Many times a new speaker will resort to reading a joke he found on the internet and it will usually flop. What they need to do instead is to take that joke and turn it into a believable story and then add the vocal variety of a story teller.
Here’s how to do it:
#1. Find a funny joke or story.
Is it funny to you? If not, don’t use it.
a. Personal experience. (This is the best source of humor.)
b. Research: TV, books, etc.
#2. Write it down, but KISS.
Ink it – don’t think it. Keep it short and simple.
#3. Put it into your own words.
Once you find a story you like, re-write it in your own words and vocabulary so it becomes your story.
#4. Make it realistic.
Tell it as if it were true. Your audience came to hear you and your experiences. Make them believe what you’re saying. If your story is built around a totally impossible situation, like a conversation you had with a little green man from Mars, then introduce it this way. “The other night, I had the strangest dream. I dreamed a UFO landed in my back yard.”
#5. Localize Your Humor
You know the audience, what they do, what they are interested in and where they are located. Make your story local.
#6, Practice, practice, practice.
A. Practice into a tape recorder, practice to your friends, practice going to and from work in your car. And when you think you’ve got a story pretty well perfected, give it the final test. Tell it to your family at the breakfast table. That’s the greatest challenge of all.
B. Master that punch line.
The climax, the dramatic ending must be carefully written and always delivered exactly the same way. Memorize it. Memorize it so well that if you wake up in the middle of the night you can shout it out without the slightest chance of error.
#7. If the joke works, put it in your “joke file.”
It’s easy to find humorous material if you’re looking for it, but it’s also just as easy to forget it. So, keep a file where you keep those funny stories. The computer is the ideal place to save these stories. You could also use a 3 x 5 card file or any other method you choose.
Thanks to Winn Pendleton for these tips.