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The 6th public speaking secret of the world’s top minds: Laughter

Talk Like TED: The 9 Public Speaking Secrets from World’s Top MindsCarmile Gallo in his highly acclaimed book ‘Talk Like TED: The 9 Public Speaking Secrets from World’s Top Minds” (2014), devotes the 6th secret on “lightening up with laughter.”

Gallo explains that: “Humor involves some risk and most people don’t have the courage for it, which is why most business presentations are awfully dry and boring. It takes courage to be vulnerable, to poke some good-natured fun at yourself and your topic. The key is to be authentic. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. But if something makes you laugh, there’s a good chance it will make someone else laugh too.

Carmine Gallo advices against telling jokes in your speech, unless of course you are a comedian. Most TED speakers do not tell jokes. Instead of jokes, they use humorous personal anecdotes and observations.

Gallo identifies four simple ways to add more laughter to your speech:

1- Anecdotes, Observations, and Personal Stories

Most TED presenters who elicit laughs from the audience tend to relate anecdotal information about themselves or people they know, observations about the world, or personal stories. If something happened to you and you found the humor in it, there’s a good chance others will, too.

2- Analogy and Metaphors

An analogy is a comparison that points out the similarities between two different things. It’s an excellent rhetorical technique that helps to explain complex topics.

Many popular TED presenters provoke laughter by using analogies. For example:

If you hear an expert talking about the Internet and saying it does this or it will do that, you should treat it with the same skepticism that you might treat the comments of an economist about the economy or a weatherman about the weather.” —Danny Hillis, inventor, TED 2013”

3- Quotes

An easy way to get a laugh without being a comedian or telling a joke is to quote somebody else who said something funny. The quotes can be from famous people, anonymous people, or family and friends. TED speakers do this all the time. For example, Carmen Agra Deedy quoted her mother, who said, “I gave shame up with pantyhose—they’re both too binding.”

4- Video

Very few people use video clips in presentations, even at TED talks. Video, however, is a very effective way of bringing humor into a presentation: it takes the pressure off you to be funny.

And finally…

And finally, Carmine Gallo points out: “Don’t take yourself (or your topic) too seriously. The brain loves laughter. Give your audience something to smile about. Why it works: Laughter lowers defenses, making your audience more receptive to your message. It also makes you seem more likeable, and people are more willing to do business with or support someone they like.”

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This article first appeared on www.theschooloflaughter.com and is republished here with permission.

2016-03-20T20:08:08+00:00 Blog Laughter Therapy|

About the Author:

Nat Tsolak is a coach, Improv teacher and consultant with over 15 years international experience in training, leading and facilitating groups. Nat puts positive psychology into practice with fun, play and laughter. In the past 15 years he has worked on innovative projects and events in the private and public sector. Nat is a member of the British Psychological Society. His qualifications include an M.Phil in behavioral psychology and MBA in Innovation and Entrepreneurship from the Imperial College. Nat has been trained in Improv Comedy by the founder of modern Impro, Keith Johnstone, including a number of teachers and schools in London , such as Imprology, Second City & UCB trainers in London, Spontaneity Shop and Hoopla Impro. Nat was also trained in stand-up comedy by Logan Murray author of ‘Be a Great Stand-Up: Teach Yourself’. He is a graduate of Dr Madan Kataria’s Laughter Techniques Program and Sebastien Gentry’s Laughter Wellness Training. Nat often contributes to popular television programs, such as BackChat with Jack Whitehall, Norwegian and Japanese TV, Nat is also a regular on BBC Radio. See www.theschooloflaughter.com

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