Joan Eisenstodt, from Eisenstodt Associates, and former MPI Meeting
Planner of the Year says, "High content, informational speakers almost always
fall flat if they don't use some humor. I equate appropriate humor with warmth
and audiences respond to warmth." She also notes, "After twenty-five years
watching audiences and presenters, I know that even subtle humor can help the
audience respond positively to information that could be considered boring."
MAKES A POSITIVE IMPRESSION. Laughter and good humor create
bonds. Even if the audience members don't like you, they will like you better
if you can make them laugh or smile and they will leave with better thoughts
SHOWS THAT YOU DON'T TAKE YOURSELF TOO SERIOUSLY.
The old saying goes, "If you take yourself too seriously, no one else will." You
don't want to be known as a stuffed shirt. If you can laugh a little bit at
yourself at the right times, your audience can laugh with you and not at you.
HELPS PAINT PICTURES IN THE AUDIENCE'S MIND. The pictures
humorous storytellers can paint are what people remember, not the words.
MAKES INFORMATION MORE MEMORABLE. Joyce Saltman, a
college professor and well-known speaker in the health care field, did
exhaustive research for her 1995 doctoral dissertation Humor in Adult
Learning. She concluded that "Most researchers agreed that humor generally
aided in the retention of materials as well as to the enjoyment of the
presentation of the information."
LIGHTENS UP HEAVY MATERIAL. Appropriate humor added to heavy,
serious material gives the audience a few seconds to relax. Even Shakespeare
employed this device, called "comic relief," extensively to provide distraction
or offer respite from the serious events of a tragedy.
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