Adding Humor to Your Business Presentations

What is the value of knowledge if it cannot be recreated? In American society, humor has great value as a teaching tool. We have all made people laugh, but the ability to do it on command is the objective. This seminar discusses how to identify your particular sense of humor and apply it, at will, to your presentations. This will be achieved by having each participant “riff” on a given subject, and Tim will then explain the source of his/her personal comedy.

Key Psychological Techniques
The Psychological Techniques to Overcome Performance Anxiety

  • No attaching: If someone laughs at our joke, it does not mean we are funny. If someone does not laugh at our joke, it does not mean we are not funny. Learn how to separate yourself from the joke by not attaching a value to the outcome of the joke. This is the primary technique that comedians use to persuade an audience to laugh.
  • Validation: People laugh at the confidence of the comedian. Learn not to react to the reaction of the audience not laughing. This will help you further develop your comedy skills.

Key Performance Techniques
Three Performance Techniques for the Best Possible Presentation

  • Timing and Pausing: Timing is allowing the audience to react to the performance and absorb a speaker’s unique point of view. Rushing through a sales pitch or stepping on lines or laughs prevents a performer from connecting with his or her desired audience. Pausing is a fundamental element in timing and signifies confidence in the speaker. Pausing will aid in conveying the necessary confidence that a salesperson needs during a sales call just or a performer needs on stage. Additionally, the pause provides the crucial opportunity for the presenter to create at will during the riffing process (later in the course). Without timing or pausing, the creative process is severely limited.
  • Upwriting: Unnecessary verbiage, or messy speech habits, such as the use of “UMS, ERS, AHS,” hinder the creative process and can impede your message. During this class, we will explore how a succinct speech pattern will ultimately enable your brain to function at a faster rate resulting in greater use of your imaginative capacity.
    In up-writing there are NO:
    i) Ums, ers, ahs, etc. — By saying “er” and “um” you are stumping your brain versus kicking it in gear. Pausing replaces “er” and “um.”
    ii) No contractions — Contractions camouflage speech and slur words. Learn to convey your message clearly.
    iii) No conjunctions or connectors — They signal the “closer” or punchline and destroy the power of anticipation.
  • Riffing: The ability to RIFF — create in the spur of the moment — is one of the major factors that separate amateurs from top performers. To riff, you must believe that you have talent to share anytime and anywhere. Riffing allows for a seamless performance. Successful selling is about being completely prepared for any possible situation and then acting (riffing) on something unexpected. Be prepared when the sales call does not go as scripted or if something unforeseen happens while you are performing. In comedy, Robin Williams is the king of riffing because the audience cannot tell what is spur of the moment and what are his set routine.
    Levels of Riffing
    i) Basic riff on what is given.
    ii) Take riff in one direction then bring it back to origination.
    iii) Riff on your material.
    iv) Riff on your faults – it is part of your character – you are more vulnerable if you riff on your faults rather than your positive attributes.
    v) Riff with an attitude or emotion.
    vi) Heckler riff – when you riff on a heckler or with a heckler.
    vii) Committed riff – do not give up until you discover something that works.
  • Riffing II – Creative choices are a critical component of powerful riffing. There is a distinct difference in how men and women see choices when riffing. Women see considerably more choices than men; however, women typically have less confidence than their male counterparts to commit to a decision. Learn to overcome mental “writer’s block,” and riff into the upper levels of your creativity. Don’t just go with your first choice, but learn to commit to your best choice.