Adding Humor to your Presentation – Listen

Adding humor to your speech - pondering on it

Written by Conor Cunneen

Published May 10, 2024

Adding Humor to your Presentation – Listen

This blog is one of a number that elaborates on a simple L.A.U.G.H. acronym to help you add humor to your presentation. In this one we explore one of the secrets to Adding Humor to your Presentation – Listen.


Adding Humor to your Presentation - LAUGH acronym

Listen (and capture what made you LAUGH)

Note that “Listen” is an all-encompassing term for any form of capturing and recording anything humorous that you see, heard, read, experience etc.

If you hear something funny that got you laughing, “Listen” to what you heard and pop it into your notepad. 

If you say something that gets people laughing, “Listen” to what you heard yourself say and pop it into your notepad.

If you see something funny, pop it into your notepad.

If you read something funny, capture it and pop it into your notepad.

If you’re on a PC / laptop / phone, it is relatively easy to do a screen share or copy the humorous material. If reading a book or magazine, options include taking a photo or scanning in some way. Alternatively, jot a few key points about the article in your notepad.

As we move through the program, we’ll look at a number of example of Listen and Capture and continuously prod you to do so.

Example of Listen and Capture

Here is a simple example of something I captured in the past week that perfectly sums up the concept of “Adding Humor to your Presentation – Listen.

1) Conversation with my bride, Pat.

My long-suffering wife, Pat, knew I would be leaving house after her. As she was going out, she said “If you are going out, the window upstairs is open.” to which this smart-ass replied “Can I not go out the front door?” !!!!!

That is just a simple type of shorthand conversation that married couples might have, but I am pretty sure that I will use that in some presentation when I’m talking about clear communication or the lack of it. I might reference the fact that many organizations use their own terminology, short-hand, acronyms etc. that might be clear to the people in the know but confusing to others. I might then ask the question “Is your communication clear? Does everyone “get” what you are saying?”

The great thing about a little humorous anecdote like this is that I may well be able to reference the “window upstairs” during the rest of my program to reinforce certain points about communication clarity.

A genuinely powerful key to Adding Humor to your Presentation – Listen.


Remember also to CAPTURE the humor. If I hadn’t popped this little incident into my iPhone Notes almost as soon as it happened (My wife groans when I do this) I would not remember it.

2) Twitter comment

“He’s so dumb he couldn’t spell U.S.A”. I saw this line on Twitter and can’t even remember the context.

This is hardly a new line but it is funny and very descriptive, so in it goes to my Notes. When might I use it? Not sure yet. Possibly when describing a pretty hopeless boss I had years ago! NOTE: Be careful who you make fun of. The golden rule is “Punch Up, Don’t Punch Down.” You are hoping to engage your audience via humor, so don’t be cruel or nasty. That will NOT engage your audience.

Other versions of this phrase might be “He’s so dumb he couldn’t spell BMW / U.N / U.S.S.R. / UAE / CDC etc.)

How you might use this line in a presentation?

Let’s say, you’re doing a program on Leadership. We have all had poor bosses over the years and maybe sometimes we might have even been that boss!

You could say “I once had a boss who was so dumb he couldn’t spell U.S.A.” It would likely get a smile, but what does it say about you as the presenter? You quite likely would come across as being unlikeable and maybe arrogant and mean.

However, if you were to say something like “We’ve all had bad bosses over the years. Some of you might have had a boss who had difficulty spelling BMW.” I guarantee that will get a laugh because the vast majority of the audience will be able to relate to it.

This is softer than if you specifically mention a previous boss. Even if the audience has no idea who the previous boss is, it could be perceived as being nasty and unkind. As a presenter, you don’t want to create that impression.


3) YouTube

My background is marketing and branding. When speaking to a business group on Branding and targeting your audience effectively, I might express a comment as follows, based on something that popped up recently on YouTube.

“Targeting your audience is critical and the tech giants like Facebook, Google etc. are excellent at it but sometimes, I wonder! YouTube is generally  very good at targeting us with relevant ads, so why did I see an ad yesterday on my YouTube feed for Vaginal Itch? Vaginal Itch!! Does someone think I’m I’m planning a sex change?”

An ad for a vaginal itch cream on YouTube is not strange, but it is strange when it is targeted apparently at a man!

One lesson from this YouTube example is that if you see something and find yourself saying “That’s crazy,” or “That’s strange,” there is a reasonable chance of finding some humor in it also.

If you plan to use a phone, create a Humor folder right now. The advantage of a phone over quill and paper is that it seems we always have our phone with us, even when we pay a visit to that room where you sit on the big white bowl! Highly unlikely, you’ll be bringing those writing materials into the toilet. I’ve heard of people writing out ideas on a napkin, but not sure if toilet tissue is very practical.

If you’re going to use pen and paper, get a dedicated notebook, preferably one that is small enough to carry around in most clothing. I do use a notepad at times when writing or enhancing a speech, but that is a different process to simply capturing / recording the funny.

The Wrap!

If you talk, walk, read, write, listen, run, drive, fly, drink, eat, work, work out or do any activity, there is a real chance that you will have the opportunity to capture some humor.

I know I’ve never said this before but “Listen and Capture.” !!!

It will pay major dividends and provide you with content to add humor to your presentation.





If you would like more detail on Adding Humor to your Presentation and courses provided by IrishmanSpeaks Conor Cunneen visit 

Conor is a Humorous Motivational Keynote Speaker who is also a multiple author. View his books at

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