Show 'em When You Cross Cultures
During your public speaking course you will see that cartoons and comic strips are the most widely accepted use of humor
in your presentations, regardless of the audience's nationality or culture.
These pieces of visual humor are seen in newspapers and magazines in
most areas of the world. They may be found in newsstands in large cities,
or in large libraries. Or they may already be in your file you have collected along the way as you speak around the
It might be fun to collect cartoons and comic strips when you travel
so you have a ready supply when you need one for an upcoming presentation.
Try to avoid cartoons that have political overtones, as you might offend
parts of your audience. If you are speaking to a small group, you can
show the periodical or pass it around. If you want to use the cartoon
or comic strip in a visual, you may need permission from the artist
or copyright owner. Always read the caption for a foreign audience and
give them time to mentally translate what you say. It may take what
seems to be forever (4-6 seconds) for the idea to sink in. Another good
resource for cartoons is 'Witty World International Cartoon Magazine'
by Creators Syndicate. During your public speaking course you will
learn how to compile resources of humorous cartoons to use.
Other forms of this type of visual humor that cross most cultural barriers
are juggling and magic. Good resource materials are available on both
topics. 'Speaking With Magic' is a book by Michael Jeffreys that not
only teaches you simple tricks, but gives you the points you can relate
to the trick. Two good magic videos for speakers by master magician
Tom Ogden are 'Teaching and Training with Magic' and 'The Magic of Creativity.'
In Thailand, I used props as icebreakers. I used oversize money to
pass out to the crowd because I knew they were interested in 'BIG MONEY.'
I also used some softballs that looked like dollar bills so they would
have money to 'THROW AROUND.' In my public speaking course I will show
you how to be creative to create a connection
with your audience to better share your message.
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