Here is how to find humor in not-so-funny stuff. Before long, you will have people laughing a lot at your presentation without telling jokes. Below are some ways to get people to laugh.

1.Set the scene for laughter. If you want to lighten up your program, you might want to let the audience know this, even before you say one word. Project some lighthearted visuals as the audience is entering the room. Play some uplifting music as they enter. Or, add some humor to your presentation title or program description. Your bio, for example, can have a list of accomplishments, playfully followed by “His mother is very proud of him.”

2.Poke fun at yourself. Again, even before you open your mouth, you can show the audience that you do not take yourself too seriously by adding some playful things about you in your introduction. For example, have the introducer tell the audience that you are the author of seven books which have sold well over 30 copies. Then the person corrects their mistake and says, “Oops, that is 300,000 copies.”

3.Get some laughs with a prop. It has been said that learning is enhanced with visual aids. If this is true, then speakers need to enhance their talks with something to visually illustrate what they are saying. A prop is a great way to do this because it not only makes your message memorable but it can also get a laugh. Use balloons to illustrate how people can let go of their stress; an inflatable globe to illustrate how we often carry the world around on our shoulders; and a plastic hammer with which to hit yourself on the head when you goof up. All make a point and all get a laugh.

4.Tell your humorous stories. Open your humor eyes and ears and look and listen for the funny things that happen all around you. Families are an especially good resource for finding humorous stories. One such story involves the author’s 93-year-old mother. Every time she goes to the doctor, she hires a van service to take her there and back. One late afternoon, it did not show up to take her home. Since the doctor had to close the office for the day, he suggested that she wait for the van in the pizza parlor next door. After waiting a long time without the van arriving, she went up to the counter and asked, “Do you deliver?” When the man behind the counter replied, “Of course, we do. We’re a pizza place.” She said, “Great. Then I’d like a pepperoni pizza and I’d like to go with it.”

5.Borrow some witty words. While waiting for your own humor-related stories to appear, you might want to borrow some funny short quotes from famous people to lighten up your talks. Quotation books, the TV, newspapers, and magazines such as Reader’s Digest are great resources for locating great quotes. For instance, if you frequently speak to hospice groups, Woody Allen’s comments about death and dying are appropriate (e.g., “There are worse things in life than death. Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman?”).