Do You Speak Like a Comic?

I love comedians. They have to speak to a different group every night, and test their skills with each new audience. It is the purest form of communication because they receive instant feedback – laughter (or lack of it).

With comedy, there is virtually no language or subject which offends me. That is the nature of the craft.

Why A Higher Standard For Speakers?Are You Raising the Bar When you Speak?

The same is not true in the world of public speaking. We have an obligation to hold ourselves to a higher standard of decorum. In the last 20 years, I’ve noticed that lines are being crossed between speaking and comedy.
I am by no means a prude – ask my friends and family.  But, standards in public speaking seem to have lowered.  This is especially true in humorous speaking.  Subjects and language once considered taboo have worked their way into professional settings. Body functions, sexual humor and crude language have become more prevalent.
Speakers have a responsibility to respect the organizations who hire them. Their material should be thought-provoking, inspiring, and within the bounds of good taste.
I’ve heard too many speakers use questionable language. This makes them look unprofessional. It can create discomfort in some audience members. Moreover, it’s not necessary.

Why Do People “Go Blue” When They Speak?

Darren LaCroix, CSP, is a World Champion Speaker and one-tine professional comic. He points out that many new comics often lean on four-letter words. They do this to elicit easy laughs until they develop confidence in their material. 
Unfortunately, this makes them sound like every other new comic. There’s nothing unique about them. 
I’ve noticed that a greater number of speakers also use questionable subject material or language. Typically, this is because they, too,  lack confidence.

Don’t Be Fooled By the Success of a Select Few

As with any topic, there are some exceptions to this rule. There are a few well-paid speakers who violate this principle. And their audiences love them for it.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking they’ve always been successful with that style. They deliver that way because it’s authentic to them. Over time, they learned how to research their audiences. They discovered who would allow them to be authentic, and kept speaking to those groups. 
These speakers also realize that they will offend some audience members. They’re OK with that because they’ve reached a level of success that allows them that luxury.
For the majority of speakers, this isn’t a path I’d recommend – if you want to build a long-term, successful career. 
Questionable humor and material isn’t necessary to stand out. You can rise above this trend. When preparing your speech, ask, “Could this be offensive to my audience?”  If you have any doubt, you have your answer.  Leave it out.
Rise above any temptation of blue humor or language. Leave that to the comics. 
Raise the bar, and you will stand OUT from the crowd.



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Are You Raising the Bar When you Speak? ultima modifica: 2011-11-20T23:50:05-05:00 da Michael Davis