Pros and cons of humour. Read each point and decide if it describe an advantage or a disadvantage of using humour during a presentation.


Laughter raises energy levels, a good thing in any talk, but especially a long one.


In cultures vastly different from your own it can be easy to unintentionally give offence by using the wrong kind of humour. Verbal humour and wordplay are the most easily ‘lost in translation’, but other simpler kinds of physical or visual humour may still work well.


It gives your audience a breathing space between different parts of your presentation and can even help you to phase your talk.


It reduces stress; when the audience laughs everyone can relax, you included.


Humour can be distracting, especially if it has no connection with what you are talking about.


It can confuse an audience whose English is not so good.


Humorous stories are memorable and, if relevant, help you get your message across more effectively.


Humour is something both speaker and audience can share, so you build rapport through laughter.


It can be embarrassing if it looks as if you're expecting a laugh and you don't get one - it takes a while to recover from a failed joke". The secret of recovering from a joke that nobody noticed is simply to move on; if they did notice, but didn't laugh, then always admit the failure somehow ('my husband gave me that joke. Thanks. Honey.").


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