Speaking for business is often a serious matter. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t want to connect with our audiences. Indeed, for any presentation connecting with your listener is very important if you want to be persuasive.
There are a few ways to connect with your audience, and one of them is humor. Using humor isn’t the easiest thing to do when you’re nervous about presenting. So, this tip is for those of you who’ve gotten accustomed to speaking and find your presentations are a little dry.
Before I share with you one of my favorite techniques, let’s start with a few don’ts. First, don’t use a joke. It is an advanced technique to use jokes in public speeches. There are a few pitfalls with this tactic:
– Some in your audience may have heard it already
– Some may find it offensive for some reason
– It’s just not funny the way you tell it
Next, don’t try to be funny right at the beginning of your speech. Get the audience warmed up and liking you first. Then, they’re more likely to want to laugh at something you say. There are many better ways to grab the audience’s attention at the beginning, e.g., use a stimulating question.
Lastly, don’t try to be funny all the way through your speech. This is very difficult and, unless you’re an entertainer, this shouldn’t be your goal. Most likely you want to inform and persuade, which will require more than non-stop humor.
All right, we’re through with the don’ts. Avoid those and you’ll be in a better position to succeed with your speech. Humor, used sparingly, and being genuine can bond you with your audience quickly. One key thing we want to do as speakers is not to seem better than our audience. If they see that you have flaws and aren’t perfect, they’re more likely to connect with you.
This is where self-deprecating humor can come in. I like to use this type of humor as I find it fairly easy and it puts me on a level plain with my audience. Also, it’s a sure bet you won’t offend anyone by making fun of yourself. Want to see an example? Click on the link below and watch the short video to see how I make fun of myself and get a laugh out of the audience.
After this humorous moment the room I felt more connected with the audience and the speech proceeded even more smoothly for me. If you’d like to improve the way you present publicly, you might like to attend my next Getting Started with Public Speaking event on August 12th. This class is ideal for beginners to lower intermediate speakers.