Elements of Public Speaking

by Bob Walsh

This is part 2 of a series on public speaking. Part one was called Basics of Public Speaking. So let’s move on to other elements of public speaking…

Humor in Public Speaking

Do you know what the number one reason why people don’t like to listen to speeches is?

Think about it, it’s really quite common sense, and it’s one of the elements of public speaking.

Here’s the answer: People don’t like to listen to speeches because they don’t want to be bored!

And if you can make your audience laugh, that’s a wonderful thing. And they will in fact, feel grateful for it, and they will in fact respect you for it because you gave them something of value. A “laughter” is something of really great value, even if we don’t usually think about it that way.

But if you can make people laugh during the course of a presentation, that establishes a connection which makes them like and trust you more, and accept your message more.

Marketing legend and public speaker Dan Kennedy covered this in his book Make Them Laugh and Take Their Money.


Being able to effectively use humor for persuasive presentations is one of the greatest strengths a speaker can develop.

Now when you’re using humor on stage, here’s a very important thing: don’t ever make fun of anyone in your audience. Do you know why? Because the funniest thing on earth is in the mirror.

Maybe part of what you’re doing on stage is tooting your own horn or telling people about the great product or service you offer – and that’s all right. Just add a bit of self-depreciating humor into the mix, and your audience will usually forgive you all your boasting.

What’s The Purpose Of Your Speech?

Another thing you should keep in mind when giving a speech is the question what you want to achieve with your speech. You could have all the other elements of public speaking in place, but if this one is missing, then your speech is going nowhere fast.

public speaking advice

What is the outcome or the result that you want to happen?

And whatever it is, it should always be something that changes or influences or impacts their behaviour. You do that by making them think, so give something for their minds, and you do that by making them feel. Give something which stirs up an emotional reaction and this emotional reaction finally leads them to act.

But you still need that thinking component because if we just feel something we often are kind of hesitant to actually act on it. People need some kind of rational justification to act based on the feeling that they have.

Make no mistake: the ultimate driver of the action is an emotion and not a thought. The only reason why you need the thought is so that the people can justify for themselves in their mind and to their peers why they acted the way you made them act.

The Most Important Element

If  you want to master public speaking , then  the most important thing is not how you dress, or how you behave, or whether you have  great power points slides, or whether you are incredibly charismatic person. The most of all of the elements of public speaking is that you connect with your audience because:

  • the speech is not about you
  • the speech is not about your brand
  • the speech is not about your product or service.

The speech is about your audience, the people you are addressing. Because, when you do not have that audience, you do not have a speech.

Now in the next step, let’s look at how you can actually get to know your audience – because we’ll talk about Audience Analysis & Public Speaking.

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