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How to Deliver a TED Talk: Secrets of the World's Most Inspiring Presentations, revised and expanded new edition, with a foreword by Richard St. John and an afterword by Simon Sinek by Jeremey Donovan

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CHAPTER 10

Adding Humor

TIP 62: Crank up the laughs per minute with humor based on a sense of superiority.

In order to understand how to effectively add humor to your talk, we must first delve into the psychology of laughter. At present, there is no grand unified theory of why people laugh. There are three theories of why humans laugh that are complementary and overlapping. The first theory is to claim superiority. A great deal of humor falls squarely into this category, including laughing at people who make bad decisions or are eccentric. This type of humor is amplified when people are in a position of authority and when they fit particular stereotypes—some politically correct and some not. Humor based on superiority has an escalating scale ...

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