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Archive for the ‘humour in presentations’ Category

Jokes and Presentations – Don’t do it!

Posted by Presentation Skills on January 7, 2011

Real Leaders know how to uncover the humour in their message to make their audience laugh.

When speaking to any audience, it is important to build a rapport with them as quickly as possible—and humour can be a great way to make this connection. However, it’s often best to leave the punch-line jokes aside and focus on more subtle types of humour.

It’s a misconception that beginning a presentation with a joke will get the audience on your side. In fact, jokes will fail far more often than they will succeed. There are several reasons for this unfortunate outcome:
• The funniest jokes are usually not appropriate for the work environment.
• Most jokes rely on a victim—and chances are that someone will identify more with the victim than with you. If the audience identifies with you more than the victim they will find the joke funny.  However, there will be people in the audience who identify with the victim and will think your joke is in poor taste.  If there are too many of these people in the audience, the joke will fail.
• Jokes require exact wording, good delivery, and perfect timing.  If you don’t carry off all three of these things, your joke will fall flat and leave you struggling.
• If you are constantly opening with jokes, you will get a reputation for it. You would be better off building a reputation as someone who has something important to say than as someone who cracks jokes.
• If you do happen to find the right joke and deliver it properly and everyone thinks it’s funny, they will probably remember the joke more than what you had to say.  If your joke overshadows your content, it will  prevent you from delivering your message.

Although structured jokes with punch lines are almost always a poor choice for your a presentations, humour is an important aspect of all public speaking presentations.

One type of humour that works well when applied to speeches is situational humour. Situational humour can involve making observations on what is going on around you at that moment. Chances are good that if you find something in your immediate environment is funny, others will too. Situational humour can also be used in the stories that you tell.

Another type of humour that works well in a speech or presentation is self-deprecating humour. In this case, you are the only victim of the joke and no one else is hurt or offended. More than that, self-deprecation shows the audience that you are not taking yourself too seriously and helps them build a fondness and respect for you.

Remember: even though humour can be a useful and fun tool to utilise, it is not required to successfully communicate with your audience. If you know that you are lacking a sense of humour, don’t try and force humour into your presentations—focus on your strengths instead. If you are unsure of whether or not a line is funny, try dropping it into a casual conversation and gauge the reactions—even if it doesn’t meet with laughter, it’s a better option than having a bit of humour flop in the midst of a speech.

Posted in Executive Speaking Skills, Executive Speaking Video, humour in presentations, Politics and speaking, presentation skills, Presentation skills training, Presentation skills training Adelaide, Presentation skills training Brisbane, Presentation skills training Melbourne, Presentation skills training Sydney, public speaking, public speaking courses, public speaking humour | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Posted by Presentation Skills on October 28, 2010

Many speakers will share a quote in a presentation to add power to their message. Here is how to use them for greatest impact.

  • Use them as supporting evidence. Deliver your point and explain it, then drop the quote in. It’s better to show that you have an idea that Obama supports with a quote, rather than having an idea of Obama’s that you have pinched and tried to expand. 
  • Know the quote verbatim. No reading it out, no putting it on the screen. If it is integral to your message, it stands to reason that you know it back-to-front. 
  • If you must put the quote on the screen, don’t use ‘Quotation Marks’. Quotation marks reduce the quote to a temporary message.  
  • Always attribute the quote to the correct source.  

As always your thoughts appreciated below.

Cheers

Darren Fleming – Australia’s Corporate Speech Coach

Posted in Business Presentations, Executive Speaking Skills, humour in presentations, Language of Leadership, nervousness, PowerPoint, presentation skills, public speaking, public speaking courses, public speaking tips, Sales Presentations, Understanding your audience, World Classs Business Presentations | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Just Because You Can Does Not Mean You Should

Posted by Presentation Skills on June 1, 2010

Last weekend I attended a conference where the presenters would just not stop talking. Each person on the agenda felt they had a duty to congratulate the last and next speaker for the job they had done. Then there were other speakers who to 20 minutes to say what could have been said in 5.

What was the result of this? because there were so many speakers (5 in 20 minutes) the whole event lacked rhythm. We could not settle into the speakers and listen to the message they had. It was like trying to watch TV with the ads coming thick and fast. Those that did have extended times to speak lacked substance and the audience stopped listening.

What is the solution?

Make sure that every person who gets up to speak will add value to the event message and deliver value to the audience. If they don’t add value, do they really need to speak? Just because someone can speak, doesn’t mean that they should. As the great philosopher Groucho Marx put it, ‘Very few sinners are saved after the first 20 minutes of a sermon.’

