Delivering humorous speeches involves a lot more than simply having good material. Take some time to incorporate these tips into your presentations and watch fun and laughter factors rise.
Sigmund Freud wrote: "The most favorable condition for comic pleasure is a generally happy disposition in which one is in mood for laughter."
This concept is called "in fun." If you want your audience to laugh, they must be in fun. You, speaker, must be in fun. The emcee or program coordinator must be in fun. The whole program should be designed in fun. Do anything you can to be sure your audience knows that it's OK to laugh.
Time Of Day
The first speaker of day for an early morning program should not expect hearty laughter. People are not conditioned to laugh a great deal in early morning. Many won't even be awake yet. Use more information and less humor. It's important for you to know when not to expect hearty laughter. It would be a waste of time to use your best material at a time when laughter normally wouldn't be expected. The poor response also brings your energy level down. Many consider brunch and lunch to be best times of day to expect a responsive audience. In afternoon people are starting to get tired so don't expect laughter to be as intense.
Male/Female Makeup of Audience
All-female audiences tend to laugh more easily and louder than all-male audiences. Audiences that consist of more than 50 percent women are good too. The presence of females provides a good buffer and makes it OK for "big-ego" men to laugh.
No, I'm not talking about how much you weigh today. I'm saying that size of your audience has a direct effect on types of humor which are most appropriate. Members of small business groups tend to be too self-conscious to laugh much. Use short one-liners. Don't use any long stories or jokes. In larger groups it's OK to stretch to jokes and short stories.
The more you know about your audience, better able you will be to pick humor that will get greatest response. Your research before program will also allow you to uncover group's inside humor.
The best seating arrangement for laughter is semicircular theater style. When audience members are seated close together on a curve, they can look to their left or right and see faces of each person in row. This togetherness allows laughter to pass immediately from one person to other. Contact NSA member and seating expert Paul Radde for advanced seating information.
Choose Funnier Words
Your word choice can be key to creating a successful witty line or a dud. In particular, words with "K" sound in them are funny. Cucumber is funnier than mushroom. Cupcake is funnier than pastry. Turkey is a funnier word than loser.
Deliver The Punch
Some humorists will disagree, but I say deliver your punch line to one person and make sure that person is going to laugh. You must punch line out a little harder and with a slightly different voice than rest of joke. Lean into microphone and say it louder and more clearly than you said setup lines. If audience does not hear punch line, they aren't going to laugh.
Deliver punch line to a person you know will laugh, so that others will be positively influenced to laugh. How do you know if a person will laugh or not? Pay attention to those who have been laughing, those nodding their heads in agreement with you during program, and those you identified before program.
Pausing just before and just after your punch line gives audience a chance to "get" humor and laugh. Absolutely do not continue to talk when laughter is expected. If you do, you will "step on" your laughter and squelch it quickly.
Make It Relevant
If you make all your attempts at humor relevant to your presentation, you get an automatic excuse from your mother if your humor is not all that funny. If your humor is received as funny, so much better; but if it isn't, at least you made your point. Audiences will be much more tolerant if humor ties into subject at hand. Use this formula:
A. Make your point.
B. Illustrate your point with something funny.