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Art of Public Speaking:
Amusing Numbers


Using common everyday words used in unusual ways can be good technique in the art of public speaking.

Most businesses have many uses for numbers, both written and spoken. Some numbers are funnier and more interesting than others. A number like zero has other slang terms that are amusing and are not even numbers, such as:

  • Goose egg
  • Nada
  • Nil
  • Zip
  • Zilch

These are very amusing ways to express the number zero, and memorable expressions are the focus in the art of public speaking. Even zero is funnier than the word none. Although none is amusing when you talk about the two chances of a hostile takeover as 'slim and none.' A hundred dollar bill is a C-Note, a five-dollar bill is a fin. If someone is outrageously rich, they could be a zillionaire.

If you want to exaggerate a little bit, or if you have some tough news to deliver that involves numbers, add a touch of humor to help soften the blow. Making the experience count for your audience in an aspect of your art of public speaking.

One common rule of humor that does not apply to numbers is brevity. In all other types of humor you should conserve the number of words you use. Normally you want to use the fewest words possible to get to the punch line.

When using numbers in a presentation, pronounce them using the longest version possible. This gives them more punch. The digits 1,500 should be recited as one thousand five hundred, not fifteen hundred. The time of 8:15 should be a quarter past eight, not eight fifteen. '6 foot 2' should be six feet two inches not six-two.

So counting up, the art of public speaking takes nothing -- near zero and makes it count!
Copyright 1998 - 2004

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