1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking

1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking

by Michael Hodgin

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You have something important to say. Are you sure your audience is listening? Clocks start ticking in the minds of your listeners the minute you begin your presentation. These clocks measure the amount of time you have to interest them before their attention wanders elsewhere. Could be three minutes. Could be thirty seconds. But make your audience laugh and they


You have something important to say. Are you sure your audience is listening? Clocks start ticking in the minds of your listeners the minute you begin your presentation. These clocks measure the amount of time you have to interest them before their attention wanders elsewhere. Could be three minutes. Could be thirty seconds. But make your audience laugh and they forget about their clocks. They are too busy listening. Make them laugh and they will listen. Humor is one of your most powerful tools as a speaker, and 1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking lets you wield it with power. Michael Hodgin has compiled hundreds of humorous anecdotes on dozens of topics and brought them together in one book. From "Ability" and "Accidents" to "Work" and "Worship," Hodgin's illustrations are arranged according to topic and indexed to help you quickly find the perfect anecdote. The book also provides space to record the times and places you use each illustration, so no one will hear you tell the same joke twice. Ideal for preachers, teachers, executives, and anyone else who speaks publicly, 1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking will keep your audience laughing -- and listening to every word you say.

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5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.13(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking

Fresh, Timely, and Compelling Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers, and Speakers
By Michael Hodgin


Copyright © 1995 Zondervan
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-310-47391-8

Chapter One

1 TOPIC: Ability

More Light Bulbs

How many people does it take to screw in a lightbulb in the basement of the White House?

Answer: None, they prefer to work in the dark.

How many Harvard MBAs does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

Answer: Only one. He stands still and holds onto the bulb, and the world revolves around him. (You may substitute Princeton M. Div.s, or whatever group you want to persecute that particular day.)

Dates & Places Used:

2 TOPIC: Acceptance

Infatuation or Love

Infatuation is thinking he's as sexy as Robert Redford, as smart as Henry Kissinger, as noble as Ralph Nader, as funny as Woody Allen, and as athletic as Jimmy Connors.

Love is realizing he's as sexy as Woody Allen, as smart as Jimmy Connors, as funny as Ralph Nader, as athletic as Henry Kissinger, and nothing like Robert Redford, but you'll take him anyway!

Dates & Places Used:

3 TOPIC: Acceptance

Unconditional Love

Maxie Dunnam tells the story of an elderly man who began spending a significant amount of time with an elderly woman. Neither had ever married and each had lived alone for many years. Gradually the old gentleman recognized a real attachment to her but was shy and afraid to reveal his feelings to her. After many days of anxiety and fear, he finally mustered up the courage to declare his intentions. He went over to her home and in a nervous frenzy blurted out, "Let's get married!!"

Surprised, she threw up her hands and shouted, "It's a wonderful idea, but who in the world would have us?"

Dates & Places Used:

4 TOPIC: Acceptance

Let Them Go

An astronomer at Harvard once was giving a lecture entitled, "The Expanding Universe." In it, he pointed out that there are galaxies greater than our Milky Way speeding outward, moving away from us faster than the speed of light. This means that we're actually losing them. They're falling off the edge of the universe, so to speak. It is a mind-boggling thing to think about. In the question-and-answer period that followed the lecture, a woman who appeared to be terribly upset by this revelation, asked anxiously, "Professor, what are we going to do about all of those galaxies we're losing?" To which the learned professor quietly replied, "Let them go, Madam. Let them go!"

Dates & Places Used:

5 TOPIC: Accidents

Body Designs

Some believe the shin was invented for finding furniture in the dark. Others find the little toe much more effective for such activity.

Dates & Places Used:

6 TOPIC: Accomplishments

A Paneful Target

As a young man, Jack (Guelker) had purchased archery equipment and could hardly wait to try it out. Knowing that bales of hay would provide an excellent backdrop for a target, but having none readily available, he chose to use more obtainable facilities. Several sheets of insulation board leaning against an old out-building seemed to provide the perfect substitute. After centering the target over the boards, he stepped off the required distance to practice shooting. He strung the bow, carefully fitted an arrow onto the bowstring, drew the arrow and fired. Although the arrow struck the target, the instantaneous sound of breaking glass was the first indication that the target area might not have been a good choice. In the springtime, however, it had seemed the best place to stack all twenty of the storm windows from the house. The arrow had passed through the target, the insulation boards, and the entire stack of glass windows, breaking every one.

There are times that the results of our best-aimed intentions are not what we plan them to be, but what we least expect. Proper planning involves looking beyond the obvious and checking for the possibilities of broken glass.

Dates & Places Used:

7 TOPIC: Accountants

Accountant's Maxim

When you make the mistake of adding the date to the right side of the accounting statement, you must add it to the left side too.

Dates & Places Used:

8 TOPIC: Action


Preacher to the congregation: "Crying babies and disruptive children, like good intentions, should be carried out immediately."

Dates & Places Used:

9 TOPIC: Activity

But Hurry

This is the age of the half-read page and the quick hash and the mad dash; the bright night with the nerves tight; the plane hop and the brief stop; the lamp tan in a short span; the big shot in a soft spot; and the brain strain and the heart pain; and the catnaps 'til the spring snaps; and the fun is done.

