It’s me! Here again to talk about adding some HUMOR into your communication!
Do you know that person who always seems to have a clever quip or can remember funny stories and jokes?
How easy is it for you to add humor into your conversation, writing, or speeches? It is not easy for me, and I admire those around me who have quick wit and can come up with something funny on the spot. Some folks sure seem to possess natural talent in this area.
Would you like to add some more humor in your communication? After all, do you know anyone who does not love to laugh?
Myers, in his book Secrets of Great Communicators, shares some helpful tips on this topic, which he credits to Gene Perret (a writer for comedian Bob Hope) in his book How to Hold Your Audience With Humor. (Millennials may need to google Bob Hope. :)
- Test it. Before you tell a joke to an audience, use it in conversation. Try phrasing it in different ways. Gauge the reactions. Practice.
- Be authentic. Each comedian prefers a different style (one-liners, stories, etc.) What is natural for you? Using other people’s jokes may not come off as funny. Self-deprecating humor is often a good way to illustrate a point, and connect with an audience.
- Be consistent. Once you find something that works, repeat the phrasing and timing exactly each time you tell it. You will learn how vocal variety, timing, facial expressions, etc., will affect the delivery each time. Once you learn what works, tell it exactly the same way each time.
- Don’t strain for laughs. Humor is useful to refresh and relax an audience and to help them remember your message. If you are losing your audience, it is ok to tell a joke but make sure it relates to your message. If you have to choose between being funny and making your message stick, make your message stick. Check out some joke books and find stories or one-liners to assist you. (Make sure to test it first.) Be wary of jokes that may be offensive, inappropriate, in bad taste, or demeaning. If you are not sure leave it out.
- Personalize your jokes. Perret suggests that you can use a generic joke and set it up as if it happened to you. I’d add- as long as it authentic, then this might be a good way to personalize a generic joke.
In general, humor is a wonderful tool, even with a serious topic. Use it wisely, practice, and each time it will become easier, and funnier!
It is ok not to be a comedian… some of us will never be, and that is not the goal.
Question for you: How often do you use humor in your formal writing or speaking? Do you find it easier in one-on-one conversations or small groups? How might you add more humor into your communication?