Friday, October 21, 2011

Public Speaking - How Can Humor Help?

MAKES YOU MORE LIKEABLE. The more an audience likes you, the more they will be likely to agree with your ideas.

AROUSES INTEREST. Many of you speak to audiences that don't even want to be there. Humor can help you gain their interest.

KEEPS ATTENTION. Grabbing interest at the beginning of a presentation is not enough to carry you to the end. You must keep the attention of the audience all the way. Unfortunately our audience's attention spans are becoming shorter and shorter. They are becoming more of the MTV generation where the average time a shot is on the screen is just a few seconds. According to Ron Hoff in his presentation skills book,
I Can See You Naked "If corporate managers ever saw their own meetings on TV, they would pick up their remote controls and zap themselves into oblivion in the flick of an eyelash." We are competing with movies that have 100 million dollars in special effects. We must be prepared to deliver a fast-paced program that surprises members of the audience. At times we need to knock them in the head to make sure they are present. Humor and other presentation devices placed appropriately will help you do this.

HELPS EMPHASIZE POINTS AND IDEAS. Anyone who has ever taken a simple speaking course knows that you must hit your audience on the head with your point over and over before they get it. Humor is one of the hammers you can use.

DISARMS HOSTILITY. Nonfrivolous humor can be used to take the edge off audiences that are clearly against you.

REDUCES RELATIVE STATUS. Many of you are what I call the "big-shots" of your organization. Your position as boss creates a big barrier to listening. Don't forget, "BOSS" spelled backwards is double-SOB and that's the way your audience will look at you if lord your status over them. Making a little fun of yourself (self-effacing humor) will do wonders for opening lines of communication.

OVERCOMES OVERLY FLATTERING INTRODUCTIONS. Introducers come in all quality levels. If you get one that makes you sound like God, it will create expectations in the audience that you couldn't possibly live up to. Humor can neutralize that problem instantly.

GETS YOUR POINT ACROSS WITHOUT CREATING HOSTILITY. Sometimes you have to deliver tough negative messages. The careful use of humor can help you do your dastardly deed without creating unnecessary anger.

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