The best way to connect with your audience is to elicit an emotional response. That doesn’t mean you have to move them to tears — laughter is just as profound. Humor is a powerful tool that can make your presentations engaging and memorable.
Don’t get us wrong—your entire speech doesn’t need to be funny. This isn’t a stand-up routine, after all. But light, humorous moments strategically placed throughout your presentation make for a pleasant audience experience.
You don’t have to be a professional comedian to do this, either. You just need to keep these tips in mind if you’d like to start giving humorous presentations.
Go about preparing for your presentation like you normally would. Write your speech without thinking about the jokes you have to make.
When you’re done, that’s the only time you can inject jokes appropriate to your content.
Just Be Yourself
It’s awkward to watch someone try to be funny when the joke feels forced. Different types of humor work for different types of people.
Think of the things that make you laugh and try to figure out what you find funny about them. Your favorite things to laugh at is a good starting point in figuring out what type of humor works for you.
Similarly, you can also think about previous occasions when other people found you funny. Others’ feedback is a good way to gauge your efficiency.
Tread the Trend
An easy way to get your audience laughing is to reference current trends. You can refer to characters from the latest blockbuster movie, or a scene in the highest rating TV show that’s everyone familiar with.
You can also add a bit of humor to your PowerPoint slides by flashing popular Internet memes that are related to what you’re trying to say. At the same time, remember the occasion you’re presenting in and the people you’re presenting to. Some references may be inappropriate or irrelevant depending on the setting.
Think About Your Audience
Generic ‘knock, knock’ jokes are sure to end in stumped silence. Tailor-fit your humor to your audience by thinking about what might make them laugh.
Jokes that are relevant to your audience are more likely to tickle their funny bone.
Practice your speech and figure out the best way to deliver your jokes.
Communications guru Jennifer Flachman explains that the power of your voice can influence the way your audience perceives you. Remember that tone, inflection, and body language can easily alter the meaning behind what you’re saying.
Flachman, Jennifer. “The Body Language of Voice: Use Your Voice to Your Advantage.” BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas. September 16, 2013. Accessed June 10, 2014.
Featured Image: Ellen DeGeneres by ronpaulrevolt2008 on flickr.com