Speeches can move an audience to emotion and action, or they can bore them to tears. Choosing a suitable subject that not only informs but also entertains can improve the effectiveness of almost any speech. The demonstration speech, a classic speech form used in teaching speech skills, describes an action or process. If the speech becomes too process-oriented, the audience may lose interest. Without adequate detail and clarity, the audience may not absorb the ideas being presented. A funny subject, or a humorous way of delivering the subject, can help make an engaging, informative demonstration speech.
Keep It Simple
Demonstration speeches often contain a great deal of information on a complicated process. Reversing the audience's expectation of a highly-informational, complicated speech can engage them in your subject. How to tie a shoelace, how to brush your teeth or how to fold a T-shirt all utilise basic demonstration speech skills including deconstruction of the process, explanation and presentation of the procedure. A demonstration speech about a complicated mathematical equation and a speech about how to water a plant have the same structure. The more mundane the task, the more the subject can surprise and, hopefully, amuse the audience.
You're the Joke
Nothing bores an audience so quickly as an overly formal or pretentious speaker. A demonstration that results in making the speaker look silly can win the audience's attention. Speeches about how to apply monster or clown make-up can make an audience laugh if delivered with the utmost seriousness. Classic funny processes, like slipping on a banana peel, become funnier the more intricately the speaker deconstructs and explains the process. A willingness to look silly while demonstrating a silly process can endear a speaker to the audience faster than perfect elocution or poise.
Know Your Audience
In demonstration speeches, as in virtually all public speaking, knowing your audience can help you choose the most engaging subject possible. In a school setting, for example, you may wish to demonstrate a process familiar to the students, such as procrastinating doing homework or how to sleep during class. Make sure to choose speeches the audience can understand. A high school audience and a grade school audience will not laugh at or understand the same subjects. These tongue-in-cheek ideas demonstrate basic demonstration speech skills just as well as the driest of academic subjects.
Make It Up
One of the risks of demonstration speeches lies in telling the audience what they already know. You lose an audience's attention the moment they realise your speech has no new information. Generating information about a fictional process like gardening on the surface of Mars, cleaning dragon scales or how to catch a leprechaun can utilise basic demonstration speech skills while capturing the audience's imagination. Demonstrations of fictional processes must conform to the same rules of clarity and order as any real-life process, but otherwise may take on any shape you can imagine.