Speech design tips: In Presentations humour makes your message stick
Humour allows you to:
- quickly attract and keep your audience’s attention.
- connect with your audience in a more real way.
- make your points memorable, and ease tension.
- get your point across without creating additional hostility. New ideas or policies can meet with resistance, humour helps reduce resistance.
A personal anecdote, funny quote, or a tasteful joke that relates to your subject works particularly well. If you are going to use humour, have it make your point. This way – even if you are not funny – you will still make your point. A well told joke that does not make your point is a distraction, and can stop your audience from getting your message.
Humour helps to break the ice when you begin your talk.
Don’t try prompt your audience to laugh by saying you are about to tell a funny story. When you think Speech design use a Pause before the punch line, and again after (and smile) to give them a chance to laugh. If they don’t laugh, continue with the rest of your presentation. We are not all the same, not everybody will laugh at every joke or funny quip. Before you do your presentation, make sure the humour relates to your message, and that it really is funny (Test it on other people).
Keep a lookout for humorous quotes, and personal stories relating to the topics you speak about. Speeches are more powerful when personal, or you are passionate about the topic. In Speech design using a story about something funny that happened to you helps you remember it easier than something you read somewhere, and it comes across with more integrity when delivered. The trick is to find what works for you. Try some self-deprecating humour, or some observations about life. Ideas that make us feel something are more memorable, specially when we laugh.
A clear point made with humour will linger in your audience’s minds long after you’ve finished.
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