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Joke-Telling in Presentations

Professional Polish Tip from Ro Crosbie

"I have heard that starting a presentation with a joke lures in the audience. Is this true?" asks Mike.

Humor can be one of the most effective attention-getting techniques when used naturally and appropriately. Humor keeps the audience alert. Laughter triggers the release of adrenaline and increases long-term retention. Humor makes audiences more relaxed, responsive and creative.

Although it is certainly true that the release of adrenaline and endorphins into the system heightens learning and interest, a joke is seldom, if ever, appropriate.

It is important not to confuse humor with comedy. Nothing is more uncomfortable for an audience than a long, awkward, unnatural joke.

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