Adding comedy to a professional or academic presentation can be tricky – get it right and your audience may be applauding, as well as laughing, at the end of your pitch. Get it wrong, and they may be looking at you with raised eyebrows and new found lack of respect.
When you have spent your time creating a really impressive presentation design and composing an informative and engaging pitch, you may be wondering what more you can do to impress your audience.
Even if your topic is serious, and your audience slightly intimidating, humour is a good way to add a personable touch to your pitch and also build a sense of familiarity between you and your listeners. Your presentation will be more engaging if your audience can connect with you and humour is the perfect way to do this.
If you are not a natural born stand-up comic then try to think of funny anecdotes or past experiences you can draw from and potentially share with your audience. Sharing personal memories or stories is one of our top tips for creating an impressive presentation, and if you can at the same time make this a humorous story then you can both engage and entertain your audience. Imagine if your audience were left thinking about your funny story, or even sharing it, later on, when your pitch is done and dusted. This is a great way to make lasting connections with audience members and remind them of you and your presentation.
Think about what you find humorous and if you would find it funny in a similar situation to your audience – that being a professional presentation setting when you are potentially meeting your speaker for the first time.
You don’t need to go over the top with your humour, your audience is not supposed to be laughing non-stop. And everyone knows that trying too hard to get the laughs can be a little tragic and backfire spectacularly. Keep the humour related to you and your own personal stories – poke fun at yourself. Something self-deprecating will show that you are human and likeable as well as humble.
Why not take some tips from the professionals – we’ve found a few articles like these 23 tips from comedians that might help you hone your comedic skills or at least give you a little more confidence with any puns. Similarly, if there is a speaker that you admire the style of, or you think always manages to bring a great mix of comedy and serious information in their presentations then study their style. If you don’t know someone personally then maybe widen your search to other great public speakers or even comedians on YouTube.
And one last point to keep in your mind when writing and then rehearsing your pitch – if you are unsure about saying something, or you think it might be potentially misconstrued or even seen as insensitive then leave it out. The worst way your humour could be interpreted is as offensive. If you are unsure, leave it out.
Have you ever added comedy into your presentation successfully before? Do you like it when speakers add some comedy when you are in the audience for a presentation?
You can find out more about Presbee and its features here.