It’s was moment of stillness and silence. You said something in a meeting and your audience had blank stares as if a hypnotist had brought them to a trance. Come on, hurry up, the audience is waiting. In a split second, they’ve gone from trance to judgmental silence and hostile postures. Well? What do you do next? Most people tend to explain, rephrase or describe the reason behind the witty comment the audience failed to grasp. Is this the right thing to do? 

No. From a comedic point, your funny comment did not land. You crashed. You failed. Humor in presentation is not bad. Humor, done correctly is a great thing. However, there is a caveat. You have to read the audience and adjust accordingly. Blank stares are a good indication that you didn’t connect with your audience. Don’t try to explain the humor, just move on. Think about it this way, a basketball player misses a shot. That person does not call a time out during the game and take a moment to explain to the fans and the opposing team why.

Humor is an art form. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Read the audience. If your humorous comment leaves your audience looking like a zombie apocalypse just struck, move on. When you are walking and you stumble. You don’t stop and explain to the people passing by, the sidewalk is uneven, your ankle is weak or the heel came off your shoe. Unless you fall, block the sidewalk and required immediate assistance, most people will not care. Your presentation delivery is the same. So you stumble, keep moving. For me, I get my ego out of the way and remind myself, it’s better to feel a bit embarrassed for a moment than to look like an idiot trying to explain.