Public Speaking Course:
Timing is essential to master during your public speaking course. It is one
of the most important aspects of humor and NO ZZZZZs, "Wake 'em
Up" public speaking. Not only is timing involved in an individual piece
of humor, it is also involved in the placement of that piece of humor
in your overall speech. Timing is also involved in spontaneous
reactions to 'expected' unexpected developments during your presentation.
Jack Benny said, 'When you are speaking, timing is not so much knowing
when to speak, but knowing when to be quiet.'
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 didn't speak a word for an extended period of time.
The robber became impatient and said, 'YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE!!' Jack
finally replied, 'I'm 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 - using the word pictures you
practice in your public speaking course.
In public joke telling, a pause just before and just after your punch
line gives the audience a chance to laugh.
Absolutely do not continue speaking 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 speaking engagement, yet "pregnant pauses" are another
lesson you will learn in my public speaking course.
The size of your audience will also affect your timing. Your presentation
will take less time to deliver to smaller audiences. Smaller audiences
hopefully will mean quicker laughter.
Conversely, presentations will take longer for big crowds in large
public arenas. Your pauses will be longer to compensate for the wave
effect created because of the physical distance between you and the
back row of the audience.
In using your skills, you go with the flow, but you
set the flow in motion, and await a flood of fun and laughter.