Many people are under the impression that the process for generating laughter while giving a speech or presentation is somehow vastly different from delivering stand-up comedy.
This notion is FALSE.
The comedy mechanics for generating audience laughter are exactly the same as those needed for stand-up comedy (or in any environment for that matter)
The big difference is that speeches and presentations usually contain “informational content” that is not designed or intended to generate laughter.
For any trainer, teacher or public speaker who is looking to “spice” up their speeches and presentations with comedy and humor, here’s what you need to know:
1. Just like with comedians, one cannot simply “write” themselves into being “funny” for an audience — they must have AND apply some baseline comedy talent in order to generate significant laughter (see #4 below).
2. Public speakers have two choices when it comes to generating laughs with “original” comedy material (based on an individual’s sense of humor):
– They can react to the material (informational content) they are delivering using their own sense of humor or…
– They can add content that they CAN react to using their sense of humor relative to the “informational content” that is presented
3. Public speakers have the advantage of being able to inject common street jokes that are appropriate into their presentation (not usually the case in the comedy club scene).
Common street jokes, when carefully selected, edited and rehearsed can be powerful “off the shelf” comedy material for ANY speaking professional.
4. Just like with comedians, MOST of a speaking professional’s laughter generation power comes from their delivery and effective use of their already developed expressive comedy traits — not the literal words and sentences used.
When it comes to generating laughter from an audience, there is NO difference between public speaking and stand-up comedy as far as the comedy mechanics go.
This is one reason why I recommend comedians who want to work in the corporate environment look closely at this great resource for comedy material — and for public speakers as well.