The Life of the Party: Speaking to Entertain 84 Method 1: Point and Proof Speech of the Devil Satirizing the host, a special guest, or any other person in attendance can be a great way to open a speech-- if it's done with taste and tact. It's never acceptable to be mean, vicious, or embarrassing. Judge the room's comfort zone, and stay well within it. If you have any doubt, go with a personal anecdote, a reference to the occasion or news event, or a joke. The point and proof method means that your speech is made up of a central idea supported by a series of examples, anecdotes, or amusing stories. This method of development not only entertains your audience, but also makes it easier for them to remember the main points of your speech. To create an effective point and proof speech, follow these steps: 1. 2. 3. Open with an anecdote, preferably an amusing one. Explain the point of the anecdote. Describe how your speech will be organized around this point. Illustrate your point with additional anecdotes, each building on the central point. Remember to spread your stories evenly throughout your speech so the really good stuff isn't all bunched in the beginning, middle, or end. Close your speech by restating your central point. Then tell a great story to ensure a smash ending. 4. Method 2: Spoof Point and Proof This method of organization lampoons the point and proof method: · Start by relating an anecdote, referring to the occasion, alluding to a recent amusing event, or poking fun at the host. · Present a serious problem and exaggerate it beyond all sense of proportion. · Offer a ridiculous solution, illustrating it with a series of humorous anecdotes. · Close your speech by lampooning an absurd call for action, telling a story to show the irony of your argument, or summarizing the silly steps of your solution. See Chapter 13, "Getting Organized," for additional guidelines for organizing entertaining speeches. Get the Facts! Now it's time to gather your supporting material--examples, details, anecdotes, and jokes--that help you make your point. Think of this step as trimming your Christmas tree: The supporting material adds glitter to a solid frame. You should always gather more material than you think you will need. It's also important to vary the supporting material you select: Your speech writing will be much less arduous if you have ample material from which to choose. Keep in mind that it's not unlikely that what looked like a sure laugh- getter while you were researching turns out to be a dud when you're writing. If you've limited your research, you might find that you don't have enough additional material when you need it.