There is something better than silence in a presentation, and it is humour! Great speakers enthuse the world with a web of stories and one-liners that not only make an impact but tickle the funny bone as well. In my quest to add flavour to my workshops, I picked up several books on making effective presentations and searched the internet for the best practices to handle tough situations using humour. Below are a few ways which could save you during tough situations.
- When you are introduced and there is an awkward silence:
Do a silent clap, give a smile and look at the audience as if you were expecting a round of applause. The probability is high that you will get it. Then say, “Thank you so much, there are certain things you always have to ask for, and this is one of them.”
- When participants get overwhelmed with your introduction:
Make the atmosphere light. “Thank you for that wonderful introduction that I so richly deserve and so seldom get!” Another one: “Hey! What happened to all that good stuff I paid you to say?” (Say while looking at the person who introduced you, and smile.)
- When the microphone squeals:
“I’ll bet you never heard anyone clear their throat like that before.” Another one you could use: “If you think that’s bad, wait until I start singing.” And the last one, “Is there an ear, nose, and throat specialist in the crowd? You’ll have plenty of business tonight if this keeps up.”
- If your phone rings during a presentation:
Disconnect the phone and look at it with wonder. “Why is that when my phone is on silent mode I receive 10 missed calls and when it is on volume mode, nobody calls all day!” One more, “Did anyone called the police?!”
- When you hear a loud crash in background:
“I always like to start off with a bang. I’m flattered. You ordered fireworks for me.”
- When the lights go out at the venue:
“I guess I’ll have to donate a portion of our fee to the electric company.” Another for you, “I guess God tried to hit me with a lightning bolt but hit your electric box instead.” And the last one, “I hope my talk hasn’t left you in the dark. It appears that I need to shed some more light on this subject.”
We hope that you use these witty one-liners to convert silence into laughter. If you have other strategies that can replace silence with fun, energy, or engagement, do share your insights. We would love to hear from you. Until then, happy reading!