Get Laughs, Get Attention, Get Your Message Across

Find out tricks that actors and professional speakers use to compel people to pay attention. Every bit of focus you gain helps to get your message across. Whether you’re speaking to one person or one-hundred, there are some universal truths about communicating and human biology.

Make your point heard

Don’t underestimate how difficult it is to spread your view of the world. Your aim is to generate a neural pattern in someone else’s brain that is similar to yours, and the only medium you have is pressure waves sent through the air from your mouth to their ear. Your larynx makes vibrations, and their ear drum picks the patterns up, but there’s coding and decoding at each end of the transmission, and problems occur at each step along the way.

It’s no small undertaking, and if the message is complicated, it taxes human brains close to the limit. Two people walking will unconsciously slow down as a discussion shifts to more complex material. Walking is something a toddler can do, but we can’t even walk fast when we are listening intently. Our brains work hard enough in a conversation that talking on a mobile and driving a car increases your risk of an accident four fold. (And it’s even worse if you use a hands free kit.) Clearly the old cliche that ‘we only use 10% of our brains’, is rubbish.

By exploring the limits of human neurology its obvious that we sometimes tax our listeners unnecessarily and lose the impact of our message. So it helps if we can make it easier for people to follow us; Find out why verbal clutter costs us dearly as speakers, and hear how achieving simplicity can make you look smart.

EEG Graph
An EEG shows that brain activity forms a reliable pattern when someone ‘gets’ a joke that will generate a laugh.

The science of “funny”

Sometimes the best way to get attention is to get them to laugh. It’s also a great way to make a point. There are ways to bring out the funny side of serious ideas. You’ll need two essential ingredients to create funny moments, and there are three critical parts in every joke.

We all know the delivery of a makes or breaks a funny line. But why? And what is it exactly that converts a killer line into a dud? Again, science helps. EEGs show us why that famous ‘pause’ is essential and timing is so important. There’s an unmistakeable ‘joke pattern’ in a brain scan, and when we understand what it is, we can appreciate the essentially difference between a great delivery and a dud.

Audience demographics matter too. The age, sex, and socio-economic status of your listeners affects how you will be received. We’re a social animal, and studies on laughter explain why some people laugh more than others and show how you can set up the situation to help bring out the giggles.

Speak with authority

Learn how to use your voice to keep them listening longer. A few simple methods add authority and bring out your inner ‘anchor-person’. One instant technique is especially useful for women who want to be taken seriously. Don’t suck in your stomach. Think ‘fat’, poke out that tummy and sound like a newsreader! (It works for guys too. Try it, you’ll hear your voice deepen immediately.)

The right time and place

Is the room working against you? Is your message lost in the traffic? If your point is important it deserves to be heard in the right environment. The wrong venue will suck out the impact from any presentation and strip you of your presence. A punchline can bring down the house one day, and go flat the next thanks to the venue.

Be a powerpoint professional

  • Create funny slides, and make a ‘punch-picture’.
  • Use tricks that graphic designers use.
  • Make your message stand out with the best fonts, and colour combinations.
  • Avoid being caught in a linear rut. Set up your show so you can change directions, answer questions and go-with-the-flow!

Joanne can deliver the message through a keynote, a seminar or as an after dinner speaker.

To get more information or make a booking email joanne AT,

(Swap the ‘AT’ for ‘@’ to help foil the crawlers)

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4 comments to Get Laughs, Get Attention, Get Your Message Across

  • #
    Edward Jensz

    I am an engineer and I am concerned by the mis-representation of exact science especially, definition of terms, experimental boundarys and conclusions drawn.

    My view is that the CO2 to temperature relationship is well reaearched and reported but I disagree with the conclusion that because a relationship exists then it must be the cause.
    My conlusion is that CO2 acts like a temperature thermometer in being an indication of the temperature vis a result of temperature change not the cause.

    Science suggests that if all the H2O vapour was removed from the troposphere then the temp would be about Kelvin 260. I have not seen any reference to the effect of just removing all CO2 from the troposphere but my understanding is that, if CO2 acts as a thermometer as well as being a greenhouse gas, the current temp without any CO2 would be Kelvin 286 to 288.

    Any Comments or am I looking at this problem in the wrong way?

    Ed Jensz


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  • #

    I came across your videos on youtube, about climate change. Good work! I haven’t heard it articulated in such a manner, and im impressed. I can relate to the dilemma of real scientists vs politicians that get so powerful, they think the facts of life are at they’re discretion, in my own work being a presales engineer and dealing with sales/management megalomaniacs in the same way. This is one of the reasons why AGW drama, is so fascinating to me, it’s not about climate and science, it’s about people- how far they can go denying facts and the truth, and think they can actually get away with it.

    If you have any speaking engagements in the northeast US, I hope ill get an email how to reserve a few seats.

    [Thanks Bob. Please make all the comments you want in the current and ongoing threads as found from the home page.] ED

    Thanks Bob. I wish I could get to the NE of the USA in the near future. I’m sure I would love it. It’s all a question of funds unfortunately, not too many government grants available to speak about how bad the government is. – Cheers, Jo


  • #
    Daniel Dewey

    Hello, I have been following your site for a while and I thought you might like to look at Dr. Ed Berry’s book “Climate Miracle”. His website is

    Dr. Berry has a Ph.D. in Physics, Nevada, M.A. in Physics, Dartmouth, B.S. in Engineering, Caltech.

    Some quotes from his book
    “Climate Miracle is not a treatise on climate science. I won’t waste your time with unnecessary science.
    “Climate Miracle shows why the alarmist’s claim is a fraud.”
    “climate Miracle is nature controls the climate. Human emissions do not overpower the natural forces that drive an ever changing climate.”

    Thanks for your informational website.



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