Using humor in your learning materials can keep your learners engaged and focused throughout their training. But how can you effectively use humor while also maintaining a certain level of professionalism?
Below are five tips for using humor in your learning materials.
1. Identify and Understand Your Audience
If you really want to make your learners laugh, know who they are and what they like or don’t like. Do a little bit of research, and find out more about what types of personalities they have, if they have common hobbies, what their typical professional backgrounds are, etc.
Essentially, once you identify and understand your audience, you’ll be able to recognize that a group of gastroenterologists will probably have a sense of humor that is different from a group of budget analysts. One group will appreciate medical humor and anecdotes, while the other will appreciate humor about numbers and the like.
2. Use Humor to Get and Keep Attention
If you want to captivate an audience from the beginning, start your training with a humorous anecdote, pun, or short story. People love entertaining stories—and not just because they’re entertaining.
If used appropriately, humorous stories and anecdotes can help your audience remember what you’re trying to teach them long after their training sessions are over. Also, consider using humor throughout your training sessions, too, to keep your audience’s attention.
3. Keep Jokes and Anecdotes Relevant
Don’t expect a room full of machinists to appreciate humor about being a teacher. And don’t expect doctors to understand humor that’s related to practicing law. And make sure your jokes and humor are relevant to your audience and the material you’re covering.
Remember that you’re still trying to teach something, so be careful not to let your jokes derail you from the subject matter you’re covering. So, keep all humor relevant to the topics you’re covering, too, as well as to your audience.
4. Implement Humor to Keep Training More Human
If you accidently drop something or trip or slip up or mispronounce something, laugh at your faux pas so that others in your audience can, too. This will keep your training more engaging and lighthearted and will allow you to remain upbeat. You can even include your audience in certain mistakes and comments when adding humor; just remember to keep it jovial and good-spirited.
5. Know What Not to Do when Trying to Be Funny
When implementing humor, avoid doing these things at all costs:
- Announce that you’re going to tell a joke;
- Insult anyone or your entire audience;
- Use a sexist, ethnic, political, racist, or religious joke or anecdote;
- Laugh at your own joke as you’re telling it or explain its punchline; and
- Make your joke or anecdote long-winded and confusing.
Follow the five tips above, and you might find it a lot easier to insert humor into your learning materials.