There is nothing wrong with injecting some humor or levity into your next presentation. In fact, that is a great way to ensure that your audience latches on to the serious points made by you, instead of sleeping their way through the presentation.
But as they say, comedy is no joke. It’s not so easy to make people laugh. There is always a risk that your jokes could fall flat and you might inadvertently end up hurting someone.
Humor is good, but make sure that it is appropriate for your audience, and politically correct. Yes, I am not a big fan of being politically correct all the time, but you have to, especially when talking to a professional audience.
Also, there are certain types of presentations where humor has no place. Let’s say you’re giving a presentation to law enforcement officials on the increasing incidents of sexual abuse in the city – there’s no humor in such a presentation. Know when to be serious and when you can inject some levity into your talk.
Keeping this in mind, here are 5 ways to inject humor into your next presentation…
#1: Focus on the content and then try to derive humor from it.
If you want to inject humor into your presentation, the way to do that is to prepare a serious presentation first. Then you can look for ways to inject humor into it. It’s really easy to add a joke in between the serious content, before and at the end of the presentation. It would be a mistake to focus entirely on adding humor to the presentation – the content is the most important thing here.
#2: Make use of pop culture references.
You will be surprised at how much even older and wizened business executives identify with pop culture references from recent times, such as movies, sports, Hollywood, music, etc. We are in the age of the social media, so people know what’s going on around them, and like humorous references made to the most talked about celebrities or events in a presentation. That always gets their attention.
#3: Make sure that the jokes are unique and interesting, not generic.
Avoid silly, generic jokes that most people have heard a million times already. Go for a more specific, unique style of humor, one that is relevant to the audience and the occasion. The audience should be able to relate to your jokes and find them interesting; only then it makes sense to tell them.
#4: Use acronyms, but don’t overdo them.
Acronyms are always interesting; you can create so many humorous situations out of them. But don’t go overboard with the acronyms, stick to just one or two during a presentation.
#5: Avoid negative stereotypes.
Never make fun of anyone based on their race, religion, ethnicity, culture, sexuality or gender. Avoid all sorts of gender or racial stereotypes during a presentation. Nobody likes that, and that could actually cost you your job. People take these things very seriously.
But of course, don’t let that stop you from making fun of Millennials and their social media addiction and short attention span – Millennials don’t mind that at all. Just kidding!