Ten Fun Ways to Liven up Any Presentation

by Sandra Schrift

Most of us would agree that having humour in our lives increases rapport, strengthens our relationships and overcomes communication barriers. People who work in a positive, often playful environment are more likely to stay. Productivity and creativity increase while stress is reduced. We just feel better after a good laugh. Think funny!

  1. Open with a humourous story.

    I remember the time the lights went out and I fell off the stage. I wasn't hurt and quickly said, Now I will take questions from the floor. I'm at my best when taking questions in the dark. Before you can be funny, you must learn to see funny. Find the humour around you, in your everyday life. The lady who takes an aisle seat rather than sit next to the window . . . doesn't want to mess up her hair. Practice telling the story out loud, and cut out any parts that aren't crucial. As Shakespeare so wisely said, "Brevity is the soul of wit."

  2. Use props (candy bars, hats, funny faces, etc.)

    Props can be used as a metaphor or an analogy for a point you are introducing. They get your creative juices working while providing an anchor for your audience to focus on.

  3. Cartoons (use your own or others a picture paints a 1000 words. )

    Put cartoons on an overhead or use as part of a PowerPoint presentation.

  4. Humour (but it should be relevant to your topic.)

    Tom Peters said, I deeply believe in humour; not in jokes. Humour is spectacular. Humour relieves anxiety and tension, serves as outlet for hostility and anger, and provides a healthy escape from reality. It lightens heaviness related to critical illness, trauma, disfigurement, and death. It comes as no surprise that many people are utilizing humour to deal with the trying times. But is the humour timely? Is it appropriate? Do not use ethnic, racist, political or religious jokes. Include a joke that helps bring back the attention of the audience or as a way to lighten up your remarks. We all can use a good laugh from a well timed, funny joke.

  5. Self effacing humour- it is better to admit you made a mistake than to admit that you are one.

    Phyllis Diller is in the Guinness Book of World Records as having the most laughs per minute.

    A laugh is measured by:-
  • 5 points if everyone is laughing and applauding
  • 4 points if everyone is laughing and there's a smattering of applause
  • 3 points if everyone laughs but there's no applause
  • 2 points if some people are laughing
  • 1 point for a titter or giggle
  1. Mime.

    Marcel Marceau makes us laugh and moves us.

    Charlie Chaplin was an all time great, without using the spoken word.

  2. Move Your Body

    Try lifting your nose, look off to the side, jut out the bottom of your jaw, and notice how you become arrogant or aloof. Take a wide stance, shift your hips forward, and now you've just gained 50 pounds. The use of body movements will help to visually enhance your remarks.

  3. Repetitive oral recitation- (repeat after me) "Remember, if you can see funny, you can be funny"

    Repeat a particular sentence throughout your presentation to encourage audience retention.

  4. Use taped music for a stretch break. Get the audience to sing a funny song. Pass out words to a song. Lighten up your attendees have some fun and your audience retention will increase. Don't be afraid to be theatrical or silly. It's why we pay actors the big bucks; and your audiences won't forget you. Be outrageous. It's the only place that isn't crowded.

  5. Group exercise

    A fun way to conclude your presentation is to use a group exercise. Use the football huddle to get the group to repeat a cheer or an affirmation to take some action.
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Sandra Schrift 13 year speaker bureau owner and now career coach to emerging and veteran public speakers who want to "grow" a profitable speaking business. I also work with business professionals and organizations who want to master their presentations.