Do you need humor in a presentation to be a great speaker? - Sylvie Verleye
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Do you need humor in a presentation to be a great speaker?

Do you need humor in a presentation to be a great speaker?

It still amazes me that so many people are convinced that a presentation can only be successful when humor is added. Sure, humor is great but not whatever humor. Let me share with you a coaching I did in June. It was for someone who is used to talk to high level audiences. He used to think that humor was a must until he did a presentation in Germany (he is Portugese). He had to present to a new customer and the CEO was present. So he started off with some humor to break the ice (or at least this was his plan) …nobody laughed. This made the situation very awkward and he stopped doing that.

So what is the kind of humor that you can use? There are different types but what works best for me is interaction with the audience. This is the unexpected kind of humor and it is very different from one audience to another. It depends on reactions of people so you have to be lucky. Another type of humor I like is sharing anecdotes. Especially when you have a presentation you do a number of times you know after a while which stories work and which don’t. Keep the good ones, replace the others and keep on experimenting. Just stay away from the typical clich├ęs like ‘I hope I can keep you awake…’ or something like that when you present just after lunch. This is not the kind of ‘humor’ audiences appreciate…

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