Public Speaking Skills:
Caricatures, Cartoons and Comic Strips
An artist uses a cartoon drawing to make certain features more prominent
or exaggerated, and other features more diminished. This technique is
called a caricature. This can be used as part of your public speaking skills also.
Studies have found that it can be easier to identify a political leader
from a caricature than from a real photograph. So when utilizing this
public speaking skill, use caricatures of yourself in your own promotional
material or in your programs to make fun of yourself.
You can do the same thing to make fun of your competitors or your competitor's
products by amplifying whatever feature you want to emphasize.
Caricature artists are usually not difficult to find. Many times you
can find them by looking in the yellow pages under the categories of
entertainment or party planning because they frequently perform at parties.
Thinking about how to find what you need is just another public speaking
Connecting with members of the audience, from increasingly many cultures,
is a very important public speaking skill. Cartoons and Comic Strips
are the most universally accepted formats for humor across cultures.
Find out why by viewing this website's article:
'Show 'em' When You Cross Cultures'
There are three ways to use cartoons: first, you can tell the audience
about a cartoon you saw; second, you can cut the cartoon out of its
publication and show it; and third, you can make up a cartoon yourself.
I saw a cartoon once where a lady was holding a gun to her purse. The
caption said, 'Give up the keys!' I use this example in my Business
Lite Seminar when I want to illustrate the use of humor to help ease
the tension in embarrassing situations. (I have also used this line
many times when I am with a woman who is fumbling through her purse.)
When I tell the audience I saw a cartoon, it helps them paint a mental
picture of what I am describing with words, and painting word pictures
in people's minds is all about using your public speaking skills.
Describing a cartoon is an easy method for using cartoons without having
them physically available or needing audio/visual equipment to show
Even though it perfectly acceptable to just describe a cartoon, showing
a cartoon is a much more powerful way to convey its humorous message.
This is especially true in international audiences where the visual
aspect takes on a greater significance.
In a very small crowd I might hold up the cartoon or I might pass it
around. In larger audiences, the cartoon should be projected (don't
forget to get permission from the copyright holder) so everyone can
see it clearly. I like this method better anyway because I can control
when it pops up on the screen. I want everyone to see the cartoon simultaneously
so their laughter will be cumulative.
Try to fill the frame of the visual with your cartoon or comic strip.
You will create a greater impact. Remember creating an impact shows
your audience you have good public speaking skills.
The third way to use cartoons is to make them yourself. When I first
started teaching this subject I could not take advantage of this method
unless I hired an artist. Things are different now. There are a number
of inexpensive computer software programs available which can be used,
one of which is Corel Draw. This program has 25,000 pieces of electronic
clip art, many of which are cartoons. I can make custom overhead cartoons
for my speaking engagements. All I do is pick an applicable cartoon,
add a custom caption for my audience.
Sometimes you are an artist without words, and a picture is worth a
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