This article series shares the seventh of eight show biz based entertainment techniques that will help you deliver more engaging presentations.
In the prior article in this series, The sixth of eight entertainment techniques for more engaging presentations, we discovered that the entertainment industry knows how to mix in music and suggested that presentations should too.
Entertainment industry technique seven: Harness Humor
As the old movie song says, “Gotta’ laugh.” People laugh for many reasons: to relate, to share, to cope, to understand, and to ease tension. Humor is the natural healing tonic.
One of the reasons people pay to be entertained is to forget their troubles through laughter. From the slapstick of the Three Stooges to the cutting commentary of Dennis Miller, laughter helps all of cope with the pain we feel when angry, frightened, frustrated. Numerous clinical studies have proven a link between humor and well-being.
Hollywood understands this emotional ability of humor to engage. It is no accident that many of the top 100 movies of all time were either comedies or had a humorous element. Laughter delivers emotional highs that bring people back to the movies again and again. Hollywood knows that.
Classrooms are cold, foreboding places. Many learners tense up immediately in a classroom. Learning requires admitting knowledge gaps, in front of strangers, in an unfamiliar room, to facilitators not yet met. When you add the negative memories many adults have about school, the hostility to required training, and underlying suspicions about management motives, it’s a wonder any learning happens at all.
Learners are often so desperate for laughter in learning situations that they will laugh at our not-so-funny jokes. This is good. We don’t have to be comedians. We do, however, have an obligation to create a positive environment where tension lessens and relationships grow.
This is where humor helps. It is difficult if not impossible to remain hostile while sharing a laugh with another person. Laughter is social; it allows people to relax their fears as they connect with others in a uniquely human fashion. Once that relaxation has set in, learning can take center stage.
Make the learning environment a joyful place to be. Harness Humor!
In the next article in this series, The eighth of eight entertainment techniques for more engaging presentations, we will examine the need be a professional on the platform.