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Speaker’s Humor: “Did you hear the one about. . .”

S NO! Your presentation does not have to open with a Joke!

For most presentations, it should not start that way!

People love to laugh and humor is great.  It can be icing on the cake, but it isn’t easy!  

It is also a tool that can be used to keep the attention of the audience on you and your message.

If you try to be funny, and you’re not, You might wind up being the Joke!

Here are some guidelines for Humor in Presentations:

  1. Self-Effacing humor is good!

  2. If you’re like me, you have lots of material to work with!

  3. Don’t overdo it else it really gets the audience wondering about you and your self-confidence.

  4. Never make fun of others, especially audience members.  The person, even if a celebrity, that you might want to poke fun at, might be someone’s hero and you’ll alienate those folks.

  5. The old rule, “If you can’t say it in front of your mother, spouse and child – Don’t! – holds true.

  6. All humor you use should be relevant to your overall message with the goal of helping your audience GET IT!

  7. Too much humor will become a shtick, probably not conducive to delivering your message.

Here’s a Good Example of the use of Humor: I write funny remarks into the Introduction for the Master of Ceremonies who introduces me.  My Intro answers the mandatory three Whys” every Introduction should include:

  1. Why this Subject?

  2. Why this Speaker?

  3. Why Now?

The Master of Ceremonies then mentions that he “did some research on our speaker and discovered he used to be in the Coffee Business.”

The Emcee goes on to say, “Since he used to sell Coffee, I figured he could Perk Up our meeting and not let it become a Grind! Someone told me he Espressos himself well, and would never be considered a Drip. I’m curious, as I’m sure you are, to hear what he’s Brewed Up for us. Help me welcome – Fred Miller!”

These “groaners” get a good laugh from the audience and make the person introducing me think they can do stand up!

When I take my place to begin my talk, I turn to the Emcee and say, “That was a great Introduction – Thanks a Latte!” That statement always gets another round of laughs, and I’m off to the races with my presentation.

That particular Introduction lets the audience know the speaker doesn’t take themselves too seriously.  The laughter I receive puts me at ease and makes an immediate connection with them.

I’ll also use humor throughout the body of my presentation.

Example: I may mention Toastmasters and the great organization it is for developing communication and leadership skills.

One suggestion I make is that before joining Toastmasters, they visit several clubs because each has their own “flavor.”  Some are very regimented, others are fairly loose in their meeting structure.  Some clubs are large and others have very few members.  Nothing is good or bad, it’s a matter of finding one you feel comfortable in and feel you can get the encouragement and skill training you’re seeking.

I tell the story of how I made a mistake in picking the first club I joined.  “I think they all belonged to Mensa, you know, the high IQ Club.”  Those words usually get a snicker or two.

Obviously,” I continue, “I didn’t fit into that club too well.”

More giggles!

“But it took me about six months to figure that out!”

Now, I get some laughter!

I follow that up with, “I graduated in the half of the class that made the top half possible! 

You’ve got that bell-shaped curve, right? (I gesture the image of that grading curve as I say those words.)  Someone has to be at the bottom! You’re welcome “A” Students!”

The crowd loves it, and it energizes me.

I use other humor, including some funny slides, throughout my talks to keep help educate, entertain and explain my message to my audience, all with the goal that the audience will GET IT!

Follow these suggestions for including Humor in your presentations, and the next one will be  – NO SWEAT!

For reading, and/or listening, this far I’d like to give you a FREE Gift. Go to: to receive it! (You may be asked to update your profile even if it hasn’t changed.  Please do!)

About the Author Fred E. Miller is a speaker, a coach, and author of the book, “No Sweat Public Speaking!” Businesses and individuals hire him because they want to improve their Public Speaking and Presentation Skills. They do this because we perceive really great speakers to be Experts. Perception is reality and we rather deal with Experts.

They also know: Speaking Opportunities are Business Opportunities. Speaking Opportunities are Career Opportunities. Speaking Opportunities are Leadership Opportunities.

He shows them how to: Develop, Practice, and Deliver ‘Knock Your Socks Off Presentations!’ with – NO SWEAT!

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