Using Humor in a Professional Presentation

Humor in the Office? How to Make Jokes during a Presentation

humor2Humor is the perfect way to connect with your audience, mix in some good feelings with potentially tedious material, and improve personal confidence. Yet many people seem to think that there is no place for humor in professional presentations. Effectively using humor in a presentation can make it entertaining and memorable while getting your point across. Even career coaches teach professionals how to incorporate humor into a presentation.

The Benefits of Humor

I get it, your quarterly numbers are no place for a stand-up routine, but consider the benefits that a single, well-placed joke will bring:

  • A relaxed audience. Most of your coworkers dislike meetings and presentations. This means they are not looking forward to hearing you talk. Do not take it personally. Instead, make them laugh, put them at ease, and remind them you are in control. It helps maintain their interest in you.
  • A relaxed speaker. This means you. Once the audience chuckles, maintaining composure and clearly communicating your message is much easier.
  • Humor improves communication skills. The more you look forward to telling those one or two well-placed jokes, the harder you work on the presentation. After the audience laughs, it makes speakers relay information with more confidence and puts them at ease in front of people.
  • Good-natured jokes set you apart. The lucky people in any office are the ones whose coworkers do not mind attending their meetings. It makes presentations easier, but it also makes you better at your job.

How to Instill Your Talk with Humor

Humor is hilarious when it works, but it quickly turns the audience against you when it doesn’t. This is often caused by improper delivery. Here are some tips to get the funny bones jingling:

  • Do not rely on the clichĂ© jokes. Humor depends on the unexpected. Every once in awhile, something is just so funny you cannot pass on the opportunity, but use these moments sparingly.
  • The presentation does not have to open with a joke. Many people try this technique, which often leads to awkward transitions to the source material.
  • Do not be afraid to hang the lampshade. In other words, say what everyone is thinking. Acknowledge the hot, stuffy room or the inconsiderate construction workers blowing dust into the parking lot. If you say what the audience is thinking, they will immediately trust you.
  • Use humor relevant to your business, industry, or job function. People are less likely to think you are trying too hard to be funny if you utilize jokes rooted in truth.

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Additional Resources:
How to Infuse Humor throughout a Professional Presentation
Business Humor – How To Use It In Your Next Presentation
Humor has it: Why use Humor in Business Presentations