Laughter is the Best Medicine

Add Humor to a Speech or Presentation. Should I Tell Jokes?

If you want to add humor to a speech or presentation,
should you tell jokes? The answer to that question is coming right up. Stay tuned. Hi, I’m Rick Olson, creator of
The answer to that question, should you tell jokes? Absolutely, positively, emphatically,
dogmatically, yes. In fact, telling jokes is the only way you’re
going to get laughs in your speech or presentation. Whenever I hear someone give that advice,
“Don’t tell jokes,” it’s usually paired with, “Tell funny stories or humorous anecdotes,”
instead. Whenever I hear this advice I think of that
line in A Princess Bride, “This word you keep using, I’m not sure it means what you think
it means.” Because if you look at the definition of a
joke, type Define: Joke into Google and this is what you’re going to get: A thing that
someone says to cause amusement or laughter, especially a story with a funny punchline. Look at The definition of
a joke: Something said or done to provoke laughter or cause amusement, as a witticism,
a short and amusing anecdote, or a prankish act. Take a look at Webster’s online at how they
define a joke: Something said or done to provoke laughter; especially: a brief oral narrative
with a climactic humorous twist. These definitions of a joke all point to an
anecdote or a story. What are the experts actually talking about when they say, “Don’t
tell jokes?” I don’t know for sure, my guess is they’re talking about something considered
traditional jokes or “street jokes.” Ones that sound like this: Did you hear the one
about? That’s how they usually start. Or, “Two guys walk into a bar,” or, “Two Irish
guys walk out of a bar … Hey it could happen.” Credit Steve Allen for that joke. I think that’s what they’re talking about.
But even then, there are ways to incorporate those types of jokes into your speech or presentation
to get laughs, but that’s not the point of this video. The point I want to make is don’t worry about,
am I telling a joke? Am I telling a funny story? Or am I telling a humorous anecdote?
The thing you want to focus on is, am I actually constructing points in my presentation that
will activate my audience’s laughter? It’s called the laugh point. You should intentionally
know how to craft those points so your audience laughs. That’s the whole point. Try to avoid these vague, general tips. If
you want more advice, more information on how I add humor to speeches or presentations,
you can pick up a copy of my Public Speaker’s Guide to Humor. There’s a little icon up here, you can click
on that, you can jump over to Be happy to help you figure it out. My goal
is to teach you the specific set of skills to be funnier, to get laughs, to add humor,
and to help you be a funnier you. I’m looking forward to seeing you on this

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