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One-Liners

A one-liner means using very short pieces of humor. Using one-liners during your presentations can be the best and easiest way to add humor to your public speaking skills. These brief bits of humor are quick and easy to deliver and they don't have to be all that funny to be effective. If you are a little unsure about adding a lot of humor to your speech, learning to use one-liners in your public speaking course is a good start.

The audience likes one-liners, because they can get a quick mental break from content heavy material. Keeping the audience alert is important to what you use from your public speaking course. Also, if the audience is there to get high levels of content, they don't feel you wasted their time with long stories and jokes.

One of the handiest sources for one-liners you can use is a small and inexpensive paperback called 'Today's Chuckle: 2500 Great One-Liners for Every Occasion' by Paul Harlan Collins. Most public speaking resource books are broken down into categories. There are 25 categories in all and I can't imagine a talk that wouldn't benefit from one of these selections.

This book has categories such as "Affairs of State and Other Political Indiscretions" where you might find the one-liner:
"Politicians are like polkas. They have different names, but they all sound alike."
or the category 'Money and the Meaning of Life' where you would see truisms like:
"Prosperity is that period between the last installment and the next purchase.'

You'll run across one-liners everywhere once you start looking, and then you can add them to your growing list. Some will even have two lines. Don't worry. Write them down too.

Just for fun, I'm including some of my favorites:

Thanks to automatic teller machines you are always conveniently close to being broke.

Behind every successful person stands a bunch of amazed co-workers.

Computers can do complicated mathematical calculations in 1/100,000 second, but the invoices still go out 10 days late.

My accountant is shy and retiring. He's $250,000 shy. That's why he's retiring.

How are you supposed to teach a kid what clockwise means when he's wearing a digital GI Joe watch?


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