Public speaking requires good communication skills and the ability to connect with people.
More importantly, you need to keep the audience’s attention so you can effectively deliver your message. You need to keep your audience interested in what you have to say.
Using humour in your speech will not only help make the audience pay attention, it will relax them so they feel more at ease with you as a speaker.
But you also need to be careful when applying humour in public speaking.
As a speaker, you wouldn’t want to appear insensitive or boastful. Instead, you want to use humour to help build a good reputation and credibility with the audience.
Here are some tips on how to use humour in public speaking:
1. Include humour that is appropriate to your audience. Know your audience. By understanding your audience’s demographics, interests, religion, political inclinations, education, culture, and business, you can choose the most appropriate humour beforehand. You will be able to choose jokes the audience can relate to, based on their profile. More importantly, you can avoid incorporating humour that may be insensitive to them.
2. Crack jokes that are related to the subject of your speech. Work on humour that will fit seamlessly with your topic. Don’t crack a joke just for the sake of making one. The joke needs to be associated to the subject you are addressing, so that the audience can relate to it and have a better appreciation.
3. Search for something you find funny. After knowing your audience and the topic of your speech, you can now search for different jokes from many sources, including your own ones. However, don’t pick jokes you think might be laughable for the audience but you personally don’t find amusing.
4. Use the type of humour you are more comfortable with. There a lots of humour types you can use in public speaking. There’s the joke, long stories, one-liners, parody, impressions, puns, and many more. Find out which ones you are more comfortable to use and stick to them.
5. Practise good timing and proper delivery. Remember a poorly delivered joke is just as bad as a corny one. Don’t drop a joke out of nowhere. Find the best time in the speech to insert the joke and then work on the delivery. It will be best if you try the joke on someone first, so you can find out the best way to deliver it.