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Speaker, Leader, Champion: Succeed at Work Through the Power of Public Speaking, featuring the prize-winning speeches of Toastmasters World Champions by Ryan Avery, Jeremey Donovan

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CHAPTER 4

Using Humor

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TIP 36: Get your first laugh fast to release tension, build rapport, and prime your audience to like you and be open to your message.

At the beginning of a speech, just as the applause melts away, the audience falls into silence and stillness. This change introduces physical and psychological tension in the room. Out of respect, people with a tickle in their throat hold back their cough; people who are uncomfortable in their chair wait to shift their weight. This tension is precisely why getting the first laugh fast is so critical to building a connection with the audience. The audience wants the speaker—no, needs the speaker—to ...

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