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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
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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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      Published on July 27, 2021

      15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

      15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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      During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

      But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

      Put the Pro in Professional

      After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

      1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

      The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

      Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

      2. Dress the Part

      While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

      Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

      For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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      Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

      3. Stage Your Workspace

      Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

      Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

      4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

      Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

      Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

      Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

      Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

      5. Arrive on Time

      In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

      Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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      6. Turn on Your Video

      Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

      If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

      Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

      7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

      Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

      Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

      Attend to the Pesky Details

      8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

      With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

      Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

      9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

      Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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      Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

      10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

      As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

      Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

      Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

      Talking Has a Time and a Place

      11. Chat Appropriately

      Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

      At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

      12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

      The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

      Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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      13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

      In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

      Manage Yourself

      14. Minimize Distractions

      While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

      Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

      15. Save Snacking for Later

      Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

      However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

      Final Thoughts

      Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

      Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

      Reference

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