How to Add Funny
to Any Talk
Lots of speakers and audiences say they
want more humor in their presentations.
Here are five DON’TS when it comes to
humor and speakers:
DON’T start with a one-liner. Audiences
need time to get used to you and your
voice and to settle into the room. Starting
with a short relevant story helps them get
comfortable with you. The best of one-liners often get lost if told too early.
DON’T tell a joke or story that detracts
from the point you are trying to make—no
matter how wonderful it is. Humor should
serve your topic, not distract from or undermine it.
DON’T sweat it if your joke bombs. As
my dad used to say, “If at first you don’t
succeed, pretend you weren’t even trying!”
A “saver” line tends to draw attention to
your failed attempt at humor. Ideally a joke
should make a point so well that even if it
“bombs,” you can just play past it.
DON’T pick on an audience member
unless you really know the individual or the
group. This technique can too easily backfire.
Female audiences, particularly, are frequently
uncomfortable with put-down humor.
DON’T forget to upgrade your material.
Evil Empire jokes don’t play nearly as well
today as they used to—nor does sexist or racist
material, even when it’s subtle!
“While we are
life speeds by.”
—Lucius Annaeus Seneca,
of the 500+ million members are
in a decision-making role.
LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, 2016
of B2B leads from social media
come from LinkedIn.
Foundation Inc., 2017
of social media traffic to your
company site comes from
of LinkedIn users share content
weekly, so your uploads have a
much higher chance of making an
Foundation Inc., 2017
PATT SCHWAB, PhD, CSP, is an
author, speaker, and 35-year NSA member.
She travels internationally helping leaders
manage change, manage others, and manage
to have more fun!
CSP® Class of 2018
The 51 members of the CSP® Class of 2018 will be inducted at Influence 2018
on Saturday, July 14. The CSP® (Certified Speaking Professional™) designation is
the speaking profession’s international measure of speaking experience and skill.
It indicates a speaking professional with proven experience who understands what
is required and knows how to deliver client satisfaction. Be sure to congratulate your
fellow NSA members for achieving this impressive milestone.
BY PATT SCHWAB, PhD, CSP