Jul 01

Bombproofing a Funny Work Presentation

If you have to give a funny work presentation one of the areas that people often wonder about is “is it possible to be bombproof?” To clarify, you bomb when a punchline you expect to gain a laugh actually fails. It happens to us all, the difference is when you’rein front of a bunch of people that feeling gets magnified. Material that is bombproof would resistant to such laughter failure. So is it possible? Yes… and no.

Here’s what I mean you will have punchlines that don’t work. That’s just one of the inevitable facts of life. The more you perform humour, the more you will build up a reserve of funny material that works. Your odds on success will increase. So your laughs in your funny work presentation will increase their hit rate.

However, there are fail-safes that you can implement that reduce your chances of “comedy death” until you are able to build up those reserves. Likewise, you can still use these techniques even if you have built up your funny reserves.

You Vs. Your Audience?

Admittedly, there are times when your audience isn’t laughing that it can feel a bit “us and them”. In a stand-up comedy environment, where the audience can heckle, it can feel gladitorial. However, this is not the case in a work or business environment.

Remember this, your audience does not know your script. That means they don’t know if you intend a line to be funny or not in your funny work presentation. If all of your humour ties into your material and a potential punchline fail, your audience will just think you are making a point.

Or if you have had previous lines get laughs, they will think that you took a break from the laughter to make a more serious point.

You’re the only one who knows if your material in your funny work presentation is working or not. The only way you audience will know is if you draw attention to it..

Saving Yourself and your Funniness

What you can do, and this is a technique many comedians use, is point out that an expected laugh line didn’t work in your funny work presentation. This way you are acknowledging your failing and releasing tension which may have built up in your audience as a result of them thinking “that joke didn’t work. I hope there’s not more duds”

Saver Lines or Not?

Some people suggest having a cache of saver lines memorised for just such an occasion. Just as some people have a stock of “heckler beater” lines. But I don’t think it’s really necessary. A simple acknowledgment of the missing laugh such as “remind me to never use that line again” is all that is needed. Over time you will build up your own stockpile of time-tested saver lines, rather than re-using ones that everyone else uses.

The other technique you can use is using humour quoted from another source. I’ve mentioned this elsewhere on this blog, but it’s worth briefly repeating here. If the quote relates directly to your presentation, and it elicits a laugh, then by all means use it. The caveat being you have to cite your source, tell your audience where the quote came from. You can simply as “As Jay Leno once said…” and then deliver the Jay Leno quote.

You don’t have to be restricted to quoting famous wits such as Winston Churchill, Dorothy Parker or John Lennon or even comedians in your funny work presentation. You can also quote your boss, a friend or work colleague as long as the quote gets a laugh and you cite your source you should be ready to go.

Check out this article for further info on learning how to create funny PowerPoints.

So next time you give a funny work presentation see if you can harness the power of a humorous quote and ignore any lines that don’t get the laughter response you’d hoped for.

If you wanna learn to capture your own sense of humour check out this system Top Comedy Secrets.

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