To bring enjoyment and laughter to your audience makes any speech memorable. To present an entertaining social speech you also set a lighter tone for the occasion.
What is an entertaining speech?
An entertaining speech is one which is interesting, pleasurable and may be amusing to the audience.
It has a clear message, as do informative, persuasive and motivational speeches; however, entertaining speeches are typically different. They are often delivered on special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, dinner events, farewells and acceptance of awards. These can be referred to as social speeches or special occasion speeches.
Entertaining speeches can also be used on mundane occasions to arouse the audience or to stir their emotions. Many effective speeches include elements of an entertaining speech as speakers use stories, anecdotes and other techniques to add humour to their message.
Ingredients of an entertaining speech
1. Preparation – be well prepared:
Under-preparation or an ‘off the cuff’ presentation reduces the effectiveness and often results in rambling.
2. Adaptation to the occasion:
A competent speaker is personally effective and socially appropriate.
3. Adaptation to the audience:
Know your audience as different audiences respond differently to speeches.
4. Keep track of time:
Know the expected time allocated or choose the appropriate time for the situation – introductions are very brief, toasts and acceptance speeches are less than five minutes, event speeches are ten to twenty minutes and keynote speeches are usually sixty to ninety minutes.
5. Practise, practise, practise your speech.
• Consider your topic from different points of view
• Choose an unusual or not common angle of approach
• If choosing a normal or common subject look for a personal approach, something dramatic or a twist
• Find similarities between opposing or different subjects
Select a topic carefully and match it to the situation and the audience. The introduction is most important. It needs to command the audience’s attention. Set a light tone using verbal and non-verbal communication.
Stories, jokes, remarks and humour must tie in with the topic and occasion without being offensive or culturally inappropriate. Actively involve your audience by interacting with them. Ask questions, give examples and tell interesting stories. Deliver a memorable closing, preferably linked to your spectacular opening.
Verbal communication could include:
Reference to history – audience or self
Non-verbal communication could include:
Eye contact with your audience
Posture to suit the occasion and topic