Do you stop your audience from laughing?
I recently listened to a speaker give a marvellous speech. She was so entertaining – and we all started off by laughing a lot. But then our laughter came in shorter bursts……even though she was still funny.
So what was happening? Her words were moving faster than a pig in a bacon factory!
It was fascinating; like a wind up toy each sentence became quicker and quicker…so we didn’t have time to laugh. And if we did laugh we couldn’t hear the next bit! So we shut up. In fact we shut up very quickly..
So…a couple of learning points –
1. Your audience cannot hear you until the room is quiet – so if you are talking whilst they are laughing your point gets missed.
2. By continuing with your next sentence too soon, you send the message that it’s time for your audience to stop laughing. In fact you are ‘withdrawing your permission’ for them to laugh. They will soon learn not to laugh so much. Is that what you really want?
If this sounds like you, you’re in good company. It’s a mistake that many fledgling comedians struggle with. There’s even a term for it – ‘stepping on your laughs’.
It’s hard to slow down. It takes confidence to wait until the laughter has died down before you begin to speak again. But another advantage of slowing down is that it gives you an air of authority.
There’s one more bonus too – if you take your time, you can enjoy the sound of your audience enjoying you. And that’s a very nice feeling.