Thursday, August 7, 2014
Public Speaking: Caricature, Cartoons, and Comic Strips
When certain prominent features of something or someone are highlighted and other features are diminished, that is called caricature. Studies have found that it is easier to identify a political leader from a caricature than from a real photograph.
You can use caricatures of yourself in your own promotional material or in your programs to make fun of yourself. You can do the same thing to make fun of your competitors or your competitor's products by amplifying whatever feature you want to emphasize.
Caricature artists are not too hard to locate. Many times you can find them by looking in the yellow pages under the categories of entertainment or party planning because they frequently perform at parties.
Cartoons and Comic Strips are the most universally accepted formats for humor across cultures. Find out why by viewing this website's article:
'Show 'em' When You Cross Cultures'.
There are three ways to use cartoons: first, you can tell the audience about a cartoon you saw; second, you can cut the cartoon out of its publication and show it; and third, you can make up a cartoon yourself.
I saw a cartoon once where a lady was holding a gun to her purse. The caption said, 'Give up the keys!' I use this example in my Business Lite Seminar when I want to illustrate the use of humor to help ease the tension in embarrassing situations. (I have also used this line many times when I am with a woman who is fumbling through her purse.) When I tell the audience I saw a cartoon, it helps them paint a mental picture of what I am describing with words.
Describing a cartoon is an easy method for using cartoons without having them physically available or needing audio/visual equipment to show them. Showing a cartoon is a more powerful way to convey its humorous message. This is especially true in international audiences where the visual aspect takes on a greater significance. In a very small crowd I might hold up the cartoon or I might pass it around. In larger audiences, the cartoon should be projected (don't forget to get permission from the copyright holder) so everyone can see it clearly. I like this method better anyway because I can control when it pops up on the screen. I want everyone to see the cartoon simultaneously so their laughter will be cumulative. Try to fill the frame of the visual with your cartoon or comic strip. You will create a greater impact.
The third way to use cartoons is to make them yourself. When I first started teaching this subject I could not take advantage of this method unless I hired an artist. Things are different now. There are a number of inexpensive computer software programs available which can be used, one of which is Corel Draw. This program has 25,000 pieces of electronic clip art, many of which are cartoons. I can make custom overhead cartoons for my speaking engagements. All I do is pick an applicable cartoon, add a custom caption for my audience.
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