humor well is a sign of creativity and
intelligence. The higher up in an organization you
are, the more important it is to be able to put a
client at ease or a situation in perspective with a
well placed joke, one-liner or humorous
observation. Yet, how many times have you heard
someone lament, "I can never remember jokes!"?
many times have you said it yourself? The following
hints will help you look -and sound-like a
Memorize the punch line.
Jokes are difficult to remember because the punch
line doesn't follow in a natural sequence. That's
what makes the joke funny. That's also what makes
it hard to remember. For example: The bases are
loaded and I could use a drink myself! or Time
flies like the wind. Fruit flies like a banana! If
you memorize the punch line you can work back into
the joke set-up much easier than trying to do it
the other way around.
2. Localize the joke.
Set your joke some place you know: the corner gas
station, your summer cabin, the parking lot at
work. Picture the joke's characters there, for
example, pumping gas at the adjacent pump, while
they engage in the antics of the joke.
Personalize the joke.
Make someone you know the star of the joke. Create
a fictitious brother-in-law or uncle, to whom you
can credit a joke or series of jokes. I tell
stories about my Uncle Frank who used to work in
the Pacific Northwest as a "human cannonball" until
they fired him! Two weeks later they hired him
back. Seems they couldn't find a man of the same
Write your jokes down.
People rarely remember jokes. The real pros keep a
humor file, a card catalog or fill up blank books
with all the clever one-liners, jokes and anecdotes
they find. You can do the same thing. Keep 3x5
cards handy to write down the funny bumper sticker
or clever quip when you first encounter it.
props for your jokes.
Often a prop will stimulate your brain to remember
a funny story. And if it's a good prop like a
rubber chicken, it can carry you through even if
you forget the original joke.
Repeat your jokes.
Repeating a joke is the best way not only to
remember it, but to perfect the details and timing.
Professional comedians will tell a joke 20-50 times
before putting it in their act. NOTE: It helps if
you repeat it to different people!
the joke seem natural to you.
You'll remember a joke easily if you tell it in
words that are comfortable for you. The more
natural it seems coming from you, the better it
will go over.
Tell jokes about funny things that really happened
Feel free to embellish! The plus is that if the
event really happened, you'll remember the punch
© 1995 Patt Schwab, Ph.D.