How Humor Makes Your Message More Palatable, and More Powerful

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How Humor Makes Your Message More Palatable, and More Powerful

A little bit of nervousness before a speech or interview is a good thing. A lot of nervousness—not so much.

Yet public speaking and media interview skills are essential for most executives and business owners.

If you give a rocky speech in front of potential investors, you might lose their confidence, not to mention their financial support for your business. Communicate poorly to your boss or colleagues, and you may miss opportunities to get buy-in for your ideas. And a poorly handled print or broadcast interview could turn a relatively benign issue into a full-blown crisis.

Which brings us to Talk about Talk, a semi-regular (I’ll share something whenever I find an example from which we can all learn) feature here on Polaris B about media interview and presentation skills.

In each Talk about Talk post, I’ll either supply a useful tip or focus on an example—sometimes good and sometimes bad—of an actual interview or presentation. My goal is to provide key lessons that will help you improve your performance in the boardroom and in front of the camera.

This week, we’re talking about one of the most popular TED Talks ever: Sir Ken Robinson on Do Schools Kill Creativity?

Robinson is an English author, speaker and advisor on education in the arts. He is the author of The Element and Finding Your Element: How To Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life.

Sir Ken gave his TED Talk in 2006, and it has since racked up close to 29 million views. The premise of his talk is the need for an education system that nurtures, instead of undermines, creativity. Robinson tells us no one knows what the future will bring, making it difficult to educate kids and properly prepare them for successful and rewarding lives as adults.

The answer, he says, is to rethink the fundamental principles of childhood education. He calls on us to use the gift of imagination wisely and educate children for their whole being. “See our creative capacities for the riches they are,” he advises. “And see our children for the hope that they are.”

What makes Robinson’s TED Talk so powerful?

Sir Ken is funny. Very funny.

He is a born storyteller, incorporating hilarious anecdotes throughout his 18-minute presentation. It’s those anecdotes, and his humour, that make the audience sit up and take notice.

Of course, we aren’t all natural comedians.

But we can all try to incorporate stories into our presentations to encourage our audience to be more receptive to our messages. As Mary Poppins famously said, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.

To see how Sir Ken Robinson did it, watch his TED Talk below.

If you need help improving your presentation skills, get in touch to learn more about our training sessions.

Photo Credit: Humor and Promotion/shutterstock

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