Humour – should speakers tell jokes?

‘Just start with a joke’ is so often given as advice to nervous speakers – but I DON’T advise it!

Why not – surely getting them laughing is a great way to relax everyone?

Sure … but are you an experienced professional stand-up comedian with years of honing your craft at open mic nights and social clubs?

If yes, fantastic! Go for it.

But if not …

Trying to tell a joke or opening with a funny remark that falls flat because you’re nervous or inexperienced will only make you feel worse.

So instead, keep it sincere, and short. And leave the jokes to the experts.

Philippa Hammond