1 . Don’t tell everyone how funny your joke is going to be before you tell it
If you do, the audience will sit back, cross their arms and think, “Oh, yeah? Prove it. Let’s see what you got kid.” The best jokes are often the ones that sneak up and surprise you.
2 . Once you start, don’t stop
Commit to the joke or you won’t get a laugh. If you back off of it as you’re telling it or you tell it half-heatedly, the audience will feel your hesitation and assume the joke isn’t going to be good. Oh, and avoid detours. Jokes usually work best in a straight line.
3. Don’t forget timing
This is important to prepare and all the more important to execute. Timing requires real awareness on your part. You need to make sure that you deliver the punch line at the optimal moment. Part of that is keeping an eye on the room and your audience. Who’s unsettled or restless? Do you have an interrupter in your midst? If there is a sudden distraction in the room or a movement in one part of the audience, slow it down. Draw out the set-up or the conflict so that the room is settled in time for your punch line.
4. Make the punch line worth the time they spent listening
Craft a list of punch lines and try them out on friends, family, or a colleague. Professional comedians test and tweak their jokes for months before finalizing them.
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