better speaking skills » Please, Laugh in My Face!

Please, Laugh in My Face!

by | Jul 15, 2019 | 0 comments

People love to laugh—behind your back. That’s normal. Sometimes, you want them to laugh in your face. That’s gold for a presenter. If your audience is laughing, they are listening and you’re making an emotional connection!

If you can’t get some laughs or smiles, you are in trouble. As a presenter, you want to sprinkle humor throughout your business presentation because it:

• Makes your audience more receptive to your message. Your points seem fresh, new and novel if you can get a laugh or a smile from your audience.

• Gives you a leg up with your listeners. People with a sense of humor seem friendly, likeable and someone you want to do business with.

• Helps you talk about difficult or serious topics.

• Makes your message more memorable.

But please, don’t trot out any old, tired jokes. Just try one of these humor hooks to keep your audience entertained and engaged:

1. Make an analogy that puts a twist on a common thing/situation. An analogy shows how two different things are similar. For example, “Sunbathing at Daytona Beach in July is like being a rotisserie chicken for four hours”. A simple analogy can bring out a smile!

2. Use the comedy rule: 1-2-FUNNY. List three things. The first two are similar and the last one breaks the pattern because it’s unexpected. For example, “I never know what to expect when I look under my car in the morning. (I always park near Mrs. Bush’s oak tree). Yesterday I found, half a pint of oil, a flat tire and Mrs. Bush’s dentures!”

3. Share a personal story. “If something happened to you and you found the humor in it, there’s a good chance others will, too,” says Carmine Gallo in his book, “Talk Like TED”.

It wasn’t funny at the time, but my first big feature story as a newspaper reporter was on a well-known minister in Charlotte, NC. I was so proud when my full-page story ran on Saturday. By Monday morning, I was nervous, stumbling and embarrassed. I had to look my editor (and the minister) in the eyes and explain the only mistake in my story. I broke the news that the pastor was retiring. To my surprise, he wasn’t. I still don’t know how I got that retirement so WRONG!

Yes, stories are a great way to get a laugh. Use your facial expressions, exaggerated gestures/movements, and dialog between characters to surprise your listeners. And don’t forget to give your characters distinct and memorable voices.

Need help getting laughs in your business presentations? Sign up for a Better Speaking Skills free strategy session at  

Rosalyn Porter

Rosalyn Porter

Rosalyn Gist Porter, MBA, founded Better Speaking Skills after more than 20 years in corporate communications as a manager, writer, and editor, for major corporations such as Lockheed Martin. Today, she helps coaches, business owners, executives, salespeople, sales teams, and other professionals increase sales, confidence, and influence with powerful public speaking and presentation skills! Rosalyn is Certified World Class Speaking Coach and a proud member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando.

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