Effective Public Speaking Skill – Using a Joke Format to Add Humor to your Presentations
Adding humour to your speech or presentation can be beneficial because it helps you to connect with your listeners (most people like to laugh and be entertained) and it can help them more easily remember your message.
The purpose of this article is not to turn you into a comedian. It’s just to present you with some ways to add a little humour to your speech.
With that in mind here are two fast and simple, down and dirty formats for including humour in your next speech or presentation.
The first is called: “Joke Format”
This details a way in which you can format street jokes (jokes that friends might tell you in a bar) together to form a comedy monologue like old school comedians, like Bob Hope or Jack Benny. Here’s the format:
1) Put the 2nd funniest joke first
2) End with the funniest joke
3) Counter a good joke with a bad one.
4) Organize jokes according to theme.
Now, I’m not saying that they used this format, I used Hope and Benny as an example of the style of comic that might have used this approach. Although, I have to say, the “counter a good joke with a bad one” seems more in-keeping with the comedy format of old school comics, rather than modern stand-ups. I think today’s comedy professionals try to have continuous funny lines. This particular point seems to indicate a groaner type of joke, like a pun.
But just to remind you the purpose of this article is not to turn you into a comedian. You don’t have to worry about that.
That said, I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with using such a funny line in a speech, providing of course that it ties in with your overall topic and it doesn’t offend anyone overtly. Some people might be offended by a groaner joke, but that’s too bad. It makes you come across as human because we don’t always come out with incredible zingers like they do in sitcoms.
The other format is called the “Message Format”. There are two types for this format:
2nd Funniest joke
Main body of Jokes
With the second one being as follows:
This last one ends on a serious note instead of a laugh. Personally, if I’m doing a humorous speech I’d rather end on a laugh. But that’s just my personal taste.
What you might consider doing is reducing your actual speech or presentation by about a third or even a half. Keep the core details that are necessary to convey your message to your audience. So what do you replace the edited content with?
Humour. Funny stories, funny jokes, maybe you could quote other comedians or witty people as long as you give credit where it’s due. There’s no sense delivering a line by Woody Allen in your presentation and passing it off as your own. There will always be someone who can attribute it to the original author, plus it’s highly unethical.
Not only that but by saying something like: “as Woody Allen once said…” you can immediately get your audience into a better state to laugh as they’ll remember their favourite Woody Allen moment. Then if the line doesn’t have everyone rolling in the aisles then you can get out of it by saying, “obviously it’s much better when Woody did it”. Your listeners will love you all the more then because you will have revealed yourself to be slightly vulnerable.
You would have to judge for yourself what you think is appropriate. I would have to guess that it may be better for you to end on a comment about your overall theme. What are you trying to convey to your audience? What’s the take home message that you want them to walk away from your speech remembering?
If you can follow some of these pointers in your next speech you’ll be well on your way to being remembered for your humorous speeches and you’ll get people congratulating you afterwards because you made them laugh and in their eyes you just became the star.