One of the most popular videos we have here on our site is about how to start a presentation. Well, I’ve just watched one of the best examples of how to start a presentation and using humour properly throughout a presentation. This presentation comes from Ted.com and is about education. The link is at the end of this lesson, but first read this. So…

Watch the 4:12 video of this lesson or read it below…
If you can’t see YouTube then click here: How to Start a Presentation & Use Humour

What does the presenter do well?

Well, he uses the situation brilliantly. It’s obvious that he’s at a conference about education after just a few minutes of watching his presentation. What he does is he uses that situation to engage the audience, to make a connection with them so everyone immediately feels they are connected to the presenter. This is a key skill you need to add to your own presentation skills. How?

I’m sure if you’re giving an English presentation you practice a lot and try to remember everything perfectly, which is fine, but what you must also do is be flexible and be able to adapt to the situation. And if you do that from the beginning of your presentation, you can create rapport with your audience very, very quickly. So, remember to pay attention to things around you that you can use to connect them to you and your audience.

Now what about using humour?

Using humour in a presentation, especially if your first language isn’t English, is not easy. Let’s not kid around about that. No pun intended, but that’s the truth. However, the Ted presentation gives us some great ideas for using humour that are not as hard to learn and implement.

But before I explain a couple of ways to be funny in your presentation, let me explain why humour is good.

Humour, when used properly, can help you and the audience to relax and enjoy the presentation. This is important if you have to give a long presentation because it will help you keep the audience’s attention.

And this is particularly useful when giving an English presentation because it can help your audience overlook your English skills if they’re not that good. The audience will feel a connection with you if you make them laugh or smile. They’ll think you’re clever and witty, which means they’ll probably think you’re quite smart. So, let’s get to a couple ways to use humour in your presentation, as seen in the Ted presentation.

First, you can make fun of the situation. You can make a comment about something that everyone would be familiar with. However, whatever it may be, don’t say something that may appear critical. Make it light, but never negative.

Second, you can make jokes about your own material or subject. You don’t have to purposely put the joke into your script, though. If you can make a funny connection between your material and the situation, then do that because it will be natural and will make you and the audience loosen up.

So, I hope this has been a useful lesson for you on how to start your presentation and use humour properly. Just to quickly recap, you can quickly engage your audience at the start of your presentation by referring to the situation and something everyone can relate to. Next, using humour can help you develop rapport with your audience, but don’t force yourself to be funny. Use the situation or your own material or subject matter as a source of humour because this will help you connect with your audience and is especially useful when giving English presentations.

Thanks and looking forward to sharing more ideas to help you improve your presentation skills.

Now, check out the presentation!

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