Using Timing to Humanize & Add Humor to Your VideoAh, comedy.   When it’s done well, it can warm up a room, diffuse a situation, make someone like you more…and bring a human touch to your explainer video.

But your video doesn’t have to be hilarious.  It just has to employ one key comedic technique in particular:


Ever notice the pauses in a stand-up routine?   Those delicious moments before the joke lands?

Check out the beat that Paula Poundstone takes at 0:21:


Or the milliseconds Jim Gaffigan leaves beginning at 1:58 after “buffet,” “plate,” “fruit,” and “waited.”


Sometimes, in the flurry of effort around jamming all the details about your product into your explainer video, buffer time gets cut from the script.

But a moment of silence is a rarity, and has a lot of attention-pulling power.   It gives the audience a chance to catch an important point, smile at a joke or clever concept, and get curious about what’s next.

Since pauses happen naturally when there’s not a script involved, they’re also an inoculation against stodgy reads.

The great news is that you don’t have to think too hard about it.  Like professional comedians, professional voice actors know where and when to pause so that the timing is Just. Right.

All you have to do is leave enough breathing room in the script for them to do it.


Kendra Hoffman renounced her engineering ways to become a voice actor specializing in making copy sound smart. Her studio is based in Minneapolis, though she’s been heard around the world. Her geek cred is substantial. Read Kendra’s other blog posts.