June 2, 2017 fm

Making Them Laugh With Slide Humor

Have you ever experienced a speech that was too funny? Your public speaking needs humor like Bon Jovi needs a bed of roses. Humor is pattern. This is great news for all those out there who have never been able to make anyone laugh – at no time, nowhere. Humor is never an accident; it is based on simple patterns anyone can use. One of them is called, Saying the unexpected.

This pattern works like this: You build an expectation in the minds of your audience. Then, you break the expectation; you deviate from what your audience expects you to say. In jokes it is called the punch line. It is the classical pattern of humor used in jokes. At the end, Johnny does or says something different.


  • And then I moved to the most exciting town of the United States… Boise, Idaho.
  • I entered what is considered the most respected profession in the world… I became a lawyer. — John Zimmer
  • Me and my wife were happy for 20 years… and then we met. — Roger Dangerfield

You can apply the same pattern, when you give a presentation with slides. You can make them laugh with bits and bytes. The only condition is that you speak and click.

The trick? Speak & Click!

Most presenters click to the next slide and then they say something like,

[Click] Ah, and here we have our vision.


[Click] What you can see here is the evolution of the real estate market in London over the last 20 years.

It is much cooler to say,

But where do we really want to go in the future? [Click]


In 20 years many things can happen. This is what happened to the real estate market in London… [Click]

When you speak and click you create a smooth flow. Speech and slides enter a symbiotic relationship. It is so pro.

Now – what about building an expectation with your pre-slide speaking and then breaking that expectation with a click?


Imagine you say, But to spice up your public speaking even more, you definitely need these two guys… [Click]


Or you say, We have to observe the market just like him… [Click]


Or you say, What this department really needs is… [Click]


These unexpected images will never fail to harvest a good laugh in your audience. I call it slide humor. Apparently, you cannot overdo it. Less is more. But an unexpected image here and there can only add to the success of your talks.

Humor is pattern. Even if you have never been able to make anyone laugh in your entire life, one click and your audience will roar with laughter.

Comment (1)

  1. Great post. The importance of good, well-placed humour in a speech cannot be underestimated.

    Here’s one more for you (also a syllepsis!): ““It’s a small apartment. I’ve barely enough room to lay my hat and a few friends.” — Dorothy Parker


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