How Humour Can Backfire Horribly At Your Next Presentation

Is there a way to offend the entire audience?

Or at the very least, a part of the audience?

And how easy is it to get a good deal of people mad at you?

And you can do all of the above, by using humour.

And that’s why smart speakers don’t depend on humour


Because what’s funny in one country, isn’t funny in another.

What was funny a week ago, is gross a week later.

What men find funny, women don’t find funny.

What some women find funny, other women find obnoxious.

Humour is, and will always be, subjective

When we speak at conferences, we find that we can literally go from
one session to another, and have literally the same demographic,
and sometimes they’ll laugh at a humourous situation.

And sometimes, they look at you like they want to kill you, because
you’ve just offended the heck out of the audience.

Besides jokes do fall flat

Jokes need timing.

And a very effective delivery of the punchline.

And if you’re trying to tell a joke, or create something funny, and
it falls flat, well…that’s very, very embarrassing for you as a

It slows you down.

It dents your credibility quite a bit, and isn’t worth the trouble
at all.

So what do speakers (at least the smart ones do)?

They tell a story. And if the audience laughs, then well and good.

If the audience doesn’t laugh, then the story still works. The
audience still gets the message.

And if the audience does find it funny–and they often will–well
now you’ve got a double bonus.

You’ve got your message across, and you’ve made the audience laugh.

And if the audience laughs, make a mental note of the story

And especially the point at which the audience laughed.

Then make it part of your message, because you can be darned sure
that the audience will indeed laugh again.

As you build up story, after story, after story, you’ll have a
speech that’s literally a barrel full of laughs.

And you won’t be telling jokes. You won’t be using humour. You’ll
just be telling stories.

So yeah, tell stories.

Leave the laughs to the comedians–and stupid presenters!

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