• Robert Bostick

5 Funny Jokes Made For a Presentation

Updated: 2 days ago

Presenting with Self-Deprecating Humor

"Humor lowers defenses, making your audience more receptive to your message. It also makes you seem more likable, and people are more willing to do business with or support someone they like."

Carmine Gallo,The 9 Public Speaking Secrets

Ok, let’s say you find yourself speaking in front of a business meeting, sales presentation, keynote talk, or zoom, and you want to begin by making your audience smile to warm everyone up to you and your message. You could show a funny image, you could share a relevant light-hearted story, or you could tell a joke. The only reason you would ever tell a joke is that you are sure the punchline will put a nice smile on everyone’s face.

The safety valve of every joke is that you're telling it for two reasons: to generate a laugh and to make a point. If you don't get the laugh you hopefully will still have made an important point letting you move onto your next salient point without breaking stride.

But as much as everyone loves to hear a great joke that adds to the power of your message, the sad truth is there are very few well-written business appropriate jokes that end with a surprisingly smart punchline.

So when you do find one it means you’ve solved the biggest problem of telling a joke - the joke itself. A joke that doesn’t offend anyone and is actually funny is a treasure for the speaker and the audience. The motivation for telling a joke in a business setting is simple - it makes you look good and it makes the audience feel great.

In the entertainment business, to make an actor funny, you don't teach them how to be funny, you give him or her great lines. The same holds true for joke-telling. It has nothing to do with whether or not you are funny. It has everything to do with the material you’re working with. So let’s improve your joke telling skills by giving you some of the finest joke material available anywhere.

To make it easy to tell a great joke here is one you don’t even have to tell. You just show it and it will do all the heavy humor lifting for you.

JOKE # 1

Grammar Lesson

Anagrams are words that have the same exact letters:

Listen = Silent

Elvis = Lives

Debit card = Bad credit

Dormitory = Dirty room

Stressed = Desserts

Is your audience smiling? Yes, they are. Do they think you possess a sense of humor? They do now. How would you tie this into your message? You could say “We all have the same letters to build our message with. What matters is the order in which we put them in.” So let’s see how effective I can be with the 26 letters I have available to me to share my message with you.”

JOKE # 2

Thank You for Putting Your Phones Away

This next joke is a short, pitch-perfect opening to begin any presentation.

"Thank you for putting your phones away. I realize even though we're not looking at our doesn't mean we're not thinking about them."

The humor in this one-liner is subtle and understated, but it clearly demonstrates you have a sense of humor inviting everyone to smile at the universal obsession we've developed with our phones.

JOKE # 3

Two Psychiatrists

"Two psychiatrists each had their practice in the same building for twenty-five years but had never spoken. After a quarter-century in practice, one still appeared young and upbeat. The other looked old and beat up. One day, they found themselves in the elevator together. Unable to contain his curiosity, the prematurely aged psychiatrist began a conversation with his colleague. “I’ve got to know,” he began. “How can you spend twenty-five years listening to people’s problems and still look so bright and cheerful?” He replied, “Who listens?

After delivering the punchline, and the laughter subsides, you can say, "Who listens? We do."

The good news and bad news of a joke this well-written is that you want to take the delivery of it seriously. You need a great deal of devotion to nail it word for word. If you have trouble memorizing it, feel free to print it on a card, hold it in your hand, and glance at it as needed. One way or the other tell the joke precisely as it is written. Practice it multiple times and don't vary from the joke's script. Actors don't vary from their perfectly written lines. Nor should you?

Another key to telling a joke well is once you start don’t stop. Commit to the joke or you won’t get a laugh. If you back off of it as you’re telling it or you tell it half-hardheartedly, the audience will feel your hesitation and assume the joke isn’t going to be good.

And finally for jokes or humorous stories you need to be sure that you don’t let on that what’s coming is funny. The more serious you are before you deliver the punch line the funnier it will be. You have to act as if you don’t even realize it’s funny until after the audience laughs. By the way, that advice also applies to the delivery of one-liners and self-deprecating humor. The best jokes are often the ones that sneak up and surprise you.

That is the saving grace of humor; if you fail

- no one is laughing at you.

A. Whitney Brown

JOKE # 4

The Obituary Joke

"A woman's husband of 60 years died and she thought she should place an obituary in the local newspaper to let everyone know. She called up the paper and the woman on the other end of the line told her, "Obituaries cost five dollars a word." "Five dollars a word! That's ridiculous. Then just write, Fred, Dead!" "I'm sorry, but for an obituary, there is a five-word minimum." “A five-word minimum?!! Fine! 'Fred Dead...Cadillac for Sale.' "​

This is a great joke to emphasize the importance of finding the lowest-cost solution. Or pick your own point you want to make.

Your First Joke Telling Lesson:

Be Sure to 'Act Out' the Characters

You’ve probably noticed whenever comedians tell a joke they always 'act out' the characters in their stories to make them come alive as real people. To make any joke great, you need to do the same just as I do in the telling of the Obituary joke below.

As I demonstrate, don’t be afraid to exaggerate the character's in the joke. If the story calls for outrage, for example, throw your arms up in the air or clench your fists and place them on your hips. If a look of puzzlement is appropriate, squint your eyes and scratch your head. Add voice modulation. You can see how the exceptional script of the joke and my character mannerisms take the joke from a well-written joke to one that brings the house down.

JOKE # 5

Bring Your Child to Work Day

"One of my co-workers brought his young son to work with him. My friend had warned us that his son was a little shy, so we were all a little surprised to see how eager he was to meet all of us. As the day wore on and it got close to quitting time, I happened to notice how unhappy the youngster appeared to be and I asked him why he was so disappointed. His answer had all of us rolling with laughter. He complained that he never got to see the clowns his dad said he worked with."

This is a great joke to emphasize the importance of managing expectations. Or give it whatever point best supports your message.

"Don't Rush"

Finally, remember, don't rush the joke. Pause at the right times to let the story develop in the listener's imagination. And especially don't rush the punchline. By holding it back an extra beat you let the surprise of its humor really hit its mark and be all the more entertaining and enjoyable.

The good news is now you have a nice arsenal of some of the best jokes ever written. You can discover these jokes and more at The Perfect Joke on HumorPoint. There is even a video presentation of the "Two Psychiatrists" joke to help you deliver it perfectly.

Having five great jokes in your professional joke file will let you present yourself in a new and better light to be heard, be liked, and be memorable.

PS. if you want to use humor in the safest way possible in your professional life read how on HumorPoint at Humor Etiquette.

Or click on the following link if you have ever wanted to master the art of Self-Deprecating Humor.

Why can't an engineer tell a joke timing.

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