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The Lost Art of the Great Speech: How to Write It * How to Deliver It by Richard Dowis

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Some do's and don'ts

Here are some suggestions about the use of humor in speeches:

  • Never repeat a punch line. The mark of a clumsy joke teller is repetition of the punch line. It's like saying, ''I want to be sure you dumbbells got it, so I'm going to repeat it.''

  • When you use a laugh line, don't pause and wait for the audience to start laughing. That's begging. Instead, go right on. After the laughter starts—if it does—pause until it subsides.

  • Don't get flustered if your humor bombs. Professional comics have their own ways to recover after a joke falls flat. Unless you're a professional, you're better off to go on and ignore the bomb.

  • Never ad lib a joke. Don't tell one unless you have rehearsed it enough to have the pacing, timing, and punch ...

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