Laugh It Up
So there you are with one hundred eyes on you. You’ve been told to break the ice with a joke, and you start with the punch line first, botching it up! The sweet beads on your forehead. Now, what are you going to do?
Humor is harder than it appears, but here are some guidelines to keep things lighthearted and people laughing.
Always, always, always make jokes about yourself. Everyone appreciate someone who can laugh at themselves. We've all had amusing, embarrassing and funny things happened to us. What about when you broke into your college dorm because you were locked out? Or how about that time you snuck out of the house and got called by your girl-friends parents? Or the time you mistakenly thought you were invited to a date, which turned out to be family dinner? (Maybe I am sharing too much of my past experiences, but you get it.)
Never ever tell your audience that you are funny. Saying “I have a great sense of humor” or “Here’s something funny,” is a sure fire way to crash and burn because it sets the audience up to be disappointed. It eliminates the unexpectedness, which is the core of why we find things amusing.
Humor is good story telling. Take time to set up your story with details, so people can actually see, hear and feel what happened to you. Talk about details that people can picture, use vocal variety to accent tension and express emotions people can feel. The punch line must be delivered at the peak of anticipation of irony, unexpectedness or sheer lunacy of circumstance like a climax of a story. (So check back next week for discovering the art of storytelling.)
Practice and practice—and oh yeah, practice some more. Comedians spent hours practicing their jokes, their punch lines and delivery. So start practicing your jokes when talking with individuals, share the story at the office or with a friend on the phone. By doing this, you can gauge what works best like comedian honing their jokes doing standup comedy. Even big name comedians will do several small shows before a big show to test their material. Do some small shows, before your big talk!
Everyone has done something funny or has said something funny; the challenge is recreating that moment. Relax, act as if you are telling a story enriched with details to your best friend, which by the way, is good practice strategy for your moment on stage.
As always, I wish you the best in making each day count!~ Tyke