Does this matter? ABSOLUTELY! Knowing when and how to use humor in a public speaking event is crucial. Life threatening, even! Ok…well…maybe not that bad but it will affect the way your audience receives your presentation.
Here are some tips I’ve learned through my many public speaking engagements:
1. Don’t start off with a joke; it’s expected and unoriginal. It’s the presenter’s attempt to get the audience members on his side from the very beginning. Try getting into the material a little bit before impressing them with your Robin Williams-like talent.
2.Determine how long your presentation is going to be. If you have an allotment of 10 minutes to give your public speaking presentation, 9 of those minutes shouldn’t be humor. Similarly, if you have 110 minutes, more than 9 of those minutes should be humor. See what I’m saying?
3. Make sure your humor relates to the audience. There’s no point of making the effort to be funny if your material is directed to the wrong group of people. Learn who is attending your public speaking engagement and tailor your material to them.
4. Finally, use what I call, planned spontaneity. This is basically planning comments that seem to be spontaneous but really aren’t at all. These make you seem witty and flexible…always good with an audience!