Friday, May 27, 2011

Presentation Skills - Old Humor Is Good Humor

Humor is only old if your audience has heard it before and if they remember it. Most people don't remember the exact details of jokes, one-liners, and stories. This is not contradictory to the fact that one of the uses of humor is to make your points more memorable.

One of the reasons people don't remember jokes and other pieces of humor is that the humor is usually heard out of context. The humor was not used in conjunction with a point which is the way you should use it in a professional presentation. The humor was used for entertainment value only and was enjoyed and quickly forgotten.

When you bring back some of this old humor, you will be tying it to your point which makes it acceptable to use in the first place. In the second place, even if some audience members recognize the humor, they probably don't remember the punch line. If you tell it well, even these people will enjoy hearing it again.

The technique to tell a very old joke or story is to tell the audience it is old. This is the one time when you should tell the audience you have a joke or story coming. If you don't tell them that you know it is old, they will likely think you are out of touch. If you tell them you are going to tell an old story or joke, you are telling them you know it's old, but it makes the point so well that you think it is worth telling again.

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