Almost all business presentations look something like this: “facts, figures, jargon, jargon, and so on.” It’s quite difficult to hold someone’s attention for a business presentation. Have you ever thought ” How to add humor in public speaking“?
While this is one of the realities of the business world, another one is, as a business leader, you can’t lose the audience’s attention mid-presentation. It basically renders your presentation moot if your audience is disengaged.
But there is one tool that can help you connect with your audience better and keep them interested. It’s humor.
Humor in public speaking is like an elixir. In awkward situations, humor is a great savior. If you don’t know how to begin your presentation or forget your talking points on stage, it can help you take the edge off.
Adding humor to your presentation can help you grab your audience’s attention. It creates a bond with them. When they laugh with you, they are connected. This is critical for a successful presentation.
There is another advantage for those who plan to become professional public speakers. Using humor in your business presentation will make you look better as a speaker. This will help you win future speaking engagements.
But it can be a high-risk, high-reward tool that needs to be deployed with care.
Why care? After all, everyone loves to laugh.
It’s because whatever may be the nature of your business, a leader has to maintain its decorum. To crack one joke after another while giving a presentation will make you a stand-up comedian, not an ace business leader. That’s why most C-suite executives receive public speaking training to learn the use of humor in public speaking and more.
Emerge Global’s public speaking course is the first choice of many esteemed business leaders who wish to conquer the stage as well as the board room. If you too want to be among them, sign up for the course today.
For the time being, here’s how you can use humor in public speaking events, business presentations, and Ted talks.
Let’s have a look at few points which will help you to understand that how you can ace your presentations by adding some humor into it.
Knowing your audience—including their work background, basic personal information, and affiliations—is extremely important for executives.
It helps business leaders minimize the risks associated with using humor, such as: unintentionally insulting co-workers, being insensitive, and social distancing at work. Today, in the age of social media, one wrong statement can have you scrutinized immediately. So, take note of your co-worker’s preferences. Make an effort to get to know them.
We all have them—embarrassing tiny tales locked in a corner of our brains. But here’s the thing about Oops moments even though everyone has some, barely anyone shares them.
Humor in public speaking is all about sharing your experiences. You can use your past mistakes or silly events to help your coworkers see you as one of them. It’s a great ice-breaker and actually makes people feel closer to you. Business leaders often use it in their presentations to employees and succeed in getting their attention.
The easiest (and usually best) person to tease is yourself. Share an anecdote that relates to the point you’re making.
Personal stories are always full of fun details. The best part about using a story from your own life page is that you’ve probably shared it for years. So you already know how to tell it (unless it happened in the middle of the presentation.)
A rule of thumb of humor in public speaking is that if sharing a story from your personal experience helps reinforce the main points of your presentation, use it.
There’s one thing to be funny and take a dig at yourself and a whole different thing to be self-degrading on stage. One establishes you as an approachable, humble business leader. While the other decreases your credibility.
That’s why it’s important to draw a line between self-effacing humor and degrading humor when using humor in public speaking.
Most business presentations use visual aids to make them more interactive. You can use your presentation slides to add the humor element if you don’t want to be funny in a more obvious way.
Social media sort of blurs the lines between personal and professional. This means you have the opportunity to use funny memes in your presentation and make your audience laugh. Although it goes without saying that whatever element you choose must be culturally appropriate.
An analogy compares two different objects or concepts to emphasize some similarities. It’s not always easy to find yourself an appropriate business analogy, so listen to those around you. The most common business analogies include comparing the growth of your business to that of a plant or a drive. You can come up with a funny comparison that works in your presentation.
When you hear a funny metaphor, write it down. Even if it’s not perfect for your presentation, you can always swap out a few words or facts to make it work.
Ask any public speaker, they’ll tell you that humor works only when executed well. Apart from the ways to use humor in public speaking events, you must also know how to incorporate it. Following are a few tips to help you with that.
Practice: Repeat the presentation several times so the humor feels natural and flows down your cuffs.
Mock Presentation: Have a mock presentation in front of someone you know and trust to get candid feedback on the humor you imbued. You’ll know your humor works if your audience laughs.
Be Bold: Get out of your comfort zone and say or do things you wouldn’t normally say or do.
Have Fun with Public Speaking: Relax and your jokes will come through easily. If you look like you’re having fun, chances are your audience is enjoying your humor in speech too.
Use Facial Expressions and Gestures: Emphasize humor with facial expressions, voice, and gestures, or emphasize humor with smiles, eyebrow raises, body movements, and voice changes.
Read the Room: Look and listen. If people aren’t laughing, adjust what you’re saying at that point. Remember, not everyone has the same sense of humor. You can also laugh a little with the audience to boost the energy of your presentation.
Humor is undoubtedly a great tool to elevate your business presentation. You can use humor in public speaking or to make your presentation more impressive.
An oft-quoted saying is that people may forget your exact words, but they will never forget how you made them feel. Adding humor to your presentation creates the right emotion for your audience. A fun presentation also reinforces key points and leads to a more interesting presentation.
But it also poses a huge risk. You may end up offending someone. Or what may seem funny to you isn’t for the audience.
But fret not! You can learn to incorporate humor in your business presentations without risking anything by taking public speaking lessons from professional speakers.
It will not help you learn about humor but polish your other skills as well. Sign up for Emerge’s Online Public Speaking Course and avail proper public speaking framework for your next business presentation.
Business leaders often struggle with making their presentations interesting & captivating. Be it the content of a presentation riddled with facts and figures or the unfamiliarity of business leaders with public speaking, it truly causes an issue.
But using humor in your presentations can help you overcome this issue and make your speeches engaging. Learn to use humor in your business presentation the right way with our online public speaking course.
Jeremiah O’Brian is a faculty member at the USC School of Dramatic Arts. His exceptionally diverse background – from gritty nuts-and-bolts firefighting to film and theatre credits and accolades – is bolstered by his several graduate degrees.