PowerPoint Karaoke?

Here is an interesting technique that will both improve your thinking skills, and provide an unusual form of entertainment: PowerPoint Karoake. Basically, you have to present an impromptu PowerPoint presentation. From how I understand it, you are given a deck of slides, and you need to present an unprepared presentation using the slides (also known as Battle Decks).

You have to deliver a PowerPoint presentation about an unfamiliar topic, with slides you’ve never seen, to an audience eager to heckle and laugh at you. If you’re in your underwear, you’re having a nightmare. If you’re clothed, it’s called PowerPoint Karaoke

This is serious business, there are loads of prizes, including a grand prize of $5000. Unfortunately, the contest is only available to USA and Canada residents, but I still think that it could be quite a fun event to host anyway.

If you look on YouTube, there are over 125 different PowerPoint karaoke video’s, here are a couple that I enjoyed.


See you on the stage.

10 tips to add humour to your presentation

Humour tips from Bo Benet of Talking Toastmasters – you can listen to the podcast here.

  1. Never take credit for somebody else’s joke
  2. Don’t tell the same joke over and over
  3. Be appropriate to the audience
  4. Keep it short – long jokes are confusing, and prone to mishaps
  5. Be smooth – delivery is as important as the content (if not more so)
  6. Timing is important in delivery of humour
  7. Make sure the humour is relevant to the situation and occasion
  8. Do not make jokes at other peoples expense
  9. Don’t overdo it. Be fully, but you don’t need to be a stand-up comic
  10. Don’t be corny

Using just the right words

One of my mentors, David Brooks, speaks about economy of words, and using just the right words to get your message across. His message came home to me when I won the recent humour-hopabout contest. At one stage, I was speaking about Murphy’s law’s of cell phones. and in an early draft I said something like this:

Murphy’s first law of cell phones states that the probability of your phone battery being flat is directly proportional to the urgency of the call that you need to make.

While the point that I was making was funny, I was being convoluted in the way that I was saying it. As soon as the audience heard words like “probability”, and “directly proportional”, they were going to be reminded of high-school math class, and fall asleep. In the final version, I said something  like this:

Murphy’s first law of cell phones says that your battery is full if when you don’t need to make a call, but it is flat when you need to make an urgent call.

Short, simple and to the point. The audience can relate it it immediately, and have no trouble following it. It was a minor change to the message, getting exactly the same point across, but in a far more effective manner.

When you speak, consider what yout message it, how you are portraying it, and how effective you are getting it across.

By the way, you can watch my speech here.

Winning the humour hop-about contest

Humourous HopAbout Competition 24th November 2008 - Copy
Monday evening was the annual humour-hopabout contest, hosted by Table Bay Toastmasters club in Cape Town. Since I am a Toastmasters district officer, I am usually not allowed to enter contests. However, because this is not an official contest, I was able to enter.

The humour-hopabout contest has been running since 1980 and it always draws fierce competition, a large audience, and lots of laughter. To compete, you need to present a 3-4 minute long humorous speech. I believe that the more you speak, the more you learn (stage time), so I entered the contest.

Well, imagine my surprise when I won the contest with my speech, which examined the lighter side of mobile phones. Clearly, I must be learning something from the Champions Edge. I also re-listened to Darren?s Make em Laugh set the week before the contest, which helped me to focus on and edit my speech.

So, at least for the next year I am the humour champion in Cape Town!

Oh, and I have just realised that this is my 100th post on my blog!

Here is the audio-only version.

[podcast]https://www.craigstrachan.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/audio/CraigCellPhonesNov2008.mp3[/podcast]

Anyone Can Learn to Be Funnier!

Here is a very interesting article by Dave Firzgerald, who was Darren LaCroix’s comedy mentor. Darren won the World Champion of Public Speaking in 2001. You can contact Darren on his website. He has loads of great books, tapes and CD’s available there.

Thanks to Darren for reprint permission!

Anyone Can Learn to Be Funnier!By Dave Fitzgerald (Darren’s comedy mentor)

Most people watching a good professional comedian on stage are truly impressed and usually a little bit envious… and rightfully so!  Who doesn’t want to be funnier, if not all the time, at least some of the time?

What makes the comedian so funny? Some of it is "natural talent" to be sure, a certain twisted outlook or a peculiar way of speaking that just grips us from the first minute. But if you ask any real pro how he manages to look so smooth and confident "up there," the honest answer will be "STAGE TIME."  It is "STAGE TIME" that helps the comic develop his  on stage persona and, equally as important, (maybe more so) his material!

By the time you see a "comedy routine " performed on national television, it has been done in front of live audiences several hundreds, if not thousands of times. This is a daunting task and few people are willing and able to do what it takes to get to that level of success in Stand Up Comedy. The point is nobody is getting up there and just spewing out incredibly funny ideas – one right after the other!  It takes hard work which means practice-practice- practice!  Jay Leno still goes to comedy clubs to work out his material for the upcoming week’s monologues!  When I made my first national television appearance on  "EVENING AT THE IMPROV," I had been doing the bulk of the material for at least two years and had worked on that exact 7 minute set every night for two weeks!

But what about the professional business person who doesn’t need to be funny all the time, but knows that humor is an incredibly powerful and attractive asset?  Whether you use humor in a presentation to a large audience or at a one-on-one lunch date…people remember who made them laugh… and why wouldn’t they!   Nothing else in life feels so good that is free, legal and can be done anywhere with your clothes on!…. and what about with clothes off?…  For most of us that’s an even bigger laugh!!

The main point here is that anyone can learn to be funnier!  It is  NOT one of those things that "you either have it or you don’t."   Just how funny can you become?  Everyone is different and some people will have to work harder than others but everyone can be funnier than they are right now!

Hope you enjoyed it!-Darren