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Tip – Use Humor (Always)

By June 8, 2015 February 9th, 2019 No Comments
business cartoon illustrating humor with two cavemen exchaning rock business cards, asking what do you do

Humor is a controversial subject. Most public speaking experts suggest avoiding humor. We couldn’t disagree more!

The undeniable fact is… worldwide, people love to laugh. So…why can’t we include humor?

We suggest YOU DO. In fact, we strongly suggest USING humor in your presentations, training, public speaking, storytelling, meetings, everywhere.

The likely question on your mind is “how do I use humor?” or the less flattering, “I’m not funny. There’s no way I’m using humor.”

Change your mindset. Start small.

Here are some suggested sources that come directly from your personal experiences, which are the best way to tell humorous stories:

  1. Family Experiences.  Stories about both immediate and extended families
  2. Personal Experiences. Travel stories and restaurant experiences are universal, around the world. Everyone laughs at bad travel experiences
  3. Humorous Quotes. In your favorite search engine, type, “funny quotes” (without the quotation marks)
  4. Cartoons.  The New Yorker Cartoon Bank, CartoonStock, Andertoons, and DansCartoons sell business cartoons

Here are a few examples of humorous quotes:

  • “Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please” — Mark Twain
  • “I want my children to have all the things I couldn’t afford. Then I want to move in with them” — Phyllis Diller
  • “There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full” — Henry Kissinger

An example of a business cartoon is the one in the header image. We commissioned several cartoons for our holiday cards, presentations, and training.

Test your use of humor on friends, colleagues, and in presentation practice sessions. When you say something funny, wait a few seconds for the audience to “get it” – that is the pausing part. Also, ensure you are sensitive to the culture of the organization and the people in attendance.

Photography Source: © Copyright 2018, The Chief Storyteller®, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Ira Koretsky

About Ira Koretsky

Ira Koretsky has built The Chief Storyteller® into one of the most recognized names in business storytelling. He has delivered over 500 keynote presentations and workshops in nearly a dozen countries, in more than one hundred cities, across 30 plus industries. His specialties are simplifying the complex and communicating when the stakes are high. He is also an adjunct professor in public speaking and storytelling at the University of Maryland's Business School. With over 25 years of experience, he is a sought-after global speaker, trainer, consultant, and executive communication coach.