Techniques for Connecting with HumorCan you think of a time when you or someone you knew heard a really funny story and then tried to tell it to someone else without evoking a single chuckle? Instead of peals of laughter, you got the old "Guess you had to be there" response. Why is it that the exact same story is hilarious in one instance and bland in another? It all has to do with the delivery. There are many different elements that factor into making humor work. Timing, gestures and facial expressions, vocal tone and inflection, and the setting are examples of just some of the things that should always be considered when delivering a shot of humor.
Gestures and facial and vocal expression are things you have direct control over and should be amply practiced. If you are willing to exercise the discipline to rehearse in front of a mirror, or even better, in front of a video camera, you can then step back and observe yourself. In so doing, you will reach a greater degree of mastery.
A critical part of your preparation is to know your audience. Often, understanding the basic attributes that your audience members have in common will give you clues as to what sort of humor might work with them. For example, if you are talking to business people, workplace humor may likely strike a chord. If you are talking to moms, on the other hand, you might center your humor on keeping up with all the demands of home and family. Similarly, coaches and athletes would appreciate sports humor. You need to ask yourself, "What are the commonalities among these individuals that bring them all together to hear the same speech? What would be funny to this particular group of people?" The more you know about your audience, the better you''ll be able to connect with them. And the more you can bring yourself onto their turf, the more apt they will be to identify with you and to respond to your message. As the late Victor Borge once said, "Laughter is the shortest distance between two people."
Sometimes humor will come to you off-the-cuff. This element of spontaneity can be very effective, but depending on the situation, it must often be planned for and implemented with care. This advice holds especially true when introducing a topic that you hope will really resonate with your audience by the end of your presentation. Spontaneous humor is an opportunity to gain instant rapport, one that should not be passed up. William Norwood Brigance wrote:
The humorous introduction needs careful handling. Humor is invaluable for establishing friendship with the audience. It also establishes a part of the speaker''s prestige, shows whether he is a sympathetic human being, a dull bore or a stuffed shirt. We might say that, as an operating rule, every speech, excepting on solemn or state occasions, needs humor at the start in order to establish rapport between speaker and audience.
Everyone persuades for a living. Whether you''re a sales professional, an entrepreneur, or a stay at home parent, you must convince others to your way of thinking. Find out more at www.PreWealth.com and get my free report "10 Costly Mistakes."