Biorhythmic differences aside, generally speaking, the majority of people are not at their peak first thing in the morning. What does this mean for you if you want to public speak like a pro? Especially if you're expected to "warm them up" with your witty repartee?

Well, it means that you have to make allowances for early morning audiences and make some slight adjustments to your talk. You will rarely find an early a.m. audience to be a rowdy raucous bunch of lively participants.

(Unless of course, they were partying the night before well into the morning. Oh, and yes, I have had them!) In fact, when public speaking professionally your wittiest one-liners may well fall flat and be met with blank stares. This is from people who may think you odd rather than humorous or clever, (simply because they are not quite awake yet.) So don’t take it personal.

The brain synapses are not necessarily firing on all cylinders and processing your comedic gems. I also know if you get that type of audience, you’ll “think” you’ve lost your funny bone. The reality is that they may in fact, think you’re a great communicator with wonderful content, amusing anecdotes that tickle their funny bone… even when they don’t LAUGH and slap their knees.

They may be thinking to themselves “Gee, this speaker is amazing … I wish I was more awake to enjoy them!” On the flip side, there are times when you are public speaking that you get an audience who is wired on coffee, hanging on every word and LAUGHING at your amusing anecdotes! Here is a good example: Recently I gave a presentation to the Association of Genetic Technologists.

I was concerned that I was kicking off the day with my humor presentation at… you guessed it 8:00A.M. BUT my fears were gone ONCE I saw the layout of the room. And that’s because I was very close to my audience which allowed me to build a quick bond and intimacy with them. In a nutshell: I KILLED.

(Which as you know is euphemism for the audience laughed at all the appropriate times during my presentation.) One of my strong skills is being very spontaneous and improvisational with my audience. I am quite interactive with them which gets their hearts a pumping and their funny bones tingling. But this isn’t about me, it’s about YOU. And what you should expect when elivering a captivating presentation with just the right amount of humor.

Because I know the insecurity speakers might get when the laughs or the energy isn’t coming from their audiences. Take heart: Any time up to about 9 or 9.30 in the morning is not really the best time for humorous speakers to hit their mark. And it has little to do with how clever a speaker they are, although that certainly is a major factor. Again, people are just not programmed for frivolity at that time of the day.

They are still in the process of waking up. And while inwardly some may smile and even appreciate your humor, it's just too early in the day for them to be able to outwardly express it. In fact, if they were at home, (and drunk) they would probably thank you and ask you to come back later!

So if you're opening a seminar or introducing another speaker and your time slot is the first one in the morning and you've been asked to warm the audience up, don't be disappointed if all you receive are polite smiles.

Remember: The same material later in the day could well result in loud guffaws. This also explains why many breakfast radio programs are outrageous and over the top – it takes that to get most people to laugh at that time of the day.
Knowing what is most likely to appeal to an early morning audience's funny-bone will help you with your own early morning material.

Alright; let’s surmise. You know that your audience are still in the process of waking up, and you know not to expect hearty laughs.

But do you know how much humor you should waste on this bunch of sleepy-heads who wouldn't know humor at this time of day if it sat on their heads and laid eggs? Quite simply don't waste any of your best stuff on them. At this time of the day you will be better off delivering more information and a little less humor. Roll out your best material for an audience who is in a better position to appreciate and remember it.

You'll find this audience from around 10.00 a.m. in the morning through to lunch.
In fact, many speakers will tell you the mid morning – lunch audiences are the most responsive and this is their preferred time of day for speaking.

Just think: At this time of day your audience is more awake… they've had their breakfast and a morning snack and the caffeine has kicked in. Even those people who generally sleep later, maybe shift workers or those who don't have to rise early in the morning are more awake by this time. They're all bright eyed and busy tailed and any other colloquiums you can think of.

Look at the flipside: It is still early enough in the day for all of them to feel awake and not starting to get tired again, as people do mid afternoon… hence the concept of the power nap – and you don't want any of your audiences taking any of those while you're talking!

So, if you can organize a timeslot around late morning – midday, you can use your best material and can expect a rewarding response from an appreciative audience.
Don't deliberately choose a mid to late afternoon timeslot if you can avoid it either.

People get sleepy again in the afternoon. Again, harking back to the power nap, research has found that executives who take a 20 minute nap in the afternoon awake more refreshed and can work even more productively and for longer afterwards. Seems there is a sound scientific reason for this afternoon sleepiness… Unfortunately, for speakers, we don't have the luxury of being able to wait for our sleepy audience to nap for 20 minutes, so what do we do?

Well, again, there is no need to waste your very best material on these sleepy heads, but unlike the very early morning crowd, you can use more humor – just don't expect the same response as you'd have received from the lunchtime crowd. Now, what about late afternoon and evening speakers?

Well, if you are presenting at a special seminar that is an evening event and the audience is already wired up expecting a great evening, then guess what? YOU’RE in a better position than a speaker who is the last presenter at a day long program of events facing a tired audience. Think about people who go out to comedy clubs in the evening.

Sure, it might be late, but they're ready for a laugh again they’re be drinking up a storm) And if that's your situation, great! Alright, the above advice was the good news: Now for the not-so-good news. IF you are the last speaker of a long all day, afternoon or evening program, don't expect much laughter.

Why? Because your listeners have been beaten up and are tired and they either want to go home or to their cubicle… or their cubicle they call home. At this time of day, remember the KISS principle. Keep It Short and Simple. This late audience will love you for it. Share with them that you realize how late it is and reassure them that you're not going to keep them waiting around.

You'll have their full attention because they're not expecting a long, dragged out presentation. And don't think this later audience doesn't have a sense of humor. In fact, you can probably get a better laugh out of this tired lot than you could out of the early worms at breakfast.

You may not have them rolling in the aisles if they've had a long day. But you may work up a good laugh among them and leave them with positive memories of your speech if you keep it short and punchy.I hope this helped putting into perspective what you can and can not expect from your audience.

Oh, and one more very important thing: No matter how much money they offer… riches beyond wildest dreams… Never, ever, ever accept the offer to public speak while your audience is eating (lunch of dinner) You are setting yourself up for a big disappointment and lousy evaluations… not to mention clanging of dishes by waiters or waitresses that are doing YOUR job, while you are trying to do yours!

Author's Bio: 

Peter “The Reinvention Guy” Fogel is a humorist, speaker, seminar leader and proud member of the National Speakers Association. He delivers presentations on humor, reinvention, copywriting and marketing to corporation and associations across America and parts of Jersey. Peter’s specialty is delivering strong content with an equally humorous side.

Just as important he can show you how to take a stale presentation & boost it with humor for optimal LAUGHS! As an information marketer he is also the creator of Peter Fogel’s Guide to Effective Public Speaking. For more information on his products, more cool articles, and to get his FREE 7 Days to Effective Public Speaking E-course... go to . Go on, what are you waiting for? Go to