International Human and Environmental Rights Campaigner.
Friday, 6 July 2012
How to Crack a Joke in Public
"Once you get 'em laughing and their mouths open, you can stuff something in." ~ Frances Harvey Green
Jokes are a great way to break the ice and establish rapport; however they can do just the opposite, can’t they? The points below could come in handy next time you take the plunge.
Before the moment of delivery:
Know your audience very well. This will help you to determine what is appropriate, and what to steer clear of. As they say, “Different strokes for different folks!” You can test-drive your anecdote privately and see if it elicits a good laugh or not. Share it in advance with a colleague, family or friends and gauge its impact.
Harnessing the moment:
Do not read your joke. You need to establish full eye contact with your audience – a solid connection. In any event, you should have internalised it well enough to deliver it ‘from the heart.’ Do not warn your audience that you are about to unleash one. It’s funnier, if they do not see it coming. Do not start laughing before or during its delivery Ensure that you are clear and audible enough otherwise they miss it altogether
If your joke is successful:
Do not laugh louder than your audience. Do not gloat and brag about your profound ‘gift of the gab’ Do not appear unsure or surprised that you got them laughing Do not belabour the joke. Avoid elaborating and creating mini-versions of it. Allow them to laugh sufficiently, then speak on
If your joke flops:
Do not attempt to explain it to them Do not repeat it or offer to fix it with another joke Do not get angry at your audience for not laughing Even if you think it, do not audibly question their intelligence Do not air your frustration “You people did not get that, serious, nobody smart enough to get it, seriously? Maybe it will dawn on you later” Take it in your stride, maintain your composure and speak on
Whatever happens, do not stop cracking jokes all together. Keep cultivating a healthy sense of humour. With practice you will sharpen this potent skill, and use it with all its valour!