Dates & Places Used:

10 TOPIC: Advertising

Modern Marketing

A local farmer had come to the conclusion that the local car dealer had profited greatly by all the add-on options that increased the price of cars sold to the hapless farmer. Then one day the car dealer informed the farmer that he was coming around to buy a cow. In a spirit of justice, the farmer attached the following price information to the cow: Basic cow $500.00, Two-tone exterior $45.00, Extra stomach $75.00, Product storing compartment $60.00, Straw chopper $120.00, Four spigots at $10.00 each $40.00, Cowhide upholstery $125.00, Dual horns $15.00, Automatic fly swatter $38.00, Fertilizer attachment $185.00; Total $1,233.00

Dates & Places Used:

11 TOPIC: Advice

Two Different Words

A grandmother who was concerned about her granddaughter's vocabulary frequently advised the child concerning her chosen words. On one such occasion, Grandma said, "Dear child, I would like you to do something for me. Would you please promise not to use two words? One is swell, and the other is lousy." The girl replied, "Sure, Grandma. What are the two words?"

Dates & Places Used:

12 TOPIC: Advice

Surrendered Advisor

There was a pious old gentleman of an earlier generation who used to get up regularly at prayer meeting in his church to pray: "Use me, O Lord, use me-in some advisory capacity!"

Dates & Places Used:

13 TOPIC: Advice

Overly Helpful

Three men were about to be executed by the guillotine. One was a Frenchman, one was an Englishman, and the other was an American. The Frenchman went first. He was asked if he wanted to wear a hood over his head. He declined and said he was not afraid. He was placed under the guillotine, with his neck on the block. He looked up bravely at the sharp blade that was about to fall. The rope was pulled, but nothing happened. His executioners believed this was an act of God, and they freed him. The same process was repeated with the Englishman. He refused the hood, was set into place, and the rope was pulled. Again, nothing happened. This too was interpreted as an act of God, so they freed the Englishman as well. Now it was time for the American's execution. "Do you want a hood?" He refused, "Nope. I am just as brave as those other two guys." They laid the American face up in the guillotine and were about to pull the rope when the American stopped them. "Hey, wait just a minute. I think I found the problem with your guillotine."

Dates & Places Used:

14 TOPIC: Advice

Free Advice

Receiving advice is like getting kissed on the forehead. It doesn't hurt, but it doesn't help much either.

Dates & Places Used:

15 TOPIC: Affirmation

Better Than Nothing

A true story: A father (Kenneth Fox of Warrenville, Illinois) was filling in as mother while his wife was at the hospital. He was trying to be a good mother for his two kids, ages 10 and 15. After several days he needed a little affirmation and started fishing for a compliment, observing, "I'm doing pretty well as a mother, don't you think?" His older son said, "You're doing fine, Pop. I like the way you do this cold cereal." The 10-year-old girl added, "Well, at least you are better than nothing."

Dates & Places Used:

16 TOPIC: Age

Only the Tough Grow Old

A group of senior citizens at a retirement home were having a high old time discussing their various aches, pains, and ills. One had arthritis, another indigestion, someone else ulcers, still another insomnia, and on and on it went. Finally an eighty-year-old man said-"Think of it this way, my friends-it just proves that old age isn't for sissies!"

Dates & Places Used:

17 TOPIC: Age

Long-Term Driving

A little boy was riding along with his father from New Mexico to Colorado. They were traveling 250 miles to go fishing. Every fifty miles the excited son asked his father if they were almost there. The father answered that they had quite a distance to travel yet. So the son waited for a few more minutes and asked his father again.

"Sorry, son, we have another hundred miles yet."

After fifty more miles the son asked, "Daddy, am I still going to be four years old when we get there?"

Dates & Places Used:

18 TOPIC: Age

The Young Get No Respect

Police were called to help restore order at the Presbyterian Home for the Aged, the scene of a week-long revolt. Three militant octogenarians were arrested after a scuffle in the north parlor. These three who were arrested were identified as leaders of the activist group that seized control of the parlor three days earlier and locked the matron in the closet.

One reason given for the protest: "We have a bunch of young whippersnappers running things around here, and we don't trust anybody under sixty-five." Another reason from another of the activists: "What is the sense of living a long time if some fifty-year-old kid is going to tell you what to do?"

Dates & Places Used:

19 TOPIC: Age

Middle-Aged Action

You have reached middle age when you try to find out where the action is so you can go somewhere else.

Dates & Places Used:

20 TOPIC: Age

Healthy Circulation

The denunciation of the young is a necessary part of the hygiene of older people and greatly assists in the circulation of the blood.

Dates & Places Used:

21 TOPIC: Age

Counting the Years

A friend and I took my little daughter, Ellen, to a movie for her birthday. After we left the theater, while I was bundling up Ellen against the cold wind, my friend asked her how old she was.

"I can't tell you," Ellen said. "I have my mittens on!"

Dates & Places Used:

22 TOPIC: Age

Stay Young

You can stay young indefinitely if you eat wisely, get plenty of sleep, work hard, have a positive mental outlook, and lie about your age.

Dates & Places Used:


Excerpted from 1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking by Michael Hodgin Copyright © 1995 by Zondervan . Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Michael E. Hodgin is the author of 1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking and 1001 More Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking. He edits The Pastor's Story File and Parables, Etc., two newsletters for pastors and public speakers. He lives in Platteville, Colorado.

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