Humor is a powerful skill, one that can enhance productivity, build relationships, boost revenue, improve health, and increase happiness." - Andrew Tarvin
THE BACK STORY
I thought I was simply being an interesting trainer. Strangely, I kept getting this feedback from seminar participants: ‘The speaker was so funny.’
Who, me? There I was, on stage as a speaker/trainer. All dressed up in a suit, looking prim and proper. My objective was to help the attendees learn in a stress-free manner. I had no idea that I had a humorous personality.
Now, that in itself is somewhat funny. Why? Because many speakers find ways to insert jokes and punchlines into their presentations and training sessions. And here I was, absolutely clueless that I was effortlessly doing what they struggled to achieve.
SENT TO THE PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE
Flashback... I was sent to the principal’s office at the age of 15. Hmm, I wondered what I did wrong. My grades were above average. I submitted my projects on time. And I participated in class recitation.
Why? Dress Code: my skirt was too short. Note: Be aware that this incident took place during the 60’s - when miniskirts were entering the fashion scene.
So, why am I telling you this story? Well, the principal couldn’t stop laughing when I told him (with a sad face) that my skirt only looked short because - in my family - we had ‘genetically low knees’. My defense was so absurd that I gained points for quick wit and creative thinking.
That’s how ‘impromptu humor’ works. IMPROV. Till today, it’s second nature to me.
– Make fun of yourself.
– Never poke fun at other people.
TIPS AND TECHNIQUES
Whatever you consider funny, make sure it’s connected to your main message.
DON’T: Say you have a great joke they will like.
DO: Use personal stories.
– Less is more.
– Use one-liners. Long jokes might put your audience to sleep.