Some people are very good at speeches, others not so. Here is an example a guy who is damn awesome at them.
This is a guy who has done speeches on most things. Often covering difficult topics such as stupid Americans who won’t allow increased safety laws to try and stop nutters shooting lots of kids to death whilst they are at school. They would rather let mass murdering continue. But hey, that’s America for you. Hopefully one day the good willed sensible people of America will one day rise up and get their weapons under control, doesn’t appear likely though no matter how many kids and innocent people get killed. That is the type of speech that is a tough one!
And yet in his speeches, Barack Obama often has the ability to make people laugh, admittedly he is not trying to be entertaining, he is trying to get a message across and argue his point. But even then he brings smiles.
No matter what sort of a speech you are doing, whether it be at a funeral, a best mans speech at a wedding, to a group of co-workers or even announcing something to family in a group. You can often add in jokes to make it entertaining. Provided the jokes are relevant to the people listening obviously.
Can it be entertaining without jokes? Maybe, if it is a science related speech it could grip people because of the huge interest in it. But really, 99% of the time, “entertaining” will encompass laughter. So as a general rule the answer is yes. Jokes are required for an entertaining speech.
The key thing is often how you tell them. A good punchline is important. And as mentioned before, it needs to be relevant to the people listening so they will get the joke. When to do them is also important. Hitting them hard with jokes at the start and then fizzling out is not so great, always better to build up an end strongly to leave people remembering it.
Prepare well, craft some good jokes which you can tell reasonably quickly and that the audience will get, rehearse them a couple of times. And you should be able to make an excellent speech, which entertains and that people will definitely remember.