What About Humor?

"Now that reminds me of a story." This statement can bring on a pleasant interlude or cause the audience to groan, "Oh, not again!" Do jokes or humorous stories have a place in business presentations? Maybe. Almost any audience appreciates a bit of levity, and I have seen many business presenters incorporate humor into their talks with good effect. The "maybe" is to put up a caution that humor can fall flat if it is out of place, is not pertinent to the subject, or is atrociously told. We're not all great joke tellers, and obvious attempts to add levity at any cost generally backfire.

Why use humor at all? Says Dr. Jerry Tarver of the University of Richmond: "Mainly because it can help hold attention and interest. Also, humor ...

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