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 https://portercoachyou.com/contact-us