What did the fish say when he jumped out of the water and hit a concrete wall? Dam.
Ok, it’s an old joke that some people don’t get right away. That’s probably why I still like it, but that’s not what I am talking about here.
1. A good joke right from the start would probably be great. It should be one that you wrote pertaining to something that is relevant to your opening.
2. You might want to start with a self-deprecating joke in your introduction. That may endear the audience to you right away, it shows you are a good sport. “I bet you can’t wait to hear a speaker today that talks about her sky diving experience, her best-selling book and how she single handedly brought peace to the Middle East? Well I would too, but that’s not our speaker today. She fell once watching a skydiver as she stood on the ground, she has 5 best-selling books,(to all her friends and family.) And she once brought a giant piece of (Abdallah’s chocolate of Minnesota fame) to the Middle East. Well, at least half of it made it through the flight.
3. I have always used humor as a comfort setter. Some people use ice breakers. i.e. If you were a dog, (car, fruit, vegetable) what kind of dog, would you be and why? I like humor better. My father modeled it at the dinner table. We had an intimidating family of 10 and occasionally there would be a friend of one of my siblings foolish enough to join us for dinner. Dad’s standard line after about 15 minutes was to tease the person who sat there hardly ever said a word. “Hey, you, stop hogging all the conversation!” Then we’d all laugh as they questioningly laughed and knew that person felt better for being teased through an awkward situation.
4. A funny quote can be just the right addition to a story. In the words of Jerry Seinfeld, “A two-year-old is kind of like having a blender, but you don’t have a top for it.” This might be a good opener for an Amazon warehouse staff meeting.
5. Taking an improv class helps keep you in the moment. When the microphone quits working, an audience member faints, the fire alarm goes off or one gets heckled from the audience, one must be prepared. I danced on to the stage as part of an all-women’s comedy show wearing a feather boa when from the audience, I heard a guy call out…”Quit while your ahead!” It was my father.
Look for the 4th piece in this 5 part series.
5 Ways To Know If Your Audience Is With You.