Humour is an essential part of effective communication - a powerful, tool that can add impact to your message, engage your audience and increase your confidence. It can help you diffuse anxiety and deal with tough situations. Leading professionals know this.
1: Look at things differently Humour and comedy are all about bringing an unexpected perspective to subject matter when everyone else is looking at conventionally.
Employ the classic set-up- and-punchline structure used by stand-up comedians. Use pauses to enhance the effect – comic timing.
3: Other tricks of the trade
Also employ other devices used by comedians, such as story and anecdote, exaggeration, or giving an unusual twist to common clichés.
4: The rule of three
Remember that lists of three items are funnier than two or four.
5: I’m not funny
Don’t buy into the idea of “I’m just not funny”. Everyone can be funny – it’s just that some people haven’t yet learned how to use that latent ability.
Make yourself the butt of your humour rather than someone else.
As stand-up comedians do, build up a repertoire of anecdotes and humorous segments relating to your subject area, which you can repeatedly use, and steadily refine your delivery.
You may also wish to develop your capability in spontaneous humour, in addition to using pre-planned and practiced content.
9: Managing risk
Practice your humour in low key settings where not too much is riding on how well your material goes down, and whether anyone laughs – like down the pub with mates.
Be very mindful of appropriateness of your material for a particular audience and context. Keep a part of your mind on monitoring alert, to prevent you saying something inadvisable.
Examples of humour being used in an effective way to make serious points: http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity and http://www.ted.com/talks/rory_sutherland_perspective_is_everything
For more about presentation and public speaking skills see positivecomedy.com
More about Brighton Chamber events see businessinbrighton.org.uk brightonchamber.org.uk/events