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American Speaker

You don’t have to be a professional comedian or have a staff of writers to make an audience laugh, although that certainly helped Jimmy Kimmel and President Obama during this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner last Saturday. The pair kept the audience laughing for nearly an hour by spinning jokes off topics in the news, from the Secret Service scandal to Kim Kardashian’s celebrity.

Here are some techniques you can apply to your presentations:

  1. Record the opening. Last year the president’s speech began with the song “I Am a Real American” while the images on screen included his birth certificate. This year’s performance began with a spoof about an open mic while he was off stage. When you record your opening, you can test it with colleagues and fine-tune it, so you are guaranteed to get a laugh, with no pressure on you for a few minutes to perform…

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