Where do I find jokes to use in my presentations?
My clients sometimes ask me about where to find jokes to include in their presentations, particularly for the start of their presentations.
My short answer is “Don’t look for jokes!”
Laughter is great. Like stories, laughter increases oxytocin, the hormone responsible for trust and connection. In addition to increasing trust and connection, stories also increase the hormone for focus and attention in the brain of the listener. Laughter has other hormones it increases, like dopamine. You can learn more about the important benefits of laughter for leadership here:
While starting a speech with a well-told joke may get the audience’s attention, there are several potential problems. One, the joke may not be funny to everyone in your audience and indeed might be offensive to some. Two, the joke may not be relevant to the purpose of your speech so people will remember your joke but not the content. Three, you may not be very good at telling a joke (I’m NOT). Finally, it you have to look for jokes, they are almost certainly not yours.
I always start with a relevant challenging story and I recommend my clients do the same. I help my clients craft their stories to engage the audience. Using humour during your presentation that arises from the story you are telling or from the content itself can be very effective. I always include gentle self-deprecating humour in my presentations.
So, don’t go looking for jokes. Instead, start with a well-told challenging story and try to find places during your presentation for humour to arise naturally.
Starting your presentation with a challenging story is just one tool for making an informative presentation memorable and engaging. To learn about the other nine tools, book a free AMP Up Session. This session includes a self-Assessment of the Memorability of your Presentations.