The importance of being a “funny” speaker with Jeremy Nicholas

The importance of being a “funny” speaker with Jeremy Nicholas

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PSASA KZN Chapter meeting:   18/08/2020

Last week the KZN chapter had the privilege of hosting the incredible Jeremy Nicholas who is a writer and broadcaster with thirty years on TV and radio, Most if it with the BBC. He is best known for presenting the breakfast show on BBC London as well as the world today on the BBC world service. Globally he’s known for his live commentary of the Paralympics at London 2012 and subsequently world championships. Children across the world know him as the voice of the bestselling FIFA video games. Over the years for the BBC he’s commentated on many football finals at Wembley, royal events and general elections. Jeremys hosting of the event will be interspersed with stories of the many interesting, hilarious and shocking incidents in his years as a speaker and broadcaster.

Key take away from Jeremys talk include:

The main reasons to be “funny” as a speaker:

  • To keep your audience entertained and happy, so they can be comfortable enough to engage with you as a speaker. It’s important however to be mindful not to overdo it, like icing on a cake it needs just a little on the top.
  • Humour helps your audience to remember your message clearly, it a great way to really anchor the message you are looking to send.
  • Humour helps you stand out from the rest, you are most likely to be quoted on twitter or even have people make memes about something funny you may have said. Most importantly you are more likely than your colleagues, to get rebooked and get referrals if you can make your audience laugh.

However it is important to note that even though some humour is encouraged, jokes are often times a bad idea because they tend to put pressure on the audience. It’s better to rather tell a funny story that is real and authentic, that your audience can relate to, you cannot go wrong with that. With jokes it’s tricky because somebody else might be able to deliver it better and it might end up going wrong and the audience might not receive it as it was intended to be received.

With telling jokes, there is a three strike policy, this means that you can  only tell it three times before it gets old, when speakers overdo it, this is called “killing your babies” when you tell a joke that people cannot relate to and don’t like.

When putting humour into your content, it is important to be clever and witty about it, authentity is key, you need to make sure you aren’t just copying another speaker because audiences can tell if you don’t own your jokes. You need to be able to keep a high status, dress code also counts. You need to be a wit and not just a clown, make sure your audience is laughing with you and not at you. When your audience take you seriously and believe in the power of the content you deliver, then you can promote your other agendas, like book sales or other promotions.

Make sure you tell your jokes exactly right; if you are repeating a joke make sure you follow a 2 step sequence:

  1. Set it up: prepare you jokes well and plant a good seed in your audiences mind.
  2. Punch line: Hit it really fast, then stop and pause while you wait for a reaction. It important to give your audience awhile to laugh it out before you wrap it up.

To further engage with the funny Jeremy Nicholus, then head over to his website:

Find out more about the PSASA KZN Chapter Meetings here
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