Two Fridays each month, I'd like to devote this Blog to whimsy, humor, pithy thoughts and stories that pop. Why? Because we all need a breather – whether from life, responsibilities, or intense communication.
Today begins, what I hope to be, a weekly smile or guffaw!
"How Did You Get To Be Our Speaker?"
I speak in many venues, and I'm a big believer in jumpstarting my introduction with some humor (when appropriate). Why? Because first impressions are lasting impressions. Also, because my audience is evaluating me from the moment I step on stage. Their EEM (Ethos-Evaluation-Meter) is spinning like a top. What better way to show my humanity than to help us all laugh?
Additionally, as a speaker I need humor to relax me and bring energy to the room! God created us with a social nature. So rather than fight it, let's celebrate it ... and laugh!
Here's an example of a humorous snippet from an introduction I've used with collegiate, nimble-minded audiences. Enjoy!
"This evening, many of you are probably asking yourselves, 'Hey Dan, how did you get to be our speaker for tonight?' That's a good question. What you probably don't know is that the leaders of your organization got together and brainstormed who to bring in for tonight's event.
They began by asking their most intelligent friend, if he would come in and address you all on this important topic tonight ... [long pause] ... but, well, he said, "no."
Then, they asked their most humorous friend, if he would come in and speak to you tonight and ... [long pause] ... well, he said, "no."
Then, they asked their most athletic friend, if if he would come in and address you all this evening and ... [long pause] ... he said, "no."
And then ... [long pause] ... well ... [long pause] ... finally ... [act super humble] ... they asked their most handsome friend [smile and briefly pause]... if he would come in and speak with you this evening ... [longest pause, as they begin laughing about the "handsome" self-description] ... and well frankly, I just couldn't turn them down four times in a row! (crowd erupts in laughter. Let them enjoy the moment). So I said, "yes!"
This seems to work every time. Take your time telling it. It builds nervous tension that releases with the final line. It is always fun to tell and the laughter (including my own) helps settle my nerves.
PS Since this joke can appear self-promoting (and I hate self-promotion), I usually follow the joke by quoting Jim Elliot, the famous missionary who gave his life bringing the gospel to a hidden people group:
"Missionaries are a bunch of nobodies trying to exalt Somebody." (note the capital 'S')
"We are all a bunch of nobodies (perhaps me most of all), and Jesus is the great Somebody of life."