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Westside Toastmasters is located in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, California

What to Do if You Don't Get a Laugh

Know when humor just isn't appropriate. Nothing falls flatter than a joke with a negative response or none at all. If you think a joke is appropriate and it just doesn't get a laugh, continue with the rest of your speech. I've also used this recovery when a joke I tell meets with silence: "Well, your chairperson shared that joke with me a little while ago; I guess you can see why she wanted to give it away." Once I heard a speaker add the following when a joke fell flat: "I'm like the famous second-story burglar—except I'm a second-story man. Let me try that one more time." I have also heard a speaker point out to an audience that studies have established a strong correlation between laughter and intelligence, and then pause and wait for the laughter.


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