Cheers

Darren Fleming

Australia’s Corporate Speech Coach

Posted in Business Presentations, Executive Speaking Skills, humour in presentations, Martketing your speaking skills, nervousness, Politics and speaking, PowerPoint, presentation skills, public speaking, public speaking courses, public speaking humour, public speaking tips, Sales Presentations, Toastmasters, Understanding your audience, World Classs Business Presentations | Leave a Comment »

Inform, Entertain, but be Incomplete.

Posted by Presentation Skills on May 11, 2010

The objective of any sales presentation is to instigate follow up action. This could be your audience approaching you for more information, picking your brains about a particular point or them giving you an order for product. What ever it is, you need to ensure that you have contact after your pitch. The best way to do it is to be informative, entertaining and incomplete.

  1. Be informative – give information of value that your audience wants. This is why they are listening.
  2. Be entertaining – keep them entertained so they stay listening – this does not have to mean laughing.
  3. Be incomplete – omit nuggets of information. If the audience wants that information they will then have to approach you one-on-one to get it. You can then take the sales process to the next level.

Your thoughts please….

Cheers

Darren

Posted in Executive Speaking Skills, humour in presentations, presentation skills, public speaking, public speaking tips, Sales Presentations, World Classs Business Presentations | 2 Comments »

Comfort vs. Competence

Posted by Presentation Skills on November 23, 2009

Many people say that they are comfortable when speaking to groups. Unfortunately comfort rarely equals competence.

What they mean by saying they are comfortable is that they do not feel nervous when standing in front of a group. This is not usually a good thing. Elton John once told Andrew Denton that he is always nervous before his concerts. He is not alone in performers who feel this way.

Being comfortable has nothing to do with how effective your presentation will be. Effective presentations are about connecting with your audience and having them adopt your message. They are not about you feeling comfortable.

Feel the energy that the opportunity to present gives you. Don’t call it nervousness; call it excitement!

As always, your thoughts on this are appreciated.

Posted in Business Presentations, Executive Speaking Skills, humour in presentations, nervousness, Network Marketing, presentation skills, public speaking, public speaking tips, Sales Presentations, Understanding your audience, World Classs Business Presentations | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

The Wedding Speech

Posted by Presentation Skills on July 19, 2009

Do you have to give a wedding speech and don’t know where to start? Or are you wondering what stories you have about the lucky couple you should include?

This free 15 minute audi0 interview was designed for you. Recorded on ABC (Australia) radio in July 2009, it has all the answers you need. Get great wedding speech tips here.

Posted in humour in presentations, nervousness, presentation skills, public speaking, public speaking tips, Understanding your audience, World Classs Business Presentations | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

How to Give World Class Business Presentaions

Posted by Presentation Skills on June 4, 2009

When you are speaking, you are selling.

You could be selling your latest widget to your next customer, your ideas to your staff, or selling yourself in your annual performance review. What ever it is, you are selling.

But the reality is the results that you achieve will be a direct result of how well you present your ideas, as opposed to how good your ideas are. The world is full of bad ideas that were sold correctly, while the good ideas die with their creator.

If you want to sell more products, if you want your staff to listen to you, or if you want to be able to get that pay rise, you need to be able to sell your ideas, and sell them well.

Recorded in front of a live audience, in this audio will give you the reasons why you need to:

  • Include stories in your next presentation
  • Control the room from the moment you enter it
  • Why you need to make your very first word interesting
  • Why PowerPoint fails more often than it succeeds…and

The one thing you must remember at the start of every presentation so your audience will listen to you

At just $15, this could just be the best investment you make in your next Business Presentation.

Get it now

Posted in Business Presentations, Executive Speaking Skills, Executive Speaking Video, humour in presentations, Martketing your speaking skills, Network Marketing, presentation skills, public speaking, public speaking courses, public speaking humour, public speaking tips, Sales Presentations, Toastmasters, Understanding your audience, World Classs Business Presentations | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

The New Baby and You

Posted by Presentation Skills on June 1, 2009

Last week I was speaking with a new client and arranging some dates for coaching. I asked how his diary was for early June. He replied, ‘It’s full. My wife is expecting our first baby and I will be very busy. Can we look at a bit later down the track?’

Now being the proud Dad of the 2 most beautiful little girls in the world, I asked him if he knew what he was going to have. He nervously said he didn’t and was feeling anxious about it all. I assurred him, ‘Mark, you are in for the best ride of your life! It’s going to be a lot of hard work, but it will be the best journey that you can possible go on. I hope you have a little girl as they are the BEST presents a Dad can ever have!’

