What to Do When Your Humor Fails
Here is Part 6 of the continuing series about how to be a motivational speaker. In this video, Brad Montgomery discusses adding humor to your presentation. (And if you want to be a paid professional speaker, you’ll need to be funny — if you want to get hired.)
This video covers the sticky topic of what to do when your humor fails.
Interested in learning how to use humor in your presentation? Check out Brad’s Got Mirth: Milking Your Presentation for all the Humor It’s Worth.
Learn more about how to be a motivational speaker with my how-to audio here.
How to Be a Motivational Speaker (Part 1) | Get a Mentor
How To Be A Motivational Speaker (2) Choose the Right Topic
How To Be Speaker (3) Format of a Keynote. A Template!
Adding Humor (1) The Act Out
Adding Humor (2): Give the Audience a Voice
Adding Humor (3) What to Do When Your Humor Bombs
For those of you who prefer to read (as opposed to see the tips on the video,) here ya go:
What To Do When Your Humor Bombs
All right. I want you to watch these series of jokes that bombed for me at the Mayo Clinic. But then watch what I do about it. So, check it out.
It’s just cool to be at the world-famous Mayo Clinic and its sister organization, the Mustard Infirmary. I’m staying at the Relish Inn. So, I have a condiment theme here in Rochester. I bank at the First Bank of Ketchup. Okay, condiment humor, not big in Rochester. We can see that. Did you see what the building next door, right next to the main Mayo building, the little deli? They’re going to call it Mayo on the Side. Free condiment jokes. Yeah! I mean, how cool is it you guys work for the Mayo Clinic? It was so much fun for me when, you know, where you going this time, Brad? I’m going to the Mayo Clinic. Oh, I’m sorry. No, I’m healthy! I’m healthy! We’re going to laugh. A little mayo on the side. Four condiment jokes.
I didn’t totally bomb those jokes, but clearly they didn’t go as well as I had hoped and I used a couple of techniques that you can use as well. First, whether you’re telling stories or relating an anecdote or telling jokes, when things aren’t going as well as you hoped or horrible, let the audience know that you’ve noticed. Acknowledge it. There’s nothing weirder than watching a speaker that acts like everything’s going great when it’s clear to the audience that things aren’t going great. So, don’t do that. It’s too weird. But the second part is equally important which is that it’s your responsibility to take care of the audience. It’s your responsibility to let them know that you’re fine. So, when things don’t go well, they start to worry about us and they start to fret for us and get stressed and you got to let them know that you’re fine. So, you notice, I did just that. First, I acknowledged the condiment jokes failed, or at least weren’t doing that great. I even started counting the goofy, failed condiment jokes. But, more important than that, with my body language and with my words, I let them know, hey, don’t worry about me, I’m having a good time still. You’re going to have a good time still. We’ve got lots of program left and things are great. So, the audience will admire you and love you for trying humor, even if it doesn’t go as well as you had hoped.
Just remember the two rules. One, acknowledge it, let them know. And second, take responsibility to bring them with you and let them know that you’re totally fine.
Part 1. Find a Speaker Mentor
Part 2. Choose a Correct Motivational Topic (on YouTube)
How to be a Motivational Speaker (3) on YouTube
Adding Humor (1) The Act Out (On YouTube)
Adding Humor (2): Give the Audience a Voice (on YouTube)
Adding Humor (3) What to Do When Your Humor Bombs (YouTube)
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