Tim Lee, a former scientist, will speak at TEDx for the second time this year. Lee uses the frequently mind-numbingly dull PowerPoint presentation as his media of choice, but when he shows off his deck, it’s everything but. In seconds, the audience starts clapping wildly and laughing hysterically in response to his PowerPoint. Why this did not occur to you may be a mystery to you.
Lee is one of an increasing number of comedians who are at ease performing on a corporate platform. Speakers like him are in high demand as the distinction between information and entertainment becomes hazier. (Lee has sold-out performances where fans shell out cash to watch him do PowerPoint presentations. I know it sounds strange.) In addition to being funnier than others, he has one significant edge over typical corporate speakers: He appears on stage a lot more frequently.
Years of practice help comedians perfect their trade, honing their material and performance. As a result, they are among the few public speakers who have accumulated the 10,000 hours Malcolm Gladwell claims it takes to become a master. Regular business presenters are being pushed to improve.
In light of this, here are 10 pieces of advice from Lee and other top 10,000-hour comedians on how to talk in public more effectively and humorously:
1. Use the Rule of Three.
According to Lee, “This rule is a fundamental framework for jokes and concepts that use the way we process information.” “Due to need, we have honed our pattern recognition skills. The least amount of components needed to make a pattern is three. This pattern and brevity work together to produce memorable material.
2. Use Your Personal Experiences
Personal stories are the most secure forms of humor since they are original and can be readily developed and perfected. As Ricky Gervais puts it, real life has a way of doing that: “As a creator, it’s your responsibility to get an audience as thrilled and captivated by a subject as you are.”
3. Locate the crucial component quickly.
Writing comedy isn’t actually about writing; it’s more about editing, according to British comedian Jimmy Carr. What you don’t say is what matters. What can I say in the fewest possible words to get to the humorous part?
4. Find the Humor in Your Pain Points
Charlie Chaplin once remarked, “To properly laugh, you must be able to take your anguish and play with it.” He probably didn’t mean consumer pain spots, but the same advice still holds.
5. Consider Firsts and Failures
Darren LaCroix claims that “so many individuals seek me for help writing a funnier speech.” “They ask where they may ‘find humorous.’ I advise beginning by glancing in the mirror! Start by examining your failures and successes. It was the first time you had misbehaved. The audience adores humility and honesty.
6. Check the Jokes
The audience is glued to a massive screen during presentations, which gives them an advantage over most traditional stand-up acts, according to Sammy Urgent. “And visual humor has never been more popular in a society where amusing Photoshopped images, memes, and GIFs predominate on our devices. Don’t limit yourself to making jokes in your presentation. Display funny things, too.
7. Choose fun over humor
According to Andrew Tarvin, “making people laugh is merely one sort of comedy; getting them to grin is another. “When you start, concentrate on making things fun rather than hilarious.”
8. Crack a Joke
A joke has already contributed value if people are laughing. “If it transitions into a point, that helps. But that isn’t required,” asserts Rajiv Satyal. One of his favorites is amusing and appropriate for a business presentation: A man takes a vow of silence and enters a monastery. He is permitted to speak twice every seven years. The elders bring him in after the first seven years and request his two words. Cold floors, he says. They nod as they dismiss him. There are seven more years. They reintroduce him and want his two terms. His throat is cleared. Lousy food, he declares. They nod as they dismiss him. There are seven more years. He is brought in because of his two words. I quit, he says. That’s not surprising, one of the elders adds as he turns to face him. Since you arrived, all you’ve done is whine. In whatever situation, I’ve never had that joke go flat, claims Satyal. Connecting it to a corporate event, like a reorganization, is also simple. (Reorganizations are ongoing everywhere.)
9. Use naturally funny words, just like Jerry Seinfeld does
Some words can be humorous without context because they are funnier than others. Comments that contain a k are comic. Funny Alka-Seltzer. Laughable is chicken. Pickle is a hoot. Ls are not humorous. To focus on Pop-Tarts in his joke about them, Jerry Seinfeld chose foods from the 1960s in all of their odd, unhealthy, frozen forms. Pop Tarts: Why? Pop-Tarts because it sounds weird. “The Pop-Tart arrived out of nowhere in the grocery… and we were digging in the soil with sticks like chimpanzees. Seinfeld claims the joke works because it has chimpanzees, dirt, children playing, and bats. Four of the seven words are humorous. The chimpanzees are amusing. (The interview can be seen here.)
10. Create an image that others can see.
Reggie Steele advises against going overboard with the comedy since “comedy is in the details.” Just enough to establish the setting. Talk to people as though you were doing something for the radio or speaking to a blind person. Details are crucial.