You don’t have to be a professional comedian to be funny. You just have to have a willingness to look at the lighter side of life. Here are some ideas from the book, “Get Along with Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere” by Arnold Sanow and Sandra Strauss for adding a little humor to your rapport:
Use humor that’s appropriate, timely, and tasteful.
Being the target of someone else’s bad taste or poor judgment is never funny. Avoid telling stories or jokes that focus on race, ethnicity, gender, disabilities, sex, sexual orientation, or other subjects that may be disrespectful, critical, or condemning to others.
Scan your material for irony or double meanings.
Humor isoften based on them. One of our speaking colleagues, Ron Culberson,a humorist, suggests putting together two unrelated points with an unexpected spin to capture the laughter you’re after.
Use self-effacing humor.
Make a joke about yourself, never about anyone else. Some possible areas to focus on include your height, weight, disability, career, looks, hair (or lack of it), or a personal situation.
Glean funny or strange stories from the media.
Humorous or bizarre events appear right along with the headlines every day-bungling crook capers, parodies on politicians, and other humorous everyday events add welcome comic relief to a stressed-out and all too-serious world.
Collect funny jokes, stories, and anecdotes.
Gather stories with humorous twists. For endless resources, check out search engines on the Internet with the keywords “jokes” or “humor,” or drill down even more specifically: “business humor” or “parent humor.” File them away in your collection for adding a light-hearted accent. If telling jokes or stories doesn’t come naturally, be sure to invest some time to polish them up with a little practice. Always remember the punch line and work on your timing for flawless delivery.
Keep a list of humorous quotations.
Check out the library, bookstore, or Internet. Do an Internet search using “humorous quotations” as the keywords for peppering your conversations or presentations with humor.
Watch comedians in action.
Observe how they weave together stories along with their impeccable timing, delivery, and gestures.