Public Speaking Course:
To Laugh or Not to Laugh . . .That is the Question
Some professional public speaking 'experts' say that you shouldn't laugh at your own jokes or stories while your presenting on stage.
This may work for other presenters, but it's definitely not what I like to do. When I'm on stage in front of an audience, I want to have some fun, because that is part of being confident from all you learned in my public speaking course. I'm there because I love humor and laughter and I love sharing it with my audience.
I can't help but laugh sometimes. I laugh at what I say. I laugh at what they say. I laugh at unexpected occurrences during the presentation. That's just my style. I believe that to fully connect with an audience, you must be accepted as one of them. If I expect them to laugh, then I should laugh too.
Sometimes you can laugh to tell the audience it's time to laugh. Using what you learned from your public speaking course involves leading your audience into laughter. Within a matter of minutes your public stage persona will be evident to the audience. As soon as they catch onto your style and rhythm, they will pick up on the cues you give them. When you laugh, they know it is time for them to laugh. It's almost like holding up an applause sign. Some presenters use facial expressions or gestures or a combination of many cues that tell the audience it's OK to laugh.
The opposite of a laughter cue is a deadpan expression. This is a very serious expression that is contrasted with humorous lines. The contrast creates a larger laugh than the line could get by itself. I use this to set the audience up for some fun questions. I look completely earnest when I say, "I'm the foremost expert in the world [pause] on dumb questions." It always gets a good laugh.
When your giving your speech go ahead and laugh when you feel like it.