HUGH CULVER

Do you pause in your speech?

Updated to Business on January 3, 2023.

In a presentation I attended about adding comedy to your speech, my friend, Ron Tite reminded us,  “There’s so much after the punchline.” But, of course given his training from Second City, that’s not how he said it.

This is how he actually said it:

“There’s so much after [pause] the punchline.”

You see, something magical happens when you pause in your speech…the audience tries to catch up.

Just like my dog, Riley, waiting with me at a cross-walk, the audience knows something good is coming and they’re waiting in anticipation….for the punchline.

In fact, listen to any great comedian like Seinfeld, Gervais or Rock the power of their comedy is both in the set up, the pause and the punchline.

I’m not good at that – I still have my pack-in-the-content habit of rapid-fire rattling away at my material. But, when I

pause,

for effect,

everything changes.

Try this, close your eyes and silently say “one, one thousand”. Did that feel impossibly long? That’s how long you have to pause – it will feel glacial.

Tite also said, ”We don’t want them to laugh, we want them to learn” – that says it all.