Using humor is one of the best ways for a person to build rapport with a group of people. On top of that, let's face it: no one wants to come to a business celebration and listen to a speech about sales figures or a motivational speaker trying to life them up to new heights. The whole point of the celebration is to have fun, and humor just goes hand in hand with that. A good joke makes people feel comfortable and at ease, and helps them to relax and enjoy themselves.
That's not to say that you should just hire anyone who can crack a joke. You probably don't want to go to a comedy club and ask a comedian that you liked to come speak at your event. While you don't want to have a speaker who will make things fun for your audience, it's important to remember that this is still a business function. It's a good idea to find someone who knows a bit about business, even they don't know too much about your company specifically.
It's also important to keep good taste in mind. Even the most liberal and forward thinking company needs to maintain some degree of professionalism. You don't want a comedian who is going to go and tell all kinds of baudy, inappropriate jokes. Optimally, you want someone who can make the group laugh while also providing useful and topical information at the same time.
It's no easy task, but there are actually a lot of funny men and women who focus on doing this sort of thing. These comedians have crafted perfect mixes of humor and business that keep employees entertained and informed at the same time. These speakers often have a bunch of preset topics that they can speak on. For instance, if your employees have been overworked and stressed by a recent deadline, there are humorous keynote speakers who specialize in teaching stress relief methods in an entertaining way.
If none of their topics work perfectly for you, then they can also modify their message to fit better with the goals of your event. You'll have to communicate with the speaker beforehand to make sure that your message will fit into their presentations. Fortunately, these people are usually very adaptable so it's not difficult to come to an agreement.
Of course there are always concerns of money, and some comedic Keynote speakers do charge significant fees. However, if you can find a keynote speaker who understands the art of comedy at a reasonable price, it's well worth it.
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