Getting Over Yourself

August 20, 2009

Myth #9 “Start with a joke”

Filed under: Myths,Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 11:49 am
Tags: ,

There are some good reasons for starting with a joke–and probably more good reasons for not.

Reasons for: Get the audience in a good mod; have them laughing with you; get their attention; make yourself feel comfortable because of all the above.

Reasons against: Can’t tell jokes well; can’t remember them, coan’t find one that relates to the subject; can’t connect it effectively to the topic; nobody laughs.

Fortunately, all the reasons in favor of starting with a joke can be accomplished some other way.

You can warm up the audience by knowing who they are, crafting your message to meeting their needs, and by opening with something relevant to them that is catchy.

Amusing things that have happened to you or at your workplace are easy to remember and easy to say. A startling fact will get their attention. A relevant bumper sticker, ad or quotation can be easy to remember and connect you to your audience.  These can be amusing and attention getting and you don’t run the risk of everyone all ready knowing the joke, or worse, not laughing.

Jokes are okay as long as you don’t forget the punch line, they relate to your topic, and it doesn’t bother you if no one laughs. Otherwise, consider one of the many other ways to open your talk; they’ll connect you with your audience and you eliminate the risks of starting with a joke.


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