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12 Things The Most Lively Speakers Do To Make Their Presentations Funnier

12 Things The Most Lively Speakers Do To Make Their Presentations Funnier

If you think that great presenters are simply just born then think again as there are proven approaches they use to make their presentations funnier that are available to everyone.

Here are 12 things that lively speakers do you can incorporate into your own presentation delivery

1. Be positive

Being upbeat and positive is a key part of good presentations according to speaker Julian Treasure whose tips are on TED’s speaking preparation play-list. You have to speak in a way that people want to listen to and being negative and critical of others aren’t good ingredients for a funny presentation.

Instead spread a little sunshine, make your audience smile.

2. Pick the right topic

Sebastian Wernicke has analysed TED talks and came up with some fun recommendations such as picking the right subject (combine things like the French, coffee and happiness but avoid men, projects and architecture).

Whilst you might not have perfect freedom on the subject make sure you can frame it in a why that makes it sound exiting. If your topic sounds fun because you worked on the title then you’ve warmed the audience up for a chuckle before you start.

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3. Adopt a confident posture

Lively speakers don’t cower but have confident postures. Body language is key to both how others see us and how we feel about ourselves. Taking a more confident pose doesn’t just help with how we’re perceived it will change our body chemistry and we will act with greater confidence. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy recommends the use of “power posing” to achieve this.

And getting that dose of confidence is what you need to take the risk of telling that first joke.

4. Get visual

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    Being visual is such a clear differentiator for lively speakers with the use of good graphics or photos. Some even dispense with slides and use just a few props or animate their talk with their hands.

    The approach of text based slides being read is never done by funny presenters, it’s a real no-no. You’re wanting people to listen to you, not send them to sleep with some reading!

    5. Connect with the audience

    Carmine Gallo has studied the top TED speakers and written books on them and the Steve Job’s presentation techniques. He recommends that instead of reading your slides (which you won’t be able to because they’ll be pictures) you should make eye contact with the audience.

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    Comedians, who have always known this, often go much further and really get the audience involved. It’s obvious really because if you’re not presenting for the audience who are you presenting for?

    6. Get the energy up

    And there’s a lot more to learn from Comedians. Dave Nihill has compiled an in-depth list. One recommendation is to get the energy levels up if they appear to be a bit low. This can be by simply getting a round of applause going. That can be for anyone – the organisers, you, the audience, anyone!

    7. Tell Stories and Jokes

    Whether it’s comedians or motivational speakers they keep us hooked with their engaging stories and jokes. The more personal the stories the better as research from Princeton University shows that our brains light up when we hear stories. We also find it easier to remember stories rather than random facts.

    This links well with good visuals which help you keep your story on track. The visuals can even be the joke. A business friend of mine once faked the crashing of PowerPoint as humorous way of breaking out of doing traditional slides.

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      8. Ease off the stats

      It takes a lot of work to make stats funny and they’re a great way to switch the audience off. So get the balance between stats and stories right and the presentation will liven up. People can always look up the numbers later if they need to.

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      Personally, the only laugh I’ve got out of stats during a presentation was the story of how a government office (which will remain nameless) made up the stats each year because it was too hard to properly calculate them.

      9. Treat it as a performance

      Funny presenters, also known as comedians, treat the presentation as a performance. They don’t turn up cold with a few rushed slides of dull text to hand. They put in plenty of preparation and practice.

      Performers like Peter Kay, before doing large stadium gigs, practice and refine their material on a small scale first. Working to get each element up to the right level.

      Funny speakers may appear natural and off the cuff but so much of that is from honing the material and putting in serious practice. Even a quick run through with a few trusted colleagues will make a huge difference for you. They’ll at least tell you if you’re jokes don’t work.

      10. Use your voice

      Lively speakers don’t just shout at a rapid pace or mumble in a drawl. They vary their tone and pace to keep it lively and fun. To get the voice right Julian Treasure recommends simple voice warm up exercises to get the voice in shape. These can be really simple such as saying la-la-la for the tongue or some brrrring for the the lips.

      Or you could do a Steve Balmer and just run on stage screaming!

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      11. Don’t go on too long

      The TED guidance is 18 minutes and there’s good reason as going longer cognitively overloads the audience. As they say leave them wanting more.

      Stories can only go on so long before the audience and maybe even you have forgotten what the original point was. The punchline will only be funny if people remember what the start of the joke or tale was.

      12. Recognise the fear

      Acknowledge fear and do it anyway. Find a way to get over the nerves and get going. Everyone feels fear and the fear of giving presentations is a pretty common one. But it is possible to get through, find a way by starting small and focusing on positive outcomes.

      You could start with a joke – maybe even about your fear –  to get the audience on your side.

      So give yourself a real chance of making your next presentation funnier by starting off with humour.

      Featured photo credit: Bill Gates TED2011/Gisela Gardino via flickr.com

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      Last Updated on March 29, 2021

      5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

      5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

      When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

      What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

      The Dream Type Of Manager

      My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

      I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

      My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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      “Okay…”

      That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

      I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

      The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

      The Bully

      My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

      However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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      The Invisible Boss

      This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

      It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

      The Micro Manager

      The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

      Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

      The Over Promoted Boss

      The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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      You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

      The Credit Stealer

      The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

      Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

      3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

      Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

      1. Keep evidence

      Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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      Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

      Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

      2. Hold regular meetings

      Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

      3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

      Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

      However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

      Good luck!

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