Sarah Epstein, Speak For Yourself Marketing Guru interviews Karen about the business of humor…
Political cartoons are powerful. The cartoonist disarms you with laughter while conveying an important political message.
As a presenter, you can similarly utilize humor to engage your audience and make them more receptive to your message. An audience full of potential customers, for instance, may approach your presentation with uncertainty. Opening a presentation with humor, however, makes you likeable. Humor cannot replace a worthwhile product or service, but it can sell you to your audience. A customer that relates and likes you will be infinitely more likely to seek your services. Humor helps you sell yourself.
Q: Karen, what would you say are some great ways to utilize humor?
A: Find the funny stuff of life – at work or at home – and ask yourself, “Is there a way I can use this funny incident to help make a point?” If so, write it down (our memories are as long as our pencils) and use it.
Q: Are there certain types of humor or types of jokes that speakers should avoid?
A: YES. I strongly urge you NOT to use jokes. First – you will offend a political party, a gender, or whatever is the butt of the joke. Second – your crowd probably already heard this dumb joke. Third – the funniest stuff is real stuff that happens to real people. You just have to observe with purpose.
Q: Is humor always appropriate in a presentation?
A: No. But almost. Even in a eulogy you can say some funny and heart warming things about the bereaved. Use your common sense.