3 Ways to Add Humor to Your TED Talks, or any other Presentation

Add Humor to your TED Talks, Speech or presentation

Women are better at multitasking… There’s a raft of research, but I know it from my personal life. If my wife is cooking a meal at home — which is not often, thankfully. (Laughter) But you know, she’s doing — no, she’s good at some things — but if she’s cooking, you know, she’s dealing with people on the phone, she’s talking to the kids, she’s painting the ceiling, she’s doing open-heart surgery over here. (Laughter) Taken from Ken Robinson’s Ted Talk “How Schools Kill Creativity.”


As a Middle Eastern male, I know there’s certain things I’m not supposed to say on an airplane in the U.S., right? I’m not supposed to be, like, walking down the aisle, and be like, “Hi, Jack.” You know, that’s not cool. Even if I’m there with my friend named Jack, I say, “Greetings, Jack. Salutations, Jack.” Never “Hi, Jack.” (Laughter) Taken from Maz Jobrani’s Ted Talk “A Saudi, an Indian and an Iranian walks into a Qatari bar.”


I have cerebral palsy, which means I shake all the time. Look. It’s exhausting. I’m like Shakira, Shakira meets Muhammad Ali. (Laughter) Taken from Maysoon Zayid’s Ted Talk “I got 99 problems…palsy is just one.”

Some presenters are born comedians. They’ll make you burst into demonic laughters and hold your stomachs (still wondering why we do that!) until they start hurting real bad.

Unfortunately, that never happens with us when we step up on the stage as a presenter. We crack a joke we think is hilarious and embarrassingly, we are the only ones laughing. You can read that expression on audience’s’ face “Was that a joke. Really?”

So how do those presenters do it? Can we be funny like them?

Yes, we can says Akash Karia, one of Asia Pacific’s best speakers. He analyzed speeches of the most popular TED speakers and found 3 common techniques that always worked in eliciting a laughter from the crowd. Know the techniques and how you can use them to add humor to your otherwise ‘serious’ TED Talks or presentations in the presentation below (You might also want to check out Akash Karia’s another insightful presentation How to prepare for your Ted Talk):

More presentations from Akash Karia


Laughter is truly the best medicine, isn’t it. Do you know of any other way to add humor to your presentations? Or do you remember a story or a joke that keeps you laughing till today. Please share with us in the comments below so that all of us can share a hearty laugh.

Hope you laugh your way into your audience’s hearts! Best of luck!


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About Author
Anuj Malhotra

A potter maniac, I live in a world inhabited by wizards and Marvel's superheroes. Writing is my defence mechanism (Mr. Freud, analyze this). Presentations are my new found love.


  1. Hi Anuj,

    Liked your post. Humor indeed is an essential factor while delivering a talk. Imagine a speaker just speaking out his informative speech with no expressions and fun?

    The presentation was amazingly created. I loved all the three tips and I agree to it.

    Thanks for sharing some awesome tips which would be handy for my next presentation. Shared this post on twitter. Looking forward for more…

    Rohan Chaubey.

    • Thanks Rohan. Yes, Akash Karia has beautifully analysed speeches of Ted Speakers and shared their secrets with us. My personal favorite- Having the ability to make fun of yourself. That is funny and endearing at the same time!

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