How can one use fun, humor, and intelligence in a presentation? 

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All of these can be used to connect with your audience, which is important in having people truly hear the message you are delivering. If you have never watched Randy Pausch's "The Last Lecture," look it up. He delivers an insightful, inspirational, and intelligent message with enough humor to keep his audience both engaged and entertained.

Do be aware of your audience. What one audience will find humorous will not be funny to another. For example, when I speak to high school students, my sense of humor is much different than the attempts at humor I would use for a presentation to a room full of English teachers. Consider the background of the audience and what humor they might connect with.

Also know your own humor style. I have a rather dry sense of humor, so I have to monitor that in certain situations as the wrong audience could perceive it as simply sarcastic. And, unfortunately, some people just aren't all that funny. Delivering one joke after another that fails to connect with the audience is worse than not using humor at all. So be aware of your own sense of humor and how to best use that with varying audiences.

Steer clear of any attempts at "humor" which could polarize or offend the audience. Again, this involves knowing your audience well, but generally speaking, avoiding topics such as politics, religion, race, gender, and ability is a safe bet.

The bulk of your presentation should focus on content. The audience has gathered to learn from you in some way. So while you may sprinkle humor and fun into your presentation, focus on the content as you are preparing—not the entertainment. The introduction and conclusion are great places to connect with your audience through using humor or fun techniques.

If you're looking to use fun techniques, consider using technology available to you. There are websites that will allow you to create instant polls, for example. You can have participants log in to the website from their smart devices and then answer questions relating to your topic. Their results can be presented in real time through your presentation (such as Google Slides). You could also consider using a personal story that conveys your own experience with the topic—which is even better if it is funny.

The best bet is to be your authentic self. An audience generally reacts well to a presenter who is not trying to be something they are not and can deliver quality content—whether it's funny or simply full of powerful insights. Know your own strengths as a speaker and an expert on the topic, and then structure your information in as engaging a way as possible.

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