Humor is always linked to comedy. It is generally recognized as something acceptable to, and enjoyed by everyone, no matter what his or her age. Learning to smile is one of the first recognizable displayed characteristics of newborn babies. The rhythmic expulsion of air from the lungs is recognized as laughter in a matter of weeks following the birth, and is a primitive form of basic communication. Mother Nature has already equipped young babies with a powerful tool they can use to good advantage as a key factor in human bonding, the building of special relationships and social cohesion in the years that follow.
If asked, most people would state they had a good sense of humor. Used for professional entertainment it becomes an art, whether it is for business or pleasure. It requires careful planning and skilful delivery. I have learned from experience that such skills can be taught and then must be regularly practiced by those interested in becoming comedians.
Humor is totally subjective, always provoking, and generates different reactions from different people. Effective comedians are few and far between partly because what is funny to one person is not funny to another. The large majority of an audience must quickly consider they have some kind of rapport with a comedian. The best comedians are considered to be intellectual observers of human activity. They are philosophical spectators of the humorous anomalies found in life.
Making others laugh is a masterful skill that can change lives. People who can get others laughing are usually seen as being charismatic and are usually highly admired in society. Humor also takes a key part in the act of attraction. In many cultures giggling is often a sign of a secret sexual tension expressed by both men and women. You're giggling are not you?
Humor makes uncomfortable situations more comfortable. It allows individuals to laugh no matter how grim living gets. It is such a nice feeling people will pay money to others to make them laugh. It is cathartic; it encourages an individual to purge their problems and painful emotions through the joy of laughter.
Study top comedians and you will soon realize that those skilled in delivering humor are great storytellers. Comedy is often based upon conflicting drama thrown up in life. It is not funny having to be funny. You need to be seriously funny to impress others. It is no joke. I mean that seriously.
Comedy and wit have little to do with an ability to tell jokes, or gags as they are sometimes referred to. People who 'tell jokes' are often seen as boring individuals with little sense of humor. They often begin their comedy routine with words along the line of 'Have you heard the one about "? True comedy is the practically enacted theory of the absurdities so often found in human relationships.
Experienced comedians are not afraid to laugh at themselves because humor is a universal human activity that allows the comedian to become a philosophical spectator of his own life in relation to those around him. Popular topics often revolve around the boss, their children and / or their partner or spouse.
As a professional speaker I have two roles. As an after-dinner speaker my sole purpose is to entertain the audience. As a keynote, motivational presenter I become a serious speaker seeking to help my audience remember important messages by using humor as a powerful tool. I have learned from experience that even the most focussed of audiences have an attention span of less than seven minutes. By injecting humor into my talks I help my audience stay alert and absorb important material.
Laughter is the best medicine. Unless of course you are asthmatic when inhaled steroids are likely to come highest on your list. Which is why I am so popular with healthcare professionals. As the saying goes 'Physician heal thy self' this is exactly what I am helping to facilitate when I make my medical audiences laugh.
Laughter is a physiological response to a trigger I activate in the audience. Members of the medical profession are no different to anyone else. They regularly feel anxiety, stress and even anger. By making them laugh I pull on a laughter trigger that releases endorphins, which in turn, counteracts the unpleasantness they may be feeling at that moment in time. Furthermore, happy people feel good to be around. Patients can feel so much better simply by being around healthcare professionals who appear happy. Everyone hates a 'doctor death' character who always look as if they are about to give out bad news.
Laughter in the workplace is important too for the boosting of staff morale and for the increase in productivity that usually follows. A happy staff is a productive staff.
During the talks I give around the world I often use examples of humorous real-life examples from my own family relationships to illustrate the principles of human awareness. Looking at an audience I can usually tell those going through a difficult relationship. They are the miserable looking individuals who work so hard trying not to even smile when those around them are struggling to stem a flow of uncontrollable laughter. I always work on the principle 'you can not please all of the people all of the time'. I think Abraham Lincoln said that. Or was it Bob Dylan?
In conclusion ~ humor is a fundamental basic in the art of effective public speaking. It can make the difference between a great talk with an enthusiastic audience and a disastrous monotonous monologue.