Are Your Presentations Putting People To Sleep?
We’ve all sat through boring presentations that leave us tuning out or checking our devices. Humor is a powerful tool you can use to make sure people listen when you speak.
Some people tell me that they can’t use humor because their topic isn’t funny. I agree that there are certainly times humor would not be inappropriate, but it is too powerful not to find opportunities to use it.
Consider the following two situations that many of us automatically tune out, and how humor is used to get people to tune in:
We all skip through commercials every chance we get, but we watch commercials that make us laugh. Need proof? Just watch the Super Bowl and commentary on commercials that follows. Another example are the commercials for Ryan Reynolds’ Aviation Gin, they are so funny that my family searches for them and shares them.
Even those of us who fly so regularly that we could get up and do the safety talk ourselves before the flight pay attention when a funny flight attendant delivers the serious safety message. Here’s just one example of a flight attendant using humor to get people to listen to an important message.
6 ways humor will help people listen to and remember your message:
1. Humor engages
We are hard-wired to approach pleasure and avoid pain, so we are drawn to people who make us laugh. Humor engages people who would otherwise reach for their phones or tune out.
2. Humor Energizes
Laughter is like a shot of adrenaline. We know that energized people are more productive, creative, and positive. Each time you inject humor into your presentation, you have an opportunity to energize people and boost effectiveness.
3. Humor builds emotional connections
When people laugh with us, it provides a common ground that connects us. Remember, we buy from people we like and want to work with people who make us feel good. The stronger the emotional connection you make, the more approachable you’ll be. That means you’ll get more questions when you share ideas, you’ll hear about changes and concerns before anyone else, and you’ll hear “yes” more often than unapproachable people will.
4. Humor can build credibility
Humor is often associated with confidence and authenticity. Self-deprecating humor allows others to see our true selves and sends a message that we are confident enough to laugh at ourselves.
5. Humor cuts through tension
There are times when discussions get tense. When used correctly, humor cuts through that tension or an awkward situation and gets the conversation moving again. Well-timed humor gives people a different perspective that can lead to more creative thinking, elicit a positive emotion, and provide a physical release of tension.
6. Humor makes points memorable
The more emotional something is, the more memorable it is. A flight attendant telling you to keep your seatbelt low and snug “like the pink speedo he’ll be wearing at the pool tonight” creates a funny visual that you are more likely to remember than if he just told you to fasten your seatbelt low and snug.
Given the positive impact of humor, can you afford not to find a way to incorporate it?
As you consider adding humor and you wonder if it’s appropriate or if it might offend someone, err on the side of caution, and use something else. Keep your humor tasteful and suitable for your audience. You’re not trying to be a standup comedian, you’re trying to add some levity to help you influence.
If you’d like additional ways to increase your ability to influence and an opportunity for practice and to go deeper, register for our self-paced online course ‘Mastering the Fundamentals of Influence’.
Dr. Heather Johnson is an internationally recognized speaker with extensive experience developing leaders. With a doctorate in Psychology and over 20 years of business experience, she works with leaders to quickly identify individual and team performance obstacles and develops customized solutions that lead to rapid change and lasting results. Heather facilitates public and in-house workshops that deliver personalized, practical, and immediate results. Some of her most requested topics are: Influence, Emotional Intelligence, Team Building, Communication, and Strategic Planning. For more information call contact us here or call 651-210-6021.