Presentation Tip: Humor Without Jokes
By Jerry Brown, APR
Public Relations Counsel
You don’t need to open with a joke. In fact, unless you’re one of those rare people who consistently tells jokes well, you should avoid opening with a joke. Or telling them at all during your presentations.
The good news is you don’t need to tell jokes to add humor. One liners, an occasional pun or other off-the-cuff comments that make your audience smile or even chuckle are a great way to add a little humor and personality to presentations. And they’re generally easier to do well than telling a joke — a story that leads up to a punch line.
Just remember: Don’t force it. Whether you’re telling a joke or simply adding funny comments, any humor you use has to be natural and fit both your personality and the topic of your presentation. And the only person who should ever be the butt of your humor is you. Avoid jokes and other comments poking fun at others. That goes triple for any comments that poke fun at or disparage any group of people.
Use humor to help make your point or tell your story. If it’s just an appendage stuck in somewhere to draw a laugh unrelated to the rest of what you’re saying, leave it out.
That’s my two cents’ worth. What’s yours?
Jerry Brown, APR, is a public relations professional and former journalist. He helps clients develop content for telling their stories. He helps them develop strategies for getting their stories heard, understood and remembered. And he provides media training and presentation coaching for clients who need to tell their stories to reporters or in front of an audience. 303-594-8016 | jerry@JerryBrownPR.com.