Sunday, January 24, 2016
If you could learn to tell a joke.
You might think you already can tell a joke.
I guess I understand that. I can play “chopsticks” on the piano, so technically that means that I can play the piano.
But let’s not fight over opinions.
What do you stand to gain if you improve your joke telling skills?
All communication is structured just like a joke. You have a premise, and you have a set up, and you have a payoff. In joke telling we call that a punch line.
Sometimes people tell a joke and it fails. It’s not funny, or the audience doesn’t understand the joke. Why does a joke fail?
The joke teller doesn’t know the joke well. He or she isn’t prepared. The joke teller tries to use too many words. The joke teller doesn’t trust the audience to understand. The joke teller confuses details and muddles the set up.
And finally, the joke teller doesn’t deliver the punch line well. Maybe the joke teller doesn’t really understand the punch line. Maybe the joke teller doesn’t understand the variety of ways the punch line can be delivered. The punch line and even the setup could have been delivered with subtlety, or enthusiasm, or quickly, or slowly, or with seriousness, or with wackiness.
Each joke is deferent, but each joke requires practice, and needs to be delivered with the right mixture of the previously mentioned flavors of delivery. And the joke teller must be very familiar with the joke.
Isn’t this formula the same when you are presenting any kind of information to any kind of group or person?
You need to be familiar with your information.
You need to tell your audience the premise of what you are about to say.
You need to lay out the setup of your information without too many words, and in a manner that your audience can follow and understand.
You must engage your audience with enthusiasm, or seriousness, or speed, or calmness.
And finally, you must deliver your point in a manner that ties everything together and shines a light on the point you are trying to make.
Now, learn to tell a joke, and the next time you’re called upon to deliver another kind of presentation, you’ll have the skills to really make an impact.
And while you're at it, here's a great resource for you: