In the business of delivering your humor, there is a technique referred to as a TAKE. A take is your physical response to a joke. For example, you may deliver a joke and then raise your eyebrows. Or tilt your head. Or open your eyes wide. Facial expressions are some of the most popular takes.
Using a take is like putting an exclamation point at the end of your humor line. It helps you drive home the humor. It signals the audience to realize “hey, this is supposed to be funny!"
There are a couple of approaches to using takes. One way is to look for a different physical delivery technique for every punchline. This can make the talk more interesting for you. And this can add a colorful variety to your speech. We also know from the acting business that it is easier to remember lines if they are linked to a physical action. So your jokes will be easier to remember, each linked to a different take.
Another approach is to use the same take for each punchline. This conditions the audience to laugh. Two classic comedians who used this technique: George Burns who would tell a joke then puff on his cigar. The audiences learn to laugh every time the cigar went to the mouth. Rodney Dangerfield would pull at the knot of his necktie as he said the running line “can't get no respect". And if you ever watch some of his routines, you will notice that he normally doesn't even touch his tie! He is doing is simply for the impact of the take, the repetitive physical motion.
Takes run the gamut from facial expressions, tilts of the head, laughing at your own jokes (Phyllis Diller), pausing (yes doing nothing is a physical choice). Using your hands, arms and legs to make unusual poses work great. Slant your body, bend your knees. Angles are funnier than straight lines.
Play around while telling jokes. Notice what is natural for you. Notice what works. Pay attention to what your friends do when they tell jokes. And then experiment in your formal talks. Video tape yourself to see how well you use takes. You will find that even small takes can produce good results. Just a small wink might just be what you need to get the laughs. Good luck. Good laughs!
Copyright 2005 by John Kinde. John Kinde is a humor specialist who has been in the training and speaking business for over 30 years specializing in teambuilding, customer service and stress management. Special reports available: Show Me The Funny - Tips for Adding Humor to Your Presentations and When They Don't Laugh - What To Do When the Laughter Doesn’t Come. Humor Power Tips newsletter and articles are available at http://www.HumorPower.com .