Connections - Summer 2016 - (Page 21)

> The Humor Rules for Business Presenters: How to Be Funny, Not Offensive BY MARSHALL CHILES WHEN CHOOSING A speaker for your event, or when you are the speaker, you want your attendees/audience to feel engaged, to learn something new and to have a great experience. Unfortunately, too many presenters are like stale robots whose greatest contribution is getting their audience to look at their phones. Most presenters have a long way to go when it comes to engaging an audience. The best presenters use humor effectively because, at the end of the day, speaking is a performance. And as a performer, you can entertain with drama or comedy. Unless your goal is to upset the audience, I submit that humor is the key ingredient to being a great presenter. If you Google putting humor in presentations, 80 percent of the articles are telling you not to do it because you might offend someone in the audience and then get in trouble. After years of writing jokes for business presenters, I have come up with the formula: Comedy + Business = Humor. If you want to be funny in a presentation, then you need to do humor because humor is just safe comedy. I have figured out the six rules that if you follow, you will not offend 99 percent of your audience. The other 1 percent you probably don't want to work with anyways. I suggest encouraging your speakers to use humor as long as they follow these rules: 1. Do not make fun of any person or group of people. This means don't make fun of nationalities, races, genders, etc. This rule is especially true for making jokes about Germans. Remember, they took on the world twice and almost won. 2. Keep it above the belt. Even though you didn't say a dirty word, just referencing anything below the belt can rub some people the wrong way. Pun intended. 3. Don't make any drug references. You might think it's funny that you have three DUIs, but I assure you Human Resources does not. 4. Stay away from religion and politics. These topics are extremely divisive. And besides, nobody is more correct about religion and politics than you and your Facebook friends. 5. Stay away from violent words. Remember, you're adding humor in order to make people feel good. So don't bring up words that are associated with the violent images because you make people feel uncomfortable with the image they now have in their head. Examples: Holocaust. ISIS. September 11. Notice how those words affect you in your own head. Be nice and don't do that to your audience. 6. Stay away from unsafe subjects. If you are a CEO and you make a joke about layoffs, you are going to have people updating their resumes. These are the rules for you to break as you wish. As Pablo Picasso said, "You must first learn the rules so you can break them like an artist." Do you notice the one missing rule? The missing rule is no cursing. Nowadays some cursing is acceptable for internal communications since you know the culture. But if you break any of these humor rules during an external presentation, you might just offend somebody because you never know who's in the audience. The other day my 7-year-old son got in trouble for saying the f-word at school. He was talking to his classmate and told him that he did not know what the "f" he was talking about. His teacher was standing right behind him and yelled "Nolan!" Nolan turned around, looked up with wide eyes and said, "I didn't know you were there." If you're trying to be funny in a business presentation, make sure you follow the humor rules because you never know who's there. Marshall Chiles spoke at the 2016 GSAE Annual Meeting and is the founder of HumorWINS. He loves comedy, education and business ... but not always in that order. Learn more at connections > 21

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Connections - Summer 2016

Message from the Chair
GSAE News & Events
New Members
Keeping Up with Technology
Achieve More by Connecting the Dots for Your Association
5 Ways to Meet Virtually
How to Enhance Your Events with Mobile Games
Overtime Rule Released: How Associations Can Prepare
The Humor Rules for Business Presenters: How to Be Funny, Not Offensive
ATHvengers Assembled at the GSAE Annual Meeting
GSAE’s July Luncheon: Photos
Meetings Thought Leadership
Destination: The Emerald Coast
Choices: Beyond Mentoring
Index of Advertisers

Connections - Summer 2016