Style Snapshot: The Clown
After weeks of Style Snapshot blog posts, we have come to the end, the last presenter type that I use in my own practice. This last presentation style is one that a lot of people don’t like to admit being, because it can seem like a bit of an insult to their personality, it feels like it is going deeper than just the way they present. As you will read about the Clown, keep in mind that this description is only for when someone is presenting, not for when they’re having a casual conversation with a friend or colleague. To read about the rest of the presentation styles, click here.
Presentation Style: Clown
Description: The Clown loves to use humour in their presentations and speeches. Whether they want to break the tension for themselves or for the audience, they recognize that being funny can help make everyone feel more comfortable. This is an especially useful tactic when speaking about a dry or negative topic. However, if humour is used incorrectly it can have the opposite effect and make the audience uncomfortable. Have you ever watched a bad stand-up comedian? Whether they’re new to the trade, dabbling in topics that are abrasive, or are just off on their comedic timing, ineffective delivery of points can make a comedy show no fun for anyone. One way to easily spot a poor comedian is to check the audience’s response; if the person on stage is the only person in the room who is laughing, then they’re not very funny! Simply using humour during presentations is not a sign that you are a Clown, but making a joke and hearing crickets as a response certainly is.
Cons: The biggest down-side to being a Clown is that this can go unnoticed to the presenter. They may place the blame on the audience and resort to a “What’s wrong with these people – this is funny stuff!” mentality, without taking an introspective look at the situation. This leads to bitterness and a superiority complex that may never change if it’s never addressed. The other misstep to watch out for is accidentally using a joke that is offensive to the audience, or goes right over their heads. It is best to use self-depreciating humour (although not too depreciating!) rather than make jokes about other people or situations.
Pros: Being a Clown is a great way to break the ice with your audience and get them to relate to you better. And when your audience relates to you better, they are much more forgiving of any mistakes you might make. It also makes you more approachable afterward for answering questions, whether in a formal Q & A session, or one-on-one after your presentation. Everyone likes to smile, and if you can make your audience do so you are one step closer to winning them over.
There you have it, the final instalment of Style Snapshot. Are you a Clown? Do you use humour effectively, or do you tend to hear crickets during your presentations? Let me know by joining the conversation. Leave a comment here on the blog, find me on my social media, or send me an email. I’m always happy to answer your questions, or even write a blog on a topic you’d like to hear more about.
And remember: a presentation is simply a large conversation.