Me: “Oh sorry, that’s not a good ice breaker.”
Starting a meeting, presentation, or interview with a joke is the perfect way to get your audience's attention. Thus, they will be ready to receive the message you want to deliver.
Witty phrases not only make people laugh, but serves as social glue. An icebreaker joke makes everyone feel more socially connected, calms stress, releases endorphins and sparks a more productive discussion. In addition, they favorably predisposes your interlocutor, who will be more likely to accept your ideas.
What makes a joke funny?
More than natural grace, the timing and the audience make a joke funny or not. There is no foolproof formula to make you laugh, but it is known that the fun:
Salute with grace
Greetings at work are so normal and boring that they are practically rhetorical. Nobody expects that before a "How are you?" someone explains to you in detail what happens in his life.
Why not give your greeting a spark of grace? Surely a “Did you know that the Matrix code comes from sushi recipes?”, or something clever like “Today, comedians tell the news and the media tell the jokes”, elicits some smiles.
What about “What did the necktie say to the hat? You go on ahead. I will hang around for a while ”? Did it make you smile?
If not, let's try a classic: “Why did the chicken cross the road? Because he wanted to get to the other side ”.
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Start a meeting with style
Meetings are always tense, both for you and for the audience to whom you must convey your ideas. So a couple of funny jokes or a few witty questions can help you maintain your listeners' attention.
For example: “I threw a boomerang a few years ago. Now I live in constant fear". Or “What did the right eye said to the left eye? In between us, something smells!".
Or even "everyone is gifted, it's just that some people never open the package".
If you're not comfortable making jokes, you can use interesting facts to get your audience's attention. Or try something silly like: “Why did the gum cross the road? Because it was stuck to the chicken’s foot ”.
Make your speeches fun
Spicing up your speeches with jokes will make them more interesting to others than their phones. If you are charming and funny, the speech will be like listening to a good friend, so everyone will be willing to hear what you want to say.
For example: "I thought I would start by reading a Shakespeare poem, but I have never heard him read one of mine."
Or maybe “What did the traffic light say to the car? Do not look at me. I am changing ”.
Or “why are penguins socially awkward? They find it difficult to break the ice ”.
Not funny? Let's try this: “What do you get when you cross a chicken and a pit bull? Just the pit bull”.
Make your presentations memorable
In a presentation, you can insert a sheet with a joke or a clever phrase that captivates your audience. If you feel you are losing the attention of your audience, try something like this: “How do you make an egg laugh? Tell it to yolk ”.
Or use a good line like this one, “Do you know what really bugs me? Discreetly placed microphones ”.
Or perhaps “What do you get if you cross an elephant and a kangaroo? Big holes all over Australia! " will make your audience laugh.
If you're going to make a joke, make sure it shows. Smile and gesture - this will make you look less stiff and draw the audience's glances to you.
Facing large groups
Even if you don't know anyone when addressing a large group, if you make the right joke, your audience will become friendly.
For example: "A bank is a place that will lend you money if it can show you don't need it." Or “How much does a polar bear weigh? Enough to break the ice ... ".
Or maybe "What can you hold without ever touching it? A conversation ".
Just make sure the joke you tell is a white joke and doesn't offend anyone in your audience. It's not a bad idea to laugh at your own prank either, since laughter is contagious.
So try this one: “What is the best thing to do if you find a gorilla in your bed? Sleep somewhere else ”.
Joking in small groups
If your audience is small and well-known, you can try more daring jokes. A good laugh between colleagues helps you focus on work.
What do you think of this joke? “You don't need a parachute to skydive. You need a parachute to skydive twice".
Or “What did the necktie say to the hat? You go on ahead. I will hang around for a while ”.
Or even “Why was the math book sad? Because it has many problems ”.
Some final tips
You may pick a joke and modify it to revolve around your experience. Many stand-up comedians use this technique to make their jokes more authentic.
Keep in mind that a little healthy humor will always be well received by your colleagues, but don't go overboard. It is important to find the exact time when a good icebreaker joke is appropriate, and don’t fool around when seriousness is in order.
Always try that your jokes don’t offend anyone in your audience. Dad jokes, puns, knock-knock jokes, and many others do not mess around on taboos, sex, religion or inappropriate topics. So choose them wisely.
You may also want to use super short icebreaker jokes rather than long ones, to prevent your listeners from getting too distracted.