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6 Ways to Add Humor to Your Presentation or Speech

May 03, 2024

6 Ways to Add Humor to Your Presentation or Speech

As a humorous motivational keynote speaker, I know and you know humor is a powerful tool in public speaking. It can captivate your audience, make your message more memorable, and establish a connection with your listeners making the audience more amenable to your message.

Incorporating humor into your presentations or speeches doesn't mean you have to be a stand-up comedian. Comedy as an art form is totally different (and more difficult) than adding humor to your presentation.

My objective when presenting as a funny inspirational speaker is to leave my audience with a smile on the face, a spring in the step and memorable actionable takeaways to “Keep On, Keepin’ ON” and satisfying the goal of my client be it oncology or ophthalmology, manufacturing or marketing. It's about finding the right balance and using humor effectively to enhance your message.

Here are six ways you can use to add humor to your next presentation:

  1. Know Your Audience: Tailor your humor to your audience. Understand their demographics, interests, and cultural background. My brother-in-law told me on one occasion to Google on the Bing which is what I do to find some interesting or unusual elements about my audience. This may provide good foundation for humor.
  2. Use Personal Stories: Share anecdotes or personal experiences that have a humorous element. People relate to real-life stories, and adding humor to them can make your content more engaging. I use humorous personal anecdotes literally in all my presentations and the “funny thing” is that the anecdotes that get the most laughter are the ones where something initially went wrong but you can laugh about it now.
  3. Timing is Key: Pay attention to timing when delivering jokes or funny remarks. It takes some experience (sometime bad experience) to pause for laughter and avoid rushing through punchlines. Once you know your material well, you should know when the audience is going to laugh. Allow them to laugh. Timing can greatly impact the effectiveness of your humor and allow your audience to fully appreciate it.
  4. Use Visual Aids: Incorporate funny visuals or memes that complement your content. Visual humor can lighten the mood and add an extra layer of entertainment to your presentation. Almost every PowerPoint presentation can benefit from appropriate funny slides.
  5. Poke Fun at Yourself: Self-deprecating humor can be endearing and relatable. I regularly speak about funny incidents with my wife. It is an iron cast rule of mine, that I am the one that turns out to be the total idiot in the story. I do not make fun of my wife (who is a very funny, wonderful lady) but one way to lose your audience is to make fun of someone else.
  6. Practice, but Be Flexible: Rehearse your humorous elements to gauge audience reactions and adjust as needed. Not every joke or quip will land perfectly but it is quite likely you might be able to improve on it and present it better next time. Stay flexible and be prepared to adapt based on audience feedback.

Adding Humor to your Presentation: The Course

Your author

Conor Cunneen is IrishmanSpeaks. He is happily exiled in Chicago where he earns a living as a humorous motivational speaker whose mission is to Improve People, Performance & Productivity with a Smile.

His acclaimed course on Adding Humor to your Presentation will ensure your next presentation leaves your audience with a smile on the face, a spring in the step and memorable, actionable takeaways to Keep On, Keepin’ ON.


Interested in a very useful resource to Add Humor to your Presentation?

Get: 53 Humorous Quotes & Flubs you can use in any presentation

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