Let’s face it. Humor is hard! Even experienced speakers struggle with knowing how to (appropriately!) tickle their audience’s funny bones. We all enjoy listening to a funny speech –the problem is, we typically don’t think of ourselves as being funny speakers. Members of Toastmasters are no different; that’s why we have assembled a wide range of resource material on this topic. Toastmasters exist to help your audience laugh with you, not at you!
Humor has many benefits. It can:
Help establish a bond with the audience
Win over a hostile audience
Keep the audience interested
Emphasize or illustrate a point
Help people remember you
Here are some tips:
Be yourself. Think about what types of humor you appreciate, then create a library of such items. Don’t like jokes? Try a humorous anecdote or a witty observation from your own life.
It’s OK to be mildly amusing, rather than eye-dabbingly funny.
Use humor sparingly, like a spice. At first, try using a humorous opener to your speech. A quote or offhand observation can be a good icebreaker.
Keep it relevant to your speech topic.
Avoid retelling jokes found on the Internet. Chances are good others have already heard or seen them.
Keep it clean! Humor is supposed to make people feel good – not embarrassed, insulted or offended.
Make it readily identifiable as humor. But in case no one laughs, prepare a comment in advance or just move on.
Keep it appropriate to the audience and the situation.
Self-effacing humor is safe –a little of it goes a long way.
The audience would rather hear about the time you fell on your face than when you won the race.
Work on your delivery. Practice using vocal variety and gestures.
Timing is everything! Pause before the punch line.