Public Speaking Course:
Show 'em When You Cross Cultures
My public speaking course addresses the fact that cartoons and comic strips
are the most widely accepted form of funny material no matter what culture or
ethnicity the audience is. To cross cultures well, you must choose your comics
and cartoons carefully. These pieces of visual humor are seen in newspapers and
magazines all over the world. You can probably find them in newsstands in large
cities, or in large libraries.
You should definitely start to collect cartoons and comic strips when you
travel around the world, so you have a good supply when you need one. During
your public speaking course I will show you the best way to compile a list of
funny cartoons to use. Make sure to avoid cartoons that have political
overtones, because you might offend and alienate parts of your audience. If you
are speaking to a smaller crowd, you can simply pass it around or hold it up to
show everyone. If you want to use the cartoon or comic strip in a visual way
other than holding it up, like in an overhead, 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 just said. It may feel like its
taking forever (4-6 seconds) for the idea to sink in.
A great resource for cartoons is 'Witty World International Cartoon Magazine'
by Creators Syndicate. 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.'
Two other great types of visual humor that crosses most cultural barriers are
juggling and magic. You can find excellent resource materials for both topics.
'Speaking With Magic' is a book by Michael Jeffreys that not only teaches you
simple magic tricks, but gives you the important points you can relate to the
trick. Master magician Tom Ogden has two good magic videos which are 'Teaching
and Training with Magic' and 'The Magic of Creativity.'
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.