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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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      Published on March 20, 2019

      How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

      How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

      Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

      As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

      While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

      What is a Mission Statement?

      Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

      In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

      “Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

      In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

      Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

      While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

      First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

      While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

      While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

      “To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

      This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

      What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

      When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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      Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

      When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

      • What we do?
      • How we do it?
      • Whom do we do it for?
      • What value are we bringing?

      Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

      After all, that did check off all the boxes:

      What we do? Provide widgets.

      How we do it? Online.

      Who do we do it for? The consumer.

      What value we bring? The best widgets.

      The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

      Compare that mission statement to this one:

      “We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

      What’s the difference?

      Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

      Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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      You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

      A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

      Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

      1. Keep It Brief

      Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

      You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

      2. Have a Purpose

      A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

      Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

      3. Include a “How”

      Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

      How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

      4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

      This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

      Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

      5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

      It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

      Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

      6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

      Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

      7. Think Long Term

      A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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      8. Get Feedback

      This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

      Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

      9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

      You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

      First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

      And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

      For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

      The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

      It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

      First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

      If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

      Strategic Planning

      A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

      Measuring Performance

      By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

      Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

      Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

      Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

      As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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      Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

      To Hold Management Accountable

      By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

      So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

      If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

      To Serve as an Example

      This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

      After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

      Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

      Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

      Final Thoughts

      Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

      Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

      That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

      By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

      More Resources About Achieving Business Success

      Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
      [2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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