Public Speaking Course:
The use of callbacks is taught in my public speaking course. A callback is
when you refer back to a word or phrase previously mentioned in your
A Callback can be used whether the previous material got a bunch of
laughs, or was a complete groaner. If you got a good reaction from previous
material, mentioning it again will create more laughter and make you look good
for tying the previous material together with the present information.
If the previous material got a bad reaction, the callback will show your
willingness to make fun of yourself, which is a quality the audience will
appreciate. A true professional having been through my public speaking course
knows when he does well and when he doesn't. A good public speaker should be
able to laugh at himself and learn from his mistakes.
Here's how to make it work for you: Let's say you used a successful two-liner in
your presentation 'Don't rely on health books too much. You could die of a
misprint'. Later in your presentation someone might notice a misspelling in one
of your handouts or visuals. You can then 'call back' and say, 'See, that's one
of those misprints I was telling you about earlier.'
Participation is part of audience attention and is an important skill to focus
on while in your public speaking course. Another good thing that could happen is
one or more of the audience members might make the connection and do the
callback for you. One of them may blurt out something about your health book
line. Laugh along with them, because you are getting them involved and allowing
them to feel superior to you, which makes them feel like the star of the
show. You could then come back to the callback with, "See, I put that
there to test you." When you really get confident, you might actually make
the misprint on purpose to set up this whole scenario.