A Common Speech Problem
You’ve just given your speech. You delivered your stories. The humor, which worked so well when you practiced it, got….. no response.
A common problem that most presenters make. After they deliver their ‘killer’ humorous line, they don’t give the audience time to laugh. This also happens with speakers who make great points, but don’t leave time for audience reflection.
This concept is called stepping on your laughs, or stepping on your main points. Either way, it’s your audience that feels ‘stepped on.’
A Sophisticated Way to Solve the Problem
When you give a humorous line — or share a point of reflection — and then keep talking, you are in essence telling the audience to ‘be quiet.’
Would you do this in a one-on-one conversation?
Probably not — if you want to have any friends. To maximize the impact of your humor or key points, it’s very important that you do one thing after you deliver your humorous lines….
An Early Speech Lesson
Early in my speaking career, I was always concerned about what I was about to say next. I committed one of the cardinal sins of speaking. The audience would start to laugh, but I cut them off. After doing this a couple of times, they stopped laughing. They became dis-interested bystanders to my talks.
Can you blame them?
I was being rude.
Remember, a speech is a two-way conversation. The audience’s half of the conversation is to react and reflect. They may respond with a thoughtful ‘hmmm,’ a nod of the head, or laughter. However, if you don’t allow that reflection time, the audience will mentally check-out of your presentation. Wouldn’t you do the same if someone continually cut you off in a conversation?
As you prepare your next talk, build in time for laughter and reflection. This may necessitate cutting some of your material. But, what is more important, force-feeding everything you know, or creating a connection that allows the audience to benefit from your speech?
Stop stepping on the laughter.
Give them time to reflect.
The impact of your presentations will skyrocket.
Who are the best speakers you’ve seen who allow their audiences time to laugh or reflect? You’re invited to leave your thoughts below:
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