Speech design: The humour is in the pause

When speaking and presenting the humour is in the pause

Humour is in the delivery.

Humour is an effective tool for connecting with your audience, more than just the right words, or a funny concept .. Humour is in the delivery. How you say it (tone and pacing), your actions or body language when you say it. The small naughty smile, the wrinkle of your brow, the wink, the way you walk, in short … the characters you portray with your body language and voice, as well as what you don’t say …

humour is in the pause

The impact of humour often comes from how you use silencethe pause.

The pause allows the listener to time to allow the idea to sink in, or question the concept… it adds punch to the punch line. The funniest joke, with a great delivery will fall flat if you don’t allow your audience time to follow the train of thought, and enjoy the revelations. Deliberately building anticipation, using a pause, will heighten the tension and make the laughter more intense.

There is a direct relationship between tension and laughter. Laughter is a natural stress reliever, because when we laugh muscle tension melts away, humour is in the pause. When we laugh our muscles automatically relax, it’s an involuntary reflex. A pause sets up the anticipation … here comes the funny!

I tell you (shaking head), old age doesn’t bring you wisdom, (pause) … all it brings you is more to shave.

The humour is in the pause, it allows the audience to ask the question … “what does it bring?” It can take the audience a few breaths (one – two – three) to catch on to the idea or image, and laugh. When they laugh, let them laugh. Be careful of “stepping” on the laugh by talking too soon. If you jump into the next line or joke too early and they are still laughing, they will no longer trust you. They will expect that you will step on the next joke, so they hold back their laughter.

Use the power of the pause to make your humour pop.

If you want to learn how to create One Clear Message when speaking and how the power of humour is in the pause contact us today!


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Richard Riche

Change Communication and Employee Engagement specialist at One Clear Message Consulting
Richard specialises in helping you build real human communication skills. Employee Engagement / Experience, Emotional Intelligence skills, building high performance teams and a great place you want to work. TED style speaking and presentation skills. Training, consulting and coaching.
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