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Presentation Secrets: Do What you Never Thought Possible With Your Presentations by Alexei Kapterev

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USING HUMOR (OR NOT?)

Humor isn't important. A 1998 study, “Making the Continuing Medical Education Lecture Effective” by H. Liesel Copeland et al. published in the Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions found that lecturers who identified important points, engaged the audience, were clear and organized, and used a case-based approach had better ratings. Use of humor was not associated with higher scores! Humor isn't big on the list Estrada and his coauthors came up with, either. Don't get me wrong; I love humor. I even took a course in standup at the American Comedy Institute in New York and improv comedy classes from the Upright Citizen's Brigade theater. I befriended a Russian standup comedian, Kolia Kulikov, and even have him on my client list because I sometimes give him feedback on his rehearsals while he pays me a symbolic ruble for doing so. I really love humor. I am also very keen to admit that for certain presentational styles, humor is entirely inappropriate and may even detract from the message.

My perception is that humor is immensely helpful when you have lot of improvisation. I think you just cannot improvise without laughing because you make so many mistakes in the process. It is no accident that we have lots of improv comedy and no improv drama. You don't need any more drama in improv theater. Things are already quite bad as they are. However, if you don't improvise a lot, if your presentation or lecture is about some highly specialized subject, ...

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