One of the simplest, and easiest, ways to add humor to a presentation is to add visuals. We are so conditioned to seeing slides full of text in presentations that seeing an image on the screen immediately gets us more engaged.
We wonder: what is this a picture of? How does it relate to the presentation? What will the presenter say about it? Compare that to what we do when it’s text on the screen: we read the text.
By adding an image, we create a question in the audience’s mind. Even better, if we use an interesting image (i.e. not a stock photo), that creates more curiosity (and sometimes laughter). Take this image from our humor training for example:
Photo credit: Flickr / Coco is Not Impressed / Jacob Haas
The picture by itself is humorous; it often elicits a smile in our audiences (and our facilitators). It also makes people wonder: “why is that picture on the screen?”
For us, we use it when talking about the value of humor. After sharing some of the benefits of humor, we say, “Now we understand some people might be a little bit skeptical” and show the dog… who looks skeptical.
You can see how that is much stronger than having a slide that says “People are skeptical about humor” (bad) and better than having no slide at all (okay).
What makes this idea so simple is that you don’t have to be the creator of the image. Instead, you can leverage the great work of other people to easily add humor to your presentation.
Try it in your next presentation. If you don’t know where to start, a great place to find interesting images is on Flickr. Just go to flickr.com, enter a search related to your material (in the above case we used “skeptical”), set the filter for creative commons commercial use photos, and browse away. Once you’ve selected an image, copy it into your presentation, give credit to the photographer, and you’re all set.
Need inspiration? Check out some of our favorite commercial use enabled pictures on Flickr.