Power Presentation Tip 08: No Jokes

Power Presentation Tips 08: No Jokes - no kidding

Beware of that ancient book that suggests you start your presentation with a joke. Don't do that. No jokes please. Jokes don't fit anywhere in a business presentation.


Three reasons:

1. You are not a comic.
Stand up comedy is very difficult to deliver well. It takes skill and a lot of practice. And still the great comics tell jokes that bomb. You don't have their skill or resilience. And when your joke bombs the audience is scratching their heads wondering, "What was that all about?"

2. Relevance.
In most cases the joke has nothing to do with your presentation. So even if it turns out funny your audience is still left scratching their heads and wondering, "What was that all about?"

3. You are not Don Rickles.
Most jokes make fun of somebody else. Don't make fun of your audience. They will not like you for it. Don't make fun of some other group. Some of your audience will feel uncomfortable or embarrassed about your prejudice. And they will not like or trust you.

You can still make them laugh
However, you should use humor. And the best person to make fun of is you. Tell a funny story about something silly that you did.

The audience will warm up to you for two reasons: One, because you made them laugh or smile. Two, because you revealed a flaw. This demonstrates that you are imperfect - like them. And we like those who are like us - especially those who share our flaws and pain.

It is more important for the story to make your point than it is to be funny. Watch for more on story telling and other humor techniques in future Power Presentations Tips.

No jokes. Instead reveal a flaw. The audience will like and trust you more when they see themselves in you.

George Torok
Business Speaker
Presentation Skills Training
Canadian Motivational Speaker

PS: Tell me how this tip helps you.

Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.


Anonymous said...

I agree that no humor is better than bad humor. As a cartoonist I'm probably particularly sensative to people who are uncomfortable with humor feeling they're obligated to be funny. This uusally results in your presetation getting sucked into a black hole of awkwardness. Something to be avoided in most cases.


jrpi said...

If you can't come up with something funny to say, I suggest contacting Jokes For Sale.com at http://www.jokesforsale.com

It couldn't hurt!