Inject Humour Into Your Speech
Date: December 5, 2015
Most speakers avoid humour because they think they’re not funny enough, or they fear the emptiness that fills the room when nobody laughs. But why should you avoid using humour when people love to laugh and be entertained?
It’s a great technique that too many people don’t utilise.
There is no one rule to making everyone laugh in hysterics, because we all find different things funny. You can’t please everyone, but as long as you bring a few smiles to people’s faces, you’re doing your job.
Your main duty isn’t to make people laugh – unless you’re a comedian -it’s to send a specific message, one of importance and value.
Sometimes speeches can be boring if they’re too serious and force listeners to focus on only severe topics; break up fragments by using humour in your speech.
Use Humour Appropriately In Your Speech
Don’t throw in knock knock jokes just for the sake of it. A slight spell of humour should be used to help the audience like you, show your personality and not make the presentation feel like you’re a school lesson.
If you’re discussing something really grim, let’s say, dealing with the death of a loved one, it’s inappropriate to flounce one-liners; it’ll feel out of context and forced.
But, you don’t just want to talk negatively about death, because that’ll make the audience feel hopeless and morbid. Your goal is to make people feel better about themselves and their life after they leave and not to send a dark spell across the room.
Laughter brings people together and helps to diffuse our personal problems. Use it sparingly in your speeches to show that you’re a real person with a personality and charisma and not a robot who’s been hired to impress.
Under no circumstances should you use jokes that could potentially offend others. Some of the greatest comedians in the world may do it, but that’s not a free ticket for you to start making racial slurs. Stay away from anything that’s risky; it’s better to be safe than sorry.
How To Be Funny And Make Others Laugh
If you don’t consider yourself to be a naturally funny person, that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you should stay in the dark, just that you may have to work at it a little more. People fail at humour when they try too hard and force jokes that people don’t understand or are unoriginal. It’s always best to avoid scripting a joke word for word and memorising it perfectly, because it’ll fail to have presence and authenticity. Tumbleweeds will fill the venue if it doesn’t happen naturally.
Things are funnier when they happen at the spur of the moment and they’re relatable. You know all the people in the room will be interested in what you have to say because you wrote your content for them, so base your jokes on the same topic(s).
Shape the joke so you create a story – include characters. Think of it like a story, though don’t make it too long or people will respond with yawns rather than laughs. A joke needs to be brought to life with a real situation and real people, otherwise it’s merely a discussion.
Tell something that has actually happened. Look at professional comedians. Ninety nine percent of the time they talk about something that has happened to them, or someone they know. You can really picture the scene they’ve created and it feels real. People like to hear genuine stories.
Talk about a funny experience you have. Keep it time-relevant by discussing a hilarious part of your journey travelling to the venue. You have to be open-minded and willing to see the positive side of things in order to search for content for your speech. But inspiration is everywhere.
If you’ve thought of an anecdote that has the potential to make people chuckle, embellish it a little. Would it be more entertaining if you exaggerated the person’s hair? If yes, then do it. Nobody will know you tweaked the truth.
Be Confident That You Are Funny
You can’t shy back or you’ll receive sympathic laughs: Those are worse than nothing at all. You have to be confident in yourself and believe that you’re good enough to stand on stage and talk to those people in the room.
Project your voice and stand tall. Practice your funny moment with different accents to bring the story to life and make it more entertaining. Don’t just stand still either; walk around the stage and use your body to exemplify the moment. If someone did something funny – reenact it so it isn’t one of those ‘you had to be there’ stories.
Don’t tell something funny with the hope that people will fall off of their chairs in hysterics. That won’t always be the case and it doesn’t make you a failure if they don’t. A small laugh and smile are enough to show that people like your content.
Tell your stories to anyone you know to get some practice, but more than that, try to use humour more in every day life so that you become more naturally funnier.
Ask people what it is that they find funny about you? Is it that you always make a joke out of everything? That you’re great at impressions? Your facial expressions? Whatever it is, utilise your best qualities to your advantage. Every comedian has their own individuality, so find yours.
There are different types of humour so don’t spend too much time trying to decide what ‘type’ of humour you’ll use. The most important thing is that you remain you and don’t try too hard.
Reflect on real events and exaggerate them to make them funnier. Don’t forget about body language, actions and vocal variety too. Pauses and volume help to entertain people. You’ve heard the expression ‘it’s not what you say, but how you say it’ and that’s absolutely true.
Give details and use descriptive language to create a scene, but don’t make it sound so serious.
Lighten up and have fun!