Use Humor to be More Effective in Presentations 

People want to do business with people they like.  Making someone smile or chuckle will have the effect of: 

  •       Quickly building rapport
  •       Connect you and your information with positive feelings
  •       Lower your listener’s defenses creating a more receptive mindset

 

Studies have shown that humor can also increase the retention of information and help you be more persuasive.  Ineffectively using humor can backfire and make your listeners think you are incompetent, lack judgment, and other adverse outcomes. Humor is a high risk when used effectively, and the rewards are enormous!  Studies also show that those who can naturally use humor are perceived as more confident and intelligent than those that don’t.

If you would like to add more humor to your presentations, start by observing humorous moments in professional settings. Notice whether everyone reacted or only a few.  Think about why it was funny.  Often it is about the content of the moment.  Observational humor usually works well in professional settings. By acknowledging a shared experience that you can apply a metaphor to will bond people in laughter.  For example, “It’s easier to get a snowsuit on my toddler than to use our coffee machine.”  The first experience is one that most can relate to outside of work. 

Humor humanizes and makes work more enjoyable.  It’s best to get a trusted ally to review humor you plan to use in a presentation to ensure its effective and not offensive.  Remember a little goes a LONG WAY. Do not try to add humor to every point of your presentation, only where it comes up naturally and easily.  A good speech coach can help you develop this skill, which will take you to the next level of effectiveness in your presentations. 

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