Humor In Presentations: DO's and DON'Ts

If you watch the most popular public speaking or presentation videos in the Internet, you'll see that every speaker, even the most famous, serious and popular one, sometimes make his audience smile or even laugh.

The smile may be sad if a topic is dramatic. It may be a very exciting and funny moment or loud laughing if the topic is entertaining (we don't say about stand-up comedians today). But it has to be.

It is really good to use humor in your presentations

There are several important moments which may turn you from an enthusiastic person to a clown. To avoid this you should carefully choose the type of humor, understand is it comfortable and suitable to this audience in this moment, and, at last, find an appropriate humor line – jokes, stories, anecdotes, situations from life, funny examples and so on.

Humor is not for everyone. Not for everyone to perform. Not for everyone to understand. You always have a risk of overplaying and looking a little bit ridiculous. But humor makes you closer and more alive for people who are listening to you. It makes a presentation interesting and helps to remember it better. That's why you need to know HOW to use humor when you are giving a public speech. What to do and what to avoid?

Use relevant humor

Don't tell your audience stories which do not drive your main point and message you want them to learn. If you are a politician, you may use interesting quotes of famous presidents or other leaders in your topic to make people smile a little. But if you are a politician and you are going to tell jokes about dogs or woman's characters, it will look and sound strange, uncomfortable and - bad.

Always be correct

Don't use jokes which are outdated, offensive, sexist or just stupid, which are telling about private relations, contacts between man and woman, intimate or other misplaced and may suit the category called "below the belt". Such kind of humor is not always good even between your friends in very close and small company with the glass of the beer. In all types of audiences this line of jokes is strictly forbidden and in 100% cases makes a VERY bad impression.

Laugh at yourself, not at them

This is completely normal to tell funny (short!) stories about yourselves, your own interesting and fun experience, some your personal fun moments. You can also tell about your kids or personal life, but make it as much as possible correctly and respectfully. Sometimes people have a negative attitude to a person who tells too personal information about himself, and especially if he shows his personal life, his friends or relatives in awkward position. Make a short test: say only what you are ready to tell, for example, on TV in the most popular time and when your family or friends are watching this. Use this test to pick the most appropriate stories.

Perform, not just speak

If you are telling your prepared jokes while you are standing with your shoulders down, with sad and quite voice, boring intonations – no one will smile. Remember that your enthusiasm makes your audience's impression of your presentation or another kind of event. Be passionate in your work and deliver this passion and enthusiasm to your attendees. Give them energy. Use your gestures. Practice to speak in interesting, impressive, inspirational way. Attention! Don't overplay – or you risk of looking like a clown, it is not good (of course, if you are NOT a clown).

Find natural way

It is much more better to perform your jokes naturally. Don't force yourself to use humor. Some prepared jokes may even sound too synthetic, that's why you shouldn't write it down in your speech plan, but it is necessary to plan it in your head. Some speakers have a good natural sense of humor and can easily use natural jokes during the presentation. If you are not one of them, but you want to use some jokes, practice at home – it must sound quite naturally in any case.

Laugh with them, not alone

After you've told a story, a joke or use other humoristic line, make a short pause. It really has to be short – if people doesn’t' react, you won't appear in the uncomfortable situation, and if they react, they will have time to smile, laugh or comment your joke. Don't wait for too long – reaction is always immediate or comes in few seconds. If you don't see it, continue in your normal way. Use this pause to understand the reaction – don’t start laughing by yourself, wait for them. If no one smiles – again – just continue. If they do, smile together!

Remember that if we are talking about humor in your presentation and you are not a humor professional, it is better to use jokes less than more. Don't overplay – repeat this tip many times.

We are sure you'll make it great!

© PodioBox 2022

Posted in PodioMotivation, PodioProfy, Tips by PodioBox on Apr 05, 2023.