Before I was a motivational speaker, I was a comedian. I think that most speakers should avoid telling jokes, but on the other hand, telling jokes around the water cooler or on the porch while sippin’ lemonade is a time-honored tradition. But if you are going to tell jokes, you should do it right. Here are seven tips to keep in mind while telling jokes.
1. Make sure you actually know the joke. Tell it to your kids, your spouse, and your dog. Trust me, you want to tell the joke a few times before you do it for real.
2. Don’t tell jokes that everybody has heard…if your joke is all over the internet, then this is a great joke to AVOID.
3. Shorter jokes are better. Trust me, your audience will appreciate you for NOT adding all of the colorful details and fluff. Just tell the joke!
4. The punch-line comes last. And I mean last! Consider this joke: Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side.
Now, the same joke when the punch-line is not last. (I know, that joke is pretty bad on its own, but… you get the idea.) Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side of the road which was on a long block because he wanted to get to his chicken coop.
See? Punch-lines should be last. Period. NOTHING comes after the punch. (Except for your silence and their laughter.)