The Art of Telling Jokes

People like to be entertained. They enjoy laughing, and they appreciate a person who can bring a smile to their face. They will readily accept 'most anyone who can make them laugh, even a shy stranger.

Jokes are an icebreaker. They can introduce you to a group of strangers or to a woman you have not previously met. They can renew acquaintanceships on an upbeat note. They can break through the wall of shyness.

So, you want to tell a joke? First, learn the joke. Memorize it. In privacy, practice telling it aloud. Record your efforts. Listen to yourself. Practice until you have mastered it.

Pace your delivery. Speak at normal conversational speed, possibly even a bit slower. Control your breathing (an art unto itself), and this will time your speaking. Your breathing is a metronome for your speech, among other body processes. Find your own natural rhythm. Timing is critical.

Modulate your voice. The circumstances will determine the optimum loudness. Amid crowd noise, you will speak somewhat more loudly than usual, but generally talk more softly than normal conversational level, especially speaking one-on-one. Soft, but clear, gets attention. Enunciate, but do not overdo it.

Keep eye contact and smile. In a group, shift your focus from one person to another. Make each man and woman feel that you are telling the joke for them alone. You are the conductor, orchestrating their laughter.

Enjoy yourself. Your jokes are funny, and they bring enjoyment to others.

Q: How many journalists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: Three. One to report it as an inspired government program to bring light to the people, one to report it as a diabolical government plot to deprive the poor of darkness, and one to win a Pulitzer Prize for reporting that The Electric Company hired a lightbulb assassin to break the bulb in the first place.