Milo's periodic journal of
learning, life-tips, and laughter

April 2017

Can humor be used in almost any setting?

Cavett Roberts, founder of the National Speakers Association, was once asked by an audience member (a professional speaker herself), "I'm not really a funny person, so do I HAVE to use humor?" 

Without hesitation, Cavett replied, "No, no, no.  You don't have to use humor.  Unless you want to get paid."  After a pause to catch his meaning, the whole audience laughed loudly, including her, as they got his point.

Case in point:  A potential client called me, inquiring, "I've been all over your website and I like what I see about you as a speaking coach, but I also see that you're 'The Improv Guy'.  I'm giving an hour-long presentation about Lou Gehrig's Disease, so there's no room for humor in this program.  Got it?"

"Gotcha," I responded, echoing the fact that I knew where he was coming from, not necessarily my agreement.  I knew there were a half-dozen other more important issues on his plate, so humor was low on my agenda.  But not off the table in my mind.

John met with me and, over the course of several visits, we rearranged much of his program to improve the flow, re-did a PowerPoint that was going to yield snoozing, worked on simplifying his wording, and lifting his delivery energy.  With each visit, he became more excited.  On his fifth visit, he burst in and said, "Okay, I can't wait to hear what today's focus is going to be!  What is it?"

I smiled broadly and stated, "Humor!"

His face hit the floor.  "You gotta be kidding me!  How clear was I that
there's no   [click here to read the rest of the story]  


Public Speaking Tip of the Day

Try a fill-in-the-blank style handout with your presentation instead of giving the audience everything up front (making you superfluous) or having them just take notes (and potentially missing info you want them to leave notated).

For instance, in my keynote speech on public speaking skills named after my book, one of the notes on the handout says:

   Never underestimate the power of _____________________.

The question of what goes in the blank gets people thinking and when I say the sentence with the missing word, they get that jolt of adrenaline that says, "Aha!  That was one of the answers!" and they get to do something slightly physical to keep themselves engaged.

The answer, by the way, is "story".  And then I expand upon why stories make such a difference in a speech.

One of the many tips in "Public Speaking: Get A's, Not Zzzzzz's!"

Or my Amazon #2 BestSeller for the next generation:

Today's Humor

"I saw a study that said speaking in front of a crowd is considered the number one fear of the average person. I found that amazing. Number two was death!  Death is number 2?

"This means to the average person, if you have to be at a funeral, you would rather be in the casket than doing the eulogy!"

        ~ Jerry Seinfeld

(Note: A more recent study put terrorism ahead of both
speaking in public and death.  You can decide for yourself
if that's progress or not.)

Today's Featured Podcast from FSA

From the vault of my podcast interviews, this great one:

"The Power of Humor in Health and Communication"
with Karyn Buxman -- 2013-Feb-11

What's the connection between humor and healing?  Not just emotionally but in the hospital, too!  Humor is like a sixth sense and our bodies crave it as much as our minds.  And using humor effectively in communication can make us look smarter, more considerate, and more appealing.

My guest in this podcast has spent twenty years researching and sharing the origins of humor, how to use it effectively, and how it affects the body.   We'll share laughter and insight with Certified Speaking Professional and Registered Nurse Karyn Buxman (

See?  Told you the newsletters would be light and helpful!

If I can be of service to you, just use the button here to reach my site and drop me a line!   Milo


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Copyright 2017, Milo Shapiro.

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