There are various F-words in speaking that can help you connect with your audience and make them laugh. Listen to the following audio to pick up the first F-word
The quickest way to connect with your audience is to share your failures. Why? Because everyone has failed at something and sharing your failure gets them to relate to you. Plus, so many speakers usually talk about success after success after success which makes the audience feel they are egotistical and special. You don’t want to come across as special. You want to come across as similar…similar to your audience.
Think of some of your greatest failures and consider sharing them.
Dictionary.com defines a flaw as “a feature that mars the perfection of something.” When you share something about you that is less than perfect, this help you relate because most people don’t feel they are perfect either. Do you see a pattern here? Whenever you can tap into what most people feel about themselves, you will connect deeper with them.
One flaw I have shared over the past 15 years of speaking is that, when I was around 10 years old, I spoke with a lisp that was so bad that a father of one of my friends referred to me as “Daffy Duck.” People in my audience might not have had a speech impediment but they’ve surely had a flaw pointed out by someone before so this helps them relate to me.
My friend and fellow speaker, Darren LaCroix, actually shows his audience a video of his first time on stage back when he was pursuing comedy as a career. It’s an unforgettable video in which he bombed. Darren’s willingness to share this makes his audience feel, “Well if he turned himself from that into the World Champion of Public Speaking, there’s a chance for me to succeed too.” The other effect it has is that it gets the audience to root for him as he shares some of his successes too.
Can you remember the first time you attempted something? What’s the story behind that?
When I delivered that gentleman’s line, “Us fat guys gotta stick together!” you could hear the audience respond with a mix of heavy laughter and a few “Oh no’s!” The reason they felt they could laugh at an insulting line like that is because I gave them permission to laugh. How? With my face. If I hadn’t smiled and laughed a bit myself, many of my audience members would have tried to suppress their laugh out of courtesy. Can you imagine what my audience would do if I gave a hurt expression after that line?
However, because I gave them permission to laugh with my face (i.e. smiling and laughing myself), they went from suppression to expression. Never underestimate the power that your face has in giving your audience permission to laugh.
In addition to connecting deeper with your audience, there is one final result you are likely to discover as you share your failures, flaws, firsts, and your facial expressions. You’ll find the funny. That’s right. You’ll uncover more and more humor in your stories and speeches. Why? Because failures, flaws, and firsts are funny when they’re not happening to you (the audience) and your face allows your audience to laugh.
What failures, flaws, or firsts have you shared with your audience and what kind of connection did you feel as a result?