July 5, 2005 Present Like A Pro Newsletter
Inspiring You to Discover, Develop, & Delight in Your Strengths
Welcome fellow speaker! This weekly newsletter from Present Like A Pro is here to provide you with on-going tips and inspiration as you develop your skills as a speaker. Every issue includes practical tools that you can use in your very next presentation.

This edition: 941 words; 2-3 minute read

Lighten Up!
by Sara Schaffer   How to Win An Audience with Humor
One of my high school history teachers had an incredibly dry sense of humor. He made very subtle jokes throughout his lectures. I wasn't that interested in history, but I always looked forward that class and the discreet wit of my instructor.

Making people laugh is a key aspect of becoming a terrific presenter. Some may be more gifted at eliciting laughs than others, but we can all learn to tickle our audience's funny bone. Here are 3 tips on how to win and audience with humor and Present Like A Pro!

First, don't take yourself too seriously. Self- deprecating humor is a great tool to lighten the mood. It lets your audience know that you might be serious about your topic, but you also like to laugh. For example, when I'm speaking on presentation skills and I make a mistake of some sort, I simply say, "Don't try this at home. I am a professional speaker!"

Secondly, don't take your audience too seriously. Most audiences are ready and wanting to laugh. Even a top-level group of executives will appreciate a laugh-line or appropriate cartoon. Be careful not to be sarcastic or unkind. Simply consider what's appropriate for your listeners, and then give them something to snicker at.

Third, don't take your topic too seriously. When you speak on a subject that is heavy or serious, remember the value of balancing your presentation for your audience. Especially when speaking about grave issues, your audience will need an opportunity to laugh. Give them permission to do so with some humor.


Once you get people laughing, they're listening and you can tell them almost anything. -Herbert Gardner

Do you effectively add humor when you present? Working with a Presentation Coach immediately adds more power and impact to your presentations. Contact Sara for more information at 303.439.4014 or sara@presentlikeapro.com.


What kind of sense of humor do you have? Perhaps you are subtle like my high school history teacher. Maybe you can make self-deprecating comments that warm an audience up to you. Whatever your style, hone it and incorporate it into your presentations.

I paid attention and learned much more history because of my teacher's wit. Win your audience through appropriate uses of humor. Remember, no matter what the situation, don't take it (or yourself) too seriously. When you lighten up and make your audiences laugh, then you Present Like A Pro!

How Can I Help?
  Giving Your Audience More Than A Presentation
"You need to be ready when you arrive," a trainer told us at a speakers' event. That may be obvious. It certainly would not be professional to be working on a talk the day of the presentation!

What she was saying, however, went beyond that. "Be ready to serve others the entire time you are with a group," she clarified. These trainers sincerely believed that being a presenter went beyond the time you were given the floor to speak.

During that three day training, I noticed how they were true to their own statement. They and their staff were constantly available for conversations and questions. They did not run off or take a few quiet moments to prepare before a long session. They had arrived ready.

For myself, I have noticed how easy it is to be in a large conference room and stay close to the one person I know. After all, it's more comfortable to stay near the front of the room rather than mingle with strangers.

However, whenever I do make that effort, it is always more rewarding than sitting apart from the group. Before one lunch meeting, I saw a person seated by herself. I decided to go over and talk with her. We ended up chatting until the chairperson started the event.

Afterwards, someone confided to me, "I don't know what you told her before the meeting, but she was much more open to hearing you than many other speakers." I'm so grateful that someone advised me to come ready so I was available to encourage that woman that day.

Whatever venue you present in, arrive ready. Be available to help set up chairs or talk to those who show up early. Look for ways to give your audience more than a presentation. The experience will be much more rewarding for you and your audience. The next time you speak, come early and start by asking How can I help?

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