Public Speaking Myths to
Clear Up Right Now
#7 - I Have To Be Funny So That People Like Me
Have you ever seen someone
speaking in public who tries hard to be funny, but just
canít seem to make it work? Painful, isnít it?
Some people have the ability to
use humor effectively in their speeches, and thatís just
great, but most of us donít have that particular skill.
I know a lady whoís highly
intelligent, very successful and widely respected in the
business community. She has truckloads of wisdom and
insights to share with the world, but, every time she
takes the stage, she tries to lighten the mood by making
little wisecracks and jokes. These are the result of
nothing more than nervous energy finding its way out
through bad attempts at jest.
Once she gets on a roll, she has
magnificent things to say, but getting out of the gate
is very difficult for her, because she needs time to
ďramp up.Ē During that ramping up period, her attempts
at humor are very uncomfortable for her and the
audience, because theyíre perceived as awkward moments
of tremendous nervousness, which is precisely what they
The problem with using humor as a
warm-up to your presentation is that your audience
dictates the result. If your humor is a hit and the
audience laughs, youíre going to feel great about it and
it will help you going forward, but if your humor
doesnít hit the mark and the audience doesnít laugh, the
effect on your confidence can be crippling and it can
destroy your entire presentation.
Hereís a little secret for you:
your audience doesnít care if youíre funny or not. A
confident and emotionally sincere approach is always
more effective than an awkward attempt at ineffective
Humor can be a nice little bonus
for your audience, but unless youíre branding yourself
as a comedian, humor isnít expected and isnít required.
Your audience wants to get to know the real you, and if
humor isnít part of the real you, donít force it.
So, whatís the lesson? Humor is a
tremendous tool when used effectively, but itís not a
requirement and should be used only by those who can do
so naturally. Weíll explore this further in chapter