Speakers with the innate ability to insert humor into presentations effectively engage and entertain people. While not everyone is a natural at funny yet effective speeches, you can still bring that therapeutic feeling to your audience.
Your clients already have enough problems to deal with outside your corporate presentation. Give them some reprieve by injecting a little humor into your presentation while proving that you’re the answer to their needs. You don’t have to make fun of yourself to give your presentation an ice breaker.
Speech coach Avish Parashar suggests five steps to adding humor to your presentation. Once you’ve identified what tickles the listener’s funny bone, it’s time to put these into action by incorporating a few techniques. We’ve borrowed three of his humor basics and expounded on them below:
Wordplay is wittily substituting words that sound similar but mean different things. Play with words to lighten up your discussion.
Popular food bloggers and book authors Janet and Greta Podleski are masters of this literary technique. They always use wordplay in their cookbook and recipe titles, such as “Eat, Shrink, and Be Merry” instead of “Eat, Drink, and Be Merry,” “Lord of the Wings,” “Nacho. Nacho. Man,” and “Another One Bites the Crust.”
Even the most serious audiences get tired of straight data, especially in hours-long presentations. Have pun making your audiences smile for even a second. They’ll appreciate the brief reprise from word-heavy slides and complicated numbers. Memorable and witty words also make them remember your story better.
Puns lie within the realm of wordplay. They’re done by connecting different ideas in a way where the words are deliberately confused with each other. Talking about an intricate financial report? Try this joke: “A bank manager without anyone around may find himself a-loan.”
Puns aren’t limited to those already made by other people. Experiment and make your own puns that fit your presentation’s message. Some of the best marketing campaigns used terrible puns. They may elicit some groans, but let’s face it: they’re easy to remember, which is great at making your audience remember you after the presentation is over.
Advertisers exaggerate ideas to attract consumers, making things ridiculously humorous while empowering brand images. Exaggeration delivers a product pitch while at the same time catching your viewers’ attention because of how over-the-top you can get.
Most people don’t talk about a typical day at the office, but they do talk about bizarre incidents. Present an idea in ways that are so unusual that audiences will be compelled to remember and talk about it outside of the conference room.
Presentations aren’t meant to be boring. The more monotone you get, the more likely your audience will tune you out.
Mix things up and engage your audience by putting some comic elements into your speech. Whether you use clever wordplay, puns, or exaggerate ideas, a more humorous delivery is often more memorable than a straight-faced presentation.
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“Incorporating Humor into a Presentation.” SlideGenius, Inc. August 15, 2013. Accessed May 14, 2015.
Parashar, Avish. “5 Ways to Add Humor to Your Presentations Without Being a Comedian.” Speak and Deliver. June 16, 2011. Accessed May 14, 2015.