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The benefits of using humor in public speaking

Appropriate humor can enhance your presentation is a variety of ways.
Photo: Accent, Design: Carma Spence

Successful Long Beach speakers know how to make their audiences smile, chuckle, laugh and, at time, guffaw. Yes, one person’s humor can be another person’s “what were you thinking?” However, when you can weave some humor into your speech that gets the audience laughing; that is appropriate to your topic; and that doesn’t offend anyone, you can reap many of the following benefits.

Help your audience relax.
When you are able to put the audience at ease, they will be more present and available to take in the information you want to present. Humor is a great way to release any tension that might be in the room.

Create a connection.
Humor can make you more approachable and likable. When your audience likes you, they are more apt to hear your message more readily.

Engage your audience.
Properly timed humor can create welcome breaks in your speech. When you break things up, you help keep your audience awake and engaged. Side note — it is hard to laugh and fall asleep! Therefore, a laughing audience is more likely to be engaged in what you are saying.

Make a better impression.
Maya Angelou once said, "People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel." This applies to your presentation, as well. Your audience will remember how you made them feel more than anything else. If you make them feel good … make them smile and laugh … that will leave a good impression.

Make key points memorable.
Humor helps people remember things better. When you present your key points with a touch of humor, those points will be more likely to be remembered.

Lighten a heavy subject.
Sometimes topics are too heavy and need a little humor to make them more bearable. Of course, you need to make sure the humor is appropriate and respectful of the topic.

Would you like more information about public speaking? Visit for tips, advice and plenty of videos about all the "powers" you can employ in your speaking endeavors.

NOTE: Are you a Long Beach based speaker? Do you know of an upcoming speaking event? Contact me to have an interview with you published in this column.

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