Humor has long been a favorite tool of successful speakers and not just because it can make the audience and the presenter feel better.
W/ Toastmasters.org press release – source: Media Center.
Laughter has also been shown to improve immune function, lower blood pressure, enhance mood, and decrease stress and depression.
In addition to the reasons listed above, adding humor to your presentation will make it more engaging and memorable for those in attendance. Toastmasters International, the world’s leading organization devoted to communication and leadership skills development, offers these tips for amusing an audience:
- Make your material relatable. Use your own life to find humor and add it to your presentation. We share far more similarities than differences and people want to relate to a speaker. Humor is a great way to add this need.
- Life is filled with funny moments—use them. Sometimes we have to look harder, but any small bit of humor can be expanded and used effectively in your presentation.
- Help the audience relax. Sometimes the greater the stress, the greater the need to help your audience laugh. Even the most serious topics can contain appropriate humorous observations.
- Jokes have a place, but be careful. Jokes must be related to the material, brief, and not complicated in nature. Also, always be aware of your language to make sure it is appropriate for your audience.
- Play with the audience. Whenever possible, engage an audience member or two to help make your point, or use them as an example of your topic.