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Funny things happen all the time in public speaking. Sometimes you can use that humor to make your speech better relate to your topic. Sometimes, you’re embarrassed. Here are a few humorous stories from public speakers.

  • This was reported by Shel Horowitz, Author (with Jay Conrad Levinson) of Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green: Winning Strategies to Improve Your Profits and Your Planet. This is an example of how to use something funny to enhance your speech.

I once gave a speech on marketing to a group of contractors. They met in a divey bar. I noticed that the men’s room was decrepit—so I threw away my planned opening.

Instead, I started, “How many of the men here have used the bathroom tonight? And how many of you saw the marketing opportunity for contractors in there?” . . . After that, I could say anything I wanted; they paid attention!

  • Stephanie Angelo, SPHR

Founder, Human Resource Essential, LLC
Co- Author, Serrated, A True Story of Survival, Recovery and the Pursuit of Justice This is something you should remember when you use a clip on mic.

  • I wish I was a fly on the wall in the lecture room during a Texas seminar where I presented a couple of years ago. After I finished speaking, I walked out of the room, and without realizing it, forgot to mute my mic! I had more important things on my mind: heading directly into the ladies room! (can you see where this is going?)

Soon after the next speaker began his presentation, he and the audience became distracted by some strange noises heard over the sound system. It started with some rustling…followed by the flush of a toilet, running water, a faucet and then silence. Once everyone realized just what was happening, they let out a roar of laughter that could be heard everywhere within ear shot.

My husband (who was in the lecture room) flung open the door, came to my rescue and pulled my mic off, explaining that I managed to invite the entire audience into the ladies room with me! Fortunately, my bathroom visit was . . . uneventful. I was marched back into the lecture room (wearing a VERY red face) where I was met with roars of laughter and a standing ovation! The audience thanked me for the diversion from “standard” lectures. And of course, everyone said they were happy to know that I washed my hands.

  • This happened to Lynn Homisak, PRT

SOS Healthcare Management Solutions, LLC

I once made a comment during a lecture that, “My husband has some great new equipment and he kept me up all night!” I was referring, of course, to his new video camera purchase. But the audience’s minds were already too far in the gutter.

Hopefully these things won’t happen to you if you do, but being able to see the humor and laugh with the audience will help you through it.


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