Why pair laughing and learning? Because it works. Humour is one of the best ways to get your messages across, particularly if your audiences can identify with the stories you tell. This also means that it is important to know your audience.
I use humour throughout my speeches and workshops and close my presentations with material that leaves my audiences laughing. Why is it important to do so? Because I believe the joyful memory will stay with them for the rest of the meeting and beyond. If that memory is retained, then chances are, so will my messages.
Recall some of your favourite leaders, colleagues, trainers, and speakers. The memorable ones are those who use a combination of compelling stories and humour to effectively communicate their messages. Of course we need substance – proof points and concrete information to support what we are saying. However, we also need to create balance with a lighter outlook.
Even Shakespeare knew the necessity of comic relief. In his most tragic plays like, King Lear and Hamlet, he gave the audience a break from the intensity of the action by introducing a comedic scene. There is a reason this interlude is called ‘comic relief ’.
Incorporating humour does not mean you have to be a comedian or joke teller. It is about approaching your audience with a lightness of being. It is about using humourous stories to encourage others to see solutions and possibilities, and to generate a collective positive experience. People who share a healthy sense of humour tend to energize a room and engage colleagues and clients.
The next time you lead a meeting or deliver a presentation, consider ways to include humour – a lightness of being. Your audiences will be attentive and grateful.