Why Public Speaking Opening Jokes (Almost) Always Fail

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Imagine the most non-funny persons you know. That boring person who sits in the corner never says anything interesting and just has no excitement about them at all.

Now imagine that person came to you and say: “I am going to become a professional comedian. What do you think, hey?” You would think that person is crazy!

That is exactly what your audience is thinking when you are opening with a joke that you found of the internet.

Today I want to talk to about why public speaking opening jokes always fail.

I am going to cover 5 reasons why public speaking opening jokes (almost) always fail.

Failure Reason #1: The Jokes Are Never That Funny

They are not that funny.

The jokes that you get off internet are like that jokes that come in a Christmas bonbons. You pull the bonbon apart and you get your hat and your Christmas joke and it says something about a snowman.

And you are like: “huh, there is a bit of a play on words there, but it’s really not that funny.” That’s the same with jokes you find on the internet. They are not that funny.

Failure Reason #2: Too Much Hinges On The Joke

The introduction to your speech is very important and if you are opening with a joke, and that joke fails, well your presentation has basically failed from the get go.

Your introduction needs to establish with the audience why it is important to them and why they should be listening to the speech. It should also explain why you are credible and why they should listen to you.

If you tell a joke that fails then they are not going to want to listen to you and they wont want to respect you.

Too much hinges on that opening, so to tell a joke and have it fail… well it’s just not worth the risk.

Failure Reason #3: The Audience Doesn’t Know You

Jokes are so much funnier when you know the person who is telling it.

If you know me, and you know my situation and you know who my kids are, and I tell a joke about my kids. Well, that’s going to be funnier than if I go get up in front of the crowd and just go straight into a joke about what happened to my 3 year old.

They don’t know me, they don’t know who I am they don’t know my personality or the people I am talking about in the joke then it’s not going to be funny. So, because I don’t know you it’s probably not the best thing to do.

Failure Reason #4: You Are Not Going To Be Genuine

One of the things that I push for is that we be genuine public speakers.

We are who we are not who we think we should be because we learnt some public technique.

You want to be yourself and be genuine and some joke from the internet isn’t going to be about you (or from you) so isn’t going to be genuine.

Failure Reason #5: There Is Nothing In It For Them

So I spoke to you about the fact that interaction is so important because you need to establish with the audience what’s in it for them.

Why should they listen to this? Why should they bother listening to your speech? If you are telling a joke then there is nothing in it for them.

Public Speaking Opening Jokes Quote

If you are giving a business presentation then people don’t necessarily want a joke. They see a joke and then they write off the rest of your speech because they don’t think you are going to give them any useful information that I can use for their life.

So think about the context of your presentation. If it’s formal, if its one where you are delivering educational content and you want for people to get something out to improves their lives then why are you opening with a joke?

So, next time you are get up in front of an audience try not to tell a joke. Because they are not that funny. Not at all.

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