Timing is one of the most important aspects of humor and Wake
em Up presenting. Not only is timing involved in an individual
piece of humor, it is also involved in the placement of that
piece of humor in the overall presentation. Timing is also
involved in spontaneous reactions to "expected" unexpected
developments during the presentation.
Jack Benny said, "Timing is not so much knowing when to speak,
but knowing when to pause." He should know, because he delivered
one of the funniest and most famous lines in the history of
comedy after an extremely long pause. He was being held up by a
robber at gunpoint. The robber said, "Your money or your life!"
Jack did not say a word for an extended period of time. The
robber became impatient and said, "YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE!!"
Jack finally replied, "Im thinking." His persona as a cheapskate,
coupled with a long pause indicating he was having trouble
deciding whether to give up his money or die was hilarious. A
pause lets the audience catch up and draw pictures in their mind.
It is the audience's signal to imagine.
In joke telling, a pause just before and just after your punch
line sets it apart from the setup of the joke and gives the
audience a chance to laugh. Absolutely do not continue to talk
when laughter is expected. Laughter is hard to get and easy to
discourage. Hold eye contact a little bit longer than you think
you should when delivering punch lines because time is hard to
judge when you are pumped-up for a presentation.
The size of your audience will affect your timing. Your
presentation will take less time to deliver to smaller audiences.
Smaller audiences should mean quicker laughter. Conversely,
presentations will take longer for extremely large crowds. Your
pauses will be longer to compensate for the wave effect created
because of the physical distance between you and the back row of
Speakers: Learn To Make $5500 Every Time You Speak!