The shocking truth is that babies laugh approximately 400 times a day whilst people over 35, only about 20 times. As we age it seems as though cynicism sets in due to strained working environments, home life stress and our living environments. The social benefit of laughter and humour includes relationship strengthening, enhanced teamwork, is a huge conflict diffuser and also gives us a chance to bond to our colleagues.
Have you ever been to a conference where the guest speakers are dull and monotonous, it really is no laughing matter as you tend to nod off to sleep and wonder what is for dinner. Laughter in the presentation can boost engagement, wave off the boredom and encourage creativity and production.
You may have watched a couple of TED Talks and you will agree that the most engaging ones start with something witty and smart that grab your attention straight away. You remain engaged and listen attentively to what the speaker has to say. They are experts in their subject and often poke fun at themselves which humanises them allowing the audience to relate to them. Laughter creates a less stagnated environment and places people at ease, creating confidence in themselves which allows them to learn and ask questions.
Corporations understand that there is a place for laughter and humour in the workplace. Team builds are encouraged where people can interact in a light hearted and friendly competitive space. Have a peek at the way Google operates, a fun, friendly and cooperative working environment has shown what a company can do. We should encourage those of us in the business world to think about the power of laughter and factor it into how we communicate, allocate our time, and even recruit and hire.
A few suggestions to add humour at your conference:
Speakers that use humour correctly will grab the audience’s attention immediately. Make sure you say your speech privately to at least three different colleagues and pay attention to their reactions. Tweak your speech and ask for suggestions, what you find humorous might be funny to everyone. When you are confident about your speech, get up on the podium and speak with confidence, it will have your audience wanting more.