Jokemaster at Our Toastmaster
Our Toastmaster chapter sometimes includes a “Jokemaster” at our meetings. I haven’t been a member very long. The few Jokemasters I’ve experienced stood up told a few jokes, and the meeting rolled on. I wanted to at least put a “teaching moment” in my presentation. Here’s what I came up with:
When I learned I was assigned Jokemaster duties for today’s meeting, I winced. Comedians tell jokes. Telling jokes is difficult. The audience braces when they know a joke is coming. They’re thinking the same thing the joke-teller is thinking, “Will this be funny enough to laugh at, or am I going to have to fake it?”
In his book, The Light Touch, Humor for Business, Malcom Kushner says in speech don’t try to be funny. Instead, you want to convey you have a sense of humor.
There’s a big difference between being funny and using your sense of humor. Nobody expects us to be funny, but when we use our sense of humor with increase our likeability with the audience. And, after all, isn’t that one of the goals of public speaking? To get the audience on our side.
In comedy, if you try to be funny and fail, they call it “bombing”. But in speech, trying to demonstrate your sense of humor and failing, gets passed on almost unnoticed. People don’t expect us to be funny.
It was like the other day, I was at Poppy’s Restaurant, a local hangout for ranchers. I was sitting in a booth next to two ranchers; one I recognized as a local, the other I would learn was from Texas. The Texas Rancher said, “I can get in my truck in the morning and set out drivin’ and by sunset, I still ain’t reached the end of my property.”
The California rancher paused for a moment, shook his head, then said, “Yep, I had a truck like that once.”
In your speeches strive to convey your sense of humor and leave the jokes to the comedians.