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Engaging Your Audience with Humour

When you believe that you are not funny…

In our family, Stuart (my husband) has been the quick witted funny one.  He can come up with things at the drop of a hat and make people laugh.  After all that is part of the reason I fell in love with him and married him.  After a while you do hear the similar jokes when we interact with others, I find myself smirking or sometimes even thinking (here we go again…).  I know exactly what he will say next and exactly where people will laugh.  So he no longer makes me laugh as much which is ok too, but I have learnt something about humour in these observations.

When I started out as a speaker over five years ago, I knew being funny in a few spots will help me win over my audience a lot quicker but I had this belief that I just didn’t have it in me.  Initially I was so worried about remembering what I had to deliver that I was mostly in my head rather than my heart.  This is obviously one of the core reasons my funny side was blocked.

As I spoke more and more, I relaxed into my new calling and from time to time, the audience would find some of my quirkiness funny.  I started to get some responses.  Now I was getting somewhere… I would then try the same thing at the next event and it would work again.  Bingo!  Once I had success 3 times, it was already embedded in my mind what it was and how the timing worked and I would bring it in at the right time and place and 98% of the time get my audience laughing or being amused.

The more I came to my heart space and brought out the authentic version of me, the funnier I became.  Even my husband commented on my humour when we watched me present after an extended period that he had not seen me.  He said ‘Darl you have humour!  You even made me laugh and kept me amused.’

Another mentor of mine that I had found so funny in her style of presenting told me that all her humour is practiced and learnt.  After speaking for so long she brings it in as she needs to and it’s the same thing and same response each and every time.  Now I know exactly what she means being on the other side of it.

I am not to say if you came to see me at my events I would do a comedy show, but I will certainly make you feel like you have been well engaged and entertained during my talk.

So lets have a look at some of the key insights shared here:

  • Humour is about timing but it is generally practiced and repeated until perfected for a certain outcome
  • You become funnier the more you are into the mode of being truly you and authentic
  • We are naturally funny, embrace it and your quirks
  • Give it time, notice what people find amusing and keep doing more of that
  • Note down what it is people laughed it and how can you use that in different places.

The other day in my Bums on Seats Mastermind group I was telling about this and we had an awesome laugh.  In my signature workshop I talk about my career before business having had only 3 jobs in my life.  One of those jobs was to work in a comic book store where I was surrounded by smelly customers….

This is where I get tons of laughs – generally people do understand that those that love comics are not great with their hygiene and with the use of my timing and pause my audience laughs...

Then come other parts of my story that are also amusing.  I think pausing is key in comedy, facial expressions and use of tone.  Use them to your advantage and you will have your audience raving about your engaging presentations.

Love Nat x

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