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On Using Humor
How to Deliver
a Punch Line to Get Bigger & Better Laughs
This is public speaking training article will
definitely help you squeeze more laughs out of
any funny story, joke, or humorous quote.
Try out these simple techniques at your next
public speaking engagement and you'll see that
you'll get more laughs than you did before.
When it comes to using humor in public speaking,
timing is... everything.
Here are some tips to help with your timing:
- Deliver the punch line a little harder and
with a slightly different voice than the rest
of the joke.
- Lean into the microphone and deliver the
punch line louder and more clearly than the
- After you deliver the punch line, pause
and give them time to "get it" and laugh -
the pause also lets them know that's the place
they should laugh.
- When you deliver the punch line, look straight
at one person, right in their eyes.
- Choose the person you deliver the punch
line to based on having watched your audience,
looking for a responsive person (someone making
lots of eye contact with you, nodding in agreement,
and so on).
- Change your facial expression when you deliver
the punch line: depending on what the funny-part
is, you might raise your eyebrows, or open
your mouth, or just make a "deadpan" expression.
- Change your body posture as you deliver
the punch line. Make a certain gesture as
you deliver the punch line.
Did you detect what the common denominator is
on all those points above?
Take a close look, did you figure it out?
It's using nonverbal communication to enhance
what you said with your words.
You accentuate the humor with a facial expression,
voice tone, volume, body posture, eye contact,
and so on.
Now, obviously you may not do each and every
one of those things, but that gives you enough
of an idea of how to "mark out" the punch line
so that you squeeze out extra laughs from your
Should you laugh at your own jokes, funny stories
and humorous quotes?
The "experts" seem to say you should not. I don't
listen to them. My experience is that it really
Sometimes I just keep a deadpan expression for
longer than necessary and that seems to extend
Other times I can't help laughing because, well,
it's funny! Laughing along with your crowd makes
you part of the group.
Plus, sometimes you have to laugh to get them
started if they're a "stodgy" type of group.
Use these tips at your next public speaking engagement
and you'll get more laughs than ever before.