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5 Tips to Improve Training Engagement with Humor and Surprises

title graphic; reads '5 Tips to Improve Training Engagement with Humor and Surprises'; image of 3 digitally drawn people laughing and smiling together is by Freepik. Title graphic is displayed over a burnt orange background featuring the NDA logo.

Why should something mandatory have to be boring? 

Here at Next Day Animations, we’re committed to making rules, regulations, policies, procedures, and any other information fun and interesting.

Why? Yes, so that people remember it. But also because… why not? Life is too short for boring trainings.

Airline safety videos are a great example of what we mean.

These in-flight videos aren’t trending in a more humorous direction by accident. A playful approach is being widely adopted because it works. 

Check out this playful spin on airline safety announcements from JetBlue.

We know from 12 years of creating effective explainer videos that using humor is an effective way to make training more engaging.

With that in mind, let’s explore five tips to use humor to improve the engagement and memorability of your training videos:

1. Humor can be visual!

With a training video, every word counts – you don’t necessarily have time for a set-up and punchline. 

The beauty of animated video is that a visual punchline can delight audiences, while simultaneously reinforcing the core point of the content. All without taking up any more of your audience’s time.

2. Choose timing wisely.

Speaking of time…you already know the golden rule: comedy is all about timing. 

The right balance of frequency is going to depend on your subject, video length and brand voice, but we typically include a joke near the intro, surprises sprinkled throughout the video and almost always ending on a smile-inducing surprise.

Our scriptwriters are experts at getting to know you, and your topic and target audience, so that we can collaborate with you to find the perfect recipe for your idea.

3. Humor helps us relate.

Check out this video we created to help trainees better understand HIPAA violations. Small, conversational jokes are a key tool for supporting the script of this video.

Normal, day-to-day life is filled with small moments of surprise and humor. Our conversations with colleagues, acquaintances, and friends are more often than not sprinkled with conversational humor. Why?

Because that’s how humans relate to each other. Making someone smile or laugh helps our relationships feel more comfortable, and our transactions occur with more ease.

That’s why using humor in training videos is so impressively effective for increasing recall ability.

When our training videos mimic our real life interactions, your employees relate on a deeper level and retain the information they are learning.

4. Reinforce key concepts with jokes that will trigger recall.

Humor is not limited to grabbing and sustaining attention. It can also build greater comprehension and recall if used strategically.

Start with the idea you want people to remember- if you can build a visual gag tied to this concept, you’ll be able to quickly and easily reference to this idea later in the video.

5. Surprises don’t have to explain themselves.

When something out of the ordinary happens, we perk up, looking for the explanation. A touch of surrealist humor or nonsense is an excellent attention-grabbing technique for those topics that just seem to continue going underappreciated.

Although it wasn’t designed for training, this video created with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Foundation advantageously uses humor to catch audiences’ attention. Using surprises and humor is effective for a variety of goals, from training to moving audiences into action.


Ready to get started?

If you have hundreds of thousands of dollars, a talented production crew and two stellar drag queens, the JetBlue airline safety video style is a great way to go.

And if you don’t? No worries – you’ve got Next Day Animations. Call us today for a free quote!

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These images are from a series of Instagram posts called #ReviewRoundup!

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title image graphic from FreePik.