Peter Urs Bender   Previous Page  |  Next Page

To Entertain

This is the toughest thing to do! I highly recommend that you
refrain from telling jokes. There is always the risk of offending
someone no matter how careful you are. The delivery and
punch line must be perfect or you will look like a fool. If you
omit an important part of the joke and it doesn’t make sense,
people will not laugh and you may be quite embarrassed.
     Often people tell jokes or funny stories which have
nothing to do with the presentation. If you have a talent for
humour these can be great starters. However, even if they are
entertaining, they can waste the audience’s time if you overdo
them. Always relate your humour directly to your presenta-
tion topic.
     I believe that the best and safest humour is a story or
anecdote from your own personal experience. It is better to
throw eggs at yourself than at others. Done in this way, it does
not matter whether the audience laughs or not. Because you
are telling a fable from your own experience, there is no risk
that you will not do it right. If you forget any details, no one will
     Personal anecdotes and self-deprecating humour are the
most sincere way to win an audience over. They will trust you
more if you poke fun at yourself and laugh at your faults or
failures. If you do not think you have any, just ask your spouse
or closest friends!
     Be sure that you pace the delivery of your humourous
material so that the listeners will have enough time to digest
it. If you do not pause so the punch line can be absorbed, they
will miss your message. Furthermore, the delay in their
laughter will interrupt you as you move on to your next point!
     Worse still is trying to tell several jokes in rapid succes-
sion. Many otherwise entertaining presenters miss the mark
in this way because the audience does not hear the punch lines.
If you outline a funny anecdote, laugh at it yourself - even if you

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