One of the challenges of grabbing a microphone, walking to the front of a room, and speaking, is the strange paradox of confidence that is clearly on display. If you come on with too much attitude, you can be perceived as pompous. If you come on looking too unsure of yourself, you can be perceived as weak. What many novices do is to use self-deprecating humor as a way to position themselves between the two extremes.
It sure sounds like a good idea; after all, it takes courage to humorously put yourself down and humble yourself in front of an audience. It seems only natural that if you do this, it will cause an audience to identify with you better, and maybe they will connect with you on a deeper level. Perhaps… but let’s start with a simple definition from Webster’s to make sure we’re on the same page:
Self-deprecating humor: tending or serving to disparage or undervalue oneself
You lost me at “undervalue oneself.” Why in the world would I want to ridicule or devalue my own talents in front of an audience? If you think it will cause the audience to go easier on you when they evaluate your performance, you are sorely mistaken. Many are completely unaware of your funny little shortcomings… until you tell them. Why would you want to amuse your audience by making jokes about how:
- You aren’t very good at giving presentations.
- You typically struggle in these types of environments.
- You don’t really know as much as you should about this particular topic.
Do you know what your reward will be? An audience that will judge you even more harshly because, well, you told them to! Do you still think this is a smart technique?
Self-deprecating humor does have its strengths. If you are speaking to a potential date, self-deprecating humor can be a pretty darn good tactic! Assuming you know how to be smart, quick and funny while you put yourself down, this form of humility can be perceived as attractive to others.
But when you give a presentation, you are not dating your audience. You are trying to win them over, and that requires strength, and humility, and expertise in a particular subject. I’m sure there are a few kind-hearted souls who will bond with you when he or she hears you say that you “aren’t very good at giving presentations, but you are good at making baloney sandwiches!” For the majority of the audience who are there to hear you speak, I’d think twice before telling jokes about how funny it is that you “typically struggle in these type of environments.”
It’s easy to be lured into believing that self-deprecating humor will bail you out of an uncomfortable position, and it sure is a handy tool to defuse tension and add humor in a social situation. In the end, however, if you are asked to deliver a presentation, it’s more trouble than it’s worth.
How Packing a Healthy Lunch Will Increase Work Motivation
Why a VoC Program Is Vital to Your B2B Business
5 Key Financial Items to Check Before Year End
10 Ways Companies Drive Away Customers by Creating Friction
Why You Must Have Repeatable Processes in Your Practice
5 Ways You Can Use Content To Introduce Your Brand
How to Explain Patient Advocate vs. Geriatric Care Manager
As a Salesman I Taught Myself to Market … and You Should Too!
How Proactive Listeners Sell More and Win Big
Are Hedge Funds to Blame for the Public Pension Fund Crisis in the US?
Forward-Looking Investing20 hours ago
2019 Outlook: Don’t Fight the People’s Bank of China!
Financial Podcasts20 hours ago
How to Qualify Prospects and Increase Your Success Rate
Behavioral Intelligence20 hours ago
Why Index Funds Can and Likely Will Underperform
Advisor3 days ago
21 Tips on How to Evaluate an Investment Adviser
Marketing3 days ago
Do You Have Entrepreneurial Persistence?
Advisor4 days ago
The 9 Best Year-End Money Moves
Insights4 days ago
Will Cryptocurrencies Offer Safe Haven If Global Economy Slows?
Equities4 days ago
Don’t Overlook These 5 Small Cap REITs