Public Speaking Skills:
Acronyms and Abbreviations
You can use acronyms and abbreviations as a form of humor when demonstrating
your public speaking skills.
There are many acronyms and abbreviations that are universally known
such as the IRS and the CIA. An acronym is a form of abbreviation where
the letters of the abbreviation form a new word, for example HUD means
the Department of (H)ousing and (U)rban (D)evelopment. There are many
more that you can research that will be relevant to your audience.
This public speaking skills works best when you make the acronym humorous
for your public speaking engagement. All you need to do is change one
or more of the words that go with your well-known abbreviation or acronym.
Here are some examples from my past public speaking presentations.
IQ Idiot Quotient
CPI Consumers Poorhouse Indicator
IRA Individual Rest-in-Peace Account
TQM Totaled Quality Management
With a little thought, it is very easy to customize acronyms and abbreviations
to your audience and make your public speaking skills even better. Here
are some examples and explanations from a custom public speaking engagement
I did for a hotel franchise:
OCC in the hotel industry means Occupancy Rate. I changed it to Oh!
C'mon Clinton because certain taxes were being proposed by President
Clinton that would affect their industry. I always try to connect with
the audience by mentioning the topics that are foremost on their minds.
This gives you the greatest chance of succeeding with an item of humor,
and success with your audience is the focus of your public speaking
ADR to hoteliers, means Average Daily Rate. This was changed to All
Dated Rooms which is something no hotelier wants to hear. This would
mean a fortune would have to be spent to upgrade and modernize the rooms.
IOC was the name of the group I was addressing (International Operator's
Council). This was changed to I'm Ordering Chinese and I'm Out of Coffee.
These phrases aren't particularly funny in themselves. They were coupled,
however, with the fact that these people had just completed rigorous
and exhausting inspections by the Franchisor. That is what made it funny.
Knowing when, where, and what will be funny is a great asset to your
public speaking skills.
ANA This is one of my generic favorites. ANA represents Al Nippon Airlines.
I mention that it is a good thing that this company had an American
advisor before they used this acronym because the original version was
. . . ANAL (this is revealed on an overhead projector just after a pause
following the word "was").
This ANA versus ANAL story gets good laughter. I extend the humor with
the line, 'How would you like to see that on a 747 coming at you?' This
question gets even bigger laughs, and "leave 'em laughing when you go"
is public speaking skill as well.
For the hotel speaking engagement, the acronyms were on an overhead
transparency and were displayed using the public speaking skill "reveal
technique" (where individual overhead lines were covered until it was
time to reveal the funny version). You don't have to project acronyms
to use them in a public speaking engagement. You could also print them
in handouts, or just tell them out loud, any method can be used when
utilizing good public speaking skills.
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