By Gavin Meikle

I find writing humorous speeches a real challenge. I can often weave a bit of humour into a serious speech without too much difficulty but for some reason, writing a deliberately humorous speech seems much harder.

Last year I tried to give a deliberately humorous speech and I wasn’t very successful. I did what I suspect many people do when they want to be funny in a presentation.

I researched a load of numerous stories via the web and attempted to string them together into a speech. Whilst I did get a few laughs, the whole thing was disjointed and contrived. I think the main reasons for this were:

● The stories I used weren’t mine and therefore they lacked authenticity.

● There wasn’t a strong storyline linking these various anecdotes together in any logical way.

●I was trying too hard to be funny.

Being someone who liked a challenge, I decided to research how the best presenters bring humour into their presentations and I’d like to share the results of that research with you.

A) Don’t tell jokes, tell stories instead. I know that some comedians tell jokes but most of us don’t have the timing to tell jokes well and and I’ve seen cringed too many times when some business leader attempts to tell a joke tom open their presentation and the whole thing falls flat.

B) Tell your own stories rather than pulling them from the Internet. You will be much more convincing and congruent if you do. We all have experienced or witnessed funny humourous and embarrassing situations firsthand. Sharing these can be a great way to get a laugh.

C) Don’t be afraid to exaggerate. Some of the funniest comedians on the planet don’t tell jokes. They have us in stitches simply by exaggerating the things that real people do and say every day. So become an observer of people and look for things that make you smile. Become a collector. Keep a notebook handy and capture these little moments so that you can use them later on in a speech. Don’t rely on your memory.

So there you have it, three simple strategies to help you build more humour into your presentations and speeches.