project is for the speaker to present a five- to seven- minute speech that begins and ends with a humorous story and uses several jokes in the speech body. The humorous opening story should tie into the speech subject, and the humorous closing story should reemphasize the speech‘s main point. The jokes in the speech body should illustrate or emphasize points and/or break up any tedious or complex parts of the speech.

This information is provided as a service to members. For full details on this speech project, refer to the Humorously Speaking manual. All materials in the Toastmasters Educational Program are copyright Toastmasters International. All rights reserved.

The Humorously Speaking Manual

Every speaker benefits from using humor. Learn how to begin a speech with a humorous story to get listeners' attention, end a speech with a humorous story, use humorous stories and anecdotes throughout the body of your speech to emphasize points, incorporate jokes into presentations and prepare and present an entirely humorous speech.

(See sample speech here)