Nail That Speech Introduction with Fun and Laughter! (Part 2)
You are now familiar with four humorous techniques that can help make your speech introduction more entertaining! In this article, we will talk about how you can apply. Effective. Pauses. Spoiler alert: Not like this.
There are three reasons why you’d want to use pauses in OO:
· One: to give the audience a chance to reflect on what you’ve said
· Two: to give your audience time to laugh or applaud
· And three: to give yourself time to set up a humorous delivery.
Let’s look at all these reasons in more detail.
First, pauses are a great way to give the audience time to think about your joke, especially for jokes that are subtle or still in the process of being built up. Usually, your pause should be at least three to four seconds. For example, let’s read a part of an OO from 2018 finalist Sanjeev Vindoh:
“Then cross your arms and interlock your hands. Now…no, down is this way ma’am. Nice…Now on the count of three, I need you to do exactly as I do. One. Two. Three! [Pause]. Oh. Sorry about that. That might have seemed kind of random. But this ice breaker was my way of getting us to know each other better.
Notice how he pauses after counting to three so that the audience has time to think about what’s going on and figure out why he’s making everyone hold out their hands. The audience is half laughing here, likely because of how strange and unorthodox his performance has been so far. The extra pause helps them reflect on the mildly awkward but humorous situation.
The second reason to pause is to give your audience space to applaud or laugh at your joke. Plan to pause right after delivering your punch line. Let’s watch the next part of Sanjeev’s speech and continue to his punch line.
“That might have seemed kind of random. But this ice breaker was my way of getting us to know each other better. You now know me as the handsome male who begins his speech with a magic trick. And I know you, as someone who can’t follow simple instructions. [Pause].”
When he says “And I know you…” most of us are thinking he’ll share some random fact that he has learned about the audience. But then he cleverly uses indirection to present his punch line, where he teasingly accuses the audience of not following instructions. Without this pause, the audience might end up mishearing your next line or even worse, stop laughing midway because you cut them off!
Finally, you can use pauses to set up a humorous delivery. This strategy is most effective when combined with facial expression and eye contact. For instance, if your attention-getter involves a personal story about your newly adopted kitten, you might present something like this:
“I’ve always been the type of person to carefully keep track of my socks. After all, who wants to wear a nice black sock with a… dumpling sock. But recently, my socks have started to disappear. And there is only one culprit. [Pause]. Meeooow. [Pause]. TOFU!!!”
The more exaggerated you make your delivery during this pause, the funnier the outcome. Remember that in speech, presenters exaggerate their movements to make it clear to the audience that their actions are deliberate, rather than a nervous tic.
There you have it! Four humorous techniques and pauses to turn a difficult topic introduction into one about tofu. Kidding aside, apply these to your upcoming speech, and have fun!