Humor is a great way to start a presentation if you do it right. I want to be clear. I don’t mean opening with an actual joke that has a classic setup-punch line format. However, I do recommend using humor.
When you open with a joke like a comedian, you are making a high-risk but low-reward choice. You may get lucky and earn a genuine laugh but the chances of that are very low. In most cases, you’ll hear silence or maybe a nervous chuckle from a couple of people. That is not the way you want to kick off a presentation.
We’ll look at three low-risk ways to add some humor to your presentation.
First, the easiest way is by quoting somebody who is funny. As you are preparing your presentation, you’re likely to come across some humorous quotations to share. Be sure to say, "As [blank] once said . . ." as you transition into the quotation. That will help to transport your listeners so they are focused on the quotation and the person who originally said it. This will help listener's hear the other person's voice in their heads and take the attention off of you as the one performing a joke.
Take a look at the video for two more ways to use humor to open a presentation.
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