The use of humor in your work must be done well in order to be effective. When it comes to adding interest and excitement to your webinar presentation, you want to do so tastefully as to not offend, exasperate, or otherwise alienate your audience.
It is important to note that the use of humor can be advantageous, or a huge flop, which can make or break your webinar. Due to this, you must learn how and when humor should be used in order to benefit your webinar presentation and keep things not only interesting, but also respectful and professional.
Keeping Things Interesting with a Laugh
One of the great things about humor is that, when it is executed well, it can work wonders on a crowd. A good laugh automatically increases the mood and enjoyment of the crowd, making them more susceptible to whatever it is you have to say.
When not done so well, however, poorly placed humor can make things very difficult for your webinar. The audience may interpret a bad joke as a sign of incompetence, immaturity, and even unprofessionalism. If this happens, it can shut the audience off to your information, even if what you have to say is practical, engaging, and relevant to their lives.
To ensure that you use humor correctly, keep the following guidelines in line when incorporating comedy into your webinar presentation.
Consider Your Topic
Whether you’re telling a joke, a funny anecdote, or laying out a humorous scenario, if the content does not match your topic, it will most likely fall flat with your audience. You want to make sure your humor lines up well with whatever your talking about or selling, making it relevant and inclusive to your audience. For example, if you’re speaking to audience of doctors about a medical-related topic, you could easily use medical jargon and scenarios with which your audience can certainly relate. Likewise, if you’re speaking to an audience of doctors, nurses, and healthcare technicians and use a joke about being a plumber, chances are it won’t be received well at all.
Know Your Audience
Again, you have to consider the audience you’re presenting this webinar to. Commonality is the best device to use when creating humor and light-heartedness in a presentation. Similar to considering your topic, you must consider your audience. Sure, you may have an audience full of healthcare professionals, but that is not always enough to go off of. What is the average age of the audience? Is the audience primarily made up of men or women? Are they geographically close to one another or are they spread out all over the world? It is important to remember that even though an audience is a collective group, it is made up of individuals. Finding something that unites them is the best material with which to weave a joke or present an amusing anecdote.
Don’t Over-load on the Comedy
Like using seasoning when cooking, adding humor to your webinar presentation must be done in moderation. Too much and the webinar is ruined, too little and the webinar seems a little dry and flavorless. The best way to add humor is to remember these two rules of thumb:
- Go With What Feels Natural
- Break It Up
These rules simply mean that if it seems natural to transition into a joke or a witty comment, you should go ahead and do it. However, if your humor is being planned, you want to break it up throughout the presentation so that it doesn’t over or underwhelm the audience. For example, if your webinar is full of stats, numbers, and cold, hard facts, you will need some humor to break up the more rigid information. However, if your webinar is about tips for a successful marriage, for example, this topic lends itself to a few well-placed jokes that you can say conversationally. Remember, if your comedy ever feels forced, chances are the audience will notice, and they won’t laugh. You can plan or go with the flow, but it is important to find what works for you.
Visuals Can Be Funny, Too
While spoken jokes and stories are great sources of humor, you must remember that there are other outlets open to you. Especially with a webinar, you have the option of using videos, memes, and gifs to make the jokes for you. These fun little additions to your webinar instantly give your audience some visual interest as well as something to relate to when participating in your webinar. To be safe, use visuals sparingly. While they can be humorous and add plenty of interest, you don’t want them to be totally irrelevant. A cat video, no matter how cute or hilarious, simply won’t belong in a webinar about managing one’s finances. However, a meme or a gif that highlights the struggle of dealing with taxes could be a funny addition to your presentation that doesn’t take away from the gravity of your message.
This criteria should help you as you prepare future webinar presentations. Remember that humor is a great tool when used correctly, but can ultimately be the downfall of your webinar if not executed well.