Make Them Laugh

Man stocking up toilet paper at home.

There is a great divide over whether or not to incorporate humor into presentations. This is especially true of serious talks, pitches or even eulogies. The physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson discusses public speaking and the use of humor in his Master Class online program.

Tyson believes that humor is a great tool to engage an audience. Even more importantly, he says that if you can make people laugh, you’ve turned on the attentional area of the brain, the audience will learn, and you can communicate more difficult concepts than you might otherwise attempt.

However, neither Tyson nor Eloqui advocates telling jokes! Delivering set-ups and punchlines are better left to skilled comedians. Tyson uses only battle-tested, humorous observations. The most strategic ones are those that people can relate to but never thought about in the way you’re describing them. Jerry Seinfeld built his career with this approach.

So, keep your antenna up. Your best material might be observations about toddlers having a tantrum in the grocery store, battling for a parking space, or driving through Calabasas and seeing Angelyne in her pink Corvette. Be judicious with humor and test where best to insert it. Humor can energize your presentation, make you more likable and leave a lasting impression on your audience.

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