Learn the Formula to a Funny Story for Your Next Presentation

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Unless you’re a natural comedian, it’s hard to come up with our own comedic material. This three step formula helps anyone come up with an easily scripted joke.

Here is how presenters can add humor to a speech. Find a personal story that relates to the topic you’re presenting and use it to connect to the audience. Remember a good story is about how the listener can image themselves in the story. Once you find that story, you’ll need to:

1. Set up the story in a relatable way. You ideally want everyone in the room to be like, ‘yeah, that happened to me,’

2. Get specific and make it about it you. Start telling them about your own funny experience.

3. Deliver the unexpected. At this point, the audience assumes that they know where you’re going with this. But you’re most likely to get a laugh if you can surprise them.

For example: Say you have a funny story about a time you are in China. Many people will not have been to China so to start the story & grab maximum attention make it more relatable. Eg. “Sometimes being in a new place can be challenging”(relatable to many). “I was in China last year” (specific to you). Many people will never have travelled overseas, many will never have been to China but all will have been in a new place at some stage in their lives. Now you can get to the funny part. This is always in the details of what actually happened to you.

Brevity is levity: Once you identify the funny part of your story use joke structure to get there as quickly and effectively as possible. Joke Structure is Set Up (Opening statement), Punchline (the funny part or twist in the story), Taglines (additional laugh/joke lines). Using joke structure forces you to cut out the unnecessary.

Permanent Beta: The best way and words to delivery your story will become apparent through trial and error on live audiences. Get out there and tell it to test it. To get a story to its most effective, funniest form is a process of continuous testing and refinement.

If you look out for it in your favorite TV or comedy show you’ll notice they often follow this formula in some way. You may not get your own TV show by following this, but you’ll be able to use humor to get the audience to laugh a few times and higher your chances of keeping them engaged.