Improve Your Presentation Skills: Tips from a Comedian
As a professional comedian-turned-communication expert, I have learned a lot about connecting with an audience and delivering a successful performance. And believe it or not, one of the most important rules I have learned is to not tell jokes in a presentation.
Connect with Your Audience
Before we dive into why jokes should be avoided, let's first discuss the two key elements of connecting with an audience: presence and content.
Presence is all about grabbing and keeping your audience's attention. This can be achieved by showing confidence in yourself and your presentation. Even if you're feeling nervous, remember that it's normal and you can learn how to appear confident through practice.
I recommend practicing your presentation alone, then with friends and family for feedback. This will also help you get comfortable with the sound of your own voice, which many people struggle with.
Remember, there is no one right way to have a confident presence. Find what works for you and do it with your own style.
Unlike a comedian, you have the advantage of presenting to an audience that understands your topic. So, there's no need to worry about them not getting your references. However, this also means that you don't need to rely on jokes to keep their attention.
As someone who once performed a set about Catholic schools to a predominantly Jewish audience, I can attest to the fact that jokes can often distance you from your audience rather than connect with them.
Leave the Jokes to the Pros
I once attended a marketing conference where the CEO of the hosting company attempted to tell a joke during their presentation. While it wasn't offensive or bad, the mood in the room shifted and the audience's attention was lost.
This is because jokes can create an expectation and pressure to make people laugh. And let's face it, getting a laugh is not an easy task. Even as a former comedian, I wouldn't dare tell a joke in a presentation.
Comic timing cannot be taught, it can only be learned through experience. And trust me, bombing on stage is not a fun experience. It's important to remember that even the most accomplished comedians have their off days.
Be Engaging, But Not Joke-y
Humor can be a great tool in presentations, as long as it comes naturally to you and doesn't rely on telling jokes. It can help draw in your audience and increase connection. But if you're not comfortable with being humorous, don't force it. Stick to what works for you, and remember that you don't need jokes to make a successful presentation.
So, next time you're preparing for a presentation, leave the jokes to the professionals and focus on connecting with your audience through your presence and engaging content. Trust me, your audience will thank you for it.
Originally reported by Martech: https://martech.org/improve-your-presentation-skills-tips-from-a-comedian/
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