I gave a humorous public speech and I said “men photoshop biceps & women photoshop breasts”. After the speech I realized how bad my thoughts are. I felt I should have avoided talking about Breasts. Like this what topics should I never talk about or rules of public speaking (never hurt any 1 , etc.)

As originally answered on Quora.com

I’m curious to know if what you describe as your bad thoughts were initiated by second-guessing yourself or by feedback from your audience? Also, is it actually true that men photoshop biceps & women photoshop breasts? If it is a fact, then how can it be bad to talk about it?


It has been forwarded in other responses that there are topics that you should stay away from, to avoid upsetting certain audience members. At the same time, it is also said that there really shouldn’t be any taboo subjects. It is a matter of speaking about the right topic to the appropriate audience.

A rule of thumb that I learned long ago about using humour is that it is okay to poke fun at a group that you are a member of. Self-deprecating humour is considered to be better than making fun, embarrassing or shaming another person. In your example of “men photoshop biceps & women photoshop breasts”, not knowing your gender, I would assume that you are male.

I don’t see anything inherently wrong with your statement. While the idea is to speak to everyone in an audience, there will always be somebody who takes offence to something. That’s their problem, not yours.

Stand-up comics are successful when they disrupt our usual way of looking at things.

So to conclude, I don’t believe that there is a master list of topics that need to be avoided in public speaking. Perhaps the world would be an even better place if we did talk about some of the topics that have earned a taboo reputation.

Thanks for your question. 

~~~ 

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Rae A. Stonehouse is an author, speaker, and self-publishing consultant dedicated to helping others embrace constant improvement and overcome challenges. With over 40 years of experience as a Registered Nurse in psychiatry and mental health, Rae brings a wealth of knowledge and passion for self-development to his writing and presentations.

As a 25+ year member of Toastmasters International, Rae has systematically built his communication abilities and self-confidence to share his insights as an author and speaker. His self-help books and personal development presentations aim to have conversational one-on-one connections with readers and audiences.

Rae is known for his wry sense of humor and sage advice delivered in a relatable coaching style. After four decades as a nurse, Rae has rewired rather than retired, actively writing and pursuing public speaking. He strives to share lessons learned to help others achieve personal and professional growth.

To learn more about Rae and his approach to constant improvement, visit his website at Live For Excellence Productions or to learn more about his publications visit Live For Excellence Store

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Rae A. Stonehouse stands out as a celebrated author, inspiring speaker, and knowledgeable self-publishing consultant, bringing over forty years of experience in psychiatric and mental health nursing. His extensive involvement with Toastmasters International has refined his communication skills, enabling him to deliver relatable and insightful personal development content. Rae's engaging approach, characterized by humor and wise counsel, reflects his rich life experiences and commitment to ongoing personal growth. Beyond his professional realm, he's adept in DIY projects, having renovated and decorated homes, and is an enthusiastic gardener in Kelowna, British Columbia. Rae's life, shared with his wife Sandra, their son, daughter-in-law, and beloved granddaughter, epitomizes the essence of lifelong learning and the pursuit of excellence in every venture.Rae A. Stonehouse is an author, speaker, and self-publishing consultant dedicated to helping others embrace constant improvement and overcome challenges. With over 40 years of experience as a Registered Nurse in psychiatry and mental health, Rae brings a wealth of knowledge and passion for self-development to his writing and presentations. As a 25+ year member of Toastmasters International, Rae has systematically built his communication abilities and self-confidence to share his insights as an author and speaker. His self-help books and personal development presentations aim to have conversational one-on-one connections with readers and audiences. Rae is known for his wry sense of humor and sage advice delivered in a relatable coaching style. After four decades as a nurse, Rae has rewired rather than retired, actively writing and pursuing public speaking. He strives to share lessons learned to help others achieve personal and professional growth. To learn more about Rae and his approach to constant improvement, visit his website at Live For Excellence Productions or to learn more about his publications visit Live For Excellence StoreRae A. Stonehouse is an author, speaker, and self-publishing consultant dedicated to helping others embrace constant improvement and overcome challenges. With over 40 years of experience as a Registered Nurse in psychiatry and mental health, Rae brings a wealth of knowledge and passion for self-development to his writing and presentations. As a 25+ year member of Toastmasters International, Rae has systematically built his communication abilities and self-confidence to share his insights as an author and speaker. His self-help books and personal development presentations aim to have conversational one-on-one connections with readers and audiences. Rae is known for his wry sense of humor and sage advice delivered in a relatable coaching style. After four decades as a nurse, Rae has rewired rather than retired, actively writing and pursuing public speaking. He strives to share lessons learned to help others achieve personal and professional growth. To learn more about Rae and his approach to constant improvement, visit his website at Live For Excellence Productions or to learn more about his publications visit Live For Excellence Store