PodiumWise | Tips for advanced presentation skills

I’m not a big fan of speakers using jokes.  It’s too easy to either offend someone or—in an effort to avoid offense— to tell a joke that is so benign it’s lame.

However, if you have to tell a joke, please make it relevant to your topic.  It should have at least some connection to what you are talking about.

I once spent a day working with speechwriters who were on staff at a large corporation.  They talked about being frustrated by the CEO because he always wanted to start his talks with a joke.  They would prepare a strong, relevant opening and he would say: “I need a joke.  Give me a joke.”  If they resisted his request, he would come up with one from a book of jokes he kept in his desk.  The result was laughter (usually) but no relevance in how he was starting his message.

Go ahead.  Live dangerously.  Tell a joke.  But, use it to effectively tee up your topic.

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