A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Webinar: Injecting Humor Into Your Virtual Sessions – Workshop Tip #247

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Remember the old saying, “Laughter is the best medicine?” Now, hold on a minute here. We’re not trying to diagnose anyone. But, we really do believe that laughter is the best medicine, especially for any virtual session that is dragging and “feeling under the weather.”

All kidding aside. Adding humor in your virtual sessions can do wonders for your presentation. Used properly, humor is a key ingredient for creating a fun, social experience. Humor:

Boosts social learning
Helps build confidence with participants
Fosters familiarity
Stimulates trust with participants
Increases the mood and enjoyment of the group

Sounds great, right? There is a challenge, however. In virtual sessions, we are not physically present to gauge the instant warmth and fun the way we can in classroom sessions. Even so, we need to find a way to find a place where humor (and dare I say, comedy) flourish. Why? Because humor is a key element in human relationships.

In my professional career I’ve used humor and comedy many times. From my experience, it helps a lot. Here are some ideas for you to try and test out to make your virtual sessions more fun and engaging.

Fun Idea #1: “Now presenting…”

Whenever I start my own virtual session, I make it a point to have fun. The reason for this is that when I set my mind to have fun, two things naturally happen:

I am perceived by the participants as a fun person and therefore, it gives them an idea that we’re going to have fun learning together
It injects a certain degree of liveliness and vitality into the session

Fun Idea #2: “The joke’s on me, folks…”

Creating fun doesn’t mean you have to be a comedian, but you can find opportunities that can be turned into a humorous situation. For example, a participant might say:

“You know, I agree with you, but I’m really confused because I can’t follow this.”

Even with a straight-forward response like this one can be an opportunity for you to turn it into a humorous incident. You can invert the question and say:

“You know, I appreciate you raising that concern. I understand you’re confused, but now you’re making me even more confused. So, help me out and I’ll help you out.”

What you’re doing is some self-effacing humor- putting the joke on yourself. This is one way you develop the ability to recognize and create funny incidents.

Another example is when a participant might say:

“I don’t really understand this exercise.”

This becomes another opportunity for you to simply say:

“You know, I was half asleep when I was doing the exercise. And of course, I’m joking.”

It’s as simple as that. Make the joke about yourself. Now you are trying to institute some of those comments that will introduce fun and create lively conversations. 

Fun Idea #3: “A funny thing happened the other day…”

Create some visual and comedic exercises using roleplaying. This type of activity captures attention, stirs the mind, and makes the session more exciting and memorable.

For example, you can divide the participants into Group A and B. Then as a group, have them reflect on and respond to funny situations such as this one:

Friend: “Are those boots you’re wearing the new style now?”

Melanie: “I guess so. Why?”

Friend: “Because one of your boots is blue and the other is green.”

Melanie was so embarrassed that she actually wore two of the same type of boots, but in different colors – green and blue.
Activity: In your group, share an instance where, because you were so engrossed in what you were doing, you’ve done something like that. Keep it light so you’ll have something you can laugh about with each other.

By creating this type of activity, you’re injecting a moment of light humor in your conversations in the virtual sessions.

Now, for the punchline…

Without comedy and humor, virtual sessions may lead to boredom, or even fatigue. So, when doing these sessions, look for opportunities to have fun. Structure humor and comedy into your learning design. Humor helps build a light and enjoyable learning experience for everyone.

Now, did I tell you about the funny thing that happened to me on the way to the webinar?


Tip #225 – Make Your Learners Happy

A Humorous Way to Improve Interactive eLearning Design

Why Exaggeration Works in Learning

Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
“Helping Learners Learn Their Way”