Cut to the chase! The biggest downside of not presenting live is not getting the “juice” some of us crave from the stage. Humor lovers are dying a bit inside right now. Deep down, we live for those laughs. I love the reaction. You?
Last week while delivering our 2-Day Virtual Humor Boot Camp® with Stephanie McHugh and Kevin Burke, the question came up. How do you judge the timing of your taglines? How do you know when you are stepping on your laughs or not? Great question! When you deliver a webinar, we only get to see our co-hosts reaction, not the attendees. I’m not going to lie, that sucks. Ouch!
When you are delivering your laugh lines in a Zoom meeting situation, you have more of an opportunity to see the visual reaction from 24 people at a time. Unless everyone’s mic is open, the laughter won’t roll. We now have to gauge stepping on laughs by only a visual cue. If everyone’s mic is on, there will be at least one person with background noise they are unaware of, which will distract everyone. It’s a struggle. Seeing the reaction helps me. Otherwise, I might not make it through this craziness. If you are Zooming on your phone, that twenty-four drops down to four. Doh! That’s why I avoid presenting on my phone.
One of the biggest challenges is distractions. Distractions result in a loss of attention. Loss of attention means less laughter. We need to bring our expectations down and discover new ways to bring our engagement up. When we are delightfully engaging, we minimize the size of the distractions in our audience’s background. More attention equals more laughter when your material is tried and true. Here are two strategies that may help you Zoomify your laughter:
#1) Utilize live video clips with the audience’s laughter built-in. You know it is there. You know it’s funny. Now your online audience gets the cue for the audience in your video. It works. The other cool part is that I can watch my audience experience the video clip to gauge their reaction. When we are delivering funny lines, we need to focus on the lens more than the reaction.
#2) Do a call out. During our Humor Boot Camp®, our faculty developed this idea. When you throw out a laugh line, and it lands on someone just right, and they laugh, acknowledge them! It lifts them and brings attention to what worked and draws the others in to “get it.” It will communicate the idea this will be more fun if you are fully engaged. Try it. Make this a new habit. No one wants to be left out, so this will draw in those who may be drifting.
Thanks to Kevin and Stephanie on that one. It was a cool collaboration. Zoomify the laughter became a new term on the spot. I liked it so much that I had to write about it right away.
How do you test new material without live audiences? Honestly, it’s a challenge. I have two solid suggestions. The first is to test during a Toastmasters meeting or an association meeting. If you aren’t a Toastmaster, join a group just for the Zoom testing time. If you are a member, join another club or offer to be a guest at other clubs. If you are in the National Speakers Association, see if you can deliver your new story as a warm-up to the main presenter. Virtual changes the rules, so you’ve got to test now more than ever.
The second comes from my friend, Fredrick. In preparation for his stand-up comedy debut, he tried his jokes over the phone with friends. He was relentless at testing his laugh lines over and over again. By the way, don’t tell the person you are talking to that you are testing out a joke. That would telegraph your intention and make your job more challenging. Find a way to work into the conversation. Test and tweak, then test it again. It may sound like a bit of work, and It is. You’d be shocked by the amount of work you don’t see that comedians do behind the scenes. They make it look easy. If you don’t take the time to do it for your career, do it for your next audience.
Want to multiply your laughter? Then Zoomify it! Will you Zoomify Your Laughter? Let us know if it helps you!
What do you take from this?