His response to that surprised me. He said that he was glad I had told him that as most people just said that his life as he knew it was going to end. He’d been told that in 20 years he might see some money again – if he could get the kid to move out! He’d been told that all his fun was going to end and was not sure if he really was ready for that. He’d heard this from a number of people.

Now we have all been guilty of spreading this sort of stereotype and generalisations – me included. But have you ever stopped to consider what the impact of this ‘standard response’ is on your audience? Do they fully understand your mindset and background when we pass this type of comment?

When we share our ideas, we do not always know where our audience is and what they are thinking. Potential fears and anxieties (all very natural just before a new baby arrives!) will shape how your message is heard and interpreted. Humour will often fall flat and be totally ignored!

Where possible, learn a little about what is important to your audience and frame your message so they will understand what you are saying. This will give you a greater chance of delivering your mesage in a way that your audience takes it on board and adopts it as their own.

I have not heard if the baby has arrived yet, but will let you know as soon as it comes along.

Cheers

Darren

Posted in humour in presentations, nervousness, presentation skills, public speaking, public speaking humour, public speaking tips, Sales Presentations, Understanding your audience | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

A Presentation is a Lot Like a Marriage…

Posted by Presentation Skills on November 13, 2008

A presentation is a lot like a marriage; you spend a lot of time setting up good intentions and preparing for what you will do; then when you get into it, you end up doing whatever you want.

 

Whilst this may not necessarily be true of marriages, it does highlight the power of the analogy – and that is why you are still reading.

 

Why do analogies work?

 

Analogies work because they draw on a well known topic (a marriage) to explain another (the difficulty of giving a speech). As we can all relate to failed intentions in a marriage (even if it is only a truism!) it highlights how we can have failed intentions in our presentation.

 

Analogies can be drawn between similar objects – ‘The human heart is like the fuel pump in a car”, or dissimilar concepts – “Pupils are more like oysters than sausages. The job of teaching is not to stuff them and then seal them up, but to help them open and reveal the riches within.”

 

The best analogies are those that draw on dissimilar objects to make a point. Using dissimilar objects creates dissonance in our thought patterns and causes us to think more thoroughly about what is being presented. This helps us remember the point. By showing that two dissimilar objects are closely related (marriage and presentations, students and oysters) you break the chain of thought in your audience and plant a new thought.

 

How can you use this today?

 

Consider how you can use analogies to more clearly explain your message. Will an analogy help clarify your point, make it more memorable and cause people to think about what you have said? If it does, then you will change the way your audience thinks, and to having the impact that you are after!

 

Cheers

Darren Fleming

Australian Public Speaking Courses

Posted in humour in presentations, presentation skills, public speaking, public speaking humour, public speaking tips, Understanding your audience | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

Serious Message? Then Lighten Up!

Posted by Presentation Skills on October 18, 2008

 

Should a serious message—a life saving message—be entertaining? Only if you want it to work!

 

When VirginBlue first started operating, it had a reputation for being a fun airline on which to travel. The most obvious thing that the flight crew did to help keep the flight less boring was to have some fun with the ever dull safety demonstration before take off. They would have lines such as, ‘Don’t smoke in the toilets as there are smoke detectors and cameras watching you’ and ‘life jackets have a light to read by and a whistle for attracting sharks’.

 

Whilst these elements of humour were never going to get the crew invited to appear at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, they did get the passengers attention. Passengers paid attention if only to hear the odd line out.

 

On a recent flight I asked the flight attendant why they no longer used humour in the safety announcements. She said that the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) had directed them to stop adding humour as the safety demonstration was a very important task that everyone needed to be taken seriously.

 

So what has been the effect of removing the humour? We ignore the demonstration and safety message. We know we should listen, but simply could not be bothered. This puts us and all the other passengers at risk ‘in the unlikely event of an emergency’. The safety message is less effective and does not convey the necessary information we need to hear.

 

Advertising companies know this very well. That’s why they spend lots of money trying to come up with funny ads! It helps to grab our attention so we listen to the message.

 

How are you using humour in your presentations? You don’t have to have them rolling in the isle and you certainly should not use jokes. Aim to entertain your audience so they are paying attention long enough to hear what you have to say.

 

Cheers

 

Darren Fleming

Australia’s public Speaking Coach

 

Posted in humour in presentations, presentation skills, public speaking, public speaking humour, public speaking tips, Understanding your audience